Friday, February 23, 2018

Top 10 Moves the Seahawks Should Make this Off-Season

With the combine and NFL free agency fast approaching, it's time to take a look at what moves the Seahawks can/should/ought to be making this off season to get back into Super Bowl contention. Considering they aren't far off assuming they get back some of the walking wounded from an injury plagued season, the team needs to stop building for the future and adopt a win now mentality. With that in mind, here's the list.


  1. Franchise Tag Sheldon Richardson - The Seahawks are about $14 million under the cap for 2018 right now, and $81.4 million under for 2019, which is when the real rebuild will begin. Richardson is a key component of that, with the team regarding him as the best 3-tech tackle they've had here during Pete Carroll's tenure. While he didn't put up gaudy numbers, he also didn't play that many snaps, but made some big plays when he was out there, especially in big games. The roughly $13.9-$14.1 million tag for a DT will put the Seahawks at or over the cap by a small amount, but that situation is only temporary and may lead to an extension with a lower cap number later.
  2. Pick up Justin Britt's 2018 Option - This will save $5 million on the 2018 cap, and Britt has played at a Pro-Bowl level the last two seasons at center. He's a keeper.
  3. Cut John Ryan, Jeremy Lane and Cliff Avril - None of these players would appear to be in the teams plans (or shouldn't be) and cutting them would be a huge cap savings. Slicing the declining Ryan would save $2 million on the cap, Lane $4.75 million, and Avril $7.125 million. These simple moves leave the Seahawks at $13,541,361 under the cap for 2018 and 92.3 million under for 2019. 
  4. Do a "simple restructure" on the contracts of Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner. This is where the team simply takes the non-guaranteed portion of the player's remaining contract (at least 2 years left) and converts them to a signing bonus and hands the player a fat check to clear cap space. Wilson and Wagner are the Seahawks two highest cap hits, and restructuring them would clear $7,355,000 and $4,605,000 respectively off the 2018 cap, leaving them with $26 million in 2018 cap space. While reporters often claim this is just "kicking the can down the road," these moves would still leave almost $80 million in cap space for 2019, which is of course, plenty.
  5. Trade for Marcus Peters - Kansas City is currently $12,000 over the cap and the Chiefs have made it clear that their super-talented problem child is available in a trade. He'd be a perfect fit for the Seahawks in many ways, and while there are some reasons to think that the organization wants to rid themselves of the distractions (see Michael Bennett and Doug Baldwin), Pete Carroll has always prided himself on handling high maintenance players like Peters. From a football standpoint, Peters is a perfect fit, as he could cover for Richard Sherman for a few weeks if Sherman isn't ready week 1, or he could start opposite him, giving the Seahawks the best pair of corners in the NFL. If the Seahawks decide to move on from Sherman in 2019, he can slide over to the left side and impressive rookie Shaq Griffin can move back to his starting slot on the right side. Peters is also a perfect scheme fit, having been raised in the Seahawks system in college at Washington. Along with Justin Coleman and Byron Maxwell, this would give the Seahawks the best group of corners in the NFL, and a good mix of youth and experience. The price for Peters would probably be the Seahawks 1st round pick at #18, but that's too high a value for Peters and they could and probably would want the Chiefs 2nd rounder at #54 or the 3rd rounder at #78 they got from the Redskins and the Alex Smith deal. this would have the added effect of reducing the Seahawks 2018 cap still further by saving money on draft pick slotting. Peters cap number of only $3,049,506 is easily absorbable, leaving the Seahawks at $22.950 in cap space for 2018.
  6. Tender Justin Coleman and Dion Jordan at the Original round tender level - They would cost $1.908 million under the cap, but Coleman was a top 5 slot corner last year (thanks Patriots) and Jordan had 5 sacks in only 4 appearances. They are both worth bringing back on the cheap. This leaves the Seahawks with $19,134,000 in cap space.
  7. Trade for Bruce Irvin - Hints out of Oakland indicate that Jon Gruden plans to make Irvin a cap casualty, and he'd be a perfect fit to return to Seattle. He and new Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton love each other, and he would fill the gap at the SAM spot the Seahawks have been trying to fill since he left. He's also had 15 sacks over the last two years to add to his value. Trading for Irvin would probably be cheap (give Oakland back their own 5th round pick they gave us in the Marshawn Lynch trade), and again, his contract could be adjusted to make the cap hit minimal. Doing a simple restructure on the contract he signed with Oakland 2 years ago would bring his cap number down to $4,645,000 for 2018, leaving the Seahawks with $14.489 in salary cap space and $67 million in 2019. This is also classic Seahawk cap manipulation. Get the early years out of player, let another team overpay for him, then bring him back on the cheap a few years later. 
  8. Extend Earl Thomas - Thomas carries a 2018 cap number of $10.4 million, and giving him an Eric Berry level contract would reduce that by about $3.85 million, pushing the Seahawks cap space to $18.339 million.
  9. Extend Duane Brown - Brown carries a $9.75 million cap charge for 2018 and giving him an extension along the lines of the contract Russell Okung signed with San Diego last year would reduce that number to $6 million, clearing another $3.75 million under the cap and leaving the Seahawks with about $22 million in cap space to spend.
  10. Sign a veteran OL - $22 million is plenty of space to sign a top interior offensive lineman like Josh Sitton or Andrew Norwell. They might also look for a running back or kicker. 
Making these 10 fairly simple moves would give the Seahawks a starting defense of Frank Clark (10 sacks) Sheldon Richardson, Jarran Reed, Michael Bennett (8 sacks), Bruce Irvin, (8 sacks), Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, Richard Sherman, Marcus Peters, Earl Thomas and a Strong Safety to be named later (probably Bradley McDonald). Their rotational players would be Shaq Griffin, Naz Jones, Dion Jordan and Justin Coleman. That's easily the best defensive roster in the NFL. They would also have $22 million in cap space to spend on say, Eric Reed to play SS, a veteran running back, and a WR.  And that doesn't include the extra $5 million they could get from picking up Britt's option.

