It’s still the most hopeful time of the year for NFL fans of all 32 franchises (well, maybe 31 franchises as Bill O’ Brien continues to sink the Houston Texans) with the 2020 NFL Draft approaching extremely fast. With Rob Gronkowski officially a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, rumors of Trent Williams, Jamal Adams, and Yannick Ngakoue trades picking up steam, and Percy Harvin releasing a statement that he’s ready to return to the NFL, get ready for a lot of old (and new) faces in new places.
This mock draft was done using First Pick, which allows you to propose and receive trades involving draft picks (as you’ll see below). All height, weight, statistics, and combine measurements courtesy of NFL.com. with analysis/comparisons attributed to the source.
Round One, Pick #29 (from Tennessee) – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
*TRADE ALERT* Seahawks trade the #27 pick in the first round to Tennessee for the #29 pick in the first round and pick #29 in the second round
In this draft scenario, the Titans offered a move down of just two spots in exchange for a late second round pick in order to move up and draft outside linebacker/edge Zach Baun. It’s practically guaranteed that Seattle will trade down, as John Schneider is certainly appalled at having just seven draft selections. With multiple lineman on both side of the ball, I was more than happy to pick up another Day 2 pick. At edge rusher, both A.J. Epenesa and Yetur Gross-Matos were long gone, which made the decision to shore up the tackle position even easier. The decision came down to Jones and Austin Jackson, and in the end, I decide to go with Jones*.
At 6’5” and 319 pounds, Jones certainly looks the part of a starting tackle in the National Football League. Starting exclusively at left-tackle at Houston, he has a long frame that allows him to redirect rushers around the edge and has enough athleticism to be a very good blocker in the type of zone-blocking running scheme the Seahawks run. Though his technique and footwork in pass protection need improvement, his pass blocking is good enough to be a slightly-below average pass protector in the NFL. Projected improvement in pass blocking and his already excellent run blocking (and ability to get up to the second level), along with the overall positional scarcity at the offensive tackle position, mean that Jones is a great fit for Seattle near the end of the first round.
*Though I wouldn’t take him over Jones or even Jackson, it should be noted that Seattle’s obsession with offensive lineman athleticism means that Boise State offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland could be a viable pick for them as well
Round Two, Pick #27 – Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn
If you were a defensive tackle prospect with the singular goal of being selected by the Seattle Seahawks, what would you say you love most about football? If you tried to come up with the perfect answer to the question, you might say that your favorite part about football is that you can “literally go out there and hit a man consistently and pound him, and the police not come”. Well, lo and behold, Davidson gave that exact answer to that very exact question and couldn’t have sounded any more like a perfect prospect for Seattle. At 6’3” and 303 lbs., Davidson recorded 12.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in his final year at Auburn while playing alongside likely top-10 pick Derrick Brown. Though officially listed as a defensive tackle at Auburn (and he will likely be drafted as such), Davidson has enough athleticism to play on the edge in passing downs and kick inside on early downs. He has a strong set of pass-rush moves and uses his hands very effectively (he also has three blocked kicks in his last season as Auburn). If Seattle isn’t concerned about his potential “tweener” label (uncertainty as to whether he’s a defensive tackle or end) and instead embraces his potential versatility, Davidson can be a disruptive part of Seattle’s defense for the future.
Round Two, Pick #29 (from Tennessee) – Jonathan Greenard, DE, Florida
Though this later than I hope Seattle chooses to address its defensive end position (a reunion with Jadeveon Clowney looks less and less likely with every passing day), Greenard offers upside as both a pass-rusher and edge run defender. After transferring from Louisville to Florida for his final collegiate season, he recorded 15.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception to boot. Standing 6’3” and weighing 263 lbs., Greenard was able to achieve this level of production by relying on his motor and explosion off of the line of scrimmage and demonstrated enough toughness and control at the point of attack to be a solid run defender. He’ll need to develop his pass-rush repertoire in order to have more moves in his toolbox to use against NFL offensive tackles, and Seattle will have to feel comfortable with his wrist (Greenard missed the 2018 season with a wrist injury and looked hesitant at times to rely on that hand/arm during the 2019 season). Greenard has the ability to be a starter for a long-time for Seattle, and if he reaches his ceiling, could develop into a player similar to Frank Clark.
Round Two, Pick #32 (from Kansas City as part of Frank Clark trade) – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
In a draft class with normal depth at wide receiver, Aiyuk would likely go somewhere between the end of the first round and the middle of the second. While he still might go there, if he falls to the end of the second round Seattle would be thrilled to add his dynamic playmaking ability to their offense. A threat to score anytime he touches the ball, Aiyuk was both an excellent receiver (1,192 yards and eight touchdowns his last year at Arizona State) and returner (31.9-yard average on kickoff returns). Though he isn’t a truly polished wide receiver yet (his route running will need more work), he’s shifty enough to gain separation both from those covering him and those trying to tackle him. His highlights at Arizona State are a joy to watch – his ability to evade tacklers in the open field is nothing short of mesmerizing. With more reps, he should be able to transform into a more complete player – for now, though, all Seattle needs him to do is be another weapon on offense (they’ll have to get the ball into his hands as much as possible) and significantly improve their kick and punt return units.
