Sporting a league-worst three picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, including just one in the top-100, the Seahawks appear all but set to trade down from their first scheduled selection at No. 56 in hopes of accumulating more capital for the rest of the event.
General manager John Schneider has never been one to sit on his hands when it comes to the draft, no matter how many picks he has in tow. Presumably, this will be the case once again, especially given their dire situation. However, there may be a few scenarios in which the Seahawks at least hesitate to 'stick and pick' at No. 56.
This is a weird class to predict for a multitude of reasons, namely the limited amount of eyes each team can get on all of these prospects due to coronavirus restrictions and cancellations. Many of these players haven't played in a year or more, and had few opportunities to make up for that with pre-draft workouts. Amongst a laundry list of lost resources, there were no visits to team facilities or an NFL combine—an even more drastic change from 2020, which had some form of normalcy before the pandemic ramped up in mid March.
Truly, after the consensus top-20 players or so go off the board, anything can happen. There has arguably never been a bigger disparity in mock drafts and player grades than there is right now, and teams are, per usual, playing things close to the vest. This will likely lead to several surprise picks on Thursday and Friday, as well as a few highly-touted prospects falling below their expected draft position.
In the event one of these three following names endure such a fate, and make their way down to No. 56, it may be too hard for the Seahawks to pass up on a considerable amount talent by trading down. While that would open up a whole 'nother can of worms, Seattle needs to make the most of this draft. If that entails sacrificing a day three pick or two to get a player the organization really likes early on, then so be it.
Schneider and company still have other routes they can take to add another lottery ticket or two to their pick sheet. They have a more 'normal' arsenal of selections in 2022 and will likely take from that to trade back into this draft around rounds five through seven, much like they've done in the past.
So, at the very least, it should be safe to assume they won't pick just three times this weekend. How many more times that winds up being remains to be seen, but again; if they lack picks simply because they felt they were able to hit a home run at No. 56, that's a relatively easy pill to swallow.
Who would make them feel that way? Let's take a look.
Quinn Meinerz, IOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
This technically-sound mauler has quickly risen up draft boards and it shouldn't come as much of a shock if he winds up being taken sometime Thursday night. However, if he does manage to get to No. 56 - where most draft experts have him in the range of - this would be quite the gift to fall in the Seahawks' collective laps. Despite the return of 2020 starter Ethan Pocic, center is arguably Seattle's biggest need after a late-season collapse by its interior offensive line last year. While the arrival of new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron may shake up their gameplan for the run game, Meinerz would be an excellent fit for the Seahawks if they maintain some of the power-run methods they've employed over the past three seasons, and should offer them more interior pass protection upside than what they currently have.
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
If Moore falls to the Seahawks, it'll be because of injury concerns and an overall lack of tape over the past two seasons. In that time, he's played in just seven games, putting up 657 receiving yards and two scores. When he's on the field, he's an absolute game-changer with blistering speed, good feel for the route tree, and versatility that should align well with Waldron's scheme. Pair him with star wideouts DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, as well as the best deep-ball thrower in the NFL in Russell Wilson, and the sky may be the limit for Moore in Seattle.
Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Perhaps the unlikeliest to fall of the three, Moore has gotten the league's attention in the draft process. Posting a 4.35 40-yard dash time at his pro day, he offers the Seahawks yet another opportunity to add a tertiary home-run hitter to their receiving corps. But not only is he a burner, he's excellent at creating after the catch as well—something Seattle severely lacked from its group of pass-catchers last season. A former teammate of Metcalf's at Ole Miss, Moore would be a stellar fit for an offense that could use the luxury of yet another high-end playmaker.