The Seattle Seahawks free agency maneuvers have set them up well to prioritize defense in the upcoming draft. Ultimately holding seven selections – including five picks in the first 106 – general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll will aim to improve a defense that started to show some cracks last season.
Seattle Seahawks Draft Targets: Kevin King and Marlon Humphrey
But What About The Offensive Line?
Presently, the common push-button need associated with the Seahawks the last few years has been offensive line. However, with the signings of tackle Luke Joeckel and guard Oday Aboushi, the plan looks like the team is going with a few veterans in the mix to start:
Pete Carroll tells reporters at NFL mtgs Luke Joeckel will start out at LT, Oday Aboushi at RG & yes #Seahawks have talked to Ifedi about RT
— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) March 29, 2017
At the same time, this doesn’t mean that offensive line won’t be a temptation to target with the Seahawks first selection, the 26th pick in the first-round. For instance, if Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk is still on the board, it might be too difficult to pass on him. As a result of the veteran additions, however, the team is attempting to leverage experience to help. Most noteworthy, Schneider has said he felt the team did not have enough experience up front last season:
— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) March 1, 2017
With The 26th Pick In The First Round Of The NFL Draft, The Seahawks Select…
Of course, a young linemen will be a consideration, but the veteran signings presumably point the needle towards a defender. By and large, a quick scan of the roster reveals a whole lot of question marks at cornerback, a position the Seahawks will like look to upgrade at the top of their draft board. Most noteworthy, two immediate names pop up as the most likely Seahawks draft targets: either Washington cornerback Kevin King or Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey. In fact, ESPN draft pundits Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are split on this pick: McShay envisions King as the Seahawks choice, while Kiper sees them going with Humphrey.
First, both make sense. Starting cornerback DeShawn Shead is out until the latter part of the 2017 after tearing his ACL in the divisional round playoff loss in Atlanta. Consequently, cornerback Jeremy Lane is the penciled-in starter opposite the guy you have probably heard of a few times, Richard Sherman. Arguably, there are other young players the team is high on (see http://lastwordonprofootball.com/2017/02/27/seattle-seahawks-2017-off-season). However, the opportunity to get a young, potential shutdown corner is real.
All things considered, Carroll looks for specific traits in the secondary. He prefers long, lengthy corners (Sherman is 6’3”; Lane 6’0”; Shead 6’2”; Neiko Thorpe is 6’2”; DeAndre Elliott is 6’1”). No doubt, King and Humphrey each fit that mold; King is 6’3” with 32-inch arms, while Humphrey is right at 6-feet and has 32 ¼-inch arms. Both hover right around 200 pounds.
King’s strengths are being physical outside of the numbers, shoving receivers towards the boundary. Above all, he has a good feel for tracking the football and his size creates a challenge for receivers trying to high-point attack the ball. In addition, King does well rotating and locating the ball, a skill paramount in NFL pass coverage. At the same time, he also has versatility, which the Seahawks love: he played all four spots in the secondary in addition to the slot. Especially relevant, the Seahawks have had a front row view to evaluate King’s talent, since he played in Seattle at the University of Washington
Similarly, Humphrey also fits the mold of a Seahawks corner. First and foremost, he has fluid hips and excellent makeup speed. Under Nick Saban’s tutelage, he has played a variety of coverages, reacts well, and is aggressive at the point of attack. Humphrey is also adept at stripping the ball, another trait that Carroll loves in his defenders. Furthermore, he is competitive and plays with an edge (sound like another Seahawks cornerbacks we know?). A known intimidator, he fights off blocks well and will ride the receiver out of bounds. Most of all, the thing that sticks out is his overall athleticism. Of course, the Seahawks front office is infatuated with freak athletes, and have many times chosen the athlete over the pure football talent.
In conclusion, when the Seahawks first-round pick arrives on April 27th, expect three things to occur. It is traded down for more picks (a classic Schneider maneuver), they grab a tackle that has inexplicably fallen down the board, or they choose King or Humphrey.