With Only Three Picks, The Seattle Seahawks Slay The 2021 NFL Draft

It’s been a weird goofy year, and a weird goofy Seahawk off-season with all the weird goofy stuff that Russell Wilson and his agent have been cooking.

I’ve had to write a lot of weird goofy stuff as a result. I’ve had to start every piece about how weird and goofy everything is from Russ throwing his offensive linemen under the bus to his agent saying that he doesn’t want to be traded but if he were, the Raiders, Saints, Cowboys and Bears all have uniforms that he would be happy to wear.

Days before the draft, I concocted a weird goofy mock draft where I sent Bobby Wagner to Carolina for an early third and fifth round pick. I then sent Quandre Diggs to Jacksonville for quarterback Gardner Minshew and a fourth round pick.

On top of feeling the need for Seattle to have an insurance plan at quarterback in the invent that Russ goes nuclear like Aaron Rodgers has done, I saw glaring needs at left tackle of the future, slot receiver, and corner back. With a little maneuvering, I found a way to gain three day two picks to address these three biggest needs, in my view.

Apparently, outside of a quarterback insurance policy, John Schneider saw things very similarly to me. With only three picks, Schneider maneuvered through this draft to select a receiver, corner, and a left tackle of the future.

In my humblest of humble opinions, Schneider killed this draft. He squashed it like a bug on a rug.

Folks will complain about Seattle only landing three picks, and that is fair in terms of building for the future, but I would say that what Seattle has done in signing undrafted free agents after the draft is pretty interesting, though. They landed players at receiver, corner, and offensive line with decent enough draft grades to think that they legitimately have a shot to make this club.

Players already on this roster that have been thought of as solid depth pieces are going to be in for a battle for a roster spot with players that have gone undrafted. It’s going to make for a fascinating training camp. I’m excited.

But lets look at this small but promising draft haul.

D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan

Seattle stayed at it’s native second round pick and took the player they viewed as the best player on their board. At 5-9 190 lbs, Eskridge is a lightening fast run-after-catch type who kinda stole the show at receiver during the Senior Bowl. He displayed good route running, solid hands, and exciting run after catch quicks.

He is being compared a bit to Tyreek Hill some. I can see some Percy Harvin type qualities as well. He’s an exciting returner as well as a receiver and runner.

It’s exciting to envision what he can do in this new Ram style offensive that Shane Waldron will be installing. It will be fun to watch him in motion and as a threat with end around runs, and occasional quick screens.

He’s played a lot outside, so I don’t believe he is strictly a slot receiver. Seattle can mix and match him with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and they all run 4.3 speed. That’s really exciting.

The only blemish with this pick is that the dude is already 24 years old, but that is a minor blemish in my view, and if the dude is making game changing plays on Sundays, very few people are going to be concerned that he will be 28 by the time he reaches his second contract. If you are concerned about that, do more yoga and lay off the coffee and red meat.

I love this pick. I felt like this was the biggest immediate need on the team, and I think Russell Wilson has missed having a deep receiving room over the past couple seasons. He should be thrilled about this pick.

Tre Brown, Cornerback, Oklahoma

It’s not a shock that the Seattle Seahawks took a cornerback with their second pick by the time they selected in the fourth round. It was a need for the team with all their top corners set to be free agents in 2022, and Seattle typically waits until the mid portions of the draft to select the position.

They know what they like at the position, and feel like they can be patient there. The highest they have ever picked a corner is in the later portion of round three when they took Shaquille Griffin in 2017. Richard Sherman and a long list of others have all be day three picks.

What is somewhat shocking is that they took a 5-9 190 lb fella to play outside corner on this team, and they view him as a player who will compete to start.

I call this the DJ Read/Jamal Adams effect.

With DJ Read, the tie in is obvious. Read was an undersized corner who was thrust into starting mid season for the Seahawks, and that was roughly the same time Seattle’s defense started to make its dramatic turnaround. Read proved sticky in coverage and a play-maker who looked more dynamic than Griffin in coverage and he played the run quite well, as well.

Brown has A LOT of Read’s sticky coverage game and play-making ability. He’s also shown to be quite explosive blitzing and playing the run. John Schneider said in the post draft press conference that had he been 6-2, he would have been a top ten pick in this draft. His game tape is impressive.

What I really think is going on with this pick, though, is all about Jamal Adams and what Pete Carroll’s defense is shifting into. I think will are going to see a continual shift out of the standard slanted 4-3 cover three defense into a much more aggressive hybrid Bear front that will call on more blitz looks and because of that, Seattle will require it’s corners to play more man than zone coverage in past years.

6-3 guys are not as necessary anymore, they are looking for pure cover guys, and that is what Brown is. Like Eskridge, he was another Senior Bowl standout.

I dig this pick and what it is potentially signaling for the defense moving forward.

Stone Forsythe, Offensive Tackle, Florida

The NFL draft is a funny crap shoot. We don’t ultimately know how is will shake out as things get going. For those of us that enjoy studying the prospects as we gear towards it, we gain ideas in our heads how we believe it was unfold.

When I did my mock draft last week, I had Seattle drafting a left tackle of the future project with it’s first pick. While I viewed receiver and corner bigger immediate needs, I acknowledged that perhaps the biggest future need is a replacement for 36 year old Duane Brown who’s contract is due to be up in 2022.

If Seattle took Stone Forsythe with its first pick on Friday, I would not have been disappointed with the selection. At 6-8 and 307 lbs, he is a towering left tackle prospect who was one of the best pure pass blockers in college last year going against the best pass rushers in the SEC, and he was viewed by many as a legit day two pick.

