To look at my experience 2019 I have to go back to my not so distant first steps regarding the draft. I started looking at the draft more closely in 2017, but here I only looked at who I would pick in the second round. 2018 I went into a little more detail, by analyzing needs and potential at all positions, putting together a table of my favorites at each position and forming a loose order of who I would pick in which round.Something you could say resembled a draft board.
Working into the draft
I started my process, not by analyzing the team, but by looking at the Senior Bowl and Combine. The idea of this was to get a first idea on what talent was out there at which position. While watching these events I wouldn’t go into detailed analysis of each player, but really watch what they were doing, how they moved etc. From this point I built a shortlist, which got reduced as the combine went on.
Once I had my lists I looked at the Seahawks squad – which I know pretty well by now – in more detail and analysed each position as well as the direction I would take as GM. Following the position analysis, this also included potential trades.
This year I worked in a lot more detail on trades and compensation as well as creating a list of exact picks I would end up with. One thing I learned completely new here for example (but only once the draft was already over) is what forfeited picks are and how they work.
Based on the trades and a thorough analysis of all positions I then reduced the list of talents again to those who I thought would fit into Seattle or who I would like to see on the team. I actually didn’t manage to do the full analysis and write up of all positions prior to the start of the draft, which you can see by when they were published. So instead I made sure that those write ups for people I wanted to draft on Day 1 were done in time and the same for the other days.
Draft Day 1 (Round 1)
I don’t know if it is just me, but I find Day 1 the least exciting, it just takes too long. I wrote up the following 8 position groups with their talents prior to the first round, because all apart from safety and wide receiver had at least one potential player who I would take in the first round.
In hindsight I have said that perhaps safety should have also had a player with a first round grade in Savage, I think he will do well. Wide Receiver is also a position which is always overdrafted so it made sense to look at these before day 1. Another note of mine was that I would never choose QB in the first round because there are too many variables to make it a safe pick. That was another part of the process this year for me, really thinking why I would take certain players in different places of the draft, not just based on their potential and the need from Seahawks side, but also impact in the squad.
It should also be mentioned at this point that throughout the draft I was looking at my own narrative (with the trade of Wilson as the headliner) as well as the Seahawks. The bold players below are those I would eventually pick, the one also highlighted in green were also picked by the Seahawks.
QB(7) Murray (Cardinals, 1), Grier (Panthers, 100), Finley (Bengals, 104), Jackson, Minshew (Jaguars, 178), Stick (Chargers, 166), Lock
DT (5) Simmons (Titans, 19), Hill, Jones (Broncos, 71), Saunders, Mack (Ravens, 160)
OL (7) Bradbury (Vikings, 18), Risner, Lindstrom (Falcons, 14), Taylor (Jaguars, 35), McGary (Falcons, 31), Haynes, Froholdt (Patriots, 118)
S (4) Savage (Packers, 21), Gardner-Johnson, Redwine, Johnson (Bills, 181)
EDGE (6) Burns, Gary (Packers, 12), Polite (Jets, 68), Hollins (Broncos, 156), Davis, Daniels
LB (6) Bush (Steelers, 10), Burr-Kirvin, Okereke (Colts, 89), Tranquill (Chargers, 130), Johnson (Chiefs, UDFA), Wilson (Browns, 155)
WR (10) Harry (Patriots, 32), Campbell (Colts, 59), Isabella (Cardinals, 62), Renfrow, Custis (Chiefs, UDFA), Ferguson, Godwin (Panthers, 237), Hardman (Chiefs, 56), Harmon (Redskins, 206), Johnson (Vikings, 247)
TE (3) Fant (Broncos, 20), Sternberger, Oliver (Jaguars, 69)
Rather than watch round 1 and “draft live” I set guidelines of who I would pick and then the next day looked at who I would have ended up with based on that. My picks would have been:
Round 1 – No. 15 overall – Brian Burns (EDGE)
– Reality: Carolina Panthers No. 16 overall
Round 1 – No. 30 overall – Dalton Risner (OL)
– Reality: Denver Broncos No. 41 overall
I missed out on a lot of players who I would have really liked, but felt like I got 2 who could have an immediate impact and that was my goal for round 1.
