With the Jaguars set to go on the clock with the first overall selection on April 29, the 2021 NFL Draft is less than a week away as a new class of players will be ushered into the league.
Due to a series of trades, including acquiring safety Jamal Adams from the Jets for a pair of first-round picks and a third-round pick, the Seahawks will enter the festivities with only three total selections. Making the situation worse, only one of those picks falls in the first 120 selections, limiting the possibility of landing a blue chip talent.
Based on general manager John Schneider's history, it would be an absolute stunner if Seattle doesn't add multiple picks during the draft by trading down and/or sending future draft picks to get back into the draft. But for this exercise, I will be searching for viable alternatives for the Seahawks to pick at each position group with their three native selections.
In part eight of the series, Seattle offset the departures of Greg Olsen and Jacob Hollister by signing Gerald Everett and reuniting him with offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. With tight ends likely to be emphasized more in Waldron's scheme, could the team look to further fortify depth in the draft?
Second Round - Pick No. 56
Hunter Long, Boston College
Prior to the Senior Bowl, Long was largely being viewed as a day three selection. But he turned heads at Mobile, arguably outplaying every other tight end at the all-star showcase, and his stock continue to climb after turning in a strong overall pro day outing. The 6-foot-5, 254-pound Long looks the part of an NFL tight end and comes from a pro-style offense where he's been utilized frequently both as an in-line blocker and a receiver. Along with helping block for current Packers running back A.J. Dillon in 2019, he broke out with 57 receptions for 685 yards and five touchdowns in 2020, further illustrating his all-around game. There's nothing flashy about Long's skill set, but he's more athletic than advertised and should fit in quite well for an NFL team that runs a lot of 12 personnel. The Seahawks will likely be doing just that with Waldron calling the shots, making them a potential suitor after a trade down or two.
Brevin Jordan, Miami
Interestingly, Jordan may have been the consensus No. 3 overall tight end behind Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth when the pre-draft process began and was receiving plenty of second round buzz. He emerged as one of the nation's best playmaking threats at the position in 2020, catching 38 passes for 576 yards and seven touchdowns in just eight games for the Hurricanes. But he's a bit undersized at 247 pounds and has a long way to go as an inline blocker, so his somewhat disappointing pro day performance (4.68 40-yard dash, 4.50 short shuttle) could cause him to slide a bit. With that said, he has the ability to beat linebackers down the seam, can break tackles after the catch, and has positional flexibility moving around the formation, which would all be appealing traits for the Seahawks in Shane Waldron's offense. Add in his relatively raw game overall and he still has a chance to be a day two selection.
Fourth Round - Pick No. 129
Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame
There may not be a tight end in this class with a higher ceiling than Tremble, whose production and development were hindered a bit with the Fighting Irish due to the NFL-caliber talent in front of him. Though he's actually lighter than Jordan at 241 pounds, he's a physical, reliable blocker both as an inline tight end and a fullback out of the backfield. While his route running needs refinement and he's had occasional issues with drops, he's a fluid athlete in space (4.65 40-yard dash) who has the ability to separate against linebackers and safeties and has barely scratched the surface of his upside as a receiver. He also can do plenty of damage with the football in his hands and isn't easy to bring down. He's a project who will need time to develop, but as an early fourth round pick, he could be an eventual steal for a team like Seattle.
Kenny Yeboah, Ole Miss
One of the more explosive athletes in this tight end group, Yeboah began his career at Temple before transferring to Ole Miss for his final year of eligibility. He became an integral part of Lane Kiffin's offense, catching 27 passes for 524 yards, averaging nearly 20 yards per reception and scoring six touchdowns. At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, he's a matchup problem for linebackers and safeties who can threaten the seam and has the speed to separate in the quick passing game. However, despite having quality size for the position, he failed to establish himself as a respectable inline blocker during his collegiate career. For now, he's a pure move tight end best suited to play in the slot and out of the backfield, but with adequate coaching, he could become a solid all-around NFL tight end and should be on Seattle's radar starting on day three.
Quintin Morris, Bowling Green
Another tight end weighing in the low 240s, Morris started his career with the Falcons as a receiver before making the transition to tight end prior to his senior season. He wasn't as explosive with additional muscle added to his frame with the position change, but he still caught 20 passes for 428 yards in a shortened season and earned First-Team All-MAC honors. In his two prior seasons playing outside, he caught 97 passes for over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's a work in progress as a blocker due to limited experience and he didn't prove himself to be the separator scouts hoped to see as a converted receiver last season. Nonetheless, he's a productive player who exhibits outstanding body control and wins contested catches, particularly in the red zone. That will remain valuable and could make him an intriguing day three developmental option.
