Seattle Seahawks Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

L.J. Collier, DE, TCU – Round 1
The Seahawks made the biggest reach of the first round with their selection of Collier. Seattle traded down but then ended up not getting good value for its first-round pick. In speaking to sources at a variety of teams, Collier was graded as a mid-round pick and the Seahawks reached on him in the top 30. Despite playing for TCU in a conference that throws the ball constantly and does not field many talented offensive lines, Collier’s best season of sack production came with only six sacks. Over the previous years, he had four and 4.5 sacks respectively. He also had a good rusher on the other side from him in Ben Banogu who drew attention.

All that being said, there were sources at other teams who liked his run-defense skills as he is strong and plays hard. But they also felt he has a terrible, soft body that needs a lot of development for the NFL. This Seattle coaching staff has had some success improving upon weaknesses and limitations to turn out some good defensive linemen like Jarran Reed, Frank Clark and Michael Bennett.

Collier is a good scheme fit for Seattle, and I think he could become a solid starter who is a tough run defender but never produces a lot in the pass rush.

2018: Rashaad Penny, RB
2017: Ethan Pocic, C
2016: Germain Ifedi, OT
2015: Mark Glowinski, G
2014: Cassius Marsh, DE
2013: Chris Harper, WR

Most Likely To Bust

Marquise Blair, S, Utah – Round 2
As a player, I think Blair has the potential to turn into a solid pro, but there are other issues with Blair that could lead to him not panning out in the NFL. Some teams had him off their draft boards because off-the-field issues and concerns that he could land suspensions in the NFL.

Blair was one of the Utes’ top players on a defense that led them to the 2018 Pac-12 Championship game. In 2018, Blair totaled 59 tackles with two interceptions and two passes broken up. There is no doubt that Blair has a good skill set with physical talent for the NFL. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in a sparkling 4.48 seconds. On top of having size and speed, Blair is an aggressive defender who gets very physical.

As a player, there is a lot to like with Blair, but I think the off-the-field issues could be problematic to him panning out in the NFL. Hence, I think he has the most bust potential of the Seahawks’ early-round picks.

2018: Will Dissly, TE
2017: Shaquill Griffin, CB
2016: Jarran Reed, DT
2015: Frank Clark, DE
2014: Justin Britt, OT
2013: Jesse Williams, DT

Potential Boom Pick

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss – Round 2
Metcalf could be the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft, as he is a physical freak with a skill set of a player created in a video game. The Seahawks took Metcalf late in the second round, so the risk is not horrible if he goes bust. But if he pans out, he could be one of the most devastating receivers in the NFL with his combination of size and speed.

What really sets Metcalf apart are mismatch size and speed. He has excellent height and strength to be a size problem on the perimeter. That size makes him tough to tackle and a threat to make any reception as he can win 50-50 passes over defensive backs. He is a red-zone weapon who could be a point producer as a pro.

Metcalf has freakish straight-line speed, and that was illustrated at the NFL Scouting Combine when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds. Off the line of scrimmage, Metcalf is very fast at running straight go routes down the field, and he can burn defensive backs by just running by them. He is a threat to score on any reception because once he has the ball in his hands, he can run away from the defense. Metcalf tracks the ball very well, using late hands to make receptions. He shows nice concentration and ability to make one-handed catches.

While Metcalf has a great skill set, he is not necessarily a polished receiver. His route-running needs to be developed because he did not run the route tree at Ole Miss. Because Metcalf is so muscle bound, he is not that agile in and out of breaks. That, along with his short-area quickness, could be problematic for him generating separation in the NFL. Along with his route-running, it would be good to see Metcalf be more physical with defensive backs. Given his strength and size, he should and could be a bully who pushes defenders around. That could really help him to be even more effective on 50-50 passes and against press coverage. For a big receiver, Metcalf surprisingly does not high point the ball that well. The physicality and high pointing the ball are things that he could easily improve upon with NFL coaching.

The Seahawks were a good team to land with due to their huge need at receiver. Doug Baldwin has retireed, and the team already needed help around him. Tyler Lockett was better in 2018, but still has not had a season with 60 receptions or 1,000 yards. Thus, Metcalf should have every opportunity to work his way into being Russell Wilson’s No.1 receiver. Having one of the best quarterbacks in NFL is another great blessing that awaits Metcalf in Seattle. While Metcalf has some flaws, he has definite boom potential for the Seahawks.

