By: Peter Vandeventer | @PeteVandeventer
The 2020 draft is in the books and we now begin the long trek to training camp. The first-ever virtual draft went pretty smoothly with no issues besides the fact that we don’t know if we’ll have football in the near future. The Seattle Seahawks surprised no one by making a series of surprising selections throughout the three-day event including the selection of Jordyn Brooks and Darrell Taylor (with other viable pass rushers still on the board).
Round 1 - Pick 27
Jordyn Brooks | LB | Texas Tech
Seattle’s been in need of some infusion of speed and youth at LB and that’s exactly what Brooks will bring. With Kendricks no longer in the building and KJ Wright hitting that 30-mark really put the roster in a difficult position. Barton and BBK are still very much in the fold moving forward but they really don’t show the range that the Seahawks defense has been missing.
Fit: long term fit could be at Mike linebacker as a possible replacement for Bobby Wagner but that’s pretty premature to assume. For now, Brooks projects well as a Sam LB beside Bobby and KJ.
Brooks was asked to do a lot at Tech which included the ‘18 season where he played more of a rover position. He showed in his ‘18 tape the ability to cover well enough, despite a lot of what the media is saying based on his ‘19 film.
Round 2 - Pick 48
Darrell Taylor | LEO | Tennessee
With Clowney still unsigned and an already lackluster collection of production upfront left Schneider no option when it came to pass rush in the draft. Despite a weaker than usual class in terms of premier pass rushers, Seattle found their “guy” in the form of Darrell Taylor. The character issues are very much prevalent but Pete Carroll and John Schneider have never shied away from players with issues (and actually look to lean into them sometimes). The Seahawks have built the culture that helps many players find their way, just look at Frank Clark, Jarran Reed, and Marshawn Lynch.
Fit: Taylor is the ideal LEO for Seattle. According to Pete Carroll, they seem him to be along the lines of Frank Clark and Bruce Irvin in terms of projection at LEO and the role that they’ll play. He has a pretty straightforward path to early playing time and could do that with a successful camp and preseason.
Round 3 - Pick 69
Damien Lewis | OG/C | LSU
It’s all about the trenches day 2 when Seattle capped off the day by taking the mauling guard out of LSU. Seattle’s had a bit of a reshuffle along the offensive line this offseason with Britt and Fluker both being cut as well as Fant and Ifedi leaving for opportunities elsewhere. Lewis now has a shot to start at guard with Fluker being cut to clear space for an apparent move. He brings the same physicality in the run game that caught the coaching staffs eye along with key developmental tools to grow as a pass blocker
Pete Carroll and John Schneider attributed Pete’s connection to Ed Orgeron (LSU’s HC) going back to their time at USC as the reason they felt good with Lewis. Orgeron was gushing over Lewis and his story, as well as Stephen Sullivan, both guys who are ending up in Seattle.
Fit: Lewis has a bit of flexibility and versatility as he stated in his press conference. He can play both guard and center but it sounds like Seattle wants to keep him exclusively at guard. He has a shot to start or to battle for at the very least. Lewis, Haynes, Warmack, and Simmons all will be fighting for the opening at right guard left by the release of Fluker.
Round 4 - Pick 133
Colby Parkinson | TE | Stanford
Pete Carroll has built credibility and connections over the years and one of those names is Stanford HC, David Shaw. Parkinson quickly became a favorite with the coaching staff on The Farm, before leaving Stanford a year early. Seattle, on the other hand, took Parkinson due to a glaring issue at TE. Dissly can’t stay healthy and Greg Olsen is 35 so to say the future of the room is very much in question. Jacob Hollister is a good TE2 so there are pieces in the room, but the fit will take time. Parkinson has the size and frame to build on his skill set as both a blocker and receiver.