Do it.

Friday, April 28, 2017

2017 Round 2 Mock Draft

2 33 Green Bay Packers  Forrest Lamp, OG, Utah                 from Cleveland
2 34 Seattle Seahawks  Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut from San Francisco
2 35 Jacksonville Jaguars Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
2 36 Chicago Bears Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
2 37 Los Angeles Rams JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
2 38 Los Angeles Chargers  Budda Baker, FS, Washington
2 39 New York Jets  DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
2 40 Carolina Panthers  Kevin King, CB, Washington
2 41 Cincinnati Bengals  Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
2 42 New Orleans Saints Marcus Sanders-Williams, FS, Utah
2 43 Philadelphia Eagles Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio State
2 44 Buffalo Bills Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt
2 45 Arizona Cardinals Marcus Maye, FS, Florida
2 46 Indianapolis Colts Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan
2 47 Baltimore Ravens Malik McDowell, DT, Mich. State
2 48 Minnesota Vikings  Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
2 49 Washington Redskins Davis Webb, QB, Cal
2 50 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
2 51 Denver Broncos Raekwon McMillan, ILB Ohio State
2 52 Cleveland Browns Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson from Tennessee
2 53 Detroit Lions Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
2 54 Miami Dolphins Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston
2 55 New York Giants  Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple
2 56 Oakland Raiders  Chris Wormley, DT, Michigan
2 57 Houston Texans  Isaac Asiata, OG, Utah
2 58 Seattle Seahawks  Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama
2 59 Kansas City Chiefs  Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
2 60 Dallas Cowboys Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
2 61 Green Bay Packers Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
2 62 Pittsburgh Steelers Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
2 63 Atlanta Falcons Nico Siragusa, OG, San Diego State
2 64 Carolina Panthers Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn      from New England

Seahawks in a Position to Win Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft

After trading down twice and out of the back end of the first round on Thursday night, the Seahawks find themselves in a position to control and dominate day of the 2017 NFL Draft after trading with the Falcons to drop from #26 to #31 and picking up a 3rd round pick (#95) and a 7th (#249) to move back. At #31, they then made a deal with division opponent Santa Clara and picked up an additional 4th round pick (#111) simply to move back three more spots. They now sit at pick #34, the second pick in the 2nd round, and have avoided having to pay a first round bonus and give whoever they take a 5-year deal. This is one of the ways the Seahawks keep their cap managed so successfully while other teams struggle to find room.

So in essence, the Seahawks dropped 8 spots, picked up 3 additional picks and will likely get the player they would have taken at #26 anyway, but without the 1st round cap implications. None of the player selected with picks #26-32 were likely on the Seahawks radar at all. That's what you call drafting like a boss.

With the trades, the Seahawks now have the following picks:

Round 2 - Picks #34 & pick #58.
Round 3 - Picks #90, #95, #102, #106
Round 4 - Pick #111
Round 6 - Pick #210
Round 8 - Picks #226 & #249

Of players thought to be on the Seahawks short list and that make sense from a needs standpoint, they can select from the following group:

25 KEVIN KING CB WASHINGTON
27 CHIDOBE AWUZIE CB COLORADO
28 FORREST LAMP OG WESTERN KENTUCKY
32 CAM ROBINSON OT ALABAMA
42 BUDDA BAKER FS WASHINGTON

The Packers have the first pick in round 2, and while they are fielding calls about trading the pick, it is possible they could snatch one of the players the Seahawks like at #33. They have been most closely connected with Western Kentucky OG Forrest Lamp. But if they take another player or trade the pick to a team looking for a QB, say Notre Dame's Deshone Kizer or Cal's Davis Webb, the Seahawks will be sitting pretty. If the Packer don't trade the pick, the Seahawks will be fielding the same calls. I think they should resist the temptation.