Round Three, Pick #37 (Compensatory Selection) – Kyle Dugger, Safety, Lenoir-Rhyne
Hickory, North Carolina – about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte. Sorry for reading your mind, but I imagine your first thought was the same as mine when you saw the school listed as Lenior-Rhyne: “Where the hell is Lenoir-Rhyne?” Though it’s a Division II school, don’t let that fool you – there’s a good chance Dugger isn’t around when Seattle picks at the end of the third round. At 6’1” and 217 lbs., Dugger absolutely hit like a truck and clearly outclassed his level of competition. He mirrors 2019 Seahawks draft pick Marquise Blair in that he plays with a true understanding of what violence is (though Dugger’s was much more controlled in college than Blair’s was), has enough speed to hang with NFL receivers (Dugger ran a 4.49 40-yard dash), and needs to improve his coverage. Dugger may be more of a luxury pick, but with Dugger and Blair behind Quandre Diggs, the Seahawks would have excellent depth in their secondary and be in great position to move on from Bradley McDougald after the 2020 NFL season.
Round Four, Pick #27 – Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
One again, Seattle selects a wide receiver in the fourth round – from Chris Harper to Kevin Norwood to Gary Jennings Jr., the fourth round has been Seattle’s Bermuda Triangle when it comes to evaluating wide receiver talent. Jefferson, though, is a prospect who may not have a spectacularly high ceiling but is almost guaranteed to be a productive player at the NFL level. At 6’1” and weighing 240 pounds, Jefferson managed to be productive at Florida despite not having exceptional size nor exceptional surrounding talent on offense. Projecting as a slot receiver at the next level, Jefferson relies on his crisp route running and excellent technique with his hands and footwork to be successful. Though he lacks top end speed, his run after catch ability and willingness to block will appeal to a Seattle team that remains hell-bent on running the football, and Jefferson should compete with Phillip Dorsett, David Moore, and John Ursua for the third receiver role.
Round Four, Pick #28 (Compensatory Selection) – AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
Out of all of the running backs in the 2020 NFL Draft class, the one that most closely resembles a minibus (and by proxy, most closely represents Derrick Henry) is AJ Dillon. Now, this isn’t to anoint Dillon as the next NFL rushing champion – if I believed he was, he wouldn’t be available in the fourth round. At 6’0” and 247 pounds, Dillon ran with the type of bruising demeanor one would expect a running back of his size to have – and in doing so, endeared himself dearly to Pete Carroll and John Schneider. In his three years at Boston College, Dillon rushed for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns, 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns, and 1,685 touchdowns and 14 touchdowns – a spectacular three-year stretch of production. Thanks to the amount of work he got in college, Dillon’s shelf life as an NFL may be limited. However, he projects as a powerful runner with the ability to be the business end of a team’s running back committee, and projects to at least be a dominant short yardage back with potential to be a replacement for Chris Carson at the conclusion of the 2020 NFL season.
Round Six, Pick #35 (Compensatory Selection) – McTelvin Agim, DT, Arkansas
As I’ve mentioned before, I was greatly disappointed by the Seahawks’ decision to not retain defensive tackle Al Woods when he hit free agency, and the defensive interior still needs more depth (even after the selection of Davidson). Agim moved to defensive tackle from defensive end at the beginning of his final season at Arkansas, and thus remains raw for the position. However, he registered 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks last season, and at 6’3” and 309 lbs., definitely has the physical build to be a rotational defensive tackle in the NFL. While his instincts at defensive tackle and overall body control need some work, his pass rush moves are developed enough and his production at Arkansas was sufficient enough for Seattle to take a chance on him in the sixth round.
The overall theme of this draft is Seattle reestablishing its identity as the bullies of the NFC West, the NFC, and the NFL. This type of swagger was clearly infused into Seattle’s magical 2013 Super Bowl run and these draft selections (especially those of Davison, Dugger, and Dillon) are an attempt to mirror that. Seattle’s defensive line receives the infusion of talent it so desperately needs, and the potential selections of Davidson and Agim along with the signing of free agent defensive end Everson Griffen (if a Clowney reunion is indeed not in the cards) would go a long way towards not only improving the defensive line, but the defense as a hole. Taking advantage of a fairly deep offensive skill-position player class means that Seattle ends up with excellent values in Dillon, Aiyuk, and Jefferson, while Russell Wilson receive some much needed (and much deserved) protection in Jones.
Top Photo: Tim Warner/Getty Images