Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider traded down twice in the first round, and still managed to draft a top player in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The team started with 4 draft picks prior to the draft but ended the night with a total of 9 picks.
In 1976, the brand-new Seattle NFL franchise made a pair of defensive players their first two drafted players. Steve Niehaus and Sammy Green each played less than five seasons for the Seahawks. Neither would be considered for any Seahawk wall-of-honor.
Seattle certainly hopes their early-round selections in 2019 have more productive careers than this pair of defenders. Seattle has had one first round pick since they took defensive end Bruce Irvin out of West Virginia in 2012.
After trading star defensive end Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Seahawks held a pair of first-round selections. Heading into the start of the draft, this is the fourth time since 2000 Seattle held a pair of opening round picks.
Historically the “Brain Trust” of John Schneider and Pete Carroll has had a penchant for looking for latter-round value. Consequently, there was a lot of speculation about what the Seahawks might try to do with one or both of their picks. Here's what you need to know about early draft picks in 2019.
Swap and Drop?
Seattle absorbed the 29th overall pick from Kansas City for Clark. Not a bad payday in return for a visibly disgruntled defensive end who couldn't seem to get the payday he wanted from the Seahawk brass. Along with that late first-round selection, Seattle also got KC's third-round pick, player number 92 off the board.
The Hawks have shifted draft spots around in the past, looking for under-the-radar value in later rounds. It was no surprise to see the Seahawks throw both these picks as bait for several potential late-round sleepers. The decision came right before the Seahawk's went on the clock.
The Hawks no doubt kept a keen eye on the draft board, waiting to see how the first 20 selections went. Keep in mind, the NFL's highest paid player is Seahawk QB Russell Wilson, a third-round discovery. Also, worth noting is the Seahawks historic success finding talent in the third-round. Seattle manipulated for three, third-round selections in 2016 and four in 2017.
What will the Seahawks do on Draft Day?
Another viable possibility involved watching the progress during the first-round. Seattle has some needs. One is at wide receiver, and others involve trying to fill holes in their defensive secondary.
If there was a player seen as a game-changer in Seattle, the Seahawk draft phone could have been burning through phone numbers. Depending on how long a few priority targets stayed available, Seattle could have been looking to pull off a two for one deal to grab their next potential superstar.
A big part of any draft trade decision to climb up the ladder depends how the draft plays out live. Here some players that were projected to come off the draft board prior to Seattle's own 21st overall selection.
TJ Hockenson TE from Iowa – Hockenson is clearly in the same mold as Jimmy Graham. Carroll's offense, and his highly-paid star quarterback, covets a big-body pass-receiver. Hockenson is not only a gifted pass catcher; he also has the blocking skills needed to be productive at tight end in and NFL offensive scheme. TJ Hockenson was drafted by the Lions with the 8th pick.
Andre Dillard or Jonah Williams Offensive Tackles – Williams blocked for Nick Saban's power offense at Alabama, and Dillard is viewed by some draft gurus as potentially the best offensive lineman in his class. Both are projected to go just prior to Seattle's 21st pick, so the likelihood of a two for one trade was small. Andre Dillard was drafted by the Eagles with the 22nd pick, and Jonah Williams was drafted by the Bengals with the 11th pick.
Rasham Gary Defensive End Michigan – Gary has been deemed a physical specimen. There are some who think there might have been more behind the trade of Clark than just getting draft picks. If Gary stayed on the board until the 21st pick, Seattle would have filled the vacancy left by Clark immediately, trade their subsequent first-round pick, and save the front office a few bucks.
There are other players of interest who may trigger Seattle to make shifts in their current draft selection. Parris Campbell from Ohio State is an intriguing wide receiver, with Percy Harvin like playmaking ability. Seahawk fans will remember the success Carroll had using Harvin's skill set. Parris Campbell was not taking in the first round, and may still be in play for the Seahawks who hold the #37 pick in the 2nd round.
With a pair of first-round picks, Seattle altered at least the look of day-one in this year's NFL draft. With the way Pete Carroll appreciates the aura of mystery, the Seahawks love to stir the pot even more on draft day. As the first round slowly unfolded, the questions about what Seattle would do were answered.
How Day 1 of the Draft Went
With the 21st pick the draft, some speculated that the Seahawks would draft their replacement for the recently traded Frank Clark. However, those would not be Seahawk fans. As all Seahawks fans know, we have a history of trading down to acquire more picks in the later rounds. It’s a strategy that has returned in spades for the Hawks, so naturally all Hawks fans were not the least bit surprised when the Seahawks went on the clock at the 21st spot.
Staying true to their reputation the Hawks traded #21 to the Packers who selected safety Darnell Savage. In return the Hawks pocketed Green Bay’s first round pick #30, as well as the 114th and the 118th picks, both 4th rounders. Essentially sliding 8 spots to pick up two 4th rounders.
When the Hawks went on the clock at pick #29, they were busy in negotiations working out a deal. The Seahawks ended up drafting an amazing player LJ Collier from TCU and traded pick #30 to the Giants for a giant haul of picks. Essentially for dropping 7 spots in the draft the Seahawks parlayed the #30th pick in exchange for the 37th pick in the 2nd round, a 4th and 5th round pick. Not bad by any means.
Per Chase Stuart draft chart, pick #30 is worth 12.9 points. Picks 37, 132, and 142 are worth 18.1 points.
Day 2 and 3 up Next
This is not Schneider and Carroll’s first rodeo. One thing this Hawk reporter has learned, is that when it comes to watching the Seahawks Draft strategy unfold, patience is a virtue, and trust in the process.
Day 2 of the NFL Draft continues today and will see the Hawks drafting, or trading at picks #37 and the later in the 3rd round at pick #92.
Day 3 looks to be a busy one as the Hawks currently holds four 4th round picks, and two more in the 5th.