The Seattle Seahawks have 9 picks in what GM John Schneider calls the “best draft class we’ve ever seen.” But does this guarantee them a successful draft?
Those who know me or read my stuff know this; while I try to be pragmatic, realistic and analytical, when it comes to the Seahawks I generally tend to be optimistic and positive. Not only is that my nature, but the way this organization is run makes it difficult to think any other way.
As we look ahead to the start of the 2016 draft, now less than two weeks away, it’s hard not to like the Seahawks chances of nailing a great draft class, for the following reasons:
- As mentioned above, Schneider and other executives around the league love the depth and overall talent of this class of prospects
- The Seahawks have 9 picks, and could pick up more if they are able to trade down at any point
- The team enters this draft with only a couple glaring positional needs, allowing them to focus on those groups with multiple picks to enhance their chances of “hitting” on future stars
But sometimes, no matter how many mock drafts and interviews and personal workouts and film study a staff does, things just don’t fall your way on draft day.
Take the Philadelphia Eagles, for example. In 2012, then head coach Andy Reid wanted QB Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin, and he wanted him badly. It’s been said that their entire draft strategy was built around getting him in the third round…..their future franchise quarterback. But of course, Seattle selected him before they had a chance, stunning most NFL observers. 13 picks later the Eagles selected Arizona QB Nick Foles. How did that work out for them?
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That’s one example of how a single player dramatically impacted the future or two franchises. Seattle went on to win a Super Bowl and nearly another, while the Eagles are now on their third coach since then.
So what if things don’t go the way Schneider and Pete Carroll expect them to April 28th – 30th? What’s the Seahawks worst case draft scenario?
It might look something like this:
Jared Goff goes #1 to the Rams, and Cleveland isn’t sold on Wentz in that spot. THEY wanted Goff too, but instead of reaching for a prospect they feel doesn’t match that value, and failing to find a suitable trade scenario, they take another building block instead to add to their complete rebuilding project (Jalen Ramsey? Joey Bosa?).
Wentz also gets past San Francisco. The 49ers have chosen to stick with Colin Kaepernick, and Chip Kelly is in full “win now” mode. Now Wentz is in total free fall as the first round moves into the list of franchises that are set at QB. As a result, teams start cherry-picking from the two position groups Seattle needs most….. offensive and defensive line. In the process, the highest rated players on Seattle’s board are scooped up, leaving them with the prospect of having to pick a player at #26 they don’t have rated as a first round pick.
NO ONE WANTS TO TRADE UP TO #26
It takes two to tango, and at this point John Schneider desperately wants to move down. But the sliding QB factor is a double whammy. Not only does it cause a run on the linemen they desired, but QB-needy teams hoping to strike in the 2nd round choose patience over bravery. There’s no desperation now for teams who missed out on Goff/Wentz/Lynch to panic and move up to take a chance on a Connor Cook or Christian Hackenburg.
The Seahawks are stuck.
THEY’RE FORCED TO REACH
They end up with Florida’s Jonathan Bullard instead of Sheldon Rankins or Andrew Billings. Bullard is a solid, technically sound player at a position of need (DT/DE) but falls short of being dynamic and isn’t known as an explosive pass rusher. He has the look of a rotational player more so than a bona fide star.
THEY MISS OUT ON THE MEAT OF THE 2ND ROUND
The run on linemen in the 1st round has a snowball effect into the early-to-mid 2nd. The Seahawks can only sit and watch as the next wave of attractive offensive line targets on their board (Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg, Shon Coleman….) get snatched up. They end up taking a running back instead, as some good ones fall into their hands as a result.
COPYCAT TEAMS HAVE THEM FIGURED OUT
The Seahawks staff has become know for liking a certain specific type of players; uber-athletic and long, with the versatility to play multiple positions. Other teams are more adept at assessing the Hawks draft board and hitting on those players before Schneider and company get a chance to take them.
SCHNEIDER PANICS, TRADES UP
This forces the Seahawks GM’s hand, and he deals up to get a player he and his staff really likes. Maybe into the top of the third round, perhaps even the 2nd. So now instead of 9 picks, the Seahawks only end up adding 6 or 7 draftees to the roster. Thus decreasing their odds of finding multiple star/starters this time around, something that’s crucial as they attempt to stay young and competitive around their high-priced core.
So instead of a group of players as attractive as the one outlined in my most recent Seahawks Full 7 Round Mock Draft, we see role players and high-risk players rolling into rookie camp. More projection than prosperous.
Could it happen? Absolutely. ANYTHING can happen on draft day.
Will it? With the sheer depth of this class it’s unlikely, and in many ways it plays perfectly into Seattle’s hands.
Perhaps, too perfectly…….. (cue dramatic music)