My First Mock-Draft: Inside the Seahawks’ War Room
November 05, 2011; Houston, TX, USA; Rice Owls wide receiver Vance McDonald (88) makes a reception in the first quarter against the Texas El Paso Miners at Rice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
I just finished my first mock draft and it was an interesting experience. I’m not somebody who follows draft boards and college players very closely. There are so many of them and the chances of a certain player ending up on your team are very small. Therefore, unless one is genuinely interested in all aspects of the draft, I see it as a waste of time.
That being said, this mock draft was set up as a “war room” with a committee of people for each team which I actually liked. As somebody who didn’t know individual players per se, I found other ways to contribute. I feel like I have a very good idea of what Seattle currently needs, and what type of player would fit into the Pete Carroll system. So I tried to keep everybody on the game plan of drafting by position needed, instead of just the best player that looked good at the moment.
My one negative was that this draft took way too long. It started on Thursday and went all the way to Monday. Each team had up to three hours to make their picks so the window for our draft pick could vary widely. I’d lock that down if I were the organizer.
At the outset we decided our needs were (in general order) defensive tackle or end, weak-side linebacker, tight end, offensive guard or tackle, cornerback, safety, and wide receiver. We also realized we had more picks than roster spots so we felt we had some flexibility and could afford to bundle picks together to move up into the middle rounds, which we did twice.
In the end, after all trades, our picks were 1.28, 2.26, 3.25, 3.29, 4.28, 5.05, 5.30 and 7.25.
We tried to move out of the first round all together since we picked so late and figured our first target of Kawann Short (DT) from Purdue would be there for us in the early second. We arranged a trade twice with Detroit but they reneged both times. In the end we took Short with the 1.28 pick (traded 1.25 to Denver) which was a reach, but he was our target and filled a need. We stuck to the plan and got an instant upgrade to the defensive line.
The targets for our next two picks were weak-side lineback and tight end but we once again didn’t pick until late in the second. At 2.26 we took Khaseem Greene who fit what we figured was Seattle’s ideal WLB. I wasn’t as high on Alec Ogletree as many others were, but he went earlier anyway. Greene was a solid pick and the person we were targeting anyway.
Next up we wanted a TE. Ideally, it was going to be Travis Kelce from Cincinnati. He is a do-it-all tight end that we figured could free up Zach Miller to be more of an offensive threat. Unfortunately, Kelce was snatched before he got to us so we adapted.
With the 25th pick of the third round we took Tyrann Mathieu (CB) from LSU. He brings controversy and some off-field issues but we liked his ball-hawking nature and recognized a need at slot-corner. We figured Carroll could get Mathieu on the straight and narrow and took a chance. We also saw him as a kick returner for the probable departure of Leon Washington. (This was pre-Percy Harvin. A trade that was never in the realm of possibility to us at this point.)
Four picks later, at 3.29 (we traded three picks to New England to move back into the third), we finally got our TE. Vance McDonald from Rice was our player at this draft position. He fit the physical multi-threat mold we were looking for. Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz were too one dimensional for our tastes and if they came to us we probably would have gone elsewhere. McDonald provides a lot of mismatch opportunities against the defense and would be a great compliment to Miller.
At this point in the draft, my knowledge of players got pretty thin to non-existent. This is where I would look into suggested players by Keith, Joe and Nick and primarily try to keep us on track for filling needs. I also was a big advocate in pushing us away from drafting a wide receiver as I personally don’t want more 5’11’’ to 6’1’’ guys. If we got a receiver, which we eventually did, I wanted to pick a receiver that could be tall, physical, and get down field.
At 4.28 we drafted Lavar Edwards (DE) from LSU. Edwards was seen as an option to take over for the now departed Jason Jones and as a player that could help provide an inside pass rush.
Just a few picks later with the fifth pick of the fifth round, we picked Chris Faulk (OT), also from LSU. I had urged us, and we had tried, to improve the offensive line earlier but our targeted players kept getting picked right before us, and the remaining value wasn’t worth it to pick on OT/OG that early. That being said, we see Faulk as a potential Breno Giacomini replacement and terrific run blocker. Keith has him rated as late-third early-fourth quality so it was a steal for us in the fifth. Hopefully he would get fewer penalties.
Between 5.05 and our next pick at 5.30 (acquired from Atlanta for 5th, 7th, and 2013 7th round picks) we learned that Seattle had acquired Percy Harvin and I internally celebrated in the fact that we had yet to draft a wide receiver, especially a smaller sized one, considering we just traded for one of the best in the league. Instead we drafted Corey Fuller (WR) from Virginia Tech. Fuller is 6’2’’, so still smaller, but is fast and can stretch defenses down field, similar to a Ricardo Lockette go-route that Seattle would run a few times a game. Fuller is raw and will need time, but we also saw the potential for him to help right away on special teams.
With our final pick, at 7.25, we took Ray Ray Armstrong (S) from Miami (Fl.). We had been looking for a safety to potentially back up Earl Thomas or replace Kam Chancellor in a few years, and we got him with our last pick. Armstrong hits like Chancellor, which we love, and can cover TEs and WRs across the middle. It will take him a few years, but luckily we have that to spare, if Armstrong even made the roster.
Overall, I think we came away with solid picks. We weren’t flashy and didn’t talk ourselves up, like some of the other managers (looking at you, San Francisco) but we came in with a plan. We stuck with it, filled our perceived gaps, and took good players that we thought would fit into Seattle’s “always compete” but high-character quality system.
Behind every pick there is a 50+ email long chain and many discussions. As a team though, there was limited argument and a generally shared goal. I relied largely on other members’ knowledge of individual players and I like to think I kept us from drifting too far down unproductive rabbit holes for players and positions we didn’t need. I probably wouldn’t ever do a mock draft solo, but I’d definitely do one as a team again (hopefully taking up less time).
I like to think Pete Carroll and John Schneider would approve of our logic, goals, and outcome. I’m proud of it and I think that the Seahawks post-draft would be better than pre-draft.
Here is a list of the trades that took place during the draft.
1.28 From Broncos for pick 1.25 (mock)
3.29 From Patriots for picks 5.25, 4.26, 7.14 (mock)
4.28 From Broncos for pick 1.25 (mock)
5.05 From Raiders for LB Aaron Curry (official)
5.30 From Falcons for picks 6.26, 7.08, 2013 7th Round (mock)
7.08 From Bills for QB Tarvaris Jackson (official)
7.14 From Saints for LB Barrett Ruud (official)