The Seattle Seahawks own the 26th pick in this year’s NFL draft, giving them the opportunity to find an impact starter at a position of need.
The silver lining to being knocked out of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs for the Seahawks is that they may finally have a high enough draft pick to consider keeping it. They haven’t drafted a player in the first round since taking Bruce Irvin 15th overall in 2012. That’s three years and counting without a first rounder.
The reasons point to an overall philosophy for GM John Schneider. Draft picks are assets meant to be cashed in for value in return. Sometimes that value comes from simply taking a player in that spot. But often, it means trading the pick. In 2013 the choice was sent to Minnesota for Percy Harvin. Last year’s top pick netted them TE Jimmy Graham, and in 2014 they simply traded down from the 32nd spot in an attempt to find more value later in the draft.
This year should be different. Sitting at 26, in a mostly solid draft and facing a number of key personnel decisions, the Seahawks could net themselves an immediate starter and long-time fixture if they nail their first selection.
It’s early, and I haven’t begun deep draft prep quite yet, but based on overall prospect rankings put together by Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of cbssports.com, here’s a preliminary look at some of the potential players who might be great fits for the Seahawks in the first round.
First, we start with what most agree is the most obvious need in this year’s draft….. offensive line:
JACK CONKLIN, T, Michigan State
Conklin was hardly recruited out of high school, but after Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio took a last-minute second look at his tape he invited him to walk on. After a redshirt season in 2012 all he’s done is start for three straight seasons. Now he’s an early-entry junior currently ranked #25 overall by DraftScout. He has prototype size at 6’6″ and 318 lbs. Reviews are mixed on how high his ceiling is;
"“Some scouts are head-over-heels excited about his potential while others are simply lukewarm on his NFL future, but regardless, Conklin displays the “steady-eddie” skill-set and intangibles that should lead to a long pro career.” — Dane Brugler, NFL DraftScout"
I’ll take a “steady-eddie” wouldn’t you? Conklin could likely slide right in at LT from day one if Russell Okung departs as a free agent and Garry Gilliam stays on the right side.
SHON COLEMAN, T, Auburn
Coleman is one of the most intriguing stories in this years draft pool. One of the nation’s top recruits out of high school, Coleman was diagnosed with Leukemia as a freshman and spent the next 30 months undergoing chemotherapy treatments. He finally recovered enough to play football again, and he played at a high level. Once he regained his strength and weight he finished his career as a two year starter at LT. He’s generally considered a Top-30 prospect but may but a bit too raw to start immediately. He will also be “old” for a rookie at 25. The key for him will be the physical tests. If he gets a clean bill of health he’s certainly an intriguing prospect.
Next: More help on defense?