I think a lot of draft analysis isn’t very instructive. Many pundits go red in the face attempting to slot guys into particular spots, only to watch everything go awry on draft day as teams fly in the face of “conventional wisdom”. This exercise would make anyone look dumb if they tried it. Predicting the exact order of the NFL draft is a near impossible task, as trades, needs and values shift heading into draft day.
Because of this, I’m not going to look at the individual players the Seahawks might draft (although I might mention a few names). Instead, I’m going to look at three different strategies that the Seahawks might use to improve their standing in this draft, and the factors that could contribute to each of these. I’ve ranked these in the order that I feel is most likely to happen.
Seattle trades down from the late first round into the early second round.
This one might sound a little bizarre, since moving from 33 in the draft to 32 would cost a team like the Texans a significant amount in yearly salary compared to the third rounder. The Texans (or any quarterback covetous team) would be well served to move up into the late first round because of the structure of the NFL rookie deal. Any first round pick has a fifth year option (that must be picked up by the third year) that is not there in any other rookie contract. If you think the Seahawks wouldn’t be falling over themselves trying to accept Russell Wilson’s fifth year right now, you’re crazy. If one of the teams picking at the top of round 2 (Cleveland, Houston, Oakland, Jacksonville, Minnesota) becomes enamored with one of the quarterbacks that seems to be on that round 1/2 bubble, like Bridgewater or Garoppolo, then locking them up to an extra year may be worth a fourth or fifth round pick. This is a deal that the Seahawks would love to facilitate to help them fill the void left by the missing third round pick from the Harvin deal.
Seahawks trade back to the middle of the third or second, picking up 1 or 2 extra draft picks in the process.
This is what good teams do. They give themselves more shots to hit on, what is ultimately, a very challenging task. Walter Football’s NFL draft study showed that in the last ten years, round 1 picks were a hit 54% of the time and a bust 46% of the time. In round 2, this lowered to 50/50. In each round your chances of finding a non bust get lower and lower. You want to give yourself as many tickets in the raffle as you can, and this is the chance for the Seahawks to do that.
Seahawks pick in the 32nd spot.
I consider this unlikely but possible. If the Seahawks pick in this spot, it won’t be because they didn’t try to move. They may not find any takers. John Schneider may not be able to find a deal that he thinks exceeds the value of the 32nd pick. This would lead to the Seahawks to stay put and pick in their own spot.
What kind of player are they looking for?
The Seahawks are a team who has talent all over the ball. The pillars of the franchise are locked up to long term deals, as Bennett, Sherman and Thomas will be sticking around for the next four years. So what do you get for the team that has everything? A run stopping defensive lineman in the Red Bryant mold would be a useful piece. Offensive tackle depth incase Bailey doesn’t work out would be helpful. A wide receiver that can step in and provide some depth on the outside is a possibility. Whatever the Seahawks do, we should be at the point where complete trust in Schneider and Carroll’s process is deserved. They have the ring to prove it.