From an pure theory standpoint, the Seattle Seahawks have manipulated the draft incredibly well over the last few years.
They have moved down the board on a consistent basis , stockpiling on second day picks, but the big problem throughout the organization has been their execution.
Seattle has received very limited returns on their early picks over the last two draft classes, and with over three Round 3 draft picks in each of the last two years, the Seahawks’ draft returns — and frankly some of their decision making — have been fairly puzzling.
Has Pete Carroll and John Schneider readjusted their approach? We’ll see in this upcoming draft — in two weeks — where the Seahawks enter the draft with very limited draft capital at the top of the draft (only 1 pick in the first three rounds).
Will they continue to pass on quality talent in order to stockpile more picks? Will they need to move Earl Thomas to regain the draft capital lost in the Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown trades? There are a lot of questions heading into April 26.
With that in mind, we tried to project what Seattle will do if they ultimately stay at No. 18 overall. In the next mock draft, we’ll do a trade down scenario.
Check out who the Seahawks picked in my first mock draft of the off-season:
1) Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming) — For almost a month now, I was certain this was pick was going to be USC’s Sam Darnold. But the more I dig into this, it’s starting to feel like Allen, who is the kind of QB prospect I can totally see new GM John Dorsey falling for. The Browns have the luxury of not rushing Allen into action with Tyrod Taylor on the roster.
2) New York Giants: Sam Darnold (QB, USC) — Both Bradley Chubb and Saquon Barkley would make sense here from a roster need standpoint, but Eli Manning is 37 and already declining pretty hard. The Giants get their QB of the future here, the cleanest QB prospect available, and turn in the card quick.
3) New York Jets: Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA) — The QB run continues, as the Jets get their new franchise signal caller. Rosen has mega upside, great arm talent, and is rumored to be one of the top players on the Jets’ draft board, along with Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. They’ll be happy they moved up to No. 3, despite the steep price.
4) Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb (DE, North Carolina State) — Most mocks have Saquon Barkley here, but there are too many quality running backs that will be available in the following round, and Chubb, to me, is the best overall prospect in this draft class at a more premium position. Pairing Chubb with last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Myles Garrett gives the Browns a dominant duo of pass rushers to build around.
5) Denver Broncos: Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State) — This could be a trade down opportunity for Denver or where Mayfield ends up going, but in this scenario, Denver goes with the home-run hitter at running back, and maybe safest skill player available in the draft, on an offense that lacks any sort of spark. Barkley projects to be a star at the next level, but staff writer Nathan Ernst would hate this pick.
6) Indianapolis Colts: Quinton Nelson (G, Notre Dame) — It remains to be seen when Andrew Luck will ever throw a football again, but regardless, the Colts need to drastically improve their offensive line, which makes Nelson an absolute perfect fit. Nelson’s college tape is incredible and he has the makings of a ten-year starter and perennial Pro Bowl player. He would go arguanly go higher in this draft if his position carried more value around the league.
7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James (S, Florida State) — The Bucs addressed their defensive end issues by trading for Jason-Pierre Paul and adding Vinny Curry in free agency, which leaves safety as a major roster need. James becomes a leader and enforcer in a thin Bucs’ secondary. Plus, he’s also a local prospec who could add some of the toughness that Kam Chancellor brought to Seattle early in his career.
8) PROJECTED TRADE: Buffalo Bills: Baker Mayfield — With Mayfield still on the board in this scenario, the Bears collect an additional Day 2 pick and move down a few slots, in order for the Bills to grab a top quarterback. Mayfield doesn’t have to play right away, since Buffalo signed A.J. McCarron, but Mayfield’s accuracy and movement skills are a good fit for Buffalo’s offensive scheme.
9) San Francisco 49ers: Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia) — The 49ers need some edge help, but with Rueben Foster’s future in complete flux, the 49ers add a stud at linebacker, despite being undersized, that is a sideline-to-sideline player that fits well in a scheme Seahawks fans should be very familiar with.
