The draft is being held in Las Vegas on the strip in the area adjacent to Caesars Forum two years after it was initially scheduled. The 2020 NFL draft was turned into a virtual event because of COVID-19.
Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player Seattle has selected will fit.
Round 1, No. 9 overall: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
My take: The Seahawks have often zigged when draft analysts expect them to zag, but Cross was both an unsurprising pick and one who shouldn't produce any real objection. How could it? The Seahawks got one of the top prospects at one of the most valuable positions in football -- assuming the plan is to keep him at left tackle -- in a part of the draft where analysts generally projected him to be taken. And the Seahawks filled what was easily their biggest need. Last season's starting tackles (Duane Brown and Brandon Shell), are unsigned, and there's not much experience among the three tackles who were already on their roster in Jake Curhan, Stone Forsythe and Greg Eiland, as they are all entering their second seasons. Cross wasn't quite a no-brainer because some good players were still on the board, but it's hard to disagree with taking him at No. 9.
SEC pedigree: Cross, who played left tackle in college, said he's been training at both spots and that he feels comfortable on either side. He's also been working at coming out of a three-point stance, which he didn't do in Mike Leach's pass-happy offense. Playing with his hand on the ground and firing off the ball in a system that aims to run the ball will be an adjustment for Cross. But there are fewer questions about his pass protection. Per Sports Info Solutions via ESPN Stats & Information, Cross allowed pressure on just 0.7% of his pass-blocking plays in 2021 (six pressures allowed and only one sack on 683 snaps). That's incredible success in a conference that usually has the best pass-rushers in the country. Cross said his two best college games were the two times he faced Alabama. Per ESPN Stats & Info, he didn't allow a pressure in 64 pass-blocking plays versus the Crimson Tide in 2021.
What's Russell Wilson thinking? Probably something along the lines of, "You waited until I was gone to draft a star O-lineman?!" Wilson long yearned for the Seahawks to spend more resources on guys to protect him, so this pick surely caught his eye from Denver. But the Seahawks were in a position they never found themselves in during Wilson's 10 seasons in Seattle. The last time they had a top-10 pick was 2010 (when they drafted left tackle Russell Okung at No. 6). As a perennial playoff team, they were routinely picking in the 20s. GM John Schneider has often talked about how few elite offensive lineman are being produced in college these days and, thus, how hard they are to find -- especially late in the first round. The Seahawks don't expect to be picking this high again anytime soon, so they probably viewed the chance to land a top tackle prospect as too good and too infrequent to pass up.
Round 2, No. 40 overall: Boye Mafe, OLB, Minnesota
My take: It seemed like a safe bet that the Seahawks would take an edge rusher early in this draft. It was just a matter of when. They get one early in the second round, perhaps figuring that need would be easier to fill in this part of the draft than a left tackle would have been had they passed on Charles Cross at No. 9 overall. And this was a need even with Darrell Taylor coming off a strong debut season and Uchenna Nwosu arriving in free agency. Carlos Dunlap II is gone and Pete Carroll believes you can never have enough pass-rushers. At 6-foot-4 and 261 pounds, Mafe has 4.53 speed and the build the Seahawks are looking for at outside linebacker as they transition to more of a 3-4 front. That was his role in college. Mafe had 15.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks the past two seasons.
Round 2, No. 41 overall: Ken Walker III, RB, Michigan State
My take: The Seahawks' first three picks have been on a left tackle, an edge rusher and a running back. Clearly, they don't feel like quarterback is as big of a need as observers do and/or they don't like any of the QBs they've had chances to take so far. But running back was a bigger need than you might realize given Rashaad Penny's long injury history and the uncertainty with Chris Carson coming off neck surgery. Taking a running back this early would seem to suggest some concern on Seattle's part about Carson coming back to full strength. With a compact build (5-foot-9, 211) and powerful style, Walker III looks like an early-down option. He's also got elite speed, running a 4.38-second 40 at the scouting combine, which certainly helped his draft stock. Walker finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting last season after rushing for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns. He caught 19 passes in three seasons, so it's fair to wonder how much he'll factor into the passing game.
