College football season is in peril. The main "Power 5" conferences can’t seem to unify on the best course of action amid a global pandemic that has disrupted every sport around the world. The SEC, Big 12, and ACC are, for now, planning on playing a limited schedule this fall while the Pac-12 and Big 10 as well as the Mountain West and Mid-American conferences have postponed fall sports in hopes they can reassess the situation in the spring.
With numerous big-name programs set to not play at all in the next several months, this unprecedented situation will undoubtedly have a big impact on scouting and talent evaluation ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
So what does this mean for the value of the trade that brought All-Pro safety Jamal Adams to Seattle? The Seahawks sent a first round and third round pick from the upcoming 2021 draft as well as a first rounder from 2022. With the uncertainty in the ability to evaluate talent for the next draft, Seattle may be in even better shape when assessing a "winner" for that deal.
Even if some college football is played in the fall, NFL scouts will likely not be able to travel to these games. Additionally, the NFL does not seem keen on moving their offseason activities such as the scouting combine and draft just because college football conferences intend to play in the spring.
The NFL Scouting Combine is roughly six months away, which means it’s very unlikely things will be completely back to normal by then. Teams will either not be able to interview players in person or will have very limited interactions. Normally, this would hurt the Seahawks, who tend to put heavy stock in interviews and getting “their kinda guys.” However, since the Seahawks dealt away such valuable draft capital, the pressure is lessened for Seattle.
Back in 2016, coach Pete Carroll told ESPN "We’re drafting for us and what we want. We don’t evaluate for the league. We don’t evaluate for the guys on ESPN and what they think. We evaluate guys on how they fit our club and our style of coaching and play. And so we have to be connected in our mentality and our approach and our vision on how we see guys."
This process will be much more difficult with the pandemic-ridden fall season coming up.
For all intents and purposes, their 2021 first round pick is Jamal Adams by virtue of the trade. As it stands now, Seattle's first pick in the 2021 draft is in the second round with them not picking again until the fourth.
With the recent history of disappointing first or high-second round picks in Malik McDowell, Rashaad Penny, and L.J. Collier, perhaps it is a good thing that this is now a problem for the Jets.
For now, the Seahawks do not have a first round pick and will not be obsessing over on who to use their top round pick after what will be the wildest, weirdest football season in history.
There is no guarantee the 2022 draft will be normal either, which is something to consider since the Seahawks also sent a first rounder from that draft New York's way to sweeten the pot and finalize the trade for Adams.
Plus, for those wringing their hands about the Seahawks dealing away so much draft capital, with just five picks in the 2021 draft to date including two seventh rounders, Seattle has never had trouble recouping picks. John Schneider has shown over and over again he is always looking for a deal to get picks back. It would be very surprising if Seattle remains with just four selections after the 2021 draft.
Sure, the Seahawks gave away a king's ransom for Adams' services but in a year full of uncertainty, it's better to bank on a proven commodity than a glorified crapshoot that is the NFL Draft during a global health crisis.