With the 2019 NFL season in the rearview mirror, many teams are entering the offseason with renewed enthusiasm and eyes on next year’s hardware.
Among such teams, the Seattle Seahawks seemed to enjoy a bit of a “surprise” season, as many in the media have coined it, with many experts (and pundits alike) still viewing Seattle as being in its rebuilding years. Just don’t tell that Pete Carroll and John Schneider. The head coach and GM super-tandem have been at this for a decade now, compiling an impressive regular-season record of 100-59. What’s even more impressive is the team’s 8-4 record in the post-season in that same span, including 2 Super Bowl appearances and 1 Super Bowl win, Seattle’s first-ever NFL title. Earlier success of the team in the last decade was clearly due to one of the most imposing defenses in the history of football – the Legion of Boom.
The “Legion of Whom”?
However, gone are days of the Legion of Boom suffocating offenses around the league. In fact, gone is most of the roster from those super bowl years. A near-complete turnover has left Seattle a brand-new team, so to speak. From the original 2014 Super Bowl roster, all but 6 players are no longer with the Seahawks. The exceptions being Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright and late additions Luke Willson, Robert Turbin and Mr. Beastmode himself, Marshawn Lynch. These are players that Carroll and Schneider brought to Seattle through draft picks and trades. So, what do Carroll and Schneider have to do to reload the talent around NFL megastar Russell Wilson in 2020? Let’s get into the Seahawk’s possible picks in the 1st round.
Don’t trade out of the 1st round!
It’s no secret that General Manager John Schneider is a wily tactician when it comes to the draft. It was just last year that Seahawks were low in draft capital going into the 2019 draft with only 4 picks, but with a series of moves by Schneider and company, the Seahawks were able to come from the draft with 11 players. A lot of this was due to the Frank Clark trade, which secured them an additional 1st round pick. However, even with two first-round draft picks, Schneider ultimately traded one of the two picks and settled with a late opening rounder in DE L.J. Collier (who?). To put it in better perspective, Schneider traded out of the 1st round a staggering four out of the last seven drafts, dating back to their Superbowl year. With the 27th pick in the 2020 draft, let’s look at who experts predict is a fit in Seattle in updated mock drafts. Assuming, of course, Schneider doesn’t trade out of the 1st round.
OL Tristan Wirfs (Iowa)
According to Chad Reuter of NFL.com, landing a Big 10 tackle in the 1st round would be ideal for Seattle, as the Big 10 has provided for some solid tackles at the end of the round in recent years. Reuter states, “Wirfs may be the next Big Ten tackle to slip into the late stages of Round 1. Bryan Bulaga (Iowa) and Ryan Ramczyk (Wisconsin) have certainly been solid pickups for the Packers and Saints, respectively.” – Chad Reuter, NFL.com.
Wirfs would be an instant upgrade over Germaine Ifedi and since the latter will be testing free agency as an unrestricted free agent, Wirfs may very well be the cheaper option as well.
DE A.J. Epenesa (Iowa)
Another Iowa player but on the other side of the trenches. According to Lance Zierland of NFL.com, A.J. Epenesa comes off the board at pick 27 to the Seattle Seahawks. This is perhaps my favorite mock pick of all because many experts have Epenesa going mid to late 1st round but see him as a clear top 15 talent across the board. Now, this is all assuming that DE Jadeveon Clowney is resigned to a longer contract, as I do not see the need for a 1st round pick being used on a defensive lineman if he is.
CB Trevon Diggs (Alabama)
Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus has Diggs going to Seattle with the 27th picks and has this to say of him: “The Seahawks love long corners as much as any team in the league, and Diggs is one of the longest to come out in recent memory.”
Anyone who is familiar with the ‘Tide is familiar with the name. Diggs wreaked havoc in the defensive backfield and was named to PFF’s All-American defensive unit at the end of the 2019 season. Coming off a broken ankle in 2018, it seems as though that injury is now long behind him.
Some other notable experts around the net and their Seahawk draft predictions.
Bucky Brooks (NFL.com): Yetur Gross-Matos (Edge, Penn State)
Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports): Yetur Gross-Matos (Edge, Penn State)
Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports): Grant Delpit (S, LSU)
Josh Edwards (CBS Sports): A.J. Epenesa (Edge, Iowa)