Round 3, No. 72 overall: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
My take: Offensive tackle was easily the Seahawks' biggest need heading into the draft. They've addressed it with two of their first four picks, following up their first-round selection of Cross with Lucas in the third. Cross is a left tackle and Lucas strictly played on the right side in college, so these should be the bookends of Seattle's offensive line provided Lucas beats out Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe. Like Cross, Lucas didn't play from a three-point stance in college, so both will have an adjustment to make. Any chance of the Seahawks re-signing Duane Brown and/or Brandon Shell seems pretty small now that Seattle has added a pair of tackles in the first three rounds. That's now four picks without a quarterback for the Seahawks, and by this point, any QB they might draft from here on out would probably be more of a developmental prospect than someone who is going to factor into the competition with Drew Lock and Geno Smith. And it's entirely possible they don't take one at all.
Round 4, No. 109 overall: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
My take: This is later than many expected the Seahawks to take a cornerback, though they really liked the top two guys in this draft -- Derek Stingley Jr. and Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner -- and likely would have pounced if either were available to them at No. 9. Instead, they get Gardner's Cincinnati teammate. Bryant, named after NBA legend Kobe Bryant, had a ton of college production, with nine interceptions and 35 passes defensed. And while this is a part of the draft where you don't necessarily expect picks to contribute right away, Bryant has enough experience -- with four seasons as a college starter -- to give him a shot. At 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds, he's more of a traditionally-built Seahawks corner, though his arms are a hair under 31 inches. He ran in the high 4.4 range at his pro day, improving from the 4.54 he ran at the combine.
Round 5, No. 153 overall: Tariq Woolen, CB, Texas-San Antonio
My take: With Coby Bryant in the fourth round and Woolen in the fifth, the Seahawks have doubled up on what was one of their biggest needs heading into the draft. However, Woolen -- who converted from receiver during the 2019 season and comes from a smaller school -- looks more like a project than someone whom Seattle will be counting on right away. But a high-upside project at that given his combination of size and blazing speed. He's listed at 6-4 and 205 with arms that are well over 33 inches long, so he's got the prototypical build -- and then some -- for a Pete Carroll corner. And he ran one of the fastest times ever at the combine, a 4.26. Carroll and the Seahawks' new defensive coaches should have fun with Woolen.
Round 5, No. 158 overall: Tyreke Smith, OLB, Ohio State
My take: It's been a double-up draft for the Seahawks. They've taken two tackles, two cornerbacks and now two edge players with Smith joining second-rounder Boye Mafe. Like Mafe, the 6-3, 254-pound Smith projects as an outside linebacker. He described himself as an attacking, high-motor player with a quick get-off. That didn't translate to a ton of college production -- only seven sacks in four seasons -- but Smith checks some boxes with his big-school pedigree and lots of experience, with 41 college games and 17 starts.
Round 7, No. 229 overall: Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers
My take: Not taking a receiver until this late in the draft seemingly suggests two things: the Seahawks like their chances of extending DK Metcalf and are confident that Dee Eskridge, last year's second-rounder, can make a big jump after missing a good chunk of his rookie season because of a concussion. Melton is a smaller receiver (5-foot-11 and 189 pounds) with excellent speed (4.34 in the 40). He played in the slot and on the outside at Rutgers, where he was also a factor on special teams. He'll have to emerge right away as a big-time contributor on special teams in order to have any chance at making Seattle's roster.
Round 7, No. 233 overall: Dareke Young, WR, Lenoir-Rhyne
My take: After doubling up on tackles, pass-rushing outside linebackers and cornerbacks, the Seahawks closed out the draft by doing the same at receiver, taking Young four picks after Bo Melton. Young looks like flier pick and potentially a nice developmental prospect. He comes from a Division II school, where he was a running back and receiver, and has only played seven games since 2019 because of a COVID-shortened season and then an MCL sprain that he says has fully recovered. But he's got nice speed -- Seattle timed him at 4.40 -- for his 6-3, 220-pound frame.