The Seattle Seahawks made the playoffs this past season, but have holes to fill. Who could they target in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft?
Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks not only made it to the 2016 NFL Playoffs, but also won a game. However, they were no match in the Divisional Round against the Atlanta Falcons. All along, the Seahawks were a flawed team that only became more flawed after the brutal injury to safety Earl Thomas. Now they enter the offseason with major holes to fill. That’s where the 2017 NFL Draft could play a major factor in their immediate future.
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Though the Seahawks are selecting with the No. 26 overall pick in the first round, they still have the opportunity to address needs in that spot. This is a deep draft, but their positioning does create somewhat of a quandary. Their biggest need is by far offensive tackle and, unlike one year ago, this class is shallow early at the position. Subsequently, they’re likely not going to have a chance at the best tackle prospect: Ryan Ramczyk.
Even still, there are other tackles to have their eyes on, even if it means trading up or back to get proper value. As they stand now, though, we’ll take a look at five players that the Seahawks should show interest in when it comes to pick No. 26.
Here are five first-round options for the Seattle Seahawks in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Sep 10, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Quincy Wilson (6) during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 45-7. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
5. Quincy Wilson, CB – Florida
When you look at the likes of Richard Sherman in the Seattle Seahawks defense, you see the prototype for the player they like at cornerback. Pete Carroll and his staff love their corners big-bodied, physical and long. Quincy Wilson out of Florida may not be the same imposing build that Sherman offers. However, he’s the type of player that checks off enough of those boxes and with enough upside to be a player the Seahawks could covet.
At 6-0, 209 pounds, you can see the size and length are there, though not to an overwhelming degree. More importantly, it’s clear when watching Wilson on film that he has the ability to be physical both in press coverage and if he comes up and defend the run. He will need coaching in that regard to become more willing to embrace that physicality, but the potential for him to be that type of player that Seattle loves is there.
This offseason could be interesting for the Seahawks defense as they may look to upgrade their cornerback situation and depth below Sherman on the depth chart. Wilson would give them the opportunity to try and do that immediately and certainly moving forward. While it feels doubtful that they would pull the trigger on doing that in the first round, they may have to if they hope to get a player that fits their desired mold.
Oct 8, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Malik McDowell (4) is blocked by Brigham Young Cougars offensive lineman Tuni Kanuch (78) during the second half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
4. Malik McDowell, DT – Michigan State
When you think of the Seahawks and their defense, you first think of the secondary. However, the defense as a whole has a strong reputation of being big, strong, and nasty up front. Part of that is the combination of Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright at linebacker and part of that is because of Michael Bennett’s effectiveness. However, what many may not realize is that the Seahawks were at least average, if not worse, in terms of their defensive tackles in 2016.
Jarran Reed and Ahtyba Rubin aren’t exactly inspiring anyone to call them stars anytime soon. Making the need more dire in that regard, though, is that John Jenkins and Tony McDaniel behind Reed and Rubin on the depth chart are free agents this offseason. That leaves them both needing a potential playmaker and quality depth at defensive tackle. Malik McDowell may not be the perfect prospect for the Seahawks defensive stylings, but he’s a player with the potential to fill both of those voids.
McDowell is a physical presence that announces his authority whenever he sees fit. He can beat opponents with either speed, power or a combination of both. What’s more, the Spartans big man is effective in any situation (run or pass). However, the “whenever he sees fit” is important as there are concerns regarding his effort level and motor. As such, putting him in a system like the Seahawks where so much is based on accountability on the field could be great for him. He might not make it to Seattle at No. 26, but they should certainly have an eye on him.
Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) tackles Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
3. DeMarcus Walker, DL – Florida State
Once again looking at the unlikely possibility that Seattle would do something other than take an offensive tackle in the first round and once again looking at their front four, DeMarcus Walker out of Florida State seems like the better fit. While he’s contrary to McDowell in that he might be a bit of a reach at No. 26, Walker’s resume for the Seminoles speaks for itself and he has the tools to be a player that the Seahawks would certainly maximize the talent of.
At 6-4, 280 pounds, Walker stands as somewhat of a “tweener” when it comes to his NFL position. While he largely played on the edge in college—and was obviously successful given gaudy sack and tackles for loss numbers—there’s the possibility that a team would prefer to push him inside, even just situationally. Lucky for the Seahawks, that’s exactly the type of player they need.
Seattle needs a player to both add depth on the interior of their line and on the edge. While McDowell would help them to address the former, he’s no help with the latter. Walker could be a situational player that still sees plenty of work because of his versatility to fit whatever situation that the Seahawks are in, both in terms of down and in terms of depth and fatigue. So if Seattle elects to go outside of their O-line, Walker should be their best option on their board.
Oct 29, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes offensive lineman Garett Bolles (72) celebrates a touchdown by Utah Utes tight end Evan Moeai (not pictured) during the second half against the Washington Huskies at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Washington won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
2. Garett Bolles, OT – Utah
The Seahawks are going to have to settle on not-the-best offensive tackle in the 2017 NFL Draft class if they stay at pick No. 26. Interestingly enough, though, the way that the draft order falls, they might not be able to get either of the two best prospects at the position. With the Denver Broncos picking at No. 20, that could well be the case. Thus, they have to have a contingency plan with addressing their biggest need in the first round.
Garett Bolles out of Utah becomes that contingency plan by default. As the draft process has worn on, he’s inched closer to being in the same conversation as Ramczyk and Cam Robinson, though he’s still a bit behind them. However, he has all of the tools necessary to be a high-quality tackle in the NFL, though it may not happen immediately for the Utes star. Part of that is because of his age (already 24 years old), but also because he’s still somewhat of a raw prospect.
With that being said, it’s evident on film that Bolles loves being in the trenches and battling edge rushers on the outside. If someone tries to bull-rush the 6-5, 296-pound tackle, they might as well kiss their chances goodnight. He loves a good tussle on the edge and wins the majority of those battles. Of course, his aggressiveness can be to his detriment at times as technique becomes sacrificed. While that may be the case, though, he has the tools and mentality to be a prospect that the Seahawks especially would love to have at the position.
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Cam Robinson (74) in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game against the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
1. Cam Robinson, OT – Alabama
As previously discussed, there’s virtually no world in which the Seahawks are able to get the best offensive tackle in the 2017 NFL Draft class without making a trade up to get Ryan Ramczyk. In fact, it might even be unlikely that the second best player at the position drops to No. 26. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there is hope and that he should be their top option. That’s where Cam Robinson out of Alabama comes into play.
Robinson has seen his stock take a dip—so much in relation to Ramczyk’s rise that they’ve swapped as the Nos. 1 and 2 players at the position—since early in the college football season. Much of that is due to an imbalance between his run and pass blocking abilities, the former being far stronger. When blocking for the pass, the Crimson Tide product has inconsistencies in regards to his footwork, pad-level and essentially his overall technique.
With that said, he can be a valuable run-blocker from his first day on the job. Robinson’s size and strength allow him to control the trenches and get to the second level with ease as he’s grading the road ahead of ball-carriers. That fits well with Seattle and, given his physical tools, he can also further develop as a pass-blocker. Even with his shortcomings, though, he’d immediately be the best tackle on the Seahawks roster, thus making him the obvious No. 1 option.