Final Grades For The Seahawks 2020 Draft Class And Thoughts About Veteran Acquisitions Moving Forward

KNOXVILLE, TN - 2018.11.03 - Tennessee vs. Charlotte

The next Cliff Avril or Frank Clark in Seattle? I think so.

Let me be the first to say that grading a draft class is a stupid waste of time. Example, the 2012 Seattle Seahawk draft class that included Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, and Russell Wilson, Jeremy Lane, and JR Sweezy (all eventual starters) was universally panned and given an F by many of the so-called highly paid draft experts.

The biggest fundamental reason why I feel like it is such a massive waste of time is that the NFL scouting community uses draft experts to spread a certain amount of disinformation on players hoping that players they really covet will fall to them. They will say things like “well, he’s fast, but he didn’t do this, and never showed that he could do that..”

You probably get my drift by now, and I would also say that grading a draft before these players have a chance to suit up and play on Sundays is also pointless. It’s also probably unfair to grade them until they have had at least a couple seasons under their belt.

So that said, I am going to continue this silly exercise to divvy out my grades for this class followed by a few descriptors explaining the grade given. Be forewarned, I like this class.

Jordyn Brooks, Linebacker, Texas Tech. Grade A+

I’m giving this high grade because Seattle took the very best player on their draft board after not exercising a trade back. There was no reach here, and Brooks also filled a position of some need. On top of pass rush, Seattle also needed to get faster on defense. They took a lightening fast linebacker who was regarded as the best run stopper at his position in the class. There is some thought that he is not good in coverage, but I think the more accurate description is that his coverage skills are not at the level of where he is as a run defender and a tackler in space.  Word has it that had Seattle not taken him at 27, Baltimore would have at 28. Seattle’s defense got faster with this pick.

Darrell Taylor, Defensive End, Tennessee. Grade B+

Kudos for Seattle able to get the edge rusher they wanted (I believe John Schneider when he said that they would have taken Taylor with the first pick if Brooks was not there). Taylor has the physical profile that they covet for the Leo end position, and Pro Football Focus gave him a 84.9 pass rushing grade in the SEC last year. I wrote after day two of the draft that when watching him, he reminds me of Cliff Avril. Looking at more tape, I think he might be closer to Frank Clark. He looks really strong and explosive on top fast, but his pass rush is raw, and it is probably important for Seattle to add one more quality pass rushing vet for him to learn behind. I believe his upside is likely higher than anyone else in this class, though, and I can see why they wanted him.

Damien Lewis, Guard, LSU. Grade B

I love Damien Lewis, and if I were to pick a guard to play in front of Russell Wilson out of this draft class, he would be towards the very top of my list. At 6-2 and 327 lbs, he is monstrously strong, as he is able to squat over 600 lbs (good lord). You see that on tape in the way he can abuse defensive tackles. He also had a great Senior Bowl week, handling his own in pass rush drills against star defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw who was drafted by San Francisco. You can see the logic in this pick at 69, but there was a couple quality DTs on the board that would have further added to an area of greater need (defensive line). I really wanted Seattle to land one of those guys, but Lewis instantly made DJ Fluker expendable, as they cut the vet right after the draft. That says something.

Colby Parkinson, Tight End, Stanford. Grade A-

I’m giving this pick a high grade because I think, like Brooks, Seattle went with the best player on their board regardless of position, and at this point of the draft, the best defensive tackles, offensive tackles, and wide receivers were gone. He was a five star athlete coming into Stanford, and he did not drop a single pass in 2019. His blocking needs work, but a 6-7 and 250 lb with that kind of receiving ability is pretty interesting. I was a big fan of this selection. Seattle likely found great value here.

DeeJay Dallas, Running Back, Miami. Grade C+

Seattle needed to come out of this draft with a runner, and I think Dallas fits the profile of what Seattle looks for there. He kind of reminds me of Mike Davis from a couple years ago. He looks like a player that could become a dependable third down back that can spell the starter for a series or two per game. However, there was Virginia corner Bryce Hall still available, and I was hoping that Seattle would go in that direction. This was a fill a need pick.

Alton Robinson, Defensive End, Syracuse. Grade A

If I had to pick the greatest value pick out of this draft class for Seattle, it would be this guy. If he was taken where they took Damien Lewis, it would make sense for Seattle to double down aggressively on pass rush like that (as their pass rush was so scant in 2019). Pete Carroll said that he was the player he was most surprised was still available, and I had seen a lot of mock drafts that had him going in the second or third rounds. When looking at his tape, the NFL player that he most reminds me of is Everson Griffen (a current free agent that Seattle has been linked to and Carroll coached at USC). Physically, he looks very similar and he kinda has that same bend around the corner.

Freddie Swain, Wide Receiver, Florida. Grade C

I’m not going to pretend to know much about Swain. On tape he looks like a very good punt returner, and he has shown nice hands and agility going after errant throws, and looks like a decent run after the catch guy who can work the slot. John Schneider said that he’s a tough competitor that their scouts were drawn to. My feeling is that he was drafted to compete with David Moore as the fourth or fifth receiver and if he handles returns well enough in camp, he might beat him out.

Stephen Sullivan, TE/WR, LSU. Grade A+

This was the guy that Pete Carroll really wanted to come out of this draft with, and Seattle traded back into the draft late to get him. Bravo. He comes into Seattle with an incredible back story about overcoming adversity while growing up with numerous hard realities. He played receiver and tight end at LSU with a greater background at receiver. He had a strong Senior Bowl week and was an explosive tester at the combine. While he is raw, he has huge upside, and I think the coaches are going to work to carve out a niche role for him. He will be very determined to learn and do whatever they ask out of him, and I wouldn’t bet against this guy making the final roster.

Final Thoughts About This Class and a Few Thoughts About What Seattle Might Do Moving Forward Towards Training Camp

Overall, I would grade this class a solid B+. I like it a lot better than a lot of experts. I think they found great value in Brooks, Parkinson, Robinson, and Sullivan. I think that they are successful in attacking their biggest need by land two pass rushers with starting potential. I really like that they found a solid guard prospect.

I will be honest and say that I was pretty disappointed that they did not come out of this draft with a quality defensive tackle, or an offensive tackle that can be groomed behind Duane Brown. This draft looked strong at both positions in the top portion of it. Darrell Taylor well be the next great pass rusher drafted by Seattle, he certainly has all the traits, but I thought Alabama’s defensive tackle Raekwon Davis was perhaps more plug and play ready. I was salivating over the idea of lining him up inside with Jarran Reed.

I was also a bit disappointed that they didn’t draft one of the higher quality receivers earlier. I think had Seattle been able to execute an initial trade back, they would have been in position for that in the third round.

But this is how the NFL draft goes sometimes. It’s hard to fill all your needs. This is why I feel like Seattle will be active soon enough filling out remaining needs with either veteran free agents or veterans acquired in trades.

If I were a betting man, I would bet that Seattle brings in a quality run stopping defensive tackle. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised (or disappointed) if that player is Damon “Snacks” Harrison. I think Harrison is exactly what Pete Carroll loves at defensive tackle. At 6-3 and 350 lbs, he is a massive run stopper who, if paired inside with Jarran Reed, would eat up space, and keep blockers off Bobby Wagner. His presence would be an immediate upgrade to the defensive line.

I think Seattle will also land one more veteran edge rusher. I think it is far too important for  the development of Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson to not do this. If it isn’t Jadeveon Clowney being brought back, I would expect it to probably be Everson Griffen, and maybe even Michael Bennett.

We shall see soon enough, though. Oh, yes we shall.

Go Hawks.




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