In the NFL Draft universe, very few pay much attention to day three prospects. Even fewer pay attention to the potential undrafted free agents. But as Seahawks fans can attest, finding gems late in the draft occasionally provides incredible value. Recent late-round picks like receiver David Moore and running back Chris Carson turned into key contributors, and undrafted free agent Poona Ford is morphing into a star.
This draft class will present several opportunities for the Seahawks once they presumably add a plethora of late picks through several draft day trades. Here are a few names I'll be watching late on day three and into the undrafted free agent period.
John Bates, TE, Boise State
This Boise State tight end features prototypical size and physical, powerful blocking prowess that will remind some of Will Dissly. Like Dissly, Bates was never a major part of the passing game in college but displayed solid hands and an ability to find soft spots against zone defenses. He also posted a surprisingly good 3-cone drill, showing good lateral quickness for his size.
Feleipe Franks, QB/TE, Arkansas
The Seahawks need to add to their quarterback room and Franks has plenty of experience in the notorious SEC. He offers good size and playmaking ability and has the arm strength and decision-making required for Shane Waldron's new system. He’s functionally athletic, but he can be inaccurate at times. You don’t want Franks taking meaningful snaps in 2021, of course, but a year to learn under Waldron should make him a viable backup in 2022.
Mustafa Johnson, DT, Colorado
Fans of the PAC-12 should be familiar with Johnson—a player capable of single-handedly ruining the interior of an opposing offensive line. He plays with a high motor, great leverage, and an explosive first step. He should be a good 3-tech at the next level, but he lacks the size and play strength to go before day three and may be labeled as a priority UDFA.
Jason Pinnock, CB, Pittsburgh
Pinnock checks all the boxes of a Seahawks outside cornerback, but lacks the tape and consistent play to warrant a pick before the later stages of day three. If Pinnock had good or even above-average tape, he’d be a day two pick at the very least. But he plays like an athlete, not a football player.
Paris Ford, S, Pittsburgh
Teammates at Pitt, Ford is in many ways Pinnock's opposite. He has outstanding tape and appears capable of covering center field while also bringing serious heat in the run game. He tested horribly at his pro day, and his near five-second 40-yard dash time is going to be tough to overcome on draft weekend. His tape has earned him a shot, and Seattle should be the team to give it to him.
Nahshon Wright, CB, Oregon State
Another tall, long, athletic corner, Wright has all the makings of a late-round flier for a team like the Seahawks or 49ers. He needs to stay on top of opposing receivers as he lacks the ability to recover once he’s been beaten. Thankfully, he has outstanding route recognition and a knack for playing the ball in the air. Wright is a perfect fit for the Seahawks.
Deon Jackson, RB, Duke
Running back is an area where the Seahawks are looking to add, exemplified by their recent reported interest in Giovani Bernard. Jackson offers good size (5-foot-11, 220 pounds) and speed, running a 4.4 40-yard dash at his pro day. He runs hard and appears to be an ideal fit for an outside zone team. Jackson will remind some of Chris Carson, and he's a solid pass catcher as well.