Welcome back, folks! As you know, it’s important that I go months without posting an article, though this time I can attribute some of that to my NFL Draft work as a contributor over at Fansided. I’m having a great time and enjoying pumping out draft content on a regular basis.
Here, though, is where I get to be team-specific with an the first 2018 edition of the Hawk Mock! Following the 2016 Draft, I did a similar piece previewing players for the 2017 Draft and managed to luck into several players who were later identified as targets for Seattle.
John Schneider and company have shuffled their upcoming draft picks quite a bit since the beginning of the season, through several minor trades as well as the huge additions of Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown, which cost them several high-round selections.
I fully expect to see Seattle trade down from wherever their first round selection in 2018 lands, as well as address some of the large gaps between picks that they currently have. As a result, I’ve come up with a few potential trade scenarios that could help them fill said gaps. So, without further ado, here is my first attempt at what Seattle’s 2018 draft class could look like:
Disclaimer: I’ve based my trades on the current up-to-the-minute draft order from the folks at Tankathon, which you can find right here.
First round (#31 overall)
Third round (#95 overall)
Seventh round (#223 overall)
New Orleans receives:
First round (#24 overall)
This trade is nearly identical to the one the ‘Hakws made in 2017 when Atlanta traded up to snag Tak McKinley at #26. At this spot, New Orleans could be trading up to get the best quarterback left on the board such as Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield or one of the 2018 class’ quality receivers. There’s a also chance that, much like they did in 2017, Seattle could trade down another time into the second round from #31.
Third round (#76 overall)
Third round (#95 overall)
Fifth round (#158 overall)
Seventh round (#216 overall)
Here, Seattle sneaks up a bit higher in the third to bridge the gap between their first two selections and uses its surplus of picks in fifth and seventh rounders to help get potentially a second-round talent at a third-round value.
Fourth round (#123 overall)
Sixth round (#175 overall)
Fifth round (#142 overall)
Seventh round (#203 overall)
2019 fifth-round pick
In this final transaction, the Seahawks snag a fourth and sixth rounder from Miami to give them the kind of spacing they may want. Compensation picks, and the fact that they are now able to be traded, will obviously play a part in how these deals shake out but let’s just indulge in my fantasy trade world for now!
Now that the dust has settled, here’s what my current pick projections look like for the ‘Hawks:
1st round (#31 overall)
3rd round (#76 overall)
4th round (#123 overall)
6th round (#175 overall)
7th round (#220 overall)
7th round (#223 overall)
7th round (#224 overall)
The fact that Seattle has been so willing to deal its second and third round selections for talent upgrades via trade tells me that it probably values the talent in this draft at the top and the later rounds will be used to pad the depth chart. 2019 should bring Seattle a good number of compensation selections due the number of free agents leaving at the end of this year, so look for the ’19 draft to be one where we could see them get more aggressive.
Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
Even before losing Richard Sherman to an Achilles injury this week, the Seahawks were likely looking heavily at adding depth at cornerback in the 2018 Draft. Rookie Shaquill Griffin has proven to be an excellent addition, as well as trade acquisition Justin Coleman, but the Legion of Boom doesn’t quite have the depth it once did.
The bottom line is that no one can be certain of just how Sherman will play once he recovers from his injury. And if he loses a step, Seattle has to be ready to have someone opposite of Griffin in his place.
Auburn’s Carlton Davis (6’1″, 203) is a long, physical corner who could be a great match for the Seahawks at the end of the first round. Davis possesses fluid hips, good mirroring skills in press coverage, and is one of the most technically-sound tacklers in this class of defensive backs. He also does an outstanding job of recognizing pursuit angles in the running game and works hard to get off blocks of opposing receivers in the screen game.
At times, Davis will lunge and get off balance during his initial punch at the line of scrimmage and he will maintain that type of physicality down the field, which could get him into penalty trouble at the NFL level.
DJ Chark, WR, LSU
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
Godwin Igwebuike, S, Northwestern
As heartbreaking as it may be to think about, the Legion of Boom simply can’t be around forever. With a multitude of injuries to Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and now Richard Sherman, the Seahawks must eventually find replacements for the irreplaceable.
It’s hard to imagine a Seahawks defense without Earl Thomas, who has been far and away my personal favorite player of the Pete Carroll era, but all great things must come to an end. For the 2018 Draft, Northwestern safety Godwin Igwebuike may be the player to help fill the comically-large void that Thomas will eventually leave in his wake.
Igwebuike is one of the most interesting players in this class away from the football field, as this tremendous NFL.com profile on him illustrates, but he’s also a heck of a player on the field. Igwebuike has been instrumental in the development of an outstanding Wildcats secondary and he has the perfect blend of football IQ, athleticism, and production needed to be a member of the next Legion of Boom.