Fit: Stanford’s Shaw mentioned to Pete about how they wanted him to come back for his 4th year because of how they thought he still needed to develop as a blocker. His blocking concerns (take that with a grain of salt) and the amount of current talent at TE points towards Parkinson not seeing the field too much to start his career. Give Parkinson a year or two before you see Seattle really unleash him as a dual-threat TE.
Round 4 - Pick 144
DeeJay Dallas | RB | Miami (Fl.)
Dallas flew under the radar for a large part of the draft process but really has tools to stick around in the league. Considered one of (if not THE) best pass protecting backs in the league, Dallas is will to do anything needed to help the team. Worked out as a returner for the Hurricanes and could compete for the returner duty with Lockett likely being removed as a precaution for health.
Fit: With Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and Adam Choice all coming off of injuries from the ‘19 season, Dallas can find some playing time if he seizes the opportunity early on. Homer is the only other fully healthy back on the roster right now so we might see another name or two added to the room in the coming weeks.
Round 5 - Pick 248
Alton Robinson | 5T | Syracuse
Seattle has invested a lot at 5T over the past few seasons with LJ Collier and Rasheem Green but neither has performed to their hype. Robinson can add a different style to 5T with his speed and quickness off the line. Whereas Green and Collier rely on more of their strength to work out of the 5T. Robinson had 19 sacks in three years at Syracuse, despite a very down year in ‘19 for the Orange.
Fit: Robinson will be in the mix if Clowney isn’t brought back. He will be a key rotation piece and will have the time to steal and keep snaps if he can return to his 10 sack form from ‘18.
Round 6 - Pick 214
Freddie Swain | WR | Florida
Swain has a unique combination of size to speed/movement from the slot that is certainly worth a late-round flier. On special teams, Swain will compete with Dallas as a returner and appears to have the speed to do it with his 4.46 40-yard dash. Malik Turner and Jaron Brown not returning to the squad leaves pair of spots open and Swain is in a good spot to compete with 26-year old John Ursua who is coming off his rookie season.
Fit: Swain can play as a depth piece in the slot as well as a very respectable and serviceable special teamer with his speed to size combo.
Round 7 - Pick 251
Stephen Sullivan | WR/TE | LSU
Seattle had to trade back into the 7th to acquire Sullivan (who Miami was getting ready to draft before Seattle swept in and got). Just like with Damien Lewis, Ed Orgeron played a huge part in the pick, along with his success at the Senior Bowl. Sullivan really adds more size to a receiver room that is relying on Metcalf to play big ball.
Fit: I’m not actually sure where Sullivan is going to fit. Pete Carroll wasn’t clear when asked the question but it sounds like they might be using him out wide, in the slot, and inline (if needed). He’s going to be a toy for Schotty to play with and find a way to get onto the field for Russ.
A few key draft notes:
Seahawks relied heavily on ‘18 film a lot more in previous years. Brooks, Robinson, and Parkinson all showed a little bit of regression in terms of production from ‘18 to ‘19 with players like Darrell Taylor not showing a whole lot of improvement off of his impressive 2018 campaign.
Connections were more important this year than ever in terms of evaluating prospects. Pete and John talked about Ed Orgeron and David Shaw’s as highly respected and close friends that they believe and the recommendation of their players (Lewis, Sullivan, and Parkinson) held a lot of weight. Now obviously coaches will always push their players, but only the few will have the “stamp of approval.”
There’s a lot of versatility in this draft class. In the press interviews, most draftees mentioned how they played several positions. Brooks can play all three LB spots and rush the passer with some success, Taylor and Robinson can mix their approach, Lewis can play guard and center, and both Parkinson and Sullivan can play TE and WR. The more you’re available, the more you can find the field and make plays...logic!
Seattle showed a clear value this year in BPA (based on their board, of course) and for those who had come from difficult situations with a lot to overcome. True direction for this draft class is something that hasn’t been visible for a few years now and definitely feels like a step in the right direction in terms of revamping the squad around Russ. A combination of current needs and developmental additions has this class situated well in continuing a youth movement for the Seahawks roster.