Seahawks Draft Review – Round 2 and Overview

NFL DRAFT REVIEW 2017 – Draft Moves and Round 2

This year the draft review will be in 3 chunks, and since the Seahawks bypassed Day 1 we’ll just split ours up into 2nd Round Picks, 3rd Round Picks, and Day 3 (Rounds 4-7) picks. First though, we’ll take a look at the moves that the team made during the draft to get those picks:

TRADES

Sent

Received

To: ATL

R1 Pk 26

From: ATL

R1 Pk 31

R3 Pk 95

R7 Pk 249

To: SF

R1 Pk 31

From: SF

R2 Pk 34

R4 Pk 111

To: JAX

R2 Pk 34

From: JAX

R2 Pk 35

R6 Pk 187

This says a lot about how the team thought of the draft. Clearly the depth in this draft was something the Front Office agreed upon, as they chose to trade back three times in order to get more picks in the mid rounds. As the team doesn’t have a ton of holes, it also says that they felt they could get some ready to play guys in Rounds 2 and 3. That means we should be looking to see guys like Malik McDowell, Ethan Pocic, Shaquill Griffin, Delano Hill, Nazair Jones, Amara Darboh, and even 4th Rounder Tedric Thompson playing a role this year. That lack of holes also means we shouldn’t be surprised to see a few or even a lot of the 6th and 7th Round picks not make the team and end up on the Practice Squad or on the street come the end of August.

ROUND 2

Round 2 Pick 3 (35 overall)

Malik McDowell – DT – Michigan State

6’6″ 295lbs

Malik McDowell is a 1st Round, and in my opinion Top 10, talent in the NFL Draft who was pushed to Round 2 by depth in the draft along with some productivity and character concerns. As a value pick alone, this was a good pickup for Seattle. He was a 3 year contributor and 2 year starter for the Michigan State Spartans, leaving after his Junior season. McDowell had a monster Junior year in the Spartans’ run up to the College Football Playoffs, accounting for 13 Tackles for Loss, 4.5 Sacks, and an Interception. The team dropped off big time in 2016, and McDowell’s production dropped with them. He recorded 7 TFL and 1.5 sacks as a Junior.

The downside on McDowell comes first from the drop in productivity. He was a dominant interior Defensive Lineman in 2015, but the numbers don’t really show that in 2016. I think if you watch the film what you will see is a player that was double and even triple teamed on a down to down basis in 2016 as well as a player who looked like just about the only NFL level Defender on his team. This is an argument that I toss out simply based on the film. He was still playing at a very high level and playing everywhere across the Defensive Line. The second concern has to do with motor and attitude. There are many who say he was taking plays and maybe even games off in 2016 as the team started to lose. There are those with concerns over his commitment to playing his best. That is a worry that I do think has some validity, as watching him play you did see a player who was frustrated with losing. You also saw a player who had an ankle injury half way through the season which didn’t help anything. On a team with a losing culture and a lack of leadership I do see how this could be the downfall of a talented guy like McDowell, but fortunately for both he and the Seattle Seahawks, that does not describe this team.

This is the upside of Malik McDowell. He will be almost exclusively an interior guy in the NFL, but I picked this clip of McDowell rushing from the end and taking the Offensive Tackle’s lunch money before haunting DeShone Kizer’s dreams so that you could see just what a freak athlete he is. This man is almost 300 pounds, and that is some serious burst and movement he is playing with. The Seahawks are getting a guy who played every spot on the line from Nose to 3 Technique on the inside, to both End spots and even as a stand up rush end. Versatility? Check. He is a guy with the strength to bull rush and the burst to get around somebody. He is a deadly stunter who can get skinny and then explode to the Quarterback or ball carrier. He can take on a double team without being pushed back, and can even split them to make a play. Physical tools? Check. He is also someone who’s technique is lacking at times. He doesn’t have much in the way of a set of pass rush moves, though he does use his hands and incredibly long arms to push blockers around. He is raw in many ways, which makes his upside even more impressive.

Round 2 Pick 26 (58 overall)

Ethan Pocic – C – LSU

6’6″ 310Lbs

Everyone talked about how the Seattle Seahawks needed to improve the Offensive Line, and after a few moves in Free Agency it looked like the Draft would see a few people. While many were disappointed with the overall investment in Draft Resources in the OL, they did walk away with Ethan Pocic. Pocic wa a 3 year starter at LSU spending some time at Tackle, Guard, and a lot of time at Center. He picked up two All-SEC honors (2nd Team in 2015, 1st Team in 2016) and some All-American in 2016 as a Senior. The 2016 LSU line was also considered the best Offensive Line Unit in all of College Football by Pro Football Focus, with Pocic leading them with an 82.7 grade on the year. According to PFF he yielded a total of 11 Pressures, 0 Sacks, and 0 QB Hits while the team was busy racking up 233 rushing yards per game (21st in FBS). Runners averaged 6.6 yards per carry behind them, with 46.8% of those yards occurring before contact.

The downsides on Pocic really start to feel like knit-picking at some point. Probably the biggest downside to most Seahawks fan is that unless you are in a pinch he’s not a Tackle. For actual downside, the one you’ll hear a lot about is that at 6’6″ tall he has some leverage issues as an interior lineman. The parallel here would be a guy like Max Unger, who had to work at playing with low pads. Pocic also has average or below average core strength, which can create some trouble for him with strong bull rushers and Nose Tackles playing heads up on top of him.

The upside on Pocic is big though. You can see here how he teams up on the block to make the hole before getting to the second level and pancaking a guy to spring a long run. He is a very athletic interior lineman with good bend and move, making him a nice fit for a zone blocking scheme that will ask him to do what he did in the clip and get blocks in the second level on Linebackers and Defensive Backs. Coaches say he is a leader in the locker room, and on the field he is a guy who understands how to fit in a blocking scheme and does his job. His greatest skill is probably his hand technique. He fires his hands out fast and gets them inside the body of the defender, really controlling his block. In trap blocks he really knows how to ride his man out of the play, and even when his strength doesn’t hold up he is good at just occupying his man and taking up some time to allow the play to still happen. If the Seahawks do have a goal of a mauling run blocking line as their offseason moves have shown, this is a player who was part of one in college and understands how it is supposed to work. At worst he is a functional backup for all 3 interior spots on the line, and at best he could be the second coming of Max Unger in a late 2nd Round pick.

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