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4 offense, 4 defense: 8 surprising day 2 targets for the Seahawks
Seaside Joe 1141: Not linked to Seattle yet, these players make sense for Friday
If I get the opportunity to play John Cusack to Pete Carroll’s John Malkovich and crawling into his headspace, then I’m picturing an image of a talent evaluator who sees a lot more value on day two than he sees on day one.
The Seattle Seahawks hold picks 9, 40, 41, and 72 on the first two days of the draft, but I would bet that Pete and John would be happier if they had four or five picks on day two. That’s why the Seahawks will trade down at least once this month, because as you start to scour the day two prospects, it’s hard to not imagine a half-dozen amazing fits for what Seattle wants to do.
The Seahawks aren’t high enough in the first round to grab the blue chip prospects. Therefore, nobody entices them to stay at nine and Seattle barters with teams vying for receivers/quarterbacks until finally they add day two and day three compensation for moving down. When they do, these are eight prospects who I could see them leaving the 2022 draft with—let me know which of these prospects if your favorite by leaving a comment when you’re done reading the list!
S Jalen Pitre, Baylor
A mock draft I watched on Sunday had the Seahawks selecting Pitre in the second round, moving him to nickel cornerback in Seattle. I have to admit that it does make too much sense. Pete Carroll needs more defensive players who can find the football and Pitre has been described as the draft’s best “magnet” in that regard. Over the last two seasons, Pitre has 29.5 TFL, 4 INT, 4 FF, 3 FR, 6 sacks, and 9 PD over 23 games. A comp from ESPN’s Jordan Reid: Tyrann Mathieu.
Pitre’s arm length (30.6”) isn’t going to be as much of an issue in the slot. His athletic testing as a cornerback sits between “good” and “great’ with a poor broad jump. The Seahawks can’t expect Justin Coleman to be around past 2022, assuming he makes it out of camp. Pitre was called a “coach’s dream” by Lance Zierlein because of his competitive spirit, he’s versatile, and he’s a player who Pete would have to convert to a new position at the next level, so he’s almost a perfect fit for Seattle. Fans will be upset if the Seahawks use an early second round pick on a college safety, but he’d actually play the “Star” role in Seattle and could be one of those year one fan favorites.
DE David Ojabo, Michigan
It was a month ago that I asked if the Seahawks should draft Ojabo with an early second round pick after the news that he tore his Achilles at his pro day. The resounding answer: Yes.
A YouTuber I follow compared him to Uchenna Nwosu, which again drew my attention his way. The Seahawks liked Nwosu enough to sign him, but not enough to sign him for longer than two years. Ojabo is a raw edge prospect who will probably be using his entire rookie season to learn the playbook and from the sidelines, which is fine for Seattle’s long-term rebuilding vision. Darrell Taylor missed his entire rookie season, but after year two could be one of the best day two steals from 2020. Ojabo had 11 sacks and five forced fumbles opposite of Aidan Hutchinson last season, his only college campaign. If the Seahawks go OT in round 1, Ojabo might have the highest ceiling of an EDGE on day 2.
DE Sam Williams, Ole Miss
In 2015, the Seahawks picked Frank Clark at the end of round two and then came fully prepared with their explanations for why they were able to look past his off-field issues, that they had done their “due diligence”, and then Pete and John simply ignored the criticisms until they were drowned out by Clark producing at the NFL level. It doesn’t mean any fan has to support a pick like Clark, that’s just the reasoning I see behind a team’s decision to make a pick like Clark. I’m now going to talk about two edge rushers in this class who have first round talent, but who won’t go on day one because of serious off-field concerns.
Sam Williams is a 6’4, 261 lb edge player who ran a 4.46 at the combine with a 123” broad jump. How rare is that? Travon Walker ran a 4.51 at 272 lbs and he’s being called one of the greatest “athletes” in draft history. Williams also posted the same broad jump as Walker, he had a higher vertical than Walker at his pro day (36”), and he posted very comparable three-cone and shuttle times at his pro day.
I mean, the three best athletes at the edge position in this class could be Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker, and Sam Williams.
Williams was also productive in all three years at Ole Miss after transferring from a JuCo in 2019: 22.5 sacks, 32.5 TFL, 6 FF in 35 games.
In the summer of 2020, Williams was arrested and facing a felony charge of sexual battery, but the case against him was dropped less than two months later. He was able to continue his college career and as far as we know there hasn’t been any other incident—and it’s not entirely clear what the original incident involved.
