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2018 Draft Tracker [Part 2: What I would have done differently / Who could still come]

Following on from Part 1 where I looked at all the players I predicted compared to who we picked, this section will look at what opportunities are still present.

I have to say that looking over our draft class, I was pretty happy from the beginning. The only pick that had me a bit unsure was our first round pick Penny.

What I would have done differently

This brings us onto the first section of what I would have done differently in the draft:

Draft

Considering that we had Carson, who had some amazing games for us before he got injured, I was very shocked to see us pick a RB in the first round. I felt like this was more of a statement pick to the league, saying: we are going back to the run.

However, you can’t just pick a back in the first round and expect him to fix your run game problems. I understand that at the time of the draft there will have still been some uncertainty as to how strong Carson would come back and therefore picking a back may have been a priority, but in my opinion Penny was over drafted (as he has shown in the first weeks). I think that he has the potential to become a big part of our running game…but he needs time. If you are not a QB and get picked in the first round, it is my opinion that you should be starter material at your position.

The fact that Penny is having trouble catching the ball from Wilson and not having too much of an impact in the run game – which has led to the committee situation being changed to Carson as lead back – shows that Penny still needs some time. In the fast world of the NFL, where investments have to made right, he will get the time but will need to do a lot not to be viewed critically for the rest of his career.

In related news, I would have gone about fixing the run game in a slightly different way:

Will Hernandez – Giants – predicted late 1st – picked early 2nd – now: Starter LG

I think the Seahawks could have traded to the beginning of the second round or later into the first round to pick up Hernandez and secured at least a late round pick too – more on that later.

I have already mentioned in my last piece that for me Hernandez was the standout lineman of the draft. He is a massive physical presence on the inside and could have been great on the inside with Britt and Pocic. This would have given us great depth with Fluker, Hunt and Sweezy and could have actually constituted quite a good developmental line that could stick together for a couple of years – leaving the remaining weak spot at RT.

Hernandez is a beast and I think that we missed a opportunity in not getting him. Here is what PFF had to say about his performance through the first three weeks, where they have him as the no.3 in their rookie rankings:

Hernandez ranks seventh among all guards in terms of overall grade and he’s one of just seven guards to have grades of at least 70.0 in both pass protection and as a run blocker. The Giants second-round pick had his first clean sheet in Week 3, after not allowing a single pressure on 35 pass-blocking snaps.

John Kelly – Rams – predicted 3rd – picked 6th – now: RB4

So trading down for Hernandez would have meant picking up another pick and by all means, I would have invested that one into a RB.

My favourite option would have been John Kelly, who – as a 6th round pick – would have been great value. He is used to running against tough defences playing for Tennessee, he has excellent speed and agility as well as a tough running style and offers a different skill set to Carson.

Together with the Hernandez pickup I think that this would have had more of a positive impact in our run game (an offence in general), than the Penny pick. Although I have to note that Penny could be a lot of help long term – especially if our OL takes another step up this season.

 

UDFA

The second area where we could have done a lot better is with UDFAs. Of all of the players we picked up as UDFAs, only one made it into our 53 man squad (Poona Ford), two onto the practice squad (Malik Turner and Caleb Scott) and we picked up 2 from other teams (Lavon Coleman and Elijah Nkansah).

While I love the Poona Ford addition, the rest is questionable – especially when you look at players we could have signed in free agency at positions of need:

Cornerback

Holton Hill – Vikings – predicted 4th – picked UDFA – now: RCB4

I have already mentioned that he had some character concerns, but also highlighted his talents. As soon as he dropped to being an UDFA, he should have been a priority pick up for us. When you compare him to the likes of Johnson, Reed and Battle – who were all in training camp and involved in the preseason – he would have been a serious upgrade.

The fact that he made it onto the Vikings roster, where he has received some high praise from the likes of Xavier Rhodes, shows his class. He is being used sparingly at the moment but has the potential to develop. At 6’2″ and 32 inch arms, you can’t really say that he doesn’t have the size to be a Hawks CB either.

Levi Wallace – Bills – predicted 6th – picked UDFA – now: Practice Squad

His story alone makes him the prototypical underdog Seahawk with a chip on his shoulder. Having to work his way on to being a starter at Alabama, only to be an UDFA again. Without a doubt, he has the playmaking ability and the intelligence and grit to make it happen, the question may be his size.