While it might be tempting to take an OL at #34, to me the bigger need is to add a long-term starter opposite Richard Sherman at outside corner. That translates to Kevin King of the University of Washington, although honestly I'd be satisfied with any of the players on this list for one reason or another. King is a virtual Sherman clone, Lamp can be an instant starter, Robinson will probably eventually be a starting LT, Baker is an ideal nickel/FS part-time starter, and Awuze has a cool Ewok sounding name.

My guess is that if the Packers don't trade out, the Seahawks will, but I hope they stay put and take a DB. Here's my wishlist for the day 2 picks:

Round 2 - 34: KEVIN KING CB WASHINGTON
Round 2 - 58: SIDNEY JONES CB WASHINGTON (yes, you have to wait a year but he's a high 1st round talent.

Round 3 - 90: NICO SIRAGUSA OG SAN DIEGO STATE
Round 3 - 95: JAKE BUTT TE MICHIGAN
Round 3 - 102: CARLOS WATKINS DT CLEMSON
Round 3 - 106: JOE MATHIS DE WASHINGTON

Of course, they'll take none of my guys, but it's nice to dream.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mock Draft 2.0

MOCK DRAFT 2.0 - 4/13/2017

ROUND 1

1. CLEVELAND BROWNS

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: Garrett was the best position player in the draft, last month, he still is this month. Browns hope Garrett is next Bruce Smith rather than the next Jadeveon Clowney.

2.  SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 

Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: 49er have a desperate need at quarterback to energize new head coach Kyle Shanahan's "choke first" offense, but the talent just isn't there. 49ers defense was even worse than its offense and the need is there for a big body inside to try and help stop the bleeding.

3. CHICAGO BEARS

Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama: The run on defensive linemen to start the draft continues. No way the Bears waste a pick this high on a safety or corner.  Bears were one of the worst defenses in the league last year, and they need to shore up everywhere on that side of the ball. They also need DB help but there will be plenty of secondary help in the 2nd round. Not that much quality on the DL in this draft and Bears need to cash in with a player who could turn out to be the best of the lot.

4. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

 
Jamal Adams, SS, LSU:  The Jaguars already upgraded the DL with Calais Campbell so it makes sense to flow with the draft and add the highest rated safety to a secondary that already includes Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye at corner. Adams should give them a big, athletic presence on the back line and shore up a weak unit that gave up 400 points last season.

5. TENNESSEE TITANS (FROM LOS ANGELES RAMS)

Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State : The Titans have two first round picks but little else, and will probably go Defense/Offense early in this draft. They could go for Alabama TE OJ Howard here, but Lattimore could be the icing on a rebuilt defensive backfield cake.

6. NY JETS
 
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: The Jets are trying to act like they're not desperate for a QB, but they should be. Having said that, this pick is too high for the QB value in this draft and the Jets basically don't have a viable TE on the roster unless Austin Sefarian-Jenkins gets a wake up call. If he does, the Jets might have a quality 1-2 punch at the position.If only they had somebody who could throw the ball.

7. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State: The Chargers were terrible on the back end last year, giving up 423 points mostly through the air. Hooker is a strong center fielder type who can help take away the deep ball at least. Teamed with the Chargers smallish CB's he also brings some size to the defensive backfield. 

8. CAROLINA PANTHERS

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: Carolina fell apart last season after everything went perfect in 2015, and the lack of a consistent running game was a big part of it. Fournette has some red flags but the size and freakish talent is undeniable. Panthers will hope that a revitalized running game will take some pressure off douchbag QB Cam Newton, who crashed and burned when the pressure was on. 

9.  (TRADE) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS FROM CINCINNATI BENGALS
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: The Saints ranked dead last in pass defense in 2016 and Barnett can drastically upgrade the pass rush right away. They leap from #11 to #9 to keep the Bills from taking the player they want.

10. BUFFALO BILLS
Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan: With the top corners gone, the Bills could have their pick of the litter at another obvious area of need at WR, but they think the new #2 WR is already on the roster. Instead they flip the draft upside down and take Peppers, who can be a LB/S hybrid and energize their defense at two levels. They will find better CB value in the 2nd round when they pick at #44.

11.CINCINNATI BENGALS

Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: This is the need pick the Bengals would have had to make at #9 but at least they traded down and got something for doing it. The pick is a reach but after the hits they took in free agency on the offensive like they need to draft the replacements as a top priority. They can always come back and get a defensive player in round 2. Ramczyk can step in and replace Andrew Whitworth at LT, on paper at least. Another pick born of desperation.

