By Jared Stanger
Save for the Marshawn Lynch news; this has been a pretty shitty week (or two) for Seahawk fans. Niners won. Hawks got embarrassed. Lost two players to suspension. Lost 42 guys to injury. And somebody put fucking cranberries in the stuffing. Who does that?!
But, rather than simply whining about where we’re at; I’m always a fan of trying to look forward and find solutions. My primary method for that is the draft, but keep in mind the Seahawks have somewhere upwards of $70million in cap space to play with as well.
Also, instead of presenting another mock draft format; I thought I would just group like items together in a sort of digital/video Sears catalog.
The gift of a new Josh Gordon.
Gordon, now suspended indefinitely, is a free agent and I just don’t see Jody Allen signing off on an extension. Plus, it’s one hell of a WR draft class, so it would be relatively easy to replace him on a rookie deal.
Combining film study and a few statistical metrics; I think you draft from a shortlist of Antonio Gandy Golden, Isaiah Hodgins, Omar Bayless, Michael Pittman, Chase Claypool.
AGG would be the most literal replacement for Gordon. From a size and skillset standpoint he hits the marks the closest. Huge bodied target with the best deep ball ability in the class.
Hodgins is a big-framed target, but more of an elite route runner than Gordon.
Pittman has elite hands on top of a huge frame. Good jump ball player. Good redzone.
Claypool is a physical beast. He’s almost part TE. Great in the redzone.
Bayless is the smallest of this bunch, and has much lower buzz, but statistically still qualifies for this group as a market share hog.
The gift of a new Al Woods.
Our second recently-suspended player. Woods is also an impending UFA, and at 33 years old I’m not sure you pay him when you have bigger needs extending Clowney and Reed. But it is worth noting that the first game without Woods the Seahawks gave up like 250 yards rushing.
So we need to upgrade that Woods/Bryan Mone roster spot. Fortunately, while this isn’t a special passrushing IDL class, I think you can find some solid roster foundation players. Like, you can find the KJ Wright of DT’s in this class.
The best DT’s from the best run-defending college teams in the country go something like: #1 Utah- Leki Fotu, #3 Georgia- Tyler Clark, #7 Ohio State- Davon Hamilton.
Fotu is a monster at 6’5″/335lbs but doesn’t move like it.
I’m a huge fan of Hamilton and I think he presents the best value with a pretty high degree of upside.
Jordan Elliott might be another name for this group, but I honestly just haven’t studied him yet.
The gift of a new CJ Prosise.
(Well, a new Prosise in terms of roster spot. We don’t need someone with Prosise’s, ahem, “attributes”.)
In addition to replacing Prosise permanently; we now need to be looking at how long Penny and Carson are gonna be out. So RB is a legit need. Maybe you throw some cap space at Melvin Gordon or a lower amount at Austin Ekeler, but let’s still draft one more.
Unfortunately, I don’t love this RB class. I think this pick is gonna be more of a hail mary than at other positions. I like Zack Moss a lot if you want to invest the pick high enough to get him. I like Kylin Hill if he comes off the board on day 3. But currently I think the best fit might be Najee Harris.
Harris’ game has strong similarities to Chris Carson’s. Both are over 6’1″/215lbs, run extremely hard, and are solid receivers.
I had this thought recently that Seattle could/should construct a draft this year that resembled the Steelers’ draft from 2017 and it would not only fill needs but also find them some great players. In that scenario Zack Moss could be the James Conner guy.
The gift of…well…most of the OL.
So here’s some pretty complicated news: Seattle’s unrestricted free agents on the offensive line go George Fant, Mike Iupati, Joey Hunt, Germain Ifedi. Justin Britt is hurt, Duane Brown is somewhat hurt. Jamarco Jones didn’t look great at LT (but has shown interesting potential at guard). Ethan Pocic is deep into his 3rd year and still seems at best a bench player. Phil Haynes had promising college tape but has yet to see an NFL snap. I’m not sure how much upside there is beyond that on the bench and practice squad.
You could literally draft anywhere along the OL and it would probably be useful. You probably need to draft two.
The good news: for some time this has looked like a quality OT draft. There’s a lot of very solid left and right side players available. But the bad news: more and more the draft buzz is pushing OT’s up draft boards. Now it seems even some former 3rd round targets now may not fall out of the top 20 overall. This could be deeply damaging to any sort of selective draft strategy.
