Senior Bowl Risers Highlight Latest Seahawks 7-Round Mock Draft
While the 49ers and Chiefs prepare to do battle in Super Bowl LIV next week in Miami, the rest of the league’s 30 teams are focused on fortifying their rosters for the 2020 regular season.
For some, there is no hope of contending for the next Super Bowl no matter how well their offseason goes. That’s not the case for the Seahawks, however. A strong spring could very well result in a championship run of their own next winter, but for that to happen, they need to find immediate impact players in their upcoming draft class.
With the Senior Bowl kicking off today in Mobile, AL, NFL draft season is in full swing. Many of college football's top prospects are competing for draft position, and dollars, and some have seen their stock soar after a strong week of practice leading up to today's game.
Based on the latest scouting buzz, here’s my latest Seahawks seven-round mock draft.
ROUND 1 - PICK 27: ROSS BLACKLOCK, DT, TCU
At 6-feet-4 and 305 pounds, Blacklock is a disruptive pocket pusher with a great motor. Equally adept at penetrating as he is stout against the run, Blacklock would figure to have a much more impactful presence as a rookie than the Seahawks first pick last year, his former college teammate L.J. Collier. With Jarran Reed likely to test free agency and potentially sign elsewhere, it’s imperative the Seahawks add another young, dynamic interior rusher with upside. Blacklock could provide plenty of that.
ROUND 2 - PICK 27: JASON STROWBRIDGE, EDGE, NORTH CAROLINA
One of the stars in Mobile this week, Strowbridge was miscast for the Tar Heels last year when they asked him to add weight and move inside. Now carrying 267 pounds on his 6-foot-4 inch frame, his versatility is a plus but make no mistake about it, this guy is an EDGE player and embodies all the qualities Pete Carroll looks for in the LEO defensive end position in his defense. His quickness and ability to beat offensive linemen off the snap has stood out in Senior Bowl practices, and he’s firmly entrenched himself in the Top 100 for most teams. If Seattle can re-sign Jadeveon Clowney in free agency, Strowbridge would be an outstanding complement. If Clowney departs, however, the pairing of Blacklock and Strowbridge would be a good start to what will have to be a near-total rebuild along the defensive line.
ROUND 2 - PICK 31 or 32 (Acquired from Chiefs): BRYCE HALL, CB, VIRGINIA
The Seahawks need cornerbacks, plain and simple. Playing in the NFC West, there simply wasn’t enough coverage talent to be able to match up against the dynamic passing attacks of the Rams, 49ers, and emerging Cardinals. Depth needs to be addressed, but the need in the secondary is much more pronounced than that. Now entering his third season, Tre Flowers has been a liability in coverage at times and Hall would be a viable candidate to push, and eventually unseat, Flowers at right cornerback. At 6-feet-1 inch and 200 pounds, he’s the type of long, physical defensive back Carroll covets. He’s physical in press coverage and an eager participant in defending the run as well, but it’s his ball skills that give him an advantage over Flowers, as Hall led the nation in pass breakups his junior season with 21. The Seahawks have never drafted a cornerback this high under Carroll, but that needs to change. It’s a huge need.
ROUND 3 (Compensatory Pick): VAN JEFFERSON, WR, FLORIDA
Some may scoff at Jefferson because at 24 years old, he’s likely maxed out physically, but this isn’t an upside play. In a deep and talented receiver class, Jefferson may be the best route runner. His cuts are crisp and he excels at the entire route tree. At 6-feet-2 and 197 pounds, he’s big enough, quick enough, and polished enough to contribute as a rookie. The Seahawks are in dire need of play maker beyond what they get from Tyler Lockett and rookie sensation D.K. Metcalf on the outside, and Jefferson would provide excellent value at this stage of the draft.
ROUND 4 - PICK 27: MATT PEART, RT, CONNECTICUT
Speaking of value, Peart is the kind of lineman who could contribute as a rookie and push for early playing time, but it’s his long-term potential that’s even more enticing. Another prospect who’s seen his profile rise as a result of his solid work at the Senior Bowl, he’s 6-feet-7, 310 pounds and extremely athletic. Playing on the right side for UConn, he has the skill set to ultimately project as a left tackle. But with Germain Ifedi potentially moving on in free agency, the Seahawks need someone to compete at right tackle and Peart could be that guy. Ultimately, Peart could very well end up being drafted much higher than this, but in a solid tackle class, this is about where he's currently ranked on most big boards.
ROUND 4 (Compensatory Pick): JAKE HANSON, C, OREGON
Right guard isn’t the only question mark on the offensive line, as the Seahawks have a decision to make at center. Joey Hunt filled in admirably after Justin Britt went down with a season-ending knee injury early in the schedule, but is simply too physically over-matched to be a long-term answer at the pivot. Will Britt be recovered in time to take back his job in 2020 or is the team better off releasing him and saving nearly $8 million in cap space as a result? The 6-foot-4 inch, 295-pound Hanson is an experienced center, having started all four years for the Ducks. He’s a solid technician who doesn’t jump off the tape physically but handles himself well in the running game and pass protection. He profiles as a very dependable prospect who could start from day one and be a clear upgrade over Hunt.
ROUND 5 - PICK 8: A.J. DILLON, RB, BOSTON COLLEGE
With Chris Carson coming off a hip injury and Rashaad Penny rehabilitating from a blown ACL, look for Seattle to once again dip into the running back market. Travis Homer acquitted himself well as a late-season emergency replacement but has the look of a third down back. Dillon is simply a hammer. At 6-foot and 250 pounds, he’s a deceptively impressive athlete, clocking 4.5 seconds in the 40 and possessing a vertical jump of 39 inches. And talk about tough to bring down - Dillon is credited with forcing 79 misses tackles last year for the Eagles while gaining a whopping 1,100 of his 1,685 rushing yards after initial contact.
In three years at BC, Dillon topped 1,000 yards rushing each season, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and scoring 38 touchdowns. He won’t give you much in the passing game, but even if Carson is 100 percent come training camp, Dillon would be an outstanding early-down compliment and a long term piece of the Seahawks rushing attack.
ROUND 6 (Compensatory Pick) DEMARKUS ACY, CB, MISSOURI
Acy is a bit of a mystery. After picking off three passes as a junior, he elicited some first-round draft buzz in preseason mock drafts, even being named by former NFL general manager Gil Brandt as the third best cornerback on his big board last spring. A lackluster senior season has muted the hype, and somehow, he’s not even included in a number of prominent prospect rankings. Adding even more to the mystery, Acy had a quiet week at the East-West Shrine game last week while missing out on a Senior Bowl invite. Still, he has Seahawk cornerback written all over him. He’s 6-foot-2 and nearly 200 pounds. He’s a physical corner capable of playing in zone or press-man coverage with three years starting under his belt. Adding two outside cornerbacks with starter potential in Hall and Acy would be a prudent move for general manager John Schneider.
In this scenario, the Seahawks add major reinforcements to the three position groups most in need - the defensive and offensive lines as well as cornerback - while quality pieces are added to the receiver and running back rooms as well. Each of these players possess future starter talent but most importantly, most of them would have a chance to make an impact their rookie season.