Seattle Seahawks May Scouting Report
Grading a Seattle draft is not a simple task. And most national talking heads are not good at it at all. How much sense can it possibly make that if you switch the order in which players were taken by the same team that you would grade the draft higher? That is exactly what some are saying with Seattle’s first and second picks. The games will play the same next year and if the guy taken second is actually that good then they will be playing at a discount! At any rate, I think it best to walk through the positions as they stand post draft to explain why I give Seattle an A for their use of 4 picks + DE Frank Clark and turning them into 11 players this year and one second round pick next year on 7 trades. Additional value comes from the cap space allowing for free agent moves. Seattle is so much better off right now than they were before the Clark trade no matter how much I wanted to see him stay in Seattle.
There will be a quarterback battle in Seattle this year, just not for QB Russell Wilson’s starting role. QB Paxton Lynch and QB Geno Smith will work to show what they have left to offer in a backup role. Smith fits better at what Russ normally does, but Lynch is younger and healthier. Theoretically Lynch has more upside, but we all hope neither of these guys will actually take a snap except in clean up roles. I think cap space may determine the winner more than competition.
I was already reporting that Seattle was happy with the addition of OG Mike Iupati and resigning OG DJ Fluker going into the draft and did not expect any early round additions. But they are still graded down by national media because somehow one of those 4 picks did not turn into a lineman who may not have made a start next year. LT Duane Brown is an all pro and RT Germain Ifedi played significantly better last year. C Justin Britt is starting to show some age, but wiley centers can last longer than other lineman. Oddly, Seattle kept their 4th round pick and added Phil Haynes who is a 6’2, 322 pound run stopper with a motor and a nasty streak. And he does stand a chance to end up starting at guard if he can put up a respectable pass defense.
This was another spot that I expected Seattle to stand pat. RB Chris Carson had a great year last year and RB Rashaad Penny had a year that must have felt like a gut punch to him. Carson is a solid bet to succeed, but Penny has worked his tail off in the offseason wanting to come in and show he is worth his first round draft pick status. Nothing is more fun to watch than a ‘Hawk with a chip on their shoulder. And yet despite the lack of need and reasonable depth, Seattle used one of the picks acquired by trading down from the 21st pick in the first (and trading down again in the 4th) to pick up RB Travis Homer in the 6th. Homer is a 5′ 10″, 200 pound All-ACC guy from Miami with a real shot at making the team over RB CJ Prosise and RB JD McKissic, who both are fighting to find playing time as it is.
I was worried that WR Doug Baldwin had taken his last snap and this was confirmed during the draft. WR Tyler Lockett will do fine in the slot where Angry Doug thrived, but the rest of this group needs to step up. WR DK Metcalf is another player taken with the trade value of that 21st overall pick. Metcalf has all the talent to be a first round pick and now has a Seahawk-sized chip on his shoulder from being a late second rounder. All the better. He should garner attention on the field just running routes and make life easier for Lockett. That same 21st overall pick also brought us 4th round WR Gary Jennings. Jennings is also tremendously fast. These three on the field at the same time, even if the newbies do not have the quickness of Lockett, will be something new for Seattle and our deadly, deep ball throwing, improv wizard quarterback. Now if WR David Moore or WR Amara Darboh breaks out this group will not be the weakest group on the team. Using one pick to get a 3rd down running back and 2 starting receivers in 3 wide sets -- that sounds like an A grade to me. And we aren’t done with that pick yet!
Do you need anyone other than OT George Fant? Ok, maybe. But I love seeing him tackle eligible. TE Will Dissly did show flashes as a receiving threat, but he is coming back from injury and we will have to see what he can do now. Someone else might show up here with fantasy value, but probably not.
PK Jason Myers will be an upgrade, but this may not be a fantasy point generating spot. Neither is punting, but I wanted to get another all pro name on the report. Michael Dickson will be back rocking the punt and hopefully not improv-ing for first downs too often.
DE Frank Clark will obviously be missed, but Seattle now has tons of cap space even after signing DE Ziggy Ansah. If Ziggy does not recover completely from injury then he could turn into a 3rd round compensatory draft pick. If he does recover, then he will be a steal. There is no downside signing this guy. The first round pick this year that was received for Clark was used for DE LJ Collier. That does not make him Clark’s replacement, but he will help strengthen a position that was already struggling even with Clark. I am still hopeful for DE Rasheem Green, but he really needs to show something this year. On the tackle side, DT Jarran Reed and DT Poona Ford look solid-ish. Another FA acquisition on the defensive front would not be a bad thing.
Seattle has one of the best groups of linebackers in football and adding 3rd rounder Cody Barton won’t hurt that. There should not be a problem getting an offer sheet together for LB Bobby Wagner now that the Clark trade freed up so much cap space. Reed should get some of that love too ensuring these two clog up the middle of the field for years to come.
The corners got no help from the draft, so the plan remains for the young guys to step up. At safety we have a new face with second rounder SS Marquise Blair, who was also acquired in that trade of the 21st overall pick. He may well start too. But wait. There’s more. Chiming in during the fourth round, again acquired with that 21st overall pick, is FS Ugo Amadi. He is no ET, but who is? Still he could be a starter especially since if he cannot win out at free safety he also can play nickel corner which is an area of need too. The identity of the next LOB is totally up for grabs at this point.
So that is 5 guys who can be reasonably forecasted as starters (at least in bit roles) all from using a single first round pick in trade. The sixth guy acquired with trades for that pick is 5th round LB Ben Burr-Kirven. He has upside and should start on special teams. Seriously, if Seattle had gone into the draft with only that one first round pick for the entire draft, they would have 6 players who are better than I was afraid they could have ended up with using their original 4 picks. I am ready for this season to get started!
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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