2018: Rasheem Green, DE
2017: Malik McDowell, DT
2016: C.J. Prosise, RB
2015: Tyler Lockett, WR
2014: Paul Richardson, WR
2013: Christine Michael, RB

Future Depth Player

Gary Jennings, WR, West Virginia – Round 4
Jennings was a sleeper receiver for the 2019 NFL Draft who I really liked. The 6-foot-1, 214-pounder is not undersized and has some serious speed to stretch the field. He illustrated that with a 4.42-second time in the 40-yard dash at the combine. For West Virginia, he showed some speed to get vertical and challenge secondaries in the deep part of the field. Jennings followed the 2018 season with a strong Senior Bowl. I think he could be a steal for Seattle and end up being a superb weapon as a No. 3 receiver.

2018: Shaquem Griffin, LB
2017: Nazair Jones, DT
2016: Nick Vannett, TE
2015: Tye Smith, CB
2014: Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB
2013: Tharold Simon, CB

Walt’s 2019 NFL Draft Grades:

29. L.J. Collier, DE, TCU D+ Grade
I thought the Seahawks would be on the clock for the 2020 NFL Draft by the time they made this pick. And it’s not a good one at that. Daniel Jeremiah just mentioned that L.J. Collier was his 56th-ranked player, and that matches my projection, as I had him No. 58. This is yet another reach in the 2019 NFL Draft. Collier was just a 1-year starter at TCU and just seems to be a solid rotational defensive end who thrives against the run. Seattle should have moved down and selected Collier or someone similar, though to the team’s credit, it already traded down twice.

47. Marquise Blair, S, Utah D Grade
I don’t know why the Seahawks are selecting third-day prospects on the first two days of the draft. I won’t give them an “F” for this because they moved down several times, but Marquise Blair is a tweener safety who could have fallen to the fifth round.

64. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss B Grade
People who didn’t watch D.K. Metcalf will consider this a steal because “he raanannn a great 40 tiiimmeeee,” but Metcalf is not a good player. He is an unbelievable athlete, but he’s not a good football player. He’s a receiver who has no clue how to run routes, and I expected him to be chosen in the second round. This is right where Metcalf should’ve been chosen. He has immense upside and could develop into a good player, but he won’t be a consistent wideout for a while.

88. Cody Barton, LB, Utah D- Grade
I don’t understand Seattle’s draft board. Cody Barton is yet another third-day player the Seahawks have chosen in the first three rounds. Cody Barton seems like a special-teamer and sub-package player only. That’s the sort of guy you choose in the sixth round; not the third frame.

120. Gary Jennings, WR, West Virginia B Grade
Gary Jennings was excellent at the Senior Bowl, so it’s nice that his performance in Mobile was able to help his draft stock. Jennings needs to improve as a route runner, but he has nice size (6-1, 214) and speed, and he offers Seattle tremendous upside.

124. Phil Haynes, G, Wake Forest B Grade
This is a better pick than the previous one, which was also used on a guard (Ben Powers.) Phil Haynes has a better chance of emerging as a starter, and not just because Seattle’s offensive line is a mess. He needs to work on his footwork, but he’s a sound, powerful blocker.

132. Ugo Amadi, S, Oregon A- Grade
Ugo Amadi tested very poorly at the combine, which is why he dropped to the end of the fourth round. It’s possible that the Seahawks could be getting a steal, as Amadi played much better than the times indicate. He’s a smart, tough defensive back who could end up starting at nickel for the Seahawks.

142. Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington B+ Grade
Ben Burr-Kirven is small, but has solid athleticism and positive instincts. He could’ve been chosen a round earlier than this without any criticism, so I think the Seahawks are getting solid value. They needed linebacker depth, and Burr-Kirven should be able to help in that regard.

204. Travis Homer, RB, Miami B Grade
The Seahawks already have their two top running backs set in stone, but needed a third back in the wake of Mike Davis’ departure. Travis Homer seems like he’ll be a nice third-down runner, as he catches passes and blocks well. This is the right range for Homer, so this is a decent choice.

209. Demarcus Christmas, DT, Florida State C+ Grade
Demarcus Christmas offers absolutely nothing as a pass rusher, and he’s an extremely limited athlete. He has such a low ceiling, so I’m not sure I understand the point of selecting him rather than choosing someone with more upside. I don’t hate this selection, but it could’ve been better.

236. John Ursua, WR, Hawaii C Grade
The Seahawks have chosen so many receivers, which doesn’t bode well for Doug Baldwin’s future in the NFL. I didn’t have John Ursua as a drafted prospect and never included him in a mock. He could potentially emerge as a slot receiver in the pros, but likely won’t make the 53-man roster.

2019 NFL Draft Team Grade: D . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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