12. CLEVELAND BROWNS (FROM PHILADELPHIA)
Mitchell "Don't Call Me Mitch" Trubisky, QB, North Carolina:The Browns have plenty of picks left to stack up at other positions, but they do the smart thing for once and take the best fit QB off the board. There are lots of ties between Trubisky and the Browns organization, and although it's a little high, they need to take the QB. The funniest part of all this is that Mitch isn't anywhere near as good as Carson Wentz, who the Browns foolishly passed on last year.

13. ARIZONA CARDINALS

Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple: Cardinals defense got shredded in free agency so they have little choice but to try and rebuild through the draft. Safety is a major position of need but the value isn't there and Reddick can add some youth and speed to the LB corps and add to the pass rush. He'll be a good player for the next regime to build around after the Cardinals go 6-10 under Bruce Arians and Steve Keim.

14. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (FROM MINNESOTA)
John Ross, WR, Washington: Fit, meet need. Ross has Deshaun Jackson-like breakaway ability but without all the personal baggage. He'll team with Carson Wentz to terrorize NFC East secondaries for years to come.

15. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama: This is a reach but the Colts had one of the worst offensive lines in football last year. Robinson could play either tackle spot or even guard and be an upgrade over the players the Colts have at those positions now. My guess is he ends up at RT and Joe Haeg moves inside to RG.

16. BALTIMORE RAVENS

Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama: Ravens could use a safety but the value isn't there. Foster is a Bobby Wagner type with great range and speed. Weed test at the combine may cause him to fall but he sticks here for now. Pedestrian pick but a necessary one.

17. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
David Njoku, TE, Miami: The Redskins gave up a ton of yards and touchdowns on the ground last year, and you might think they'd be looking defense, but they signed 5 defensive free agents. Adding a WR makes sense too since they lost Pierre Garcon and Deshaun Watson, but they replaced them with Brian Quick and Terrell Pryor. Adding Njoku as a target over the middle provides a boost for Kirk Cousins' confidence, if nothing else. Some people think Njoku is a better receiver than OJ Howard.

18. TENNESSEE TITANS
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: Having already addressed the secondary the Titans come back and add one of the top WRs the draft. They probably wanted Njoku but will settle for  Davis' 4.48 speed. Not many holes left to fill on an improving roster.

19. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: Cook gives the Bucs a dynamic option out of the backfield that's likely to be more consistent than the group they have there now. Scoring more points on the ground must be a priority for the Bucs because of Jameis Winston's limitations as a passer. Getting a consensus top 10 talent at #19 will also help them get good draft grades, which is always a priority to energize listless fan bases.

20. DENVER BRONCOS
Garett Bolles, OT, Utah: The Broncos need both a RB and an upgrade on the offensive line. The line wins out because of the scarcity of talent there in this draft. Bolles can be a solid guard and possibly even a tackle at the pro level. Running back will have to wait for the 2nd round.

21. DETROIT LIONS
Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt: The Lions addressed concerns along the offensive and defensive lines through free agency but lost speed at linebacker with the decision to release DeAndre Levy. Cunningham, a two-time All-SEC pick, has the range and length to fill this hole immediately. 

22. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: Dolphins still need to add to the pass rush and Charlton is the best prospect on the board. 

23. NY GIANTS
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: McCaffrey is exactly the Patriots-like, annoying, quick punk-ass white guy the Giants need to upgrade their run, pass and return games. He'll especially add a dynamic pass catching option out of the backfield for Eli Manning so he doesn't have to force the ball downfield so much.

24. OAKLAND RAIDERS
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State: The Raiders' offense is OK but they need to keep adding to a weak defense to make a serious run. Conley comes from a big-time program and should help solidify the back end issues the Raiders had last year.

25. HOUSTON TEXANS
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: Unless the Texans can get their hands on Tony Romo, QB remains their biggest need. Personally I'd sign Jay Culter and draft Kizer if I was them, rather than bother with trying to coax Romo out of retirement. Watson may not be a great physical prospect but he has potential, leadership and wins big games. that's more than you can say about any QB on the Texans' roster at the moment.

26. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Kevin King, CB, Washington: If they don't sign Ryan Clady, an offensive lineman like Forrest Lamp is a possibility here but so is a trade down into the early 2nd round. Lacking a 4th and 5th round pick, this would fit the Seahawks draft playbook. However, King may represent too great a value for them to pass on and risk losing. Physically, the 6-3 King is a virtual Richard Sherman clone, and was essentially raised in the Seahawks system at UW. He could start immediately on the right side opposite Sherman and fill a spot that's been a problem since Byron Maxwell departed in free agency. A year spent in the DB room with Sherman and Earl Thomas will set King up to be Sherman's eventual successor as the best shut-down corner in the NFL.

27. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt: The Chiefs' could always use another outside pass rush guy, so they pass on Kizer and Mike Williams to take the "sure thing."

28. DALLAS COWBOYS
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: Cowboys need to add to the defense but Williams has slipped too far and Jerah wants to keep the Dak-Fense going to prove cutting Romo wasn't a mistake. They can get some good defensive players on day two.

29. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky: Packers would be sorely tempted by WR Mike Williams if he fell, but after losing guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton Lamp is the smart pick to protect Aaron Rodgers. Lamp starred at left tackle for the Hilltoppers but made a seamless transition inside to guard at the Senior Bowl.

30. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Obi Melifonwu, SS, Connecticut: Melifonwu is a super athletic defensive back who can make an impact for the Steelers right away. Their secondary has been a problem for a while and the playoff loss to the Deflatriots exposed the need to get better on the back end.

31. ATLANTA FALCONS
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: After their epic collapse in the Super Bowl it's obvious the Falcons biggest need is more depth in the pass rush rotation. Harris will add to that even if the Falcons are likely to hit bottom next year while coping the psychological impact of their epic choke job.

32. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (FROM NEW ENGLAND)

TJ Watt, OLB, Wisconsin: Saints will tempted to replace WR Brandin Cooks with this pick, but they need to stick to their commitment to add talent at every level of the defense. Watt is a marginal 1st round pick, but he's big, strong, athletic and a relentless worker which can only rub off on his teammates.


Other Seahawks Picks
If I were running the Seahawks war room, I would look to trade my 2018 1st round pick into the early part of the round 2 and take Washington's Sidney Jones and redshirt him for a year. But that would be too clever and I doubt the Seahawks will do anything like that. That leaves OL and DT/DE as the biggest needs left to fill on day two, when the Seahawks have 4 picks.

Round 2 - Pick #58 - Issac Asiata, OG, Utah: If they don't sign Clady or Jahri Evans, the Seahawks probably come back with an OL in the 2nd round. Asiata is a mauler in the run game which is a point of emphasis for the Seahawks this year. Western Michigan's Taylor Moton might also be a consideration here if falls this far, but given his athletic ability that's doubtful. So either Asiata pushes 2016 1st round pick Germain Ifedi to RT or Ifedi lines up next to Moton at RG.

Round 3 - Pick #90 - Sidney Jones, CB, Washington: If he lasts this long after his Achilles tear, I think the Seahawks snap him up. Some boards have him in this range.
Round 3 - Pick #102 - Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson: Adding a defensive lineman will be a priority early in this draft for the Seahawks.
Round 3 - Pick # 106 - Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson: With Luke Wilson and Jimmy Graham free agents in 2018, it makes sense to add another TE to the roster this year.
Round - 6 - Pick #210 - Jalen Reeves-Maybin, OLB, Tennessee: Seahawks are looking to add a linebacker with quickness at some point in the draft.
Round - 7 - Pick #226 - Bryan Cox, DE, Florida: Looking for an outside pass rusher.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Should the Seahawks Trade UP (In Order to Trade Down) in the 2017 NFL Draft?

Recently, the question came up regarding the idea of the Seahawks trading UP, rather than down in this year's NFL draft. Such a move would be highly unusual for the Seahawks, who have either stayed put or (more frequently) traded DOWN in the first round since Pete Carroll and John Schneider assumed the reigns of the franchise in 2010. That trend could change this year, but possibly not for the reasons you might suspect.

The major issue in any trade scenario is obviously finding a trading partner that wants to do a deal. If say the Seahawks coveted a certain player-- perhaps CB Kevin King of UW-- they might want to move up from pick #26 to get him. In order to do so, they must find a trading partner who wants what the Seahawks have, the #26 pick and probably one of the Seahawks three late 3rd round picks (#90, #102 & #106).

If we look at a standardized Draft Trade Chart, those picks add up to 1,014 points, enough to get the Seahawks as high as the 15th or 16th pick in the 1st round.


However, looking at this draft, it really would not be worth making such a move simply because this draft is fairly even in terms of talent after the first 6-7 picks. In other words, they can get as good a player at #26 as they're likely to get at #15.

They can also get just as good a player at #40 as they can at #15, for that matter.

The Seahawks pattern is almost always to trade down to obtain more picks. This year, even though they have only two day 3 picks (a 6th and a 7th), there seems to be very little talent available in rounds 4 and 5 that are worth trading back for. A better strategy might be an even more dramatic one: Trade UP in the first round in order to trade back out into the early 2nd round.

Here's how it would work.