If Pete and John could “clear” Frank Clark in 2015, I don’t see why they’d pass on Williams in 2022 unless they really did do due diligence and found out that he wasn’t the type of person the team would want around. It’s a distinct possibility that they will be the team to take him off the board.
Another player in the draft who we should briefly address is Adam Anderson. The Georgia linebacker was skyrocketing his draft stock last season, leading the team with 5.5 sacks through seven games (after 5.5 in nine games the year before). Then in November, Anderson was arrested and charged with rape. Another woman came forward shortly thereafter and also alleged that Anderson also raped her in 2020.
Anderson is still facing a felony charge but that didn’t stop him from holding a private workout for at least 17 NFL teams last month. His attorney filed a motion the next day to have the case dismissed, but it appears that these are still pending. Anderson could have been a first round pick prior to the allegations and now it seems more likely that he will go undrafted—but clearly teams are keeping tabs on him despite the serious charges and prison time he is facing.
LB Brandon Smith, Penn State
Penn State could be the sneaky college of this draft, as Jaquan Brisker, Jahan Dotson, Arnold Ebiketie, Rasheed Walker, Eric Wilson, and Smith could all go higher than originally projected.
Brandon Smith was the number one ILB recruit in 2019 and he could have gone to any program in the country. He chose Penn State and realistically he never reached the potential that he had coming out of high school, but the athleticism is clearly there that made him a five-star recruit: 6’3, 244 lbs, 34” arms, 4.52 40-yard dash, 1.58 10-yard split, 128” broad, 37.5” vertical, 6.94 three-cone, 4.08 short shuttle.
Bobby Wagner: 6’, 241, 4.46 40-yard dash, 1.57 10-yard split, 132” broad, 39.5” vertical, 7.1 three-cone, 4.28 short shuttle.
But of course Smith doesn’t come in with the game pedigree that Wagner had coming out of Utah State. As written by Ty Dane Gonzalez at SI’s Seahawks blog:
Specifically, while he plays with a "bat out of hell" attitude, he can get a bit overzealous at times and flat-out whiffs on tackle attempts. He'll need to become more sound in that department, focusing on his ability to wrap-up rather than "hit stick" whenever he approaches a ball-carrier. Although that can create for some fun, violent highlights, it can also lead to some awful misses that will get him chewed out at the next level.
Smith as a third or fourth round pick to place next to Jordyn Brooks for 3-4 years makes enough sense to me.
QB Carson Strong, Nevada
Give me Carson Strong in the third or fourth round over ANY quarterback in the first or second round. Easy. The Seahawks need a QB who can hit the checkdowns and throw the long bomb. Maybe Seattle can help Strong with taking his checkdowns—but he’s one of the few (if not the only) QBs in this class who can hit the deep bomb like Russell Wilson did.
Pete mentioned that with Drew Lock the team needs to cut down on his interceptions because that’s “not what we do” in Seattle. It’s about protecting the football. Strong set a school record: 299 consecutive attempts without an interception. He had just 19 interceptions on 1,252 career passes. Malik Willis had 18 interceptions on 604 attempts at Liberty.
Strong’s college coach: “Very intelligent kid. He can handle volumes of information we give him.”
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WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State
Here’s your next Tyler Lockett. End of write-up.
RB James Cook, Georgia
The Seahawks could target a running back early on day two—Kenneth Walker III or Breece Hall could definitely become NFL superstars in Seattle—but the team also really likes Rashaad Penny and I’m sure Pete would love to give him an extension in the middle of the 2022 season. If Penny is healthy from now until October, bank on him getting bank.
Instead, maybe the Seahawks want a complement to Penny who can run routes out of the backfield and catch passes. That’s pretty much all that James Cook will be expected to do at the next level and he could be the best route runner at the running back position in the draft. Cook could immediately come in and start catching passes in Shane Waldron’s offense and he might only cost a fourth or fifth round pick because he does lack the three-down ceiling.
OT Andrew Stueber, Michigan
I wrote about Stueber before and I could see Seattle “reaching” on him at the end of day two. The Seahawks don’t have a late round three pick, so maybe they target Stueber in round four or move up. Stueber has qualities that the Seahawks look for in a tackle prospect and whether the position is addressed early or not, a double-down at the position is probable.