On Thursday, the Seahawks selected defensive lineman L.J. Collier out of TCU. Credit where credit is due, Seahawks draft guru Jared Stanger nailed this pick in February. If you’re interested in film breakdowns or in-depth measurements, his timeline is littered with them. Stanger identified Seattle’s need to bring in a Michael Bennett-style 5 Tech, capable of playing the edge on the early downs before kicking inside to provide pass rush on the interior on 3rd. Unlike most other positions on Seattle’s defensive line, the 5 Tech does not need exceptional athleticism. He needs length, power, and versatility. Although Collier might not be a sexy player, he checks all of those boxes: 6’2”, 283 lbs with 34” arms and some serious power off the line.
Seattle starts Day 2 with single selections in both the 2nd and 3rd-round, picks Nos. 37 and 92, respectively. Having handled our immediate need along the defensive line (a need highlighted in our Round 1 Mock, that correctly identified the Raiders selection of running back Josh Jacobs in the back half of the 1st-round) we’re left with needs at safety, wide receiver, defensive line (depth), and cornerback (nickel, depth, and a potential long term fix for CB2). Also mentioned in our Round 1 Mock, Seattle does not draft outside cornerbacks early. It takes time to learn Pete Carroll’s kick-step technique and the front office is confident in their ability to find late round gems that they can groom over time. Outside corners will not see the field until they can proficiently kick-step.
With cornerback and defensive line likely ruled out at pick No. 37, we’re left with wide receiver and safety. Both position groups are still stacked at this point so it’s a fine spot to be in.
If Seattle were to address the wide receiver position, we might be looking at our second coming of Golden Tate, A.J. Brown. The Mississippi stud is capable of playing both in the slot and on the outside. He’s most at home in the slot, which may workout well with Doug Baldwin’s ailing knee. Brown is a skilled route runner with powerful after-the-catch running ability. Built like a running back, similar to Tate, Brown stands at 6’, 226lbs. He can knock heads and break ankles with the ball in his hands and should be an impact starter in his rookie season for a team willing to give him a high volume of targets. Brown had noteworthy Combine numbers in his 40-yard dash’s 10-yard split — a respectable 1.56 seconds, a 36.5” vertical jump, a 10’ broad jump, and a 7.00 3-Cone drill.
That being said, the need at safety is likely still too strong to ignore. Bradley McDougald is a solid strong safety but neither Delano Hill nor Tedric Thompson has separated himself from the other at free safety. Once again, examining Stanger’s draft insight is helpful here. Late last night, he suggested the Seahawks take Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, the 5’10”, 210lbs safety from Florida and insert him as 2019’s starting nickel corner — with the long term plan of moving him to free safety after a year or two. This seems like a highly-probable outcome. Stanger noted, Gardner-Johnson compares extremely well to the Seahawks’ recent nickel Justin Coleman in his athletic testing. Gardner-Johnson performed extremely well in the 10-yard split of his 40-yard dash, posting a blazing 1.53 second split. His 37” vertical and 10’02” broad jump standout as well. Gardner-Johnson also hit the Seahawks’ unique bench press requirement (for safeties) that we discussed in our Positional Needs: Safety piece, repping 225lbs seventeen times.
If the Seahawks were to add either of these impact players, 12s would have serious reasons to rejoice. Check back, in a bit, for our Round 3 preview.
Others considered at No. 37: Taylor Rapp – safety, Juan Thornhill – safety, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.