Sheil Kapadia breaks down the 2016 Seattle Seahawks draft class.
My take: Let's start with the good. Ifedi is 6-foot-6, 324 pounds and has 36-inch arms. In other words, he looks the part. He began his college career at right guard before spending the past two seasons at right tackle. Ifedi is a very good athlete who has the skill set to transition to left tackle at some point. This is a pick that demonstrates how the Seahawks believe in their coaching. The thinking will be to hand Ifedi over to offensive line coach Tom Cable and let him develop into a high-caliber starter. The Seahawks are in a unique spot in that it makes no sense for them to use early picks on certain positions (quarterback, middle linebacker, safety). Russell Wilson showed last year he can do damage when he has time to operate in the pocket. The Seahawks are hoping Ifedi can be a key cog in accomplishing that goal.
Immediate impact: Ifedi is not considered one of the most pro-ready prospects in the first round, but Cable said Thursday night that the hope is he can have an impact right away. Coach Pete Carroll preaches competition and Ifedi will get the opportunity to earn playing time. The plan now seems to be to give him a chance to outplay right tackle J'Marcus Webb, who signed in free agency. Ifedi could also get a chance at left tackle or one of the guard spots, depending on injuries and how the Seahawks' other offensive linemen perform.
My take: Reed (6-foot-3, 307 pounds) was pegged by many as a first-round pick and is considered one of the best run-stuffing defensive tackles in this year’s class. He has the ability to compete for the starting nose tackle spot. Reed is considered a high-effort defender who plays with great technique. He had 57 tackles last year and should fit right in next to Ahtyba Rubin. Reed is a high-floor prospect who should start from Week 1.
Pass rush: If you want to look at this pick critically, Reed may be only a two-down player. He had just two sacks in 29 games in the past two seasons with the Crimson Tide. There’s a lot to like about Reed, but can he provide some interior pass rush? That’s something that was absent from the Seahawks’ defense at times in 2015. If the answer is no, did it make sense for the Seahawks to trade up in the second round and lose a fourth-round selection to take Reed? Carroll and general manager John Schneider will answer those questions shortly.
Tone-setter: Reed was considered the emotional leader of Alabama’s defense.
“He’s the one who kick-starts everything for us,” linebacker Reggie Ragland said earlier this offseason. “As soon as he gets to talking, you can tell in his eyes that he’s bringing everything he’s got. When he’s going, we’re going. And when he’s not, we gotta get him going because he’s as disruptive as it gets in college football.”
Reed began his college career at East Mississippi Community College before playing two seasons for Nick Saban. Reed was the last player selected among the group that attended the draft live in Chicago.
My take: Thomas Rawls was fantastic last year, leading the NFL in average yards per carry and average yards after contact, but he suffered a season-ending fractured ankle. The Seahawks expect Rawls to be ready for the regular season, and he’s the leading candidate to replace Marshawn Lynch. But with Prosise, they now have another option, along with Christine Michael. Prosise started his college career as a wide receiver before moving to running back last season. He carried 157 times for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015. Most likely, Prosise will give the Seahawks a third-down back next season, taking over the role Fred Jackson occupied in 2015. And he should give the Seahawks more than Jackson as a ball carrier.
Forte comparison: Asked who he models his game after, Prosise said veteran running back Matt Forte.
“A guy who can make big plays in the running game and be consistent,” Prosise said. “Then also go through a lot of routes out of the backfield and do a good job there, too.”
The one area that Prosise will have to prove he’s equipped to handle is pass protection. If he can’t be reliable in blitz pickup, he’ll have a tough time getting on the field.
Versatility matters: Backup running backs have to be able to do more than carry the football. In 2014, as a receiver, Prosise caught 29 balls for 516 yards, averaging 17.8 yards per reception. He also was Notre Dame’s special-teams player of the year, leading the Fighting Irish in tackles on punt and kickoff coverage. Prosise is a plus athlete, and his versatility gives him a great shot at making the roster and having an impact, even if he’s not getting a lot of touches as a ball carrier.
My take: Carroll and Schneider called Vannett (6-foot-6, 257 pounds) the best blocking tight end in this year's class. He had 19 catches for 162 yards last season. In 53 career games, Vannett had 55 receptions for 585 yards and six touchdowns. Tight end is a position where the Seahawks have quite a bit of uncertainty. Jimmy Graham is trying to return from a patellar tendon injury. And Luke Willson will be a free agent after the 2016 season. Vannett gives the Seahawks a well-rounded player who has the tools to develop into a starter down the road.
How the pick affects Graham: The Seahawks have expressed optimism about Graham's ability to return from the serious injury. But the truth is, at this point, it's impossible to know when he'll be able to get back on the field or whether he'll look like his old self when he does return.
The Seahawks have made it clear that they'll give Graham every opportunity to make an impact, but they can't count on him to be full strength. The Vannett pick gives them some insurance.
Studying the best: Vannett was asked which tight ends he's tried to watch film of in the past.
