Ethan Pocic, C, LSU – Round 2
Throughout the draft process, Pocic was the consensus top center for May 2017. Thus, landing the best prospect at his position late in the second round is a really nice value for any team. I had the Seahawks taking Pocic in my final 2017 NFL Draft, and the match made a lot of sense. Seattle needed to upgrade its weak offensive line this offseason, and Pocic should be a plug-and-play addition.
The 6-foot-6, 307-pounder is a smart technician with a lot of experience against the best competition that college football has to offer. Pocic was very reliable in pass protection for the Tigers. He is good at hitting double teams on tackles and also is smart in his positioning. He has the athleticism and quickness to help handle interior speed rushers as well. In the ground game, Pocic is an athletic blocker who is effective at the point of attack. He has natural athleticism and is excellent at hitting blocks on the second level. Pocic does a quality job of sustaining his blocks and has strong technique with hand placement.
Aside from being a good value for Seattle, Pocic should help upgrade the team’s offensive line at multiple spots. Pocic is versatile enough to play guard, but center is his best position for the NFL. Assuming Pocic ends up as Seattle’s long-term center, that lets the team move Justin Britt to guard and upgrade the offensive line at multiple spots. Pocic could quickly become a quality starter for the Seahawks.
2016: Germain Ifedi, OT
2015: Mark Glowinski, G
2014: Cassius Marsh, DE
2013: Chris Harper, WR
Most Likely To Bust
Shaquill Griffin, CB, Central Florida – Round 3
Another pick I got right in my final mock 2017 NFL Draft was the Seahawks taking Griffin late in the third round. He made a ton of sense for Seattle as he was an exact fit for what the organization looks for as a cornerback. The Seahawks have been right before where others were wrong, but sources at some other teams that have been very good at drafting cornerback talent had Griffin graded much later and saw some bust potential with him. As a result, I think he is the riskiest pick of Seattle’s early rounders.
Griffin (6-0, 194) is a big corner with length and showed some serious speed at the combine with a tremendous 4.38-second time in the 40-yard dash. With that size and speed, one would think Griffin wouldn’t have lasted almost to the third day of the 2017 NFL Draft. The reason why other teams had him graded deep into Day 3, however, was because of his tape. They say that Griffin didn’t play up to his combine speed in college as he was beaten deep and his instincts were off. Thus, they had given him late-round grades.
With the Seahawks, Griffin went to the right team as they have had success with big cornerbacks. Perhaps they know how to coach him up to avoid being beaten like he did at Central Florida. However of Seattle’s early round selections, Griffin is the player who is most likely to be a bust.
2016: Jarran Reed, DT
2015: Frank Clark, DE
2014: Justin Britt, OT
2013: Jesse Williams, DT
Potential Boom Pick
Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State – Round 2
Scouts across scouting community felt that McDowell was one of the most physically gifted players in the 2017 NFL Draft but that he also didn’t always play up to his potential. With Seattle, McDowell will be working with coaches who have done well at getting the most out of players, and McDowell has a lot of talent around him to help occupy the attention of offenses. It wouldn’t surprise me if McDowell ends up being a massive steal for the Seahawks.
Against the run, McDowell is a tough defender. He can use his his quickness to get upfield or his strength to get off a block and tackle the backs close to the line of scrimmage. He can use that same speed to fire his gap and penetrate into the backfield.
In the pass rush, McDowell has a quick get-off with speed to close. He is faster than expected and often his speed can catch offensive linemen by surprise. He can use his speed to dart by guards, or he can fly around the corner to beat offensive tackles. McDowell has shocking speed for such a big defensive lineman.
Sources have said that McDowell has a high first-round skill set, but concerns about his motor and work ethic are what caused him to slide in the 2017 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-6, 295-pounder has elite speed with natural strength and rare athleticism for such a big body. McDowell could be an end and tackle for the Seahawks who causes a lot of havoc at the point of attack. With his skill set, McDowell could end up being a difference-maker and one of the steals of the 2017 NFL Draft.
2016: C.J. Prosise, RB
2015: Tyler Lockett, WR
2014: Paul Richardson, WR
2013: Christine Michael, RB
Future Depth Player
Nazair Jones, DT, North Carolina – Round 3
Jones was a nice value pick for the Seahawks late in the third round. The 6-foot-5, 304-pounder has flexibility to play a variety of position on the defensive line and could be a nice rotational player for Seattle. Jones could be better off in a rotational player role rather than being an every-down starter. Given that the Seahawks’ line features recent higher draft picks in Jarran Reed and Malik McDowell, Jones should be a rotational backup. He could quickly be a good depth player for Seattle.
