With the eyes of the NFL world all descending upon Indianapolis this week for the annual NFL Scouting Combine, I decided there’s no better time to do a quick Seahawks mock draft before all the numbers and 40-yard-dashes get crunched and over-analyzed.
After receiving two compensatory third-round selections for the free agent losses of Russel Okung and Bruce Irvin, the full 2017 NFL draft order is officially set. Before we get started, I’ll prognosticate on a couple trades that I think could be explored by John Schneider and company in order to get Seattle into the drafting positions it likes.
Potential trades (based on Draft Trade Chart):
SEA trades #26, #90 to MIA for #22, #166, #178
SEA trades #102, future 3rd to IND for #78, #122, future 7th
After the dust settles on these hypothetical deals, here’s what Seattle’s crop of selections for 2017 would look like:
All in all, nine total selections that give the Seahawks plenty of ammo to add talent at positions of need, particularly on the Draft’s second day. So, without further ado, here are some of the names we could hear with these selections:
1st Round – #22 overall
Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
In the first shock of this mock, Seattle trades up in the first round with the selection of ultra-productive Vandy linebacker, Zach Cunningham. As a member of the Commodores, the redshirt junior racked up 125 tackles in 2016 a first-team All-America selection. Pete Carroll has specifically mentioned a desire for the club to get younger at the linebacking position, and what better way than by nabbing one of the most athletic in the entire class?
Cunningham possesses great instincts and Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason has specifically mentioned him as one of the smartest players he’s ever coached, company which includes current Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
Cunningham’s biggest flaw is poor tackling technique, and will frequently display poor pad level and/or whiffs on arm tackle attempts. However, Cunningham’s unique athleticism and instincts (in addition to Seattle being pretty darn good at teaching tackling technique) make him plenty worthy of a selection at this spot, and he could very well end up as Seattle’s longterm option at SAM linebacker going forward.
Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple
Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
2nd Round – #58 overall
Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn
Safety is yet another position that Seattle will look to add depth to in this draft and perhaps no safety prospect is more intriguing that UConn’s Obi Melifonwu.
At 6’4″, 217 lbs, Melifonwu immediately stands out on the field and has drawn many comparisons to current Seahawks’ safety Kam Chancellor. Like Chancellor, Melifonwu is a physical presence on the field and has the tackling ability to play in the box, while also having enough speed to lock in on coverage when needed. Seattle has already been linked to Melifonwu in the draft process, and he could very well be a target on draft day with both of the ‘Hawks’ starting safeties coming off of offseason surgeries. His fast, physical style of aggressiveness would be a welcome addition to the Seattle defense.
Budda Baker, S, Washington
Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
Chidobe Awuzie, CB/S, Colorado
3rd Round – #78 overall (from Indianapolis)
Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
Although supremely-athletic Miami TE David Njoku may get the most buzz throughout the Combine process, Virginia Tech’s Bucky Hodges could have just as much upside for a fraction of the price.
Towering at 6’7″, 245 lbs, Hodges originally committed to the Hokies as a four-star quarterback, but later found his calling at tight end. Hodges presents quarterbacks with a massive catch radius and has no fear of making tough plays over the middle. He’s not the bulkiest guy in the world, but when flanked outside he immediately poses a threat to opposing defenses due to his speed and length.
Hodges had to compete for touches with a number of other playmakers on offense for the Hokies, but with further development as a route runner and blocker, he could be a nice complement and a potential longterm replacement for Jimmy Graham in Seattle.
Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
Derek Rivers, EDGE, Youngstown State
Kevin King, CB, Washington
3rd Round – #106 overall
Vincent Taylor, DT, Oklahoma State
Cowboys’ defensive tackle Vincent Taylor was one of the most productive defensive lineman in the country last season, tallying 51 tackles and 7.5 sacks in the pass-happy Big 12. Though Seattle snagged an interior lineman in the 2016 Draft with the selection of Alabama’s Jarran Reed, the Seahawks could very well look to add more depth this year.
