[Editor’s Note: Version 1.0 below was originally published on February 26]
The Seattle Seahawks are coming off of a surprising season that saw them finish second in the NFC West. They were able to beat the injured Philadelphia Eagles in the Wildcard round, before falling to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional round. Russell Wilson was once again his impressive self and benefited from the emergence of rookie wide receiver D.K. Metcalf.
However, there were several holes on the team, causing them to suffer from a lack of depth. John Schneider, the team’s general manager, has already started to address some of Seattle’s needs by bringing in free-agent tight end Greg Olsen. While impact free-agent acquisitions are critical to success, long term sustainability comes from the NFL Draft. Using this 7-round NFL mock, we evaluate how Seattle should draft to be able to compete for Super Bowl LV.
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The biggest need that Seattle will have coming into the 2020 NFL Draft is going to be pass rushers. The Seahawks have long been known for their intimidating defense and home-field advantage, and both those things seem to diminish year after year. 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 team brought in pieces on defense that ended up making quite an impact throughout the year. Jadeveon Clowney played well with the team, but he is going to require a small fortune to re-sign. Outside of Clowney, Seattle also got exceptional play from safety Quandre Diggs. However, Ziggy Ansah was a disappointment and will likely be heading to free agency. While first-round pick L.J. Collier did not impress in his rookie season. The defense will some help if they want to get back to form.
On the offensive side of the ball, Seattle will need help in one of the most important positions in a Pete Carroll run offense, running back. With Rashaad Penny’s recovery from an ACL injury expected to go into July and potentially beyond, the Seahawks need another running back. Chris Carson should be on track for training camp, but with names like Travis Homer, Marshawn Lynch, and C.J. Prosise behind him, Seattle needs depth.
Seattle Seahawks 7-round mock draft
Round 1, Pick 27: Zack Baun, EDGE Wisconsin
When Seattle is on the clock late in the first round, a lot of the upper echelon pass rushers such as Yetur Gross-Matos and A.J. Epenesa will already be drafted. However, Wisconsin’s Zack Baun is still available and has just as much upside as those other guys. Keep in mind, Seattle loves to trade back in drafts, Baun could still be an option at the beginning of the second round. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the Seahawks trade back to grab him a little bit later. But, in this case, I wanted to ensure Seattle got the guy that best suited what they need.
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 Mekhi Becton, OT Austin Jackson, LB Kenneth Murray
Round 2, Pick 59: Isaiah Wilson, OT Georgia
This pick might come as a surprise to Seahawk fans, but the reality is that there is a chance that Germain Ifedi won’t back in 2020. If that is the case, there will be a job opening for a right tackle on the Seahawks o-line. Duane Brown has done an exceptional job at left tackle, but Ifedi has not been as impressive. Despite playing every offensive snap this past year, he didn’t necessarily stand out with his play and could probably get a bigger payday elsewhere.
Enter Georgia RT Isaiah Wilson. The 6-foot-7, 340-pound tackle was named to the Associated Press All-SEC second team in 2019 and the 2018 Football Writers Association’s Freshman All-America team last season. They don’t make offensive linemen much bigger and more physically imposing than Wilson. With Seattle being a run-first team and having a mobile QB, bringing in a strong RT to replace Ifedi could do wonders for their offense.
Also Considered: EDGE Khalid Kareem, CB A.J. Terrell, OT Lucas Niang
Round 2, Pick 64: A.J. Terrell, CB Clemson
With their second 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.
Terrell 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 103: Cam Akers, RB Florida State
The second most important need for Seattle in this draft is the running back position. Luckily for them, one of the more underrated backs was still available near the end of the third round. Florida State’s Cam Akers, the 5-foot-11, 212-pound former five-star, had an impressive season playing behind arguably the shakiest offensive line in the nation. Akers rushed for 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns on 5.0 yards per touch. He also had a career-best 30 catches for 225 yards and four touchdowns.
With such a bad o-line, Akers was able to showcase his pass-catching abilities. A smaller back, he used his athleticism to often make something out of nothing. A running back that is able to catch the ball and be explosive is exactly what Seattle needs. Starter Chris Carson is not known for his ability to catch the ball, and Akers could fit in perfectly during passing situations. He has the upside and ability to become an every-down back. With how much Carroll values the run game and all the questions surrounding their RB depth, one can almost guarantee that Seattle will be tempted here in the third round.
Also Considered: OT Trey Adams, DL Rashard Lawrence
Round 4, Pick 133: Alton Robinson, EDGE Syracuse
The fact that Syracuse EDGE rusher Alton Robinson is still available in the fourth round made a double-dip at the position impossible to pass up. During his three seasons at Syracuse, Robinson was arguably the Orange’s best defender. Across 36 games (34 starts), he made 115 tackles, finished his career seventh on Syracuse all-time sacks list with 19.5, and tied for No. 9 in team history with 32.5 tackles for loss. He also recorded five forced fumbles, batted down five passes, and recovered two fumbles. Twice he was presented the Tim Green Award as the team’s best defensive linemen.
2019 was a struggle for Robinson, as he saw his numbers tailspin. However, the entire Syracuse team took a nosedive after finishing with a surprising 5-7 record. The team was often playing from behind, making it tougher for Robinson to shine.
Robinson’s stock could continue to fall thanks to a combination of bad performance at the Senior Bowl and scouts questioning some of his past decisions. He spent a year playing at the JUCO level due to two felony robbery charges that were eventually dropped. However, I think that if Seattle gives him a chance, he could return to his junior form. He has the skill-set and size to be successful in the NFL.
Also Considered: OT Hakeem Adeniji, S Jeremy Chinn, S K’Von Wallace