"I like to study the best," he said. "I think I’m one of the complete tight ends who can do both [catch and block]. So I like studying Rob Gronkowski. I’ve always studied Jimmy Graham, too. He’s one of the best receiving tight ends in the league. Getting a chance to come in and learn from him and getting to work with him and learn from Luke Willson and all the other guys. I’m ecstatic for the opportunity."
Round 3, Pick No. 97: Rees Odhiambo, OG, Boise State
My take: Odhiambo (6-foot-4, 314 pounds) played tackle in college, but he had trouble staying healthy. Last year, Odhiambo suffered a season-ending ankle injury in October. He missed 14 games in his last three seasons. The projected starters at guard right now for the Seahawks are Justin Britt and Mark Glowinski. Odhiambo will get a chance to compete for playing time, but he may end up being a depth option as a rookie.
When he got the call: Odhiambo was not in front of the TV when he found out the Seahawks were taking him.
“I was just sitting there making dinner, not even paying attention anymore to the draft,” he said. “When my phone was ringing, I was like, ‘There's no way.’ I just picked it up, and then once I knew who it was, I was so excited.”
What was on the menu? “Just some pot roast and some vegetables,” Odhiambo said.
He is actually already in Seattle. Odhiambo is spending time with college roommate Marcus Henry and his family.
“I did not expect that at all,” Odhiambo said. “It was really awesome.”
A challenging journey: Odhiambo moved to the United States from Kenya in 2000. His father passed away before the family made the move, and his mother died when Odhiambo was 17.
Carroll often talks about identifying players who have overcome great adversity to succeed in the NFL. Odhiambo’s perseverance was part of what made him attractive to the Seahawks.
My take: The Seahawks needed to add some interior pass rush, and Jefferson (6-foot-4, 291 pounds) can bring that. He is a disruptive, penetrating defensive tackle who had 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss for the Terps last season after tearing his ACL the previous year.
A Pittsburgh native, Jefferson got in a fight in between high school and college. He broke his jaw, had to grey-shirt and spent the year working at Best Buy.
“I was like, ‘I don’t want to work here in this warehouse. I want to do something with my life,’” he said. “It definitely gave me even more motivation.
“If times get hard, I just think, ‘Shoot, you could be back at Best Buy lifting boxes.’ So this is easy, it’s a blessing. You get to do what you love.”
Jefferson should get a chance to compete for playing time right away, specifically as an interior pass rusher in sub packages.
My take: While the Seahawks view C.J. Prosise as an all-purpose weapon, Collins fits the bill of a more traditional running back. He carried 271 times for 1,577 yards and 20 touchdowns last season.
The Seahawks have Thomas Rawls as the presumed starter, but he’s recovering from a fractured ankle injury. They brought Christine Michael back and signed Cameron Marshall. Collins should get a chance to compete for the No. 2 spot this summer.
And it seems safe to assume that Collins is the only back on the roster with an Irish dance alias: Mitchell Finley.
My take: What’s interesting about this pick is that Hunt appears to be a pure center prospect. At under 6-foot-2, it’s unlikely he has guard versatility, even though Hunt saw some action there in college.
The Seahawks started last season with Drew Nowak at center, but he was eventually replaced by Patrick Lewis, who provided stability up front. Pete Carroll praised Lewis Friday, but said nothing to suggest that he’s got the job locked down.
The fact the Seahawks used a sixth-round pick on Hunt suggests they believe he at least has a chance to push Lewis.
A three-year starter and two-time captain, Hunt suffered a lateral meniscus injury last season. He started running a week and a half before his pro day and went through a limited workout in front of NFL evaluators.
Lewis is the favorite to win the starting job, but Hunt has the profile to compete for playing time. He is the third offensive lineman the Seahawks have taken and the sixth in the past two years.
My take: Wide receiver was not really a need position entering the draft, but Lawler has a different profile than the other pass-catchers on the roster.
Playing with Jared Goff last year, Lawler caught 52 balls for 658 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s not a burner (4.64 in the 40-yard dash at the combine), but is tall and long (33 3/8-inch arms).
Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett are unquestionably the Seahawks’ three primary wide receivers. Paul Richardson, a 2014 second-round pick, will look to compete for playing time as well.
Round 7, Pick No. 247: Zac Brooks, RB, Clemson
My take: Brooks carried 41 times for 234 yards (5.71 YPC) last season for the Tigers. In 2014, it looked like he'd get a chance to get plenty of touches, but Brooks suffered a foot injury. When he returned to action in 2015, Brooks was a backup.
So rather than go back to Clemson and occupy the same role, he decided to leave school early and prepare for the draft. Brooks' Dad has a lung condition, and he may need a transplant. That also factored into his decision to go pro, Brooks said.
He was recruited by several schools as a wide receiver and put together an impressive pro day at Clemson. There are tools to work with, but he's yet to put it all together.
The Seahawks suddenly have a crowded backfield, and Brooks will be competing for a roster spot this summer.