2016: Nick Vannett, TE
2015: Tye Smith, CB
2014: Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB
2013: Tharold Simon, CB
Walt’s 2017 NFL Draft Grades:
35. Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State: C+ Grade
The Seahawks did a terrific job of moving down, picking up third-, fourth-, sixth- and seventh-round picks just for moving down nine spots. That’s pretty good, and it’ll help this grade a bit. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the end result. McDowell was a second-round talent I dropped into the third because he interviewed extremely poorly. He has the traits the Seahawks look for in a prospect, but doesn’t seem very competitive, so it’s surprising to me that Seattle would take him.
58. Ethan Pocic, C/G, LSU: C Grade
The Seahawks wanted Garett Bolles, but they’re taking another offensive lineman instead in the second round. Only, it’s at a different position, and one that isn’t needed. The one thing the Seahawks do have up front is a solid center, so I imagine Ethan Pocic will play guard. I guess that’s fine, but I had Pocic in the fourth round, so I think this is a bit of a reach.
90. Shaq Griffin, CB, Central Florida: B+ Grade
The Seahawks needed to obtain at least one cornerback in this draft. Richard Sherman could be dealt at some point in the near future, and the position was a need even before that speculation began. It’s not a surprise that Seattle obtained a tall, athletic cornerback near the middle of the draft. That’s been a formula that has worked for them, and Griffin fits the range in the third round.
95. Delano Hill, S, Michigan: D Grade
The Seahawks have a great front office, but they even miss sometimes. I think this is a whiff, as Delano Hill was a late-round prospect for me. Hill tested poorly at the combine and looked pretty bad in the drills. He’s not impressive at all, but there’s a chance he could be a special-teams stud for Seattle. That said, I don’t think you take someone like that in the third round.
102. Nazair Jones, DE/DT, North Carolina: C+ Grade
Nazair Jones made a big mistake by declaring early, as he has yet to develop any sort of pass-rushing skills. Jones’ poor testing didn’t help either, so he’s a bit lucky to make it into the second day. The one thing Jones can do well is stuff the run, so he’ll help Seattle in that regard.
106. Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan: B+ Grade
Amara Darboh is an athletic player who tested well throughout the pre-draft process, so it’s hardly a surprise that the Seahawks targeted him. Darboh was productive at Michigan as well, so he should be a solid pro. The Seahawks will need another receiver to be a factor in a year or two, and Darboh should be able to contribute by then. He made sense with the penultimate selection in the third round.
111. Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado: B- Grade
Tedric Thompson was a fifth-round pick for me, so this is a slight reach, but we’re in the third day, so that’s not a big deal. Thompson is not a good athlete, but he has positive instincts, so he could pan out. It’s not a surprise Seattle selected a safety here; I thought that could’ve happened much earlier.
187. Mike Tyson, S, Cincinnati: C Grade
The Seahawks are certainly taking a bite out of the safety position in this class, as this is the third such player they’ve selected. I had Mike Tyson going in the seventh round, so this is a tad early for him. I’m just not sure why the Seahawks need so many safeties, but maybe Seattle envisions him as a special-teams star.
210. Justin Senior, OT, Mississippi State: C Grade
This is a strange pick by the Seahawks. They typically swing for the fences in the late rounds, but Justin Senior has no upside. He’s a poor athlete, and he struggled at the Senior Bowl as well. It wouldn’t surprise me if he failed to make the roster, but at least Seattle is trying to fill a need.
226. David Moore, WR, East Central Oklahoma: C+ Grade
Here’s the home run pick Seattle likes to take, as David Moore from East Central Oklahoma (how can something be East Central?) had solid testing numbers. However, there were better options available in the seventh round. Moore could’ve been signed as a UDFA in all likelihood.
249. Chris Carson, RB, Oklahoma State: B Grade
As mentioned earlier, the Seahawks tend to swing for the fences in the final couple of rounds, and this is another example of that. Chris Carson is highly athletic and possesses great upside. I had him going in the seventh round, so the range makes sense. He wasn’t productive at Oklahoma State, but the potential is there for that to change.
2017 NFL Draft Team Grade: B- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.
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