10) Oakland Raiders: Vita Vea (DT, Washington) — With Smith off the board, Jon Gruden continues his love for old-school football players and selects the space eater out of Washington. Vea is the kind of player that will create room for Khalil Mack, once his inevitable holdout ends, and be a dominant two-down player that can still disrupt enough on passing downs from the interior.
11) Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB/S, Alabama) — The Dolphins need help at both cornerback and safety, which makes Fitzpatrick an ideal selection at this spot. He can start as a high-level slot corner that play in three-safety looks as well, and eventually transition to a role on the outside. He’s exactly what a lifeless Miami roster needs to build around.
12) Chicago Bears (TRADE): Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State) — The Bears could have logically selected Ward at No. 8, and in this scenario, address their need in the secondary while collecting additional picks. Ward is a complete prospect that should be able to start from Day 1.
13) Washington Redskins: Da’Ron Payne (DL, Albama) — The Redskins were one of the worst teams in the NFL last season in terms of run defense, and with Vea off the board, the Redskins pair Payne with last year’s first-round pick from Alabama, Jonathan Allen, to build their defensive line around,. This is a logical idea so it’s unlikely the Redskins actually pull it off.
14) Green Bay Packers: Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech) — Despite getting a bit more aggressive in free agency under a new general manager, the Packers’ still have relatively underwhelming personnel in the back seven of their defense. Cornerback would be a logical selection, to pair with Kevin King, but Edmunds is a more appealing prospect than most of the DBs available at this slot, and Edmunds can play multiple linebacker spots in Mike Pettine’s defensive scheme.
15) Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama) —
One of thing I noticed while studying depth charts in order to prepare for this mock draft, is how razor thin the Cardinals’ depth at wide receiver has become. Just a few years ago, the Cardinals had arguably the best WR room in the entire NFL and with Larry Fitzgerald trending closer towards the end of his career and either J.J. Nelson or Brice Butler projected to start beside him, the Cardinals bring in some needed size/youth with this pick. Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph could be in play here as well.
16) Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey (OL, Notre Dame) — Ozzie Newsome loves Alabama prospects, so he’s a little pissed that Ridley goes one pick ahead of him, but Baltimore sticks to its roots of aiming for doubles rather than home runs in the draft, and takes the solid offensive tackle prospect out of Notre Dame to pair with former Notre Dame alum Ronnie Stanley on the offensive line. Baltimore badly needs to address their skill players later in this draft.
17) Los Angeles Chargers: Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville) — The Chargers’ staff have been sniffing around the QB prospects, which makes a ton of sense given Philip Rivers will be 37 by the end of the 2018 season. Jackson can learn behind Rivers for a year or two and as one of the more electric prospects in the draft, he can be a player the Chargers can market their franchise in L.A. around. The Rams have been stealing all the headlines lately.
18) Seattle Seahawks: Harold Landry (DE, Boston College) — Unless Earl Thomas gets traded, I’m extremely confident John Schneider will use this pick to move back in the draft to make up for the lack of Day 2 picks, but in Hawk Blogger’s first mock draft of the off-season, we decided to give Seahawk fans a pick in this selection, and the Seahawks go with Landry to help fill Cliff Avril’s role in the defense. I just can’t see Pete Carroll being comfortable with Frank Clark, Dion Jordan, and Marcus Smith as his primary defensive end rushers.
19) Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU) — The Cowboys have a ton of needs on defense, but in Jerry Jones-esque fashion, go with the flashy pick instead. Dez Bryant was officially released on Friday, so the Cowboys use their first pick in Sutton, who eventually transition into a No. 1 receiver for Dak Prescott. Sutton fits in nicely with Allan Hurns, and Cole Beasley as a wide receive group with varied skill sets.
20) Detroit Lions: Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA) — Ziggy Ansah was franchised tagged in March, and the Lions don’t have much behind him at the position, and with a new head coach with a defensive background, this raw but toolsy pass rusher is a great fit at this spot. Ideally, the Lions can pair Ansah and Davenport for the long term.