One fun fact? Northwestern’s DB coach Jerry Brown served as an assistant for the Minnesota Vikings in 1988. Who was the Vikings’ DB coach that season? None other than Pete Carroll.
Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech
Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane
Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
As an Arizona State alum, I’ll never miss an opportunity for some good ol’ homerism on this site, but hear me out: Kalen Ballage may just be the perfect running back for the Seattle Seahawks offense.
No one expected the ‘Hawks backfield to be as much of a mess as it has been following the injury to rookie sensation Chris Carson, but it’s a position that will undoubtedly be addressed in the 2018 Draft. Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy and CJ Prosise all seem like question marks to even have a roster spot by the beginning of next season. Ballage is the type of athletic freak (6’3″, 220) who could add a new dimension to Pete Carroll’s offense.
Having watched him for four seasons as a Sun Devil, Ballage may not have the same production as some of the top backs in this class (aside from an insane ’16 performance against Texas Tech), but his blend of speed and power would be a welcome addition to the Seahawks backfield.
Ballage can pretty much do it all. He’s returned kicks, taken snaps out of the Sparky package (called the Wildcat formation by most peasants), and caught the ball well out of the backfield. His height and inconsistent production in Tempe may have some scouts questioning where he fits at the next level, but I’ll take a guy with 4.4 speed and a appetite for running through the souls of defenders any day of the week. When he ends up blowing people out of the water next February with his Combine numbers, the fourth round may be the absolute floor for a player of Ballage’s caliber.
Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
Nic Shimonek, QB, Texas Tech
Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama
Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana
Jimmy Graham has emerged as one of the best red zone targets in the NFL over the past few weeks but as an unrestricted free agent following the season (in addition to Luke Willson), Seattle will likely address the tight end position via the draft.
Indiana’s Ian Thomas has emerged as one of the fastest-rising tight end prospects from this class despite having limited collegiate starting experience and several injuries this season. Hoosiers coaches raved about Thomas’ athleticism playmaking ability coming into the season, and he responded with a two touchdown performance against Ohio State. He’s been dinged up throughout this season so he could fall into the later rounds of the draft and provide a steal for the Seahawks at this spot.
One interesting connection? Indiana OC Mike Debora served as Seattle’s tight ends coach back in 2009.
Jake Wienke, WR, South Dakota State
Davin Bellamy, LB, Georgia
Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State
Timon Parris, OL, Stony Brook
The acquisition of left tackle Duane Brown from the Texans (under contract through ’18) could mean that Seattle will pass on taking an offensive lineman in the early rounds of the 2018 Draft. Regardless, with Luke Joeckel, Oday Aboushi and Matt Tobin slated to hit free agency after this season, Seattle will likely spend at least one pick on line depth.
Timon Parris is an underrated left tackle from Stony Brook who reminds me a ton of George Fant (nearly identical in size) on tape. With the uncertainty of Fant’s return from a gruesome leg injury in the preseason, Parris could be a nice replacement and depth addition in the later rounds. Parris possesses quick feet and great awareness as a blocker in the run game, and even hits the all-important key of having a basketball background.
It won’t be until after the collegiate all-star circuit that we’ll get a good gauge of where Parris fits on draft boards, but I like him quite a bit as a prospect and think he’s squarely on Seattle’s radar going forward.
Ebo Ogundeko, EDGE, Tennessee State
Seattle has been searching for an answer at LEO ever since the departure of Bruce Irvin to the Raiders and Tennessee State’s Ebo Ogundeko could be the answer. A five-star prospect coming out of high school, Ogundeko went to Clemson before he was dismissed from the team for credit card fraud. A second chance at Tennessee State has allowed him to thrive and he’s likely to continue climbing up draft boards throughout the evaluation process.
At 6’3″, 255, Ogundeko fits the physical and athletic profile that the Seahawks look for at LEO. Seattle scouts have checked in on the Tigers quite a bit over the last couple years and it could be that they’re gearing up for a run at Ogundeko.
Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo
The status of free-agent-to-be Paul Richardson and development of Amara Darboh will play a key role in determining whether Seattle spends a pick on a wide receiver in 2018, but one name to keep an eye on is Buffalo standout Anthony Johnson. Johnson has good size (6’2″, 207) and has exploded onto the scene this season for the Bulls, already with over 1,000 yards on the season to go along with eight touchdowns. He’s just a junior with only one season of production, but Johnson is making a name for himself as one of the best receivers in the MAC and is certainly a name to keep an eye on.