After much anticipation, the Seattle Seahawks did what just about everyone expected them to do by trading down from #26 to the final pick of the first round at #31 on Day 1 of the 2016 NFL Draft. And though the reviews of their top pick OT German Ifedi of Texas A&M are anything but stellar, perhaps deservedly so, the ‘Hawks now enter the rounds that have been very good to them in the Pete Carroll-John Schneider era.
After the trade with Denver, Seattle now holds four selections on Day 2 of the draft, which are as follows:
Round 2 | Pick 25 | No. 56 overall
Round 3 | Pick 27 | No. 90 overall
Round 3 | Pick 31 | No. 94 overall (from Denver)
Round 3 | Pick 34 | No. 97 overall
During yesterday’s press conference, Carroll referred to having three selections so close together in the third round as taking place in the “meat of this draft.” It’s easy to see that acquiring picks in this range was important to their overall draft strategy and a key reason that teams like Dallas (who reportedly offered a fourth-round pick) didn’t win the Pick 26 Sweepstakes and Denver’s ability to part with a third-round selection did.
Because the 97th overall pick is a compensatory pick (therefore meaning it can’t be traded), essentially Schneider and company have three picks to use as ammo to trade up or down if they feel the need. All indications are that the Panthers’ selection of DT Vernon Butler at pick 30 surprised them, and they were then forced to take the best offensive lineman remaining on their board, one who was certainly not going to last until their next pick at 56.
It’s also important to note a bit of a key deviation in principle with the pick of Ifedi. Some of what Tom Cable has indicated in the past was that the Seahawks tended to keep their distance from OL targets they were interested in so as not to tip off other teams. In this instance, Cable worked out Ifedi and others at Texas A&M’s Pro Day in what seemed to be one of the final seals of approval for Seattle to take him. It’s more of an “out in the open” approach that makes names like OG Rees Odhiambo of Boise State and Connor McGovern of Missouri potentially even more interesting to watch, as the Seahawks have been heavily involved in their workouts during the draft process.
What happens in front of the Seahawks on Day 2 will have a lot of impact on how much wheeling and dealing John Schneider decides to partake in, but for now, here are some of my Day 2 Seahawks draft predictions:
Round 2 | Pick 25 | No. 56 overall – Christian Westerman, OG, Arizona State
In terms of pure attitude, Christian Westerman may be the closest Tom Cable spirit animal in this entire class. Though his athletic profile is underwhelming, Westerman has just the right blend of sound technique and nastiness that could make him a plug-and-play interior player from Week 1 for Seattle. Westerman came out of high school as a five-star recruit and one of the top lineman in the country, originally committing to Auburn before transferring. He’s also an Arizona State Sun Devil, which is definitely the most important part of his evaluation IMO. DL Jon Bullard from Florida could also be the pick here but my guess is that he gets snatched up fairly early in Round 2.
Round 3 | Pick 27 | No. 90 overall – Justin Simmons, DB, Boston College
One point that key point that Pete Carroll has stressed over the course of the offseason is how important creating more turnovers will be for their team in 2016. Enter Boston College safety Justin Simmons, who racked up eight interceptions and four forced fumbles during his time with the Golden Eagles. It’s also worth mentioning that Simmons is a physical freak, standing at 6’3″ and posting a 10’6″ broad jump and 40″ vertical at the Combine. Simmons’ versatility in coverage and experience on special teams mean he could become a bit of a Swiss Army knife for Carroll’s coaching staff. His tackling technique is very reminiscent of the same technique taught by the Seattle coaching staff, which is evident by the fact that he missed just four tackles all of last season. It remains to be seen whether Seattle sees him as a corner or if he can put on more weight to play in more of Kam Chancellor’s style, but snatching up Simmons at this stage in the draft would be a huge steal for the ‘Hawks. It wouldn’t surprise me if Seattle deems it worthy to trade up from this spot to get him, too.
Round 3 | Pick 31 | No. 94 overall (from Denver) – Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida
Florida’s Demarcus Robinson has all the physical tools and speed to be an elite deep threat at the NFL, but numerous suspensions and character concerns have kept him from being a name discussed in the elite tier of wideouts. And if there’s any team that is willing to overlook character flaws (some far worse than others), it’s the Seahawks. One interesting tidbit from my research uncovered an encouraging quote in a Miami Herald piece from Florida head coach Jim McElwain, a coach the ‘Hawks likely are still close with from his days running Nick Saban’s offense at Alabama:
“I think he’s probably come farther than anyone on our football team,” first-year coach Jim McElwain said.
“He’s had a great attitude. This guy loves to practice. Loves to play. He played his tail off in that game, and it showed. I guess the greatest thing is he’s seeing he can. But really, it’s his choice. As I’ve told all the [NFL] scouts, this guy has come farther than any guy in our program. I’m proud of him.”
Still, Robinson’s transformation hasn’t been easy.
A home run threat as dynamic as Robinson would be a great mid-round value selection to add to an already-potent Seattle offense as long as he, you know, doesn’t turn into another troubled Florida wide receiver who shall not be named.
Round 3 | Pick 34 | No. 97 overall – Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State
If you erase the “State” off the end of Javon Hargrave’s alma mater, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t be considered to be among the top five defensive line prospects in this entire class. However, that is not the case, and despite the absurd sack and TFL numbers that Hargrave posted for the Bulldogs, the jump in competition will continue to be the biggest question mark. Regardless, Hargrave has the type of explosiveness and upside from the interior that Seattle covets and flaws in his game could be hidden as a situational player starting out until he has time to develop into an every-down defensive lineman. If Chris Jones falls to this spot, I could see him going here as well.
Other names to watch:
TJ Green, DB, Clemson
Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State
Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
Caleb Benenoch, OL, UCLA
Chris Moore, WR, Cincinnati
Connor McGovern, OL, Missouri
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
KeiVarae Russell, CB, Notre Dame
Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State
Jonathan Bullard, DT, Florida