21) Cincinnati Bengals: Will Hernandez (OT, UTEP) — The Bengals haven’t been the same since they lost offensive line staples such as Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler. Already trading for Cordy Glenn this off-season, the Bengals continue to rebuild the left side of their offensive line with the physical run blocker from UTEP. Hernandez becomes a Day 1 starter beside Glenn.
22) Buffalo Bills: Billy Price (G/C, Ohio State) — Price got injured at the combine but is expected to be ready for training camp, and is a great scheme fit for Buffalo given they lost both their starting centre, Eric Wood, and left guard, Richie Incognito due to retirement this off-season. Price can play either spot and can pair nicely with Buffalo’s earlier pick, Baker Mayfield as a QB-C combination.
23) New England Patriots: Kolton Miller (OT, UCLA) — The run on offensive linemen continues as the Patriots use the pick they acquired for Brandon Cooks to find a replacement for Nate Solder, who left in free agency. Miller has a similar body type as Solder and can be coached up and have his technique refined by one of the best offensive line minds in the sport.
24) Carolina Panthers: Josh Jackson (CB, Iowa) — Some have been projecting Jackson as a Seattle pick, but he does not have 32-inch arms, so it’s hard to imagine them using that pick on him, but instead, fits well with Carolina who tried signing veteran CB Breshad Breeland before he failed a physical. The Panthers haven’t been the same since getting rid of Josh Norman.
25) Tennessee Titans: Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State) — It wouldn’t be surprising if new head coach Mike Vrabel used his first pick in Tennessee on a linebacker. Vander Esch is the kind of prospect I can see New England being very high on, and given that Vrabel and GM Jon Robinson grew up in the Patriots’ organization, this seems to fit from a logic and roster standpoint.
26) Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan (DT, Florida) — Dan Quinn has plenty of familiarity with the Florida program, given his time coaching there before coming back to Seattle in 2013. Bryan has the athletic profile that Quinn likes and would fit in well beside Grady Jarrett on the defensive line.
27) New Orleans Saints: Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan) —
The Saints were in the mix to sign Ndamukong Suh which means they want to find more penetrators for the middle of their defensive line. If Hurst checks out medically, this could provide great value at this point in the first round.
28) Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama) — Ryan Shazier might never play football again, which makes linebacker an immediate need for the Steelers, who struggled to contain the Jaguars offense in their playoff loss last winter. Evans has the pedigree at Alabama to start from Day 1 in a defensive unit that needs to carry more of the weight with Ben Roethlisberger in the final stages of his career.
29) Jacksonville Jaguars: D.J. Moore (WR, Maryland) — Even though Jacksonville overpaid Donte Moncrief in free agency and re-signed Marqise Lee, the Jaguard still need a burner in the group and Moore (or Christian Kirk) would fit that role very well. The Jaguars don’t have many defensive needs, so getting more explosive offensively, might be the priority.
30) Minnesota Vikings: Isiah Wynn (G, Georgia) — Wynn is expected to shift from tackle to guard at the pro level, which is still an area of need for the Vikings. Minnesota spent big-time money to land Kirk Cousins in free agency, so putting more resources into protecting is the way to go.
31) New England Patriots: Mason Rudolph (QB, Oklahoma State) — There are plenty of cornerbacks that probably make more sense here. New England lost Malcolm Butler in free agency and it was clear the Patriots had difficulty covering Philadelphia in the Super Bowl. However, the Patriots still hold a high second round pick, and use their original first to replace Jimmy G on the roster. This mock draft is supposed to be fun, right?
32) Philadelphia Eagles: Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado) — From top to bottom, the Eagles have the most complete roster in the NFL. They got better on the defensive line and didn’t lose as much talent as your typical Super Bowl team, so they address their one area that definitely needs more skill, and bring in Oliver to compete for one of the outside corner spots. We considered one of the running backs at this spot, as well.
Just missed: Derrius Guice, Sony Michel, Mike Hughes, Christian Kirk, Jaire Alexander, James Daniels, Hayden Hurst, Connor Williams.