All drafts are invariably driven by the supply of available quarterback prospects. This year's class is pretty weak, with probably only Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky justifying 1st round grades. That said, there are probably three other QBs, Patrick Mahomes, DeShone Kizer and Davis Webb who could slip into the back end of the 1st round. Quarterback hungry teams include the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and unfortunately for the Seahawks, the Houston Texans. The problem for the Seahawks in making a trade back into the 2nd round is that the Texans pick 25th, one spot in front of them. Any team willing to part with draft capital in order to snag one of the three back-end prospects is going to have to get in front of the Texans in order to pull it off. That leaves the Seahawks in a kind of no man's land, stuck taking the best available player at their current slot when they'd rather trade back and get an equivalent player and add picks.

One way to rectify this is to trade UP, rather than down, with the idea of then trading back out of the first round to a team wanting to leap frog the Texans and get, say, Mahomes.

The Seahawks #26 pick is worth roughly 700 points on a typical trade value chart. Their 3rd round picks at #90, #102 and #106 are worth 140, 92 and 82 respectively. Theoretically, packaging #26 and #106 would net the Seahawks 782 points, enough to get them as high as the #22 pick in the first round, the Miami Dolphins slot. The Dolphins have only seven picks, with a big gap between #97 in the 3rd round and #166 in the fifth. Dropping back 4 slots in the 1st round in order to add pick #106 might appeal to them.

So the first move is:

Dolphins get #26 and #106
Seahawks get #22

Now that the Seahawks are positioned ahead of the Texans, they need a QB hungry team to trade with. If the Browns take position players at #1 and #12 in the draft, they would still need to add a young QB to the mix to get the position settled for the future. The Seahawks might make a perfect trading partner.

The Browns would need to get to 780 points, and could offer a package of picks #33, the first pick in the 2nd round, and #65, the first pick in the 3rd round, and pick #175 in the 5th round, a round in which the Seahawks currently have no selection. This would add up to 866 points, so the Seahawks would have to throw in pick #102 in the 3rd round to balance the trade deficit (#22+#102=872). So the Browns would get the QB of their choice at #22, and a compensatory 3rd round pick #102. The Seahawks would get to move out of the 1st round and avoid a 1st round bonus, 5th year option and cap hit, and still get an equivalent player at #33. They would also move up 25 spots to the front end of the 3rd round and add a pick in the 5th round which they can use to target a specific player, trade up again or simply add depth.

So the 2nd move is:

Browns get #22 and #106
Seahawks get #33, #65 & #175

That leaves the Seahawks with picks #33, #58, #65, #90, #175, #210, and #226. the advantage of this scenario is that they get a higher pick in round 3, and avoid the 1st round cap charges.

As far as who I'd take with these picks, I think we're all in agreement that the Seahawks biggest needs are at CB, OL and DL. At #33, I'd snatch up Kevin King if he's still on the board, and if not I'd be looking at players like Washington's Budda Baker, Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley or USCs Adoree' Jackson. At #58, I'd come back with a DL like Michigan's Chris Wormley or Alabama's Dalvin Tomlinson. Colorado's tall corner Ahkello Witherspoon might be a consideration here too, because a player like Wormley, Tomlinson or Clemson's Carlos Watkins might still be available at #65. At #65, barring these scenarios, I'd be looking at a big tough OL like Utah's Issac Asiata. You could also package your 3rd day picks, which the Seahawks have not had much success with lately, and move up as high as pick #152 in the 5th round.

So, if you held a gun to my head, here's the way I'd go assuming King is gone at #33.

#33 - Budda Baker, S/Nickel - Washington
#58 - Ahkello Witherspoon - CB - Colorado
#65 - Issac Asiata - OG - Utah
#90 - Carlos Watkins - DT - Clemson
#175 - Best TE available
#210 - Best LB/Edge available
#226 - Best WR/Gunner available

I'm not saying this scenario will happen. I'm just saying that something like it makes more sense than you might think. If you see the Seahawks trade up on Day 1, I'd be surprised if they don't already have a deal in place to move back down again afterwards.

The Browns of course, or another team like them, could also just make a deal with the Dolphins directly. But, keep in mind that the Dolphins may not have the picks the Browns want in return, or the Dolphins may not want to go all the way back to the 2nd round.

We'll see what happens.

-Mike Bara

Monday, March 20, 2017

2017 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

NFL MOCK DRAFT - 3/18/2017

ROUND 1

1. CLEVELAND BROWNS

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: Browns need a QB in the worst way, but they can't pass on the best position player in the draft. Browns hope Garrett is next Bruce Smith rather than the next Jadeveon Clowney.

2.  SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 

Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: 49er also have a desperate need at quarterback to energize new head coach Kyle Shanahan's "choke first" offense, but the talent just isn't there. 49ers defense was even worse than its offense and the need is there for a big body inside to try and help stop the bleeding.

3. CHICAGO BEARS

Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama: A run on defensive linemen to start the draft continues. Bears were one of the worst defenses in the league last year, and they need to shore up everywhere on that side of the ball. They also need DB help but there will be plenty of secondary help in the 2nd round.

4. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

  
Jamal Adams, SS, LSU:  The Jaguars already upgraded the DL with Calais Campbell so it makes sense to flow with the draft and add the highest rated safety to a secondary that already includes Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye at corner. Adams should give them a big, athletic presence on the back line and shore up a weak unit that gave up 400 points last season.

5. (TRADE) CLEVELAND BROWNS FROM TENNESSEE TITANS (FROM LOS ANGELES RAMS)
   
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: The Browns swap up from pick #12 to get the QB they need. Mitch Trubisky would be the better pick but head coach Hugh Jackson is a racist, so he'll take Watson instead. Watson is a better runner than passer, and although there are legitimate questions about his velocity and habit of throwing interceptions, he's always come up big in big games. Now if only the Browns actually played in big games.

6. NY JETS
 
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: No way Trubisky is worth this pick but the Jets are desperate. He has some real promise, but he will need time and experience, and with head coach Todd Bowles on the hot seat he's unlikely to get it. Frankly, they'd be better off bringing back Mark Sanchez to start for a year while Trubisky adapts.

7. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State: The Chargers were terrible on the back end last year, giving up 423 points mostly through the air. hooker is a strong center fielder type who can help take away the deep ball at least. Teamed with the Chargers smallish CB's he also brings some size to the unit. 

8. CAROLINA PANTHERS


Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: Carolina fell apart last season after everything went perfect in 2015, and the lack of a consistent running game was a big part of it. Fournette has some red flags but the size and freakish talent is undeniable. Panthers will hope that a revitalized running game will take some pressure off douchbag QB Cam Newton, who crashed and burned when the pressure was on. 

9. CINCINNATI BENGALS

Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: Bengals would ideally like to trade down and make this pick, but after the hits they took in free agency on the offensive like they need to draft the replacements as a top priority. They can always come back and get a defensive player in round 2. Ramczyk can step in and replace Andrew Whitworth at LT, on paper at least. Another pick born of desperation.

10. BUFFALO BILLS
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: Bills might like to take an offensive player here but when Lattimore falls to them they can't resist the temptation to replace the departed Stephon Gilmore. Lattimore may even end up being an upgrade for less money than they would have had to spend to keep Gilmore.

11. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan: The Saints ranked dead last in pass defense in 2016 and Peppers gives them a strong athletic presence for their weak secondary. They still need to add to the pass rush and get a corner or two, but luckily this is the draft to do that. 

12.TENNESSEE TITANS FROM CLEVELAND BROWNS (FROM PHILADELPHIA)
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama:Titans really need defensive backfield help so Humphrey gets the nod over OJ Howard or Washington WR John Ross. They're hoping one of them drops to their pick at #18. 

13. ARIZONA CARDINALS

Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple: Cardinals defense got shredded in free agency so they have little choice but to try and rebuild through the draft. Safety is a major position of need and Reddick can add some youth and speed to the LB corps and add to the pass rush. He'll be a good player for the next regime to build around after the Cardinals go 6-10 under Bruce Arians.

14. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (FROM MINNESOTA)
John Ross, WR, Washington: Fit meet need. Ross has Deshaun Jackson-like breakaway ability but without all the personal baggage. He'll team with Carson Wentz to terrorize NFC East secondaries for years to come.

15. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama: This is a reach but the Colts had one of the worst offensive lines in football last year. Robinson could play either tackle spot or even guard and be an upgrade over the players the Colts have at those positions now. My guess is he ends up at RT and Joe Haeg moves inside to RG.

16. BALTIMORE RAVENS

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: Ravens could use a safety but the value isn't there. Barnett is a 1st round prospect who could step in for the departed Elvis Dumervil, who had a great career. 

17. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama: The Redskins gave up a ton of yards and touchdowns on the ground last year, and Foster is a Bobby Wagner type with great range and speed. Pedestrian pick but a necessary one. 

18. TENNESSEE TITANS
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Having already addressed the secondary and picking up some extra pick(s) in the trade with Cleveland, the Titans come back and add one of the top 3 offensive talents in the draft. Howard will give QB Marcus Mariota a big, talented target in the middle of the field which will force defenses to play deeper and open up the inside running game. 

19. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: Cook gives the Bucs a dynamic option out of the backfield that's likely to be more consistent than the group they have there now. Scoring more points on the ground must be a priority for the Bucs because of Jameis Winston's limitations as a passer. Getting a consensus top 10 talent at #19 will help them get good draft grades, which is always a priority to energize fan bases.

20. DENVER BRONCOS
Garett Bolles, OT, Utah: The Broncos need both a RB and an upgrade on the offensive line. The line wins out because of the scarcity of talent there in this draft. Bolles can be a solid guard and possibly even a tackle at the pro level. Running back will have to wait for the 2nd round.