Nick Eubanks, Michigan
Based on stats alone, it's easy to overlook Eubanks, who only caught 45 passes for 578 yards and six touchdowns in four seasons with the Wolverines. But looking deeper, though he's not necessarily a great athlete, he flashed big play potential, averaging 19.6 yards per reception on limited chances as a sophomore in 2018. He has reliable, soft hands and he's a stellar route runner in the short-to-intermediate game, which should set him up well to be a chain mover at the next level. Consistency has been a major problem for him, however. Reports surfaced questioning his effort on the field and this is especially evident as a blocker, where he doesn't always play with the physicality expected from a 245-pound tight end. The skills are in place for him to be a quality NFL player in the right system and the Seahawks could be an ideal landing spot.
Tre McKitty, Georgia
The 6-foot-4, 247-pound McKitty is a true "move" tight end with quality athletic traits and serviceable blocking skills. Before transferring to Georgia, he played three seasons at Florida State, catching 50 passes for 520 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While those numbers aren't anything spectacular and he wasn't a huge focal point in the Seminoles' passing game, he did lead all ACC tight ends in yards per reception on third and four downs in 2019 and has proven himself capable of being a factor in the passing game when given the opportunity. In Shane Waldron's offense, he would provide the versatility the team wants by being able to line up as an inline blocker as well as in the slot and wouldn't be required to play considerable snaps right away.
Seventh Round - Pick No. 250
Briley Moore, Kansas State
Moore isn't necessarily great in any one specific area, but he has a balanced game that should translate well to the NFL. At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, he's a quality athlete who ran a 4.66-second 40-yard dash and posted a 37 1/2-inch vertical jump at Kansas State's pro day. This speed and explosiveness allow him to get open down the seam and he's smooth working in and out of his breaks, which allows him to get open quickly. In 2020, he averaged 15.4 yards per reception for the Wildcats and hauled in 22 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns. He has his limitations as a blocker and may not be suited for extensive snaps as an inline tight end working against defensive ends, but it won't be due to effort. Seattle should have interest due to his well-rounded skill set if he manages to slip into the seventh round.
Kylen Granson, SMU
Compared to most of the tight ends in this year's draft class, Granson possesses intriguing athletic traits and tested quite well at SMU's pro day. He ran a 4.61-second 40-yard dash, posted a very good 7.05-second 3-cone drill, and showed off his explosiveness with a 36 1/2 inch vertical jump. He also put up 16 reps on bench press, which is a respectable total for his size at 241 pounds. With Gerald Everett only being on a one-year deal, he could provide the Seahawks with a quality hedge to develop as a late-round pick. He set an SMU school record for tight ends with nine touchdown receptions in 2019 and amassed 78 receptions for 1,257 yards in his two seasons with the program, proving himself to be one of the better receiving threats at the tight end position in the country.
John Bates, Boise State
Built like a more traditional tight end at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Bates has been flying under the radar since participating in the Senior Bowl. Though he has a prior background as a 110-meter hurdle state champion in high school, he's not a dynamic athlete for the position. He ran his 40-yard dash in a pedestrian 4.84 seconds, but did exhibit excellent change of direction skills with a 6.84-second 3-cone drill. The foundation is in place for him to develop into a quality backup as an inline blocker with improved hand usage and physicality. If his route running is cleaned up, he offers a bit of upside as a downfield target as well, making him well worth a late day three flier for the Seahawks.
Matt Bushman, BYU
If not for a torn Achilles tendon that cost him his entire senior season, Bushman might have played his way into consideration as a mid-round pick. In his first three seasons, he showcased his natural receiver skills by racking up 125 receptions for 1,719 yards and scored nine touchdowns. Per Pro Football Focus, he amassed 24 explosive plays in 2019, proving himself as a capable big play weapon downfield. He wasn't able to partake in all of BYU's pro day as he continues to recover from his injury, creating questions about where he's at physically heading into the draft. He's also a suspect blocker at best, which lowers his overall value. But if his medicals check out, he'd be a fun seventh round option due to his receiving prowess.