NFL.com Overall Grades
- Day 1 grade: D San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny (No. 27 overall)
- Day 2 grade: B USC DE Rasheem Green (No. 79 overall)
- Day 3 grade: B- Washington TE Will Dissly (No. 120 overall), UCF LB Shaquem Griffin (No. 141 overall), Oklahoma State DB Tre Flowers (No. 146 overall), Texas P Michael Dickson (No. 149 overall), Ohio State OT Jamarco Jones (No. 168 overall), Temple DE Jacob Martin (No. 186 overall), Florida International QB Alex McGough (No. 220 overall)
- Overall grade: C
The skinny: There was zero surprise the Seahawks traded down, as they expected their guys to be available later. Penny is a good back but picked too early. This is the modus operandi for the Seahawks in recent years, picking someone in the first round much earlier than most people project. And, in most cases, the picks haven't worked out. Seattle lost its second-round pick in a trade for Sheldon Richardson, which only turned out to be an unsuccessful one-year deal. Selecting Green in the third round was good value, and could be a steal like Michael Bennett was years ago. He should be a better pro player than he was in college. Dissly is a blocker with some receiving skills. Getting Griffin not only reunited him with his twin brother, it added quickness and aggressiveness to the defense. Flowers is a very Seahawks-like pick -- big and strong like another fifth-round pick, Kam Chancellor. GM John Schneider traded a seventh-round pick away for the draft's top punter in Dickson, who some thought could have been a Day 2 pick. He's a good value and filled a need. Jones could start in a year or two given the offensive line issues. No corners or receivers selected puts Seattle in a hole at those spots after the draft.
Drafting a running back is an odd way to kick off your massive rebuilding project on defense, but let’s remember: the better the ground game, the more effective an offense will be with a QB like Russell Wilson. Wilson’s best years may have come recently, but this offense’s best years came when the system went through Marshawn Lynch. Since so many of Seattle’s recent early round selections have been offensive linemen, finding a ballcarrier was the surest way to buttress the rushing attack. The people who like Rashaad Penny really like him.
The Seahawks stayed on offense with their fourth-round pick, as well, filling their enormous tight end void (or, more likely, just part of it) with Will Dissly. Every other notable selection, save for Michael Dickson, was on defense, though now we’re talking about a bunch of mid-round picks. What’s shocking is that not one of those mid-round picks was a cornerback, the team’s greatest need entering this draft, even though the Seahawks have had success with those selections in past years.
And Shaquem Griffin: What a tremendous feel-good story. But feel-good stories don’t impact winning or losing in the NFL, and Griffin is too respectable of a player for his selection to not be analyzed by the same standards as everyone else. This in mind, the Seahawks are not drafting a fifth-rounder with the intent of him replacing a star like K.J. Wright (who is in a contract year), or even with the intent of playing him on a majority of downs. So the Griffin choice appears to be about finding long-term depth. Though given that three-fourths of Seattle’s defensive contributors are nearing the ends of their contracts, a long-term depth guy might have to be a short-term starter come 2019.
Pro Football Focus:
Day 1: Seattle pulled one of the surprises of the first round by selecting RB Rashaad Penny with the 27th overall pick having traded down with the Green Bay Packers. Maybe the Seahawks were simply reading PFF, who have been telling people that Penny is a first-round talent for some time. His production was outstanding, but his numbers were impressive even on a per-carry basis, not simply due to workload. He broke 86 tackles on the ground to lead the nation, had the second-best breakaway percentage with 35 runs of 15 or more yards, and led the nation in PFF’s elusive rating (128.6), a metric designed to separate the work a back does from the blocking he is dealing with. The Seahawks talked about the metrics they had seen illustrating Penny’s prowess after contact, and sure enough he averaged 4.5 yards per carry after contact and led the draft class in yards per carry after contact when hit at or behind the line of scrimmage. Penny is a capable all-around back whose only weakness is pass protection.
Day 2: The Seahawks didn’t pick again until the third round, and they brought in defensive lineman Rasheem Green from USC. Green’s grading has never been fantastic, topping out in 2017 with a mark of just 80.1 overall, but he has shown the ability to get after the passer and his PFF pass-rush grade was up at 85.3 the same season. He had the 22nd-best pass-rush productivity score in the draft class among edge rushers, notching 46 total pressures in his final season. With the Seahawks looking to add pressure up front, Green represents an intriguing player to add to the mix.
Day 3: The Seahawks reunite Shaquem Griffin with his brother, but more importantly bring him to a team that has experience with the Bruce Irvin deployment plan to potentially get him edge rush snaps. OT Jamarco Jones in the fifth round is also a steal, and they got the best punter prospect in the draft too in Michael Dickson.
Overall grade: Average