21. DETROIT LIONS
Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt: The Lions addressed concerns along the offensive and defensive lines through free agency but lost speed at linebacker with the decision to release DeAndre Levy. Cunningham, a two-time All-SEC pick, has the range and length to fill this hole immediately. 

22. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: Dolphins still need to add to the pass rush and Charlton is the best prospect on the board. 

23. NY GIANTS
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: McCaffrey is exactly the Patriots-like, annoying, quick punk-ass white guy the Giants need to upgrade their run, pass and return games. He'll especially add a dynamic pass catching option out of the backfield for Eli Manning so he doesn't have to force the ball downfield so much.

24. OAKLAND RAIDERS
Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State: The Raiders' offense is OK but they need to keep adding to a weak defense to make a serious run. McDowell is an athletic inside presence that can add a needed dimension to a stagnant aspect of their team.

25. HOUSTON TEXANS
DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame: Unless the Texans can get their hands on Tony Romo, QB remains their biggest need. Personally I'd sign Jay Culter and draft Kizer if I was them, rather than bother with Romo. Kizer may not be a great prospect but he has potential, and that's more than you can about any QB on the Texans' roster at the moment.

26. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Kevin King, CB, Washington: If they don't sign Ryan Clady, an offensive lineman like Forrest Lamp is a possibility here but so is a trade down into the early 2nd round. Lacking a 4th and 5th round pick, this would fit the Seahawks draft playbook. However, King may represent too great a value for them to pass on and risk losing. Physically, the 6-3 King is a virtual Richard Sherman clone, and was essentially raised in the Seahawks system at UW. He could start immediately on the right side opposite Sherman and fill a spot that's been a problem since Byron Maxwell departed in free agency. A year spent in the DB room with Sherman and Earl Thomas will set King up to be Sherman's eventual successor as the best shut-down corner in the NFL.

27. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: The Chiefs' probably aren't looking for a receiver specifically, but Davis has fallen too far and he is a bigger target than the rest of their group. Might have liked a DT to replace Dontari Poe but the Raiders snapped up Malik McDowell just a few picks earlier.

28. DALLAS COWBOYS
Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama: Cowboys need to add to the defense and although Williams comes with some character concerns, that's never stopped them before. If Jaylon Smith recovers from his knee injury, they would have the makings of a very strong and much improved defense.

29. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky: Packers will be sorely tempted by WR Mike Williams, but after losing guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton Lamp is the smart pick to protect Aaron Rodgers. Lamp starred at left tackle for the Hilltoppers but made a seamless transition inside to guard at the Senior Bowl.

30. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Obi Melifonwu, SS, Connecticut: Melifonwu is a super athletic defensive back who can make an impact for the Steelers right away. Their secondary has been a problem for a while and the playoff loss to the Deflatriots exposed the need to get better on the back end.

31. ATLANTA FALCONS
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: After their epic collapse in the Super Bowl it's obvious the Falcons biggest need is more depth in the pass rush rotation. Harris will add to that even if the Falcons are likely to hit bottom next year while coping the psychological impact of their epic choke job.


32. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (FROM NEW ENGLAND)

TJ Watt, OLB, Wisconsin: Saints will tempted to replace WR Brandin Cooks with Clemson's Mike Williams, but they need to stick to their commitment to add talent at every level of the defense. Watt is a marginal 1st round pick, but he's big, strong, athletic and a relentless worker which can only rub off on his teammates.


Other Seahawks Picks
Round 2 - Pick #58 - Issac Asiata, OG, Utah: If they don't sign Clady, the Seahawks probably come back with an OL in the 2nd round. Asiata is a mauler in the run game which is a point of emphasis for the Seahawks this year. Western Michigan's Taylor Moton might also be a consideration here if falls this far, but given his athletic ability that's doubtful. So either Asiata pushes 2016 1st round pick Germain Ifedi to RT or he lines up next to Moton at RG.

Round 3 - Pick #90 - Sidney Jones, CB, Washington: If he lasts this long after his Achilles tear, I think the Seahawks snap him up.
Round 3 - Pick #102 - Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington: Adding a defensive lineman will be a priority early in this draft for the Seahawks.
Round 3 - Pick # 106 - Jeremey Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas: With Luke Wilson and Jimmy Graham free agents in 2018, it makes sense to add another TE to the roster this year.
Round - 6 - Pick #210 - Jalen Reeves-Maybin, OLB, Tennessee: Seahawks are looking to add a linebacker with quickness at some point in the draft.
Round - 7 - Pick #226 - Bryan Cox, DE, Florida: Looking for an outside pass rusher.

Obviously, additional free agent signings could affect priorities as the draft nears.