Perfect Picks: Seattle Seahawks
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight five players that could help each team. This will include a ‘flex’ pick where we give you two ways a potential pick could go depending on how the board falls. All in all you will get picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
The NFC West is highly competitive, and despite some roster erosion over the last few seasons the Seattle Seahawks have remained a playoff team. Simon identifies some potential targets to help them maintain their status amongst the elite:
Round 1 - Pick 1 - Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
The Seahawks have been attempting to rebuild their offensive line ever since the ill-fated trade of Max Unger to The Saints in exchange for Jimmy Graham. For the past five years they have been through a myriad of different protection combinations in a desperate attempt to help Russell Wilson stay upright. Last season saw some growth – Duane Brown doing well since coming over from Houston at Left Tackle and Germain Ifedi showing promise on the opposite side. But the interior still needs help…
Cesar Ruiz is the standout interior offensive lineman in this draft class. He has amazing burst off the line of scrimmage, a strong anchor in the run game and a motor that sees him constantly looking for work. He dominated at center for the Wolverines, but should Pete Carroll consider Justin Britt’s starting spot safe he’s adept at playing guard too. A day one starter anywhere between the tackles.
Round 2 - Pick 59 - Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
Seattle are the masters of rebuilding without tanking, and if they want to continue to be competitive their priority in this draft must be the trenches. They address the offensive line in round one and pivot nicely to the other side of the ball in round two. With Jadaveon Clowney likely to leave in free agency, Ziggy Ansah failing to produce and last year’s first round rookie LJ Collier looking like a bust, finding some pass rush is a must.
Julian Okwara is like a heat seeking missile. Slightly unrefined but with plenty of upside, he specialises in shooting into the backfield and causing chaos. He certainly won’t be playing on the line of scrimmage and setting the edge in the run game like Clowney does. But in The Seahawks’ hybrid scheme he is ideally suited to the ‘Leo’ role, prowling in a two point stance and pinning his ears back. His all-round game might need some development, but he’ll get sacks, and that’ll do for this defense.
Round 2 - Pick 64 - Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
The Legion of Boom is now history. Having said that, John Schneider deserves much credit for re-tooling this roster and keeping the talent coming, even if their successors aren’t as cocky or aggressive in their style of football. Trading for Quandre Diggs was a masterstroke and provided this secondary with some playmaking ability it missed since the days of Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.
If they want to add more ball skills and re-establish the nasty demeanour of this unit, they need look no further than Jeremy Chinn. The small-school safety plays with a a chip on his shoulder and almost reckless physicality reminiscent of Kam Chancellor. Much like Chancellor he can operate that linebacker-safety hybrid role, utilising his toughness and wingspan to make tackles and nose for the football to be sneaky good in coverage. Chinn is shooting up draft boards following his combine performance, and a late second round pick is starting to look like value for him.
Flex Pick - Pick 64 - Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
The Seahawks pride themselves on being a physical football team, yet despite all their efforts they simply haven’t been able to find a running mate for Chris Carson. Rashaad Penny and CJ Prosise are injury-prone and have been inconsistent when they have made it on the field. When Carson went down just before the playoffs it doomed Seattle, even if bringing Marshawn Lynch back was a nice story. It’s a position they’ll want to fortify this offseason.
With other needs being a priority and the depth at running back in this draft class they might hope to wait until day three to make a move for a ball carrier. Having said that, Cam Akers could be a steal at this juncture. The former Seminole was given no hope in Tallahassee, working under poor coaching in a poor system with a poor offensive line. Scouts are acknowledging he belongs in the top tier bracket with the likes of Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift and JK Dobbins. It’s a glamour pick for sure, but one worth consideration.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 133 - Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
You’ve found your big-bodied pass catcher in DK Metcalf, who made huge strides in his development as last season went on. You’ve got your deep threat speedster on the opposite side of the field in Tyler Lockett. Why not find a do-it-all slot receiver who can be productive across the middle and take this passing game to the next level?
Tyler Johnson is a Russell Wilson wet dream. His uncanny ability to garner separation on the shortest of routes is impressive, and his ball-tracking skills are elite. He’s not the quickest and he’s not the strongest, but he knows how to set up corners by attacking their hip and he will fight for every football. A master of the dirty work, Jefferson will be an immediate asset to this offense.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 214 - Raequan Williams, IDL, Michigan State
When you get to the bottom of the sixth round, you’re looking for one of two things; guys with traits that you can develop as a long-term project into starters, or high-effort, high-character guys who may have a low ceiling in terms of talent but provide depth and leadership to a position group.
Raequan Williams falls into the latter category. He lacks ideal power and athleticism, plays tall and had a poor combine. But he’s clever, knows his limitations and has succeeded in his college career despite them. He’s dedicated to his craft, exemplified by his very good hand usage and footwork to set up blockers before finding their edge and slipping by them.
Jarran Reed might be on his way out of Seattle this offseason. The Seahawks will likely want to find a better replacement than Williams for him if he does go, but at this stage of the draft he provides undeniable value to the position.
Draft in full
27. Cesar Ruiz (IOL)
59. Julian Okwara (EDGE)
64. Jeremy Chinn (S)
101. Bradlee Anae (EDGE)
133. Tyler Johnson (WR)
144. AJ Dillon (RB)
154. Colton McKivitz (OT)
214. Raequan Williams (IDL)
Feature Image Credit: Associated Press
PREVIOUSLY THE FOUNDER OF NFL DRAFT UK, SIMON HAS BEEN COVERING COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND THE NFL DRAFT SINCE 2009. BASED IN MANCHESTER, SIMON IS ALSO CO-CREATOR & WEEKLY GUEST OF THE COLLAPSING POCKET PODCAST.