The Seattle Seahawks have had what some would consider a quiet offseason so far. They have signed or traded for seven new names as well as re-signing a few of their own, bringing their roster to an unofficial 67 players. After a season that saw them finish second in the NFC West and win a playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the team will now need to return to their fundamentals and find a way to protect their franchise quarterback.
Impact free-agent acquisitions are critical to success, but long-term sustainability comes from the NFL Draft. When re-evaluating the team needs after free agency, I put together an updated version of my 7-round Seahawks mock draft. With the most up to date information possible, we evaluate who Seattle should consider selecting to be able to compete for Super Bowl LV.
Team Needs: DE, CB, RB, S, QB
As mentioned above, the team has signed seven new players to their roster, the biggest of which is arguably former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen. However, with Jadeveon Clowney still unsigned, the defensive end situation in Seattle is becoming dire. With only about $8 million in cap space available, they are unlikely to be able to bring in any big-name free agents without making some moves. In the last few weeks, they have been tied to both Everson Griffen and rumored trade talks with the Jacksonville Jaguars for 25-year-old Yannick Ngakoue.
If they cannot find a way to either sign Clowney or bring in one of the other two as a replacement, they will have to look to the 2020 NFL Draft to improve their defensive line. The “Legion of Boom” exists no more, but that shouldn’t stop the team from trying to revitalize the fear their defense once instilled. In 2019, Seattle ranked near the bottom of the NFL in most categories surrounding quarterback pressure. That included being 28th in sacks, quarterback hits, and pressure percentage.
The defense is not the only side of the ball with limitations. Seattle will also look to address a glaring need for depth at running back. Again, this is something that could be handled in free agency with some veteran names still out there, like Devonta Freeman, Carlos Hyde, and Chris Thompson.
However, I believe they will more likely use their cap space elsewhere and look to the draft to bring in someone to back up Chris Carson. Last year, Seattle crawled to the finish line after both Carson and Rashaad Penny went down with injuries. Aside from those two, Seattle has just two other tailbacks under contract — Travis Homer and Adam Choice.
Another position that needs attention might come as a surprise to some. Seattle needs to draft a QB. The Seahawks currently have one signed on their roster, Russell Wilson. If ever something were to happen to the franchise player, there is no backup.
Last year, the role was given to Geno Smith. He is now a free agent. However, the fact that he has yet to be signed could mean that Seattle will just bring him back on a minimum deal. If not, they could look to the 2020 NFL Draft to find a capable backup. It won’t be a high draft pick, but if someone falls into their lap, they could use a late-round pick on a deep prospect.
Round 1, Pick 27: Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin
This may not be the sexy pick, but even after all of the offseason moves, I still believe the Seahawks will address their defensive line early in this draft. Now, keep in mind, there is a strong chance that Seattle decides to trade this pick. In the last seven drafts, Seattle has only kept three first-round picks. However, with there being so many questions regarding this position, there is a chance that the team decides to stick around and bring in Wisconsin EDGE Zack Baun.
After playing 14 games in the 2019 season, Baun totaled 75 tackles, including 19.5 for a loss, along with a team-high 12.5 sacks, an interception, and two forced fumbles. The end result was Baun being selected to the All-American team. Baun’s draft stock has done nothing but rise since the end of the college football season. He ended on a strong note with Wisconsin and then had an impressive performance at Reese’s Senior Bowl.
What makes Baun such an interesting option is his versatility. Not only can he perform as an EDGE rusher, but he is also well versed in coverage. He can break off and cover with the best of them, and that was tested at least 80 times in both his seasons with Wisconsin. If he lands in Seattle, he will likely play outside linebacker, but he will have plenty of opportunities to get after quarterbacks.
Also Considered: CB Trevon Diggs, OT Austin Jackson, LB Kenneth Murray
Round 2, Pick 59: Josh Uche, OLB, Michigan
Originally, I had Seattle drafting Germain Ifedi’s replacement with this pick. I do not believe that will still be the case, however, with Pete Carroll deciding to bring in former New York Jets tackle Brandon Shell on a two-year, $11 million deal. Shell will fit into Ifedi’s spot and give the team the chance to continue to invest in their defensive line.
Instead, Seattle will draft another potential all-star pass rusher in Michigan’s Josh Uche. Having depth at this position will be huge for the team and they cannot pass up on Uche’s upside. Entering the draft process, some scouts were concerned by his lack of playing experience, but he performed well against top tackles at the Senior Bowl in January. Pro Football Networks NFL Senior Draft Analyst Tony Pauline spoke highly of Uche in his most recent scouting report.
