Mel Kiper has kept USC defensive end Everson Griffen as his projection for Seattle with the 14th overall choice in his latest mock draft.
14. Seattle Seahawks
Mel's latest pick: Everson Griffen, DE, USC
My latest thoughts: Kiper has the Seahawks using their first-round picks for linemen, not playmakers. That sounds like a good way to build a team. Will the Seahawks be that patient? Someone has to score touchdowns for Seattle to regain its competitiveness. Kiper has Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant off the board at this point. He has C.J. Spiller dropping into the 20s. He's sticking with Griffen and Seattle certainly could use help for its defensive line.
Mel's previous pick: Griffen, DE, USC
My pre-combine thoughts: The Seahawks will take criticism if they fail to draft an offensive lineman among the first two choices. They'll probably take criticism if coach Pete Carroll seems to be filling the Lawrence Jackson Scholarship with this selection. If the top tackles are gone, however, the Seahawks do need to consider other options. And Carroll's combination of NFL and college experience should give him a good feel for whether Griffen or anyone else from USC is ready for the next level. It was telling, I thought, when Carroll suggested several recent NFL choices from USC might have been overvalued. It's not like Carroll drafted Jackson, after all.
My post-combine follow-up: This might be a little early for Griffen even though he impressed at the combine with a 4.66-second time over 40 yards and 32 reps in the bench press. Seattle does need pass-rush help, though, and Griffen could be a good choice on those grounds. If the Seahawks do draft Griffen, I might consider it a good sign for the team because Carroll probably wouldn't tap into the USC talent pool without being pretty sure about that player's ability to produce. Making mistakes in the draft happens. Carroll will invite harsh criticism if he makes mistakes on players he recruited and coached. The Seahawks have enough needs to justify targeting just about any position in this slot.