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Seattle Seahawks' 2017 draft picks: Analysis for every selection

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Questions abound regarding Malik McDowell's work ethic (0:41)

Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell has top-10 talent, but ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. says he needs the right coaching staff in order to realize his full potential. (0:41)

Sheil Kapadia breaks down the Seattle Seahawks' 2017 draft class.

Round 2, No. 35 overall: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State

My take: The Seahawks need to get younger on defense, specifically up front. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are Pro Bowl-caliber players, but both guys are 31 years old. McDowell (6-foot-6, 295 pounds) gives them a talented defensive tackle who has great upside, but it’ll be up to the coaching staff to keep him motivated. McDowell had 1.5 sacks during Michigan State’s disappointing 2016 campaign, and some questioned his consistency and effort during the pre-draft process.

It’s also fair to wonder whether the Seahawks should have addressed their offensive line at this spot with someone like Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp. General manager John Schneider has said the Seahawks don’t want to reach for need, but they could have added a starting-caliber offensive lineman here and addressed interior pass rush later in the draft.

How he fits: McDowell said he played nose tackle about 90 percent of the time last season with the Spartans. He’ll compete for a starting spot right away, but where McDowell could have the most impact is in the Seahawks’ substitution package as an interior pass-rusher.

Seattle was in nickel roughly 68 percent of the time last season. On third downs and in obvious passing situations, the Seahawks could field a front four of Frank Clark, McDowell, Bennett and Avril. The Seahawks don’t like to blitz a lot, and that defensive line has the potential to give opposing quarterbacks fits.


Round 2, No. 58: Ethan Pocic, OL, LSU

My take: The Seahawks value versatility from their offensive linemen, and Pocic started at three different positions in college. A 37-game starter, he lined up at center (27), right guard (nine) and right tackle (one). He also saw snaps at left tackle once in a pinch.

This was considered a weak class of offensive linemen, but the Seahawks had a need they had to address. The idea that Seattle has not invested in the offensive line is inaccurate. Pocic is the 15th offensive lineman the Seahawks have taken since GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll took over in 2010. That’s more than any other team. But they need to start hitting at a better rate.

How he fits: This is a tough one, considering Pocic’s versatility. It seems highly unlikely that Pocic starts at center next season. Justin Britt was the Seahawks’ best offensive lineman in 2016, and moving him away from center this offseason doesn’t make sense.

Pocic’s best shot at playing time will probably be at right guard. Germain Ifedi is expected to shift to right tackle. If Pocic can beat out free agent Oday Aboushi, he could start as a rookie.


Round 3, No. 90: Shaquill Griffin, CB, Central Florida

My take: This could end up eventually being the Seahawks’ best pick of the draft. Griffin (6-foot with 32 3/8-inch arms) has the physical profile the Seahawks covet and tested in the 96.1 percentile athletically.

General manager John Schneider said what he liked most about Griffin is that the cornerback showed the mental toughness to bounce back after he was beaten. The Seahawks needed to get younger in the secondary, and Griffin is a talented corner with upside.

How he fits: Griffin is going to have the opportunity to play right away. Last year’s starting right cornerback, DeShawn Shead, is coming off a serious knee injury and is not expected to be ready for the start of the season. Jeremy Lane could replace him, but he played nickel in 2016.

The competition to start opposite Richard Sherman will be wide open this summer, but Griffin has superior athletic tools. If he can prove himself during training camp, he’ll be a contributor as a rookie.


Round 3, No. 95: Delano Hill, S, Michigan

My take: Hill (6-foot-1, 216 pounds) was the second defensive back the Seahawks selected Friday night. Pete Carroll praised Hill for his toughness and physicality near the line of scrimmage.

Hill said the safeties in Michigan’s scheme were interchangeable, and he played special teams for Jim Harbaugh. He’ll provide some much-needed depth behind Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.

How he fits: Carroll made it clear that he’s not looking at Hill as just a strong safety. He pointed out how Hill lined up over the slot quite a bit in college and had success. Hill could even get a look at cornerback.

The Seahawks signed Bradley McDougald to a one-year deal in the offseason and have already talked about using more three-safety looks in 2017. It sounds as though Hill will at least have a chance to carve out a role for himself in sub packages. At the very least, he’ll be a depth/special-teams asset as a rookie.