The knock on him is that he is not nearly as polished as a run blocker and the height is a concern in playing with good leverage. He was also viewed as a quite guy who might be more finesse than bully.

I think he slid into the sixth round because teams were concerned about his unusual height as his rawness as a run blocker, and maybe his demeanor as a person.

What he appears to be on tape is a very natural looking pass blocker with good feet and an impressive wingspan that made it more of a challenge getting by him in college, even for the top pass rushers. While it’s possible that he needs to get a bit stronger and he needs to refine his run blocking, he might not be as much of a project as one perhaps thinks.

He will also have the luxury of being the direct backup to one of the best left tackles in the game. Learning from Duane Brown is going to be a huge benefit for him, and it was clear by the sounds of Carroll in his press conference that he is viewed solely as a left tackle.

My view of this pick is that Seattle may have gotten the steal of the entire draft with this pick.

Getting a starting left tackle beyond the second round of the draft is really rare. This was a good draft for tackle, though, and if there was a year to do it, this might be the very one. I think that if it had not been for Covid, and if there would have been a NFL combine and team workouts, there is a chance this guy would be been drafted much much sooner than he was.

This was by far my favorite pick in this small class for the Seahawks and I loved the Eskridge pick.

Seahawks make noise in undrafted free agency.

Moments after the NFL draft concluded, the Seattle Seahawks agreed to term with Tamorrian Terry, a tall speedy receiver from Florida State. I had him mocked to Seattle in the later rounds as a backup to DK Metcalf as a player with upside who can fast, physical, and can stretch defenses.

The surprise signing for me, though, was Seattle signing South Dakota State receiver Cade Johnson, who as he was sitting there in round four, I began to wonder if Seattle would double down at the position and take him there. He’s viewed as a solid Tyler Lockett type of nifty route runner. I love this signing.

Seattle tripled down on undrafted receiver signings by bringing in local kid Connor Wedington from Stanford and they paid him an expensive $20K signing bonus to come home. He’s an athletic freak who might have more impact as a kick returner than receiver, but clearly, there is something to him that they really like a lot. This could be Seattle’s primary kick returner, which is interesting.

Suddenly, Freddie Swain’s roster spot doesn’t seem as certain with these three signings. If Wedington looks more promising as a returner than Swain and they don’t want to risk Eskridge there because they see a more immediate prominent role for him this season in the offense, Swain could be the odd guy out, especially if Johnson and Terry flash enough during the preseason.

Seattle also added cornerback Bryan Mills from NC Central who is a taller corner and another Senior Bowl standout. This is an interesting signing in my view and if Seattle would have taken him where they took Tre Brown, very few draft pundits would have batted an eye. He looks like a classic taller Pete Carroll corner. My only hope is that this signing doesn’t diminish the chances of Seattle bringing home Richard Sherman.

Out of all the other undrafted signings, I’m probably most intrigued by Texas A&M guard Jared Hocker who is a gigantic 6-6 327 pound human being. He’s another guy who was viewed as a potential mid round pick who was a three year starter coming out of Jimbo Fisher’s zone blocking scheme. With this signing, there is a big part of me that Seattle might have scored it’s left tackle of the future with Forsythe and it’s right guard of the future with Hocker.

As I view these signings mentioned, I see a scenario where, if Seattle had more picks sprinkled through this draft, a number of these guys could have been drafted by this team. It’s clear that Seattle viewed WR, CB, and OL has their top needs, and that is how they attacked things.

Moving forward

I’m much rosier about the 2021 outlook of the this team now. They avoided the Russell Wilson drama and look very committed to him now. In fact, I don’t expect to see him traded at all, and will write more on the reasons why in another piece later.

I think this draft, along with free agency reflects a shift of philosophy on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, this draft and free agency as Shane Waldron written all over it.

With Eskridge and Cade Johnson, there is an emphasis on smaller speedier run after catch guys who can be used in motion over vertical threats. I think we are are likely to see a return of more three receiver sets for Russ to cook with and in that, Seattle wants guys who can get open fast.

I think the drafting of Forsythe also spells a shift towards Waldron’s philosophy. There is no point that I can recall, under Carroll, that the team drafted an offensive lineman who is regarded as a pure pass blocker. Russ has got to be thrilled about that.

Former Rams tight end Gerald Everett sparks a clear contrast to tight ends that Carroll has coveted. He’s all pass catcher.

Defensively, I think we see a clear trend towards an aggressive Bear style defense to be built around Jamal Adams and his ability to drop and blitz. Seattle wants corners that can cover in man. I also think we might be seeing a different shift in philosophy on the defensive line, in particular at defensive tackle.

I think Seattle is looking to get quicker inside with the preference of Poona Ford over Jarran Reed, and the additions of Robert Nkemdiche and Al Woods. Perhaps gone is the idea of loading up inside with traditional space eaters, and they want guys who can explode more aggressively into the backfield when needed.

I kind of suspect that we could see former first round pick LJ Collier convert more towards a defensive tackle now more than ever with how they loaded up at defensive end during free agency. When he was drafted, I thought that there was a chance he could grow into a future starting three tech. Now, I am almost expecting it to prove true.

Moving forward, I have a sneaking feeling that we could see the return of Richard Sherman to Seattle and KJ Wright coming back, as well. These are the two moves that, in my view, would put this team prime position for finally going deeper in the playoffs.

Make this happen, Pete and John! Do it.

Go Hawks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s