Seattle Seahawks Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Cassius Marsh, DE, UCLA – Round 4
The Seahawks were considering taking an edge rusher in the first round with Marcus Smith being a potential selection, but with Smith unavailable, Seattle wisely moved down to collect some extra selections. Unsurprisingly, the Seahawks played the draft well and landed a good talent in Marsh in the fourth round.

Marsh has a nice burst off the snap and some pass-rushing moves. He had solid and consistent production in college. The senior had six sacks in 2013, but put more pressure on the quarterback than that total indicates. Marsh quietly put together an impressive 2012 season. As a junior, he collected 40 tackles, eight sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and two forced fumbles. Marsh was overshadowed by Anthony Barr, but Marsh (6-4, 252) was a good player for the Bruins.

Marsh could emerge as a starter for the Seahawks in time. Michael Bennett is locked in on one side, but Chris Clemons is gone to the Jaguars, while Cliff Avril is in the final year of his contract. Seattle rotates its pass rushers, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the organization gets the most out of Marsh and turn him into a quality starter.

Most Likely To Bust

Justin Britt, OT, Missouri – Round 2
The Seahawks obviously have made some great draft picks in building their Super Bowl Championship team, but one of the few picks who has been a disappointment was first-round guard/tackle James Carpenter. The right side of the Seattle line was a weakness at times in 2013 in part because of Carpenter. The Seahawks needed to upgrade the right side of their line in the 2014 NFL Draft, but Britt was a reach.

Many projected Britt to be a late-rounder or an possibly undrafted free agent. He produced a quality senior season playing left tackle after suffering an ACL tear in 2012. Britt held his own against Jadeveon Clowney and performed well against Tennessee. Overall, Britt played well against Texas A&M, but was beaten for a sack. He had some struggles against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl and a mixed performance at the East-West Shrine.

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Britt is going to need some work before he’ll be ready to go against the elite edge rushers in the NFC West – like those in St. Louis and San Francisco. Playing Britt as a rookie could be dangerous for the health of Russell Wilson. Britt was a solid college player, but not a dominant performer. It wouldn’t be surprising if he isn’t up to the task – like Carpenter.

Potential Boom Pick

Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado – Round 2
The Seahawks needed a slot receiver after losing Golden Tate in free agency. Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Jermaine Kearse give Seattle a trio of receivers to play on the outside. Harvin is really the only one of that trio who can operate out of the slot, but part of the beauty of mismatch player like Harvin is moving him around to get the right defender going against him. The Seahawks needed another slot wide out and landed a good one in Paul Richardson.

The 6-foot, 175-pound Richardson is very explosive. He is a threat to burn cornerbacks and get open in the deep part of the field. Richardson is a threat to score on any reception. He was excellent with 83 receptions for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013.

Richardson could use some development in the weight room, but with teams favoring Harvin with safety help over the top, Richardson could have single coverage and burn a lot of defenses over the top. Seattle could have landed a player who makes some big plays for the team with its first selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Future Depth Player

Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB, Boston College – Round 4
The Seahawks love athletic linebackers, and Pierre-Louis definitely fits the bill. Bruce Irvin has been up and down since being drafted by Seattle, and the defending champions could use some depth at linebacker.

The 6-foot, 232-pounder blazed a fast 40 time at the Combine of 4.51 seconds. He also was productive at Boston College with good tackle totals in all four years as a starter (108, 85, 74, 93). Pierre-Louis has quality instincts and stays around the ball.

Pierre-Louis should also be a star on special teams for Seattle. He may never develop into a starter, but he should provide nice depth.

Walt’s 2014 NFL Draft Grades:

45. Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado: A- Grade
Unlike the Eagles, the Seahawks traded down (multiple times) and picked their receiver. That’s why they’re getting a much better grade. Paul Richardson fills a huge need that had to be filled even before Golden Tate left for Detroit (as Cris Carter would agree). Richardson needs to bulk up, but he’s athletically impressive, which fits what the Seahawks typically go for.

64. Justin Britt, OT, Missouri: SIX SEASONS AND A MILLEN Grade
Uhh… what? I get that the Seahawks love athletic players, but come on… Justin Britt is a seventh-round/UDFA prospect. There’s no reason to select him this early. I’m not saying it’s impossible that Britt will ever develop into a solid blocker, but this is a ridiculous reach.

108. Cassius Marsh, DE, UCLA: B Grade
The Seahawks were going to consider Marcus Smith at No. 32 if they didn’t trade out. They needed a pass-rusher after losing Chris Clemons to the Jaguars; not to mention that Cliff Avril is entering his contract season. Cassius Marsh makes sense here. He’s a fourth-round prospect, so he fits the range.

123. Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama: B+ Grade
I guess the front office agrees with Cris Carter. Another receiver isn’t a surprise, given the team’s need at the position. Kevin Norwood fits the range toward the end of the fourth round, so this is a decent selection. I like that the Seahawks moved down multiple times to acquire him.

132. Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB, Boston College: B Grade
The Seahawks are selecting an athletic player? You don’t say! Kevin Pierre-Louis has very good potential, and he was expected to go in this range. Seattle had to find some linebacker depth, so why not?

172. Jimmy Staten, DT, Middle Tennessee State: A Grade
This is a bit early for Jimmy Staten, but the Middle Tennessee State product received a ton of pre-draft attention, so perhaps the Seahawks figured he would be off the board by their next pick. It’s not a surprise that they chose an interior defensive lineman because depth had to be addressed.

199. Garrett Scott, OT, Marshall: B Grade
Another lineman makes sense for the Seahawks, and I actually thought that Garrett Scott might be chosen before Justin Britt. Unlike the Britt selection, Seattle is making the choice with appropriate value.

208. Eric Pinkins, S, San Diego State: C Grade
I didn’t have Eric Pinkins as a draftable prospect, but it doesn’t matter much at this point. Kam Chancellor is injured, so Seattle taking a safety should surprise no one.

227. Kiero Small, FB, Arkansas: B Grade
A solid choice in the seventh round. Kiero Small could contribute and help Marshawn Lynch increase his YPC figure to normal levels again.

2014 NFL Draft Team Grade: A . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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