“In my opinion, Uche is one of the more underrated defenders in this year’s draft, as he’s an effective pass rusher standing over tackle and out of a three-point stance. He displays the ability to make plays in space and showed well during Senior Bowl practices when used as a traditional linebacker.”
Round 2, Pick 64: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
With their next pick in the second round, Seattle will continue to build up their defense. I almost took Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell with the previous pick but was happy he was still available at this spot. Tre Flowers struggled at right CB in his second season, bringing in a potential starting caliber CB here to create competition could be good for both players. With Shaquill Griffin and Bradley McDougald having left cornerback and strong safety secured in 2020, Terrell would make this defense all that more terrifying.
He earned first-team ACC honors as a junior in 2019 as he collected 34 tackles, two interceptions, and three pass breakups in 14 games. His combination of size, length, and athleticism make him one of the more sought-after CBs in this draft. Grabbing him near the end of the second round would be an absolute steal in this 7-round Seattle Seahawks mock draft.
Also Considered: DL Ross Blacklock, CB Jaylon Johnson
Round 3, Pick 101: Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon
My original selection here was RB Cam Akers from Florida State. However, Akers’ draft stock has been increasing over the last few weeks, and I no longer believe he will be available this far into the third round. There are some other backs with potential available further in the draft, so at this pick I think the team will instead bring in some depth on the offensive line.
Carroll loves to run the ball and that falls right into the wheelhouse of Oregon’s Shane Lemieux. His talent is as a run blocker and he will immediately be able to contribute and challenge for a starting role. With Chris Carson having his best season yet, Seattle will want to make sure that their o-line can continue to help him succeed. At 6-foot-4 and 316 pounds, Lemieux is a mammoth of a man and will be able to hold his own against NFL talent.
Also Considered: OT Trey Adams, DL Rashard Lawrence
Round 4, Pick 133: A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
In the first version of this draft, Seattle was able to land Akers. This time around, they took their time and were able to draft a prospect who I believe has similar potential. Boston College’s AJ Dillon. As we mentioned above, both Carson and Penny suffered injuries last season. Penny might not even be ready for the beginning of the season.
In college, Dillon ran for 4,382 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry in three years. A lot of these yards were hard work and were accomplished behind subpar offensive line blocking. He is limited when it comes to speed and quickness and is more of a bruiser with the ball. In his scouting report, Pauline said that Dillon was “a terrific short-yardage ball carrier who would fit a power-gap system for an NFL team”. I think the Seahawks would be a perfect fit. Dillon actually has some qualities that remind me of a younger Marshawn Lynch.
Also Considered: OT Hakeem Adeniji, S Jeremy Chinn, S K’Von Wallace
Round 4, Pick 144: Nick Harris, IOL, Washington
If Seattle is looking to add depth on the line and make sure they keep Wilson upright, adding Washington’s Nick Harris will be one step closer to that goal. Harris is a versatile player who, in 40 games, has experience playing as a guard and a center.
Current center Joey Hunt has been tendered by the team, but both center Justin Britt and right guard D.J. Fluker are potential cut candidates, which means that we could see a number of new faces for Seattle on the offensive line. As mentioned a number of times, Seattle loves to run the ball. Harris has been praised by scouts for his work in run protection. The Seahawks have the perfect scheme for a player like Harris.
With Ethan Pocic, Phil Haynes, and Jamarco Jones alongside Harris, the Seahawks could potentially be putting together a strong, young line to protect their star QB. They also signed Chance Warmack and B.J. Finney to add to an offensive line that could quietly become one of the best in the NFL.
Also Considered: S Reggie Floyd, LB Cam Brown, G Jon Runyan
Round 6, Pick 214: Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii
With their last pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks will bring in a young, capable QB prospect to play behind Wilson. Cole McDonald is a name that is not being thrown around with the upper echelon of players in this draft. He has fallen somewhat under the radar, even though he has earned more hype than he has received.
Through his two years as the starting quarterback for the Rainbow Warriors, McDonald led Hawaii to a total record of 18-11. He threw for over 4,100 yards this season, tossing 33 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He has natural gifts as a passer and has the arm talent that could lead to a starting role eventually. Being selected this late in the draft, McDonald could have the kind of career path as fellow QB Gardner Minshew.
Also Considered: C Dustin Woodward, DL Josiah Coatney