As the 2019 NFL draft is mere weeks away, every team is nailing down all of their different strategies to take based on exactly how the draft plays out. The amount of “if, then” analysis going into every pick is mind boggling to say the least, but with only four draft picks to their name this year, it is almost a given that the Seattle Seahawks are going to trade down from their current pick, at 21st overall. The track record for John Schneider is fairly unblemished in terms of trading down or out of the first round, with the exception of drafting Rashaad Penny in the first round last year, but trading down in 2019 looks to be a slam dunk. With all the expert mock drafts forecasting which player Seattle would select if they had the 21st overall pick, here are a few guys who will still be available between the end of the first round and the beginning of the second that the hawks will still have a chance at.
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
With Frank Clark’s future in Seattle uncertain and a thin defensive line across the board, a defensive lineman makes the most sense for Seattle early and often in this year’s draft. Ferrell is fresh off of a championship run with the Clemson Tigers which was capped off with a demolition of the Alabama Crimson Tide by 28 points. Individually, Ferrell recorded 55 tackles, including 11.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 2018. With three years starting at one of the most dominant front seven in college football and two championships under his belt, he would be an instant impact for Seattle from day one. The Seahawks generated a large majority of their sacks from just two players in 2018 which made them easier to game plan for, but adding Ferrell and having Ken Norton Jr. calling the defense would make Seattle’s D-line more versatile and effective and allow the secondary to ball hawk and make plays instead of being restricted by deep zone coverage.
Taylor Rapp, Safety, Washington
When Earl Thomas went down with a broken leg last season after one of the most publicized holdouts in recent memory, whoever came in to replace him was going to be held to a dramatically high standard, and Tedric Thompson did not impress. Where Thomas was a demon on the field and a leader in the locker room, Thompson was a bland, up and down player who got lost in the scheme and was picked on throughout the season. Seattle needs a leader in that secondary to carry the torch into the future and with 3 years of playing at an all-american level for a husky program that turns out secondary talent at like nobody’s business, Rapp is the man to do it. He has played in 13 games every year of his career and in 2018 alone, Taylor recorded 58 tackles, including 5 for a loss, with 2 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, and 4 passes defended. Rapp also has a Kam Chancellor quality about him that allows him to thump anyone he comes up against and stay on the field because of his relentless motor and terrific technique and he could be the answer for Seattle to captain the secondary for years to come.
Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College
Seattle’s offensive line may have seemed dominant last season, with the hawks leading the league in rushing, but Russell actually ended up taking a career high in sacks with 51. With J.R. Sweezy skipping town, Seattle would benefit from having a quality young guy in between Duane Brown and Justine Britt to learn from while he takes on NFL caliber defensive linemen, and Lindstrom is a perfect fit for Seattle’s system. Boston College’s offense runs the ball heavily and gashes the defense through the air off their play action, doesn’t that sound familiar? Seattle ran the ball more than anybody last season and Russell is one of, if not the best down field throwers in the league. Lindstrom showed to be a dominant run blocker and an excellent anchor in the passing game to protect the quarterback as he was rolling out, both things we saw Sweezy do a lot of last season during Seattle’s run back to the playoffs. His effectiveness in a division that contains some of the top defensive line talent in this draft and his reported high football IQ make him a clear option for Seattle to finally hit on an O-line prospect in the early rounds.
All three of these guys would be excellent fits for Seattle even if they didn’t trade down to bolster their pick total, but the Seahawks find themselves in the advantageous position of a deep draft at most of the positions they need. This team needs to draft for the near future since they are not quite in win now mode, but with a plethora of compensatory picks coming their way in 2020, Seattle will have the assets to turn themselves into a contender once again. Watch out for the Seahawks to be a little more aggressive than usual in the middle and late rounds to ensure they get the guys they believe will be ready to contribute in the immediate future.