Taylor is exceptionally strong and generates tons of explosiveness off the ball, making him valuable as a pass rusher. At times, he can be too narrow in his base and get washed out of plays due to his pad level, but overall he could be a very valuable pass rushing cog in a rotational capacity for the Seahawks’ defense next season.
Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky
Jordan Willis, EDGE, Kansas State
Tanoh Kpassagnon, DT, Villanova
4th Round – #122 overall
David Sharpe, OL, Florida
After weighing in at the Combine today at 343 lbs, Florida offensive lineman David Sharpe officially proved that he is a massive human being. His size and potential issues with weight may scare off some teams, but with a background as a stellar prep basketball player, Sharpe has plenty of athleticism to play at the next level.
According to many, Sharpe seemed to be on a mission and though he was inconsistent at times, he more than held his own playing left tackle in a conference full of talented edge rushers. His tape against Alabama was particularly impressive, showing solid technique against several Alabama defenders who you will certainly hear on the draft’s first day.
It’s unclear where Sharpe would fit on the current Seattle line (and it also depends on how they address the line in free agency), but Sharpe could potentially see a move to RG or even RT for Tom Cable’s much-maligned unit.
D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
Carroll Phillips, EDGE, Illinois
Damien Mama, OG, USC
5th Round – #166 overall
James Conner, RB, Pitt
If you’re looking for a player to root for in this year’s draft, look no further than Pitt running back James Conner.
Conner battled, and is now in remission from, Hodgkin’s lymphoma after being diagnosed in late 2015. The 2014 ACC Player of the Year, Conner returned to Pitt this season and rushed for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Pete Carroll has mentioned his desire for a big, workhorse back and added depth/competition for Alex Collins and CJ Prosise. At 6’2″, 233 lbs, Conner could be exactly what they’re looking for in a strong draft class for running backs. But most importantly, regardless of who snags him on draft day, you’ll be rooting for James Conner.
John Johnson, CB/S, Boston College
Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
Jessamen Dunker, OG, Tennessee State
5th Round – #178 overall
Dylan Donahue, EDGE, West Georgia
With Cassius Marsh slated to hit free agency after next season, it’s likely that the ‘Hawks will look to add a piece or two to their edge rush and one under-the-radar name to watch is West Georgia’s Dylan Donahue.
Donahue racked up 20 TFL and 13.5 sacks for the Wolves this season, en route to earning Gulf South Defensive Player of the Year honors. Donahue secured a Combine invite and should test very well, although some of the measurables (particularly arm length) will be something to keep an eye on and whether he falls in line with the metrics set forth by the Seattle front office.
There’s no denying, however, that Donahue’s athleticism and knack for getting in opponents’ backfields will be a valuable asset for Seattle to have. Even if he doesn’t see playing time on defense right away, Donahue plays with a purpose on special teams and should make an immediate impact with that unit.
Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU
Marquel Lee, LB, Wake Forest
Zane Gonzalez, K, Arizona State
6th Round – #210 overall
Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
In a dismal quarterbacks class, Dobbs represents one of many at the position whose inconsistencies will make teams hesitant to take him. Off the field, Dobbs is literally a genius and has been effusively praised by teammates and coaches alike for his leadership ability. On the field, inconsistent mechanics and erratic decision-making make it difficult to project how he fits at the NFL level.
Regardless, Dobbs’ physical tools, arm strength and mental makeup could offer a nice developmental project for Pete Carroll while providing the club with a similar skill set on the bench behind Russell Wilson.
Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado
Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech
Treyvon Hester, DT, Toledo
7th Round – #226 overall
Treston DeCoud, CB, Oregon State
Treston DeCoud is a big, physical corner who excels in man coverage and possesses sound tackling technique. Though he only logged two interceptions in his two seasons in Corvallis, DeCoud broke up 15 passes and could serve as a valuable new member of the Legion of Boom if Seattle doesn’t choose to address more secondary needs earlier in the Draft.
Blake Jarwin, TE, Oklahoma State
Jimmie Gilbert, EDGE, Colorado
Keon Hatcher, WR, Arkansas
Thanks for reading, I look forward to putting out at least a couple more mocks before the Draft is finally here!