At 6’0″ he does not have the typical size for the outside as a Seahawks CB…although that’s the same height as Shaquill Griffin. So while he has great arm length and hand size, the main problem could be that he is currently around 20 pounds lighter than Griffin. This puts him more in the region of Justin Coleman (who he is still 10 pounds lighter than), but this is where I would have seen the fit in the squad. Currently, we have no one to back up at nickle corner – I wouldn’t want to have to put King or Thorpe there who are great on special teams but iffy on defence.

I think that Wallace will make his way in the NFL and eventually be a starter. Whichever team has him at that point will be very lucky.

Safety

Kyle Quiero – Cowboys – predicted 7th – picked UDFA – now: Practice Squad

Kam is gone, but McDougald is proving to be playing just as productive – even if it is in a different way. So why add another LB/S hybrid? As a start, the Seahawks have started playing more 3 safety sets and I believe Quiero is better – and has a higher ceiling – than both Hill and Thompson who have not impressed me.

While Thompson did a decent job in preseason I would have not felt comfortable with him as a full time starter at the position. Hill, who I thought a lot of when we drafted him, has also failed to impress. In comes a guy who is a natural leader in the mold of one of our most tone setting Safties in recent years. So that’s why I think we should add Quiero.

Quiero can both come down into the box and peel away into coverage, but in my eyes is miscast as a LB – that is what he is listed as on the Cowboys PS Roster. He is intelligent and a playmaker, and the Cowboys have somehow managed to hide him on their PS without anyone picking it up.

Returner

Quadree Henderson – Steelers – predicted 7th – picked UDFA – now: FA

High speed player who is dangerous in the return game, but also showed in the preseason that he can be a good receiver with his TD reception. Has been said to have limitations as a receiver – but the same was said of Lockett. I think that he could actually go a similar path as our own WR.

They both have similar measurables and while Lockett ran his 40-yard 0.1 seconds faster, their 3 cone was identical. Compared to the two developmental WRs we have sitting on our PS, I think that Henderson could be a great addition who could potentially make it into the first team.

 

Who Could still come

The great thing about the NFL is that there are roster and PS squad changes made every week. With that in mind, here are three easy moves that we could still make:

Practice Squad Players

Levi Wallace – Bills – CB

As a backup slot corner Wallace would be great leverage against a Justin Coleman going into the last year of his contract, incase a deal can’t be made. A deal should be made, because Coleman is awesome, but we would have a younger backup in the wings who also has experience playing on the outside in a pinch.

I would happily drop Tre Madden for him, who I believe is a wasted roster spot anyway. The reason I would keep King is because he is a good special teamer. If we could get the same success out of Wallace, I would also be happy to drop King – likely to revert back to the PS for one of our WRs.

Kyle Quiero – Cowboys – SS

As mentioned before he could contribute immediately in the 3 Safety sets, rotating as the third guy with Shalom Luani. In time I think that he could become a leader and tone setter on the defence.

While this would give us 6 safeties on the roster, I would still prefer to have a loaded secondary – with doubts about Thomas’ future – and release Tre Madden. The more the season progresses, the more I am moving into the camp of “pay Thomas.” At the moment there is no one in the NFL who can play the way he does, and with his situation sorted we could make some easier decisions in the roster, e.g. letting one of the safeties go to add Quiero.

 

Free Agents

Quadree Henderson – WR / Returner

At the moment this has to be a no brainer. At least bring this guy into the practice squad or for a try out. Bring him in for Caleb Scott or Malik Turner.

We could have had McKissic do returns (until he got injured), we could have even given the job to Greyson (who did a decent job until he was cut) OR as a last resort have Moore do it (who isn’t the fastest, but had some decent returns in the one preseason he was tried out there). Instead we go with Lockett, our current no.1 receiver, who should not be doing return duties. Imagine if he got injured too.

This guy was a return specialist at College! Even if returning might be the only thing he is good at, which is why it is dangerous giving him a roster spot, I think it would be worthwhile to protect our WR corp from further injury. Besides I think he could learn a lot from Lockett who has established himself as more than a returner…

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