Regardless, this isn’t a mock draft. This is a wishlist.
Contrary to most mock drafts; I kinda prefer Tristan Wirfs as first OL off the board. He’s primarily played RT in his career, but he did make some spot starts at LT this year. And he looked remarkably good making the instant, in-game transition. I think he could play LT in the league, which should help his stock. Plus, he should make money at the Combine.
Whereas Wirfs has always felt out of reach; I had spent part of this season thinking there might be a shot that Jedrick Wills might be available for Seattle. And I was very okay with it knowing how good of a run-blocker he was. He might have made more sense for SEA.
But, alas, it’s now looking like Wills may end up a top-15 pick.
So then I moved on to Houston’s LT Josh Jones. With less highlight reel, nasty blocks and coming from a smaller program; I thought maybe Jones would be able to linger to the 2nd round. He, too, is now looking like a 1st round pick. Ideal size and length. Good feet.
Alex Leatherwood is also generally included in this first group of OL, but I don’t have a great feel for him, yet. Sam Cosmi isn’t currently mentioned with the first tier (likely because he is just a redshirt Soph that hasn’t declared), but if he does declare his availability would benefit Seattle either directly from Cosmi being available at their pick, or Cosmi pushing one of the other aforementioned OT down in the draft. Although I really like Cosmi’s tape at LT, it may be more immediately useful that he played RT last year.
Mekhi Becton is an absolute brute as a run-blocker, but I have questions about his pass-pro.
Due to the drying up of the OT pool; I’m now looking to move on to the Guards and hopefully find more value there.
Trey Smith is similar to Becton in that it’s easy to see his strength in run-blocking, but seems inconsistent in pass.
The guard I’m really liking is Logan Stenberg. This guy is an attitude setter. Might have some Richie Incognito in him. Definitely gets his share of penalties, but they’re more of the Breno Giacomini type than the Ifedi.
Robert Hunt has played a fair amount of RT this year, but projects more as a guard going forward. Unfortunately, he’s sustained an injury that will hold him out of the Senior Bowl and perhaps the Combine.
At Center, I’ve really only spotted one guy that I like. Temple’s Matt Hennessy. He’s a bit undersized for what Solari seems to prefer, but his anchor is still very solid. If he’s “replacing Joey Hunt” the size and intelligence seem to match pretty well.
The gift of a new Mychal Kendricks.
For me, this is a pretty high priority. And it’s a priority because I really want one of the following two guys.
I think Josh Uche had a great year, but I think there might be even more upside in him yet to come. He’s got that pissed off for greatness feel to him. He’s shown fantastic speed rush:
But then this year, Uche also showcased some truly impressive power rushing. This combo is so intriguing.
The other guy is Zack Baun who I picture as more of a capable off-the-ball LB, but with special passrush ability.
The gift of a new Ziggy Ansah.
For whatever reason, if I was really wanting to tighten this in, I probably could have come up with a list of two draft players to focus in on for each one of the outgoing Seahawks. Cause there are kind of two each that I have as highest priority in my mind.
For Ansah; I’m going sort of Yetur Gross-Matos and Terrell Lewis. Both are really long (6’5″) with YGM tipping the scales at 264lbs (closer to Ziggy), and Lewis more at 252 currently.
Lewis: bit more of that POFG vibe. Good stunt rusher. Well-rounded rush repertoire. Here’s a spin move:
Lewis needs to get a bit better at finishing. He seems to have a great plan to beat the OL, but that plan sometimes causes him to overshoot the QB.
YGM is definitely more of a long-striding power rusher. He’s gonna win more with his upper body…rips and chops.
And to wrap things up…I’ve got a couple gifts that are kind of one-of-a-kind.
The gift of a new Quinton Jefferson.
Marlon Davidson, in theory, would actually be a better version of QJeff. Great combo of inside and outside rush ability. Good intangibles, too.
The gift of a new Akeem King.
I’ve written before about the similarities between Akeem King and Jeremy Chinn. Same build, same background at safety but with a little bit of CB mixed in. But Chinn is one of my personal favorite players in this draft.
That’ll probably do for now. Hopefully you can find something within this list that would make your favorite 12 happy this Christmas or next draft. Merry Christmas everybody!!