Round 3, No. 102: Nazair Jones, DT, North Carolina

My take: Clearly, the Seahawks wanted to add defensive line depth in this draft. Jones (6-foot-5, 304 pounds) was the second defensive tackle they selected, behind McDowell.

The Seahawks have built a competitive group up front with Michael Bennett, Frank Clark, Cliff Avril, Ahtyba Rubin, Cassius Marsh, Jarran Reed, Quinton Jefferson, McDowell and Jones.

How he fits: Jones is a much different player than McDowell. He’s considered a base defensive tackle who will be charged with taking up space and making plays against the run.

Carroll mentioned specifically how Seattle needs to stop the run within the division. The Cardinals' David Johnson is one of the best backs in the NFL, and the San Francisco 49ers should have a more formidable ground game with Kyle Shanahan directing them.

Jones should fit in as a rotational defensive tackle during his rookie season.


Round 3, No. 106: Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan

My take: He fits the mold of what the Seahawks want out of their wide receivers. Darboh (6-foot-2, 214 pounds) brings toughness, versatility and is a willing blocker.

He caught 57 balls for 862 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

How he fits: Doug Baldwin has one starting spot locked down, but after that, there’s uncertainty. Jermaine Kearse is looking to rebound from a down season, and Tyler Lockett is coming off a serious leg injury. Paul Richardson played well down the stretch and is going into the final year of his contract.

The Seahawks are an 11 personnel (one RB, one TE, three WRs) team. Most likely, Darboh will play a depth/special-teams role, but he’ll get a chance this summer to earn playing time.


Round 4, No. 111: Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado

My take: The Seahawks have spent five of their first seven picks on the defensive side of the ball. Thompson is the third defensive back they’ve taken. Last season, he led all players in college football with 23 passes defended.

Thompson had 16 pass breakups (fourth) and seven interceptions (tied for third). He did not test well athletically and missed time in 2014 because of a concussion.

How he fits: The Seahawks were thin at safety last year, and the defense fell apart when Earl Thomas suffered an injury. With Delano Hill, Thompson and Bradley McDougald, they now have plenty of options behind Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

Thompson will probably fill a depth/special-teams role as a rookie.


Round 6, No. 187: Mike Tyson, S, Cincinnati

My take: The Seahawks are loading up on cornerbacks and safeties. Tyson (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) is the fourth defensive back they’ve taken. He started 23 games at Cincinnati, playing mostly safety but also lining up at cornerback and nickel. Ball skills are important to the Seahawks, and Tyson had five interceptions last season.

How he fits: Tyson said the Seahawks told him to get ready to compete at cornerback. The Seahawks are thinner there than they are at safety. Tyson’s versatility should work in his favor, but he might need to prove he can be a factor on special teams to make the roster as a rookie.


Round 6, No. 210: Justin Senior, OL, Mississippi State

My take: The Montreal native started 39 games for the Bulldogs -- 38 at right tackle and one at left tackle. Senior (6-foot-5, 331 pounds, 34-inch arms) has the measurables to play tackle, but he tested in the 3.9 percentile athletically. Senior is the second offensive lineman the Seahawks have selected.

How he fits: Senior will get a look at both left and right tackle but will have to earn a spot. Schneider pointed out that Senior got too heavy last season and will have to shed some weight to be effective. While Senior has plenty of experience, it’d be a surprise if he were able to contribute as a rookie.


Round 7, No. 226: David Moore, WR, East Central (Oklahoma)

My take: This is the area of the draft where teams often look for players with upside. Moore (6-foot-1, 219 pounds) was clocked at 4.43 in the 40 at his pro day, according to reports. He played in Division II because he couldn’t get his ACT score up in high school and some teams (TCU, for one) wanted him to play defensive back.

How he fits: Moore is the second wide receiver the Seahawks have drafted, and they already have Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson and Tanner McEvoy on the roster. Moore, who didn’t think he was going to get drafted, might end up as a practice squad candidate in September.


Round 7, No. 249: Christopher Carson, RB, Oklahoma State

My take: The Seahawks usually pick guys here who they think they won’t be able to sign as undrafted free agents. Carson (6-foot, 218 pounds) averaged 6.82 yards per carry on 82 carries last season and had nine touchdowns.

How he fits: The Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy in the offseason. They also have Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Troymaine Pope on the roster. Carson will need to have a big summer to earn a spot on the roster or practice squad.