Scouting Seahawks: 2017 NFL Draft Watch List

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EDGE Rushers:

Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

Tim Williams, Alabama

Dawuane Smoot, Illinois

Taco Charlton, Michigan

Takkarist McKinley has been rising up draft boards as he continues to produce. The 6’3, 265 pound senior is still very raw, but he flashes the potential to be an elite player in the NFL. McKinley has an interesting backstory, as he was abandoned by his parents and raised by his grandmother. McKinley committed to Cal but failed to qualify academically.

After starring at Contra Costa Community College, McKinley signed on to play for the Bruins a few games into the 2014 season. During his first two seasons, McKinley played out of position on the interior defensive line, limiting his production. This season, McKinley has exploded. Before the season, he said that he would be the best pass rusher in the country. He has backed up this claim thus far, as he is tied for first with 9.0 sacks.

UCLA’s McKinley shows fantastic explosion off the edge. He does play too high, which can lead to him getting bullied off the ball. McKinley does have a “Seahawky” attitude. He has a nonstop motor and doesn’t take snaps off. He displays the grit necessary to be a Seahawk. 

I already talked about Tim Williams at length in my Alabama vs Tennessee preview, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Williams is an elite pass rusher. Whether it’s using his dynamic athleticism, violent hands or flexibility, Williams excels at winning the edge and getting to the quarterback. Off the field issues may keep him out of the top ten, but Williams is a special athlete on the field. 

More from Seattle Seahawks Draft

Smoot is one of the best pass rushers in this draft class. While he isn’t the pure athlete that Tim Williams is, Dawuane Smoot has the size, strength, and technique to be an effective pass rusher.

He has impressive burst and an elite first step. Fellow Illini DE Jihad Ward was a 2nd round pick last year, but Smoot is already more refined than Ward at this point in his career. Smoot was an all-state hurdler in High School. He excels at converting speed to power. 

The Seahawks love draft prospects with unique physical traits and Taco Charlton has unique size and athleticism. The 6’6, 272 pound Charlton has a long, lean, muscular frame. He’s an incredibly raw prospect, but his sky-high potential could have teams salivating to get him in their building. Plus, his mentor at Michigan was former Michigan defensive end and current Seahawk Frank Clark.