Seahawks focus on line of scrimmage with first 2 draft picks
RENTON, Wash. (AP) The Seattle Seahawks focused on the line of scrimmage in selecting defensive lineman Malik McDowell and offensive lineman Ethan Pocic with a pair of second-round picks in Friday's NFL draft.
Both selections fill obvious needs for the Seahawks, but their positions in the NFL are still to be determined. McDowell was primarily a defensive tackle at Michigan State but may project more as a defensive end, while Pocic played center last season for LSU but played across the entire offensive line during his time in college.
Whatever positions they end up playing, the players help address needs for the Seahawks, who had four picks remaining in the third round.
McDowell's size, 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, and athleticism seemed to have him pegged for the first round. But knocks about inconsistency and taking plays off seemed to ding McDowell as he dropped out of the first day. Seattle was more than willing to wait. The Seahawks even pulled off yet another trade - their third of the draft - to move back one spot and allow Jacksonville to move up while giving Seattle another sixth-round pick.
It's the second straight year Seattle used a second-round pick on a defensive tackle and third straight year the Seahawks have drafted a defensive lineman in the second round. Last year, the Seahawks grabbed run-stuffing tackle Jarran Reed from Alabama in the second round. A year earlier, it was defensive end Frank Clark.
This time it was McDowell.
Seattle's defense - especially the defensive line - is beginning to age. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are 31. Ahtyba Rubin will also be 31 when the season begins. McDowell will join Reed, Frank Clark and Quinton Jefferson as players drafted by Seattle in the past three years in an effort to get younger.
Pocic started at center and guard during his career at LSU, but his size would allow him to transition to tackle if that's where the Seahawks think he fits best. Seattle's offensive line was an obvious weakness last season and that was somewhat addressed in free agency by the signings of Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi.
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