All the obsessing is done. No more film to watch, mocks to re-read. All the premature grades have been given out and all "they should haves" recited. The 2019 NFL draft is in the books and well into our rearview mirror view.
I wanted to wait and let the dust settle , initial reactions mellow and brain digest everything before I wrote about it all. There was a lot to think and digest!
The Seahawks looked like they would have just 4 picks going in, the Clark trade gave them 5, and as we all know those were parlayed into eleven new names to learn. Some we likely better get used to and will grow attached to. A couple might be names we see bounce around the practice squad a while, and maybe a couple end up having training camps that at least get them noticed somewhere else.
A very Seahawk draft. Every year the mock drafters talk about how the Seahawks look for very specific things and very specific types. You would think that would make them easier to mock. And yet every year the names surprise -- even where they fall. Im not someone who would even think to say where I thought someone would go, because unlike some mock drafters I realize a) Im not the pro and b) I dont have the inside info they have.
The Seahawks seemed to realize they werent going to get the true EDGE rusher they needed in the draft and so were content to get the pieces they could get that were quality. To a degree this is what I was advocating in my mocks: is it better to get the 7th best EDGE guy because that position is your glaring need, or is better to get the DL5T in LJ Collier who could grow into a better rusher but starts out as Seahawk-y and a good edge setter.
The way the Seahawks drafted defensive secondary players makes me think they will be creative in the DB assignments in 2019. With no true Earl Thomas replacement there, the Seahawks will likely continue to turn away from a single high safety look and play more cover 2 and cover 6. (jargon note: Cover 6 doesnt mean 6 players high, its called 6 because its a combo of Cover 2 and Cover 6). Youll see a lot of hand wringing over the EXACT position some of these players are meant to play.. and that might be indicative of what we saw a lot of last year, especially in Training Camp: interchangeable safeties, even when NOT in Cover 2, finding the best synergy and also giving the ability to give the best match ups. I expect a fluid coverage style that may look like the Bandit package used in the pre LOB days.
Three receivers. THREE RECEIVERS!! AND RUSSELL WILSON EARNING A BILLION DOLLARS!
If you hadnt heard, some people think the draft signifies a shift in philosophy. 2 burners and the next Bobby Engram! Bombs away!
I respectfully disagree. I think since theyve arrived in Seattle PC and JS have always wanted big, physical, dominating pass catchers and are sort of blind to that fact that the more they stretch to get a dominant pass guy the less it works out for the most part. That isnt to say Metcalf or Jennings wont work out. I just dont see this turning the Seahawks into a pass heavy, pass first, pass to do everything offense. The Seahawks are clear fans of analytics -- but they get what analytics really means, what it has PREDICTIVE power to do. Metcalf's mere presence will open up the run as coverage rolls to him and Jennings out there too will really pressure a defense. But I dont ignore that Metcalf has never produced the numbers youd expect the physique to indicate and his preferred routes are routes that bigger CBs will defend pretty well.
That said, I like the receivers. I think Jennings has the best career of the 3 in the long run, and he and Lockett are going to give the defense fits with their abilities. All over Seattle and Seahawk fandom people mourned the retirement of Baldwin this week, but if he is perfectly honest there is one man who is probably a bit happy with it..and that is Ursua. I think his draft position implies hes no lock to make the team, maybe even the odds are against it. But there arent a lot of receivers right now on the Seahawks roster who can take the slot role and master the underneath stuff , and the Seahawks thought enough of Ursua and his magnificent beard to move back INTO the draft so they see something there and if he puts the work in and has the talent, Ursua could sneak his way not just onto the roster but onto the field sooner and more often than we expected. Its worth noting that maybe his biggest competition for that particular role is Keenan Reynolds who was mostly a practice squad guy and even when activated when Baldwin didnt play didnt translate his opportunity into production.
One thing I think that reinforces my view point that the Seattle Offense isnt going to suddenly go pass heavy is the clue we get from the lone lineman they drafted: Phil Haynes. Some people say his most direct comparison is DJ Fluker. Hes a road grader. What is also interesting is that only taking one O-lineman seems to indicate that Seahawks like their depth there, with Simmons coming back and Jamarco Jones coming back. This is an offensive line built to run the ball.
Lots of angles on the myriad of players being considered were analyzed, discussed and chewed over in the months before the draft. One thing that was rarely mentioned in the evaluations, whether national or Seahawk specific, was special teams. Everyone falls into the trap of evaluating each person as a position player. Every year during Training Camp and cut we hear JS and PC talk about special teams being a factor, and yet ever year the factor isnt underestimated as a decision guiding level of importance. This draft maybe more than any previous draft reinforced how important special teams are to making teams in the NFL, and also maybe gave us a bit of insight that the Seattle Seahawks might be valuing special teams even more than they previously did. Over and over in interviews Special Teams came up, and when factoring in Special teams some of the draft picks make even more sense. BKK's special team potential in particular seems to have been a factor, though I personally expect him to be forcing himself onto the field by his sophomore year. Ugo Amadi could also be a big factor on special teams and it was interesting to hear the front office and PC seem to go all in on improving the area that has been , arguably, neglected in the past.
Overall, the draft seems to give the Seahawks flexibility in all three phases of the game and I think, more true play makers not mere just decent bodies to put on the field.
Jennings or Metcalf..I expect one to eventually be at Pro Bowls. Eventually I expect BKK to be a stand out player, and Marquise Blair as well.
Overall, though different in flavor, this feels to me like an impactful draft like the good old days. Looking forward to finding out!