Draft Day 2 (Round 2-3)
Following the analysis of the picks I got from day 1 I was able to put together a more accurate plan for my picks on day 2. I “closed” the position DE and OL was closed until Day 3. On the other hand, after missing out on Bush in Round 1, Linebacker BBK became a priority, as well as Tight End. TE was specifically planned in for the start of round 3 at the latest, because I saw a big drop off in talent after that.
My top 2 needs for the draft QB and DT also became a focus. DT was most important to me overall, but only because I was planning on drafting a QB in Round 3. That was before Lock was still available for my second pick in round 2 – a player who I had thought would go in the top 15.
And that is how my draft process worked on Day 2. Again I set up a list of players and where I would draft them, however, since it was 2 rounds and I had multiple picks I took it as a loose draft strategy with openness to improvise. As such I went though each pick, as it was done on the night (without looking at how the whole rounds turned out), and then made my picks. As mentioned above, Lock was my biggest deviation. I also had a bit of luck, because I missed on Andy Isabella (WR), but therfore picked Khalen Saunders instead who is more valuable to me overall and who got drafted higher than I expected.
These were the picks I ended up with:
Round 2 – No. 37 overall – Trysten Hill (DT)
– Reality: Dallas Cowboys No. 58 overall
Round 2 – No. 41 overall – Drew Lock (QB)
– Reality: Denver Broncos No. 42 overall
Round 3 – No. 71 overall – Jace Sternberger (TE)
– Reality: Green Bay Packers No. 75 overall
Round 3 – No. 77 overall – Ben Burr-Kirven (LB)
– Reality: Seattle Seahawks No. 142 overall
Round 3 – No. 84 overall – Khalen Saunders (DT)
– Reality: Kansas City Chiefs No. 84 overall
Round 3 – No. 90 overall – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
– Reality: New Orleans Saints No. 105 overall
A quick mention, before the start of Day 2 I also finished the articles on the last 2 position groups, but they were of no consequence, because for me they only included players for my Day 3.
RB (6) Barnes, Gaskin (Dolphins, 234), Ingold, Pollard (Cowboys, 128), Scarlett (Panthers, 154), Williams (Chiefs, UDFA)
DB (4) Johnson (Raiders, 129), Thomas, Moreland, Tell (Colts, 144)
Draft Day 3 (Round 4-7 and UDFA)
This was my most interesting day, because I watched and drafted live. Especially with the shorter time in these rounds it gets really exciting and you have to make decisions on the fly. If I also ad to make trades live, I think it would have got too much, but it does make you understand why in reality they have a room full of people working on making it happen.
The great advantage of doing it live is you get a much better feel for what is happening. The main example of this is Phil Haynes who I have highlighted before. After a couple of good OLinemen went off the board early in the 4th I didn’t feel safe waiting until the 5th round on Haynes, compared to the other positions, and made the adjustment to my intended draft order to pick him up.
The best example of where I didn’t do this was with my 4th pick Jackson. There were still good QBs on the board and I didn’t properly evaluate how the rest of the league may feel about him compared to my valuation.
Round 4 – No. 115 overall – Sheldrick Redwine (S)
– Reality: Cleveland Browns No. 119 overall
Round 4 – No. 124 overall –Phil Haynes (OL)
– Reality: Seattle Seahwks No. 124 overall
Round 4 – No. TBC* (132 overall) – Hunter Renfrow (WR)
– Reality: Oakland Raiders No. 149 overall
Round 5 – No. 159 overall – Tyree Jackson (QB)
– Reality: Buffalo Bills UDFA
Round 6 – No. TBC* (209 overall) – Jimmy Moreland (CB)
– Reality: Washington Redskins No. 227 overall
Round 7 – No. 255 overall – Alec Ingold (FB)
– Reality: Oakland Raiders UDFA
Following the draft it was relatively easy to look at the UDFAs because there were not so many guys from my board who went undrafted. I gave myself 5 guys to count into my valuation of this draft:
Jazz Ferguson (WR)
– Reality: Seattle Seahawks
Derrek Thomas (CB)
– Reality: Seattle Seahawks
Alex Barnes (RB)
– Reality: Tennessee Titans
Kahzin Daniels (EDGE)
– Reality: Kansas City Chiefs
Jamal Davis II (EDGE)
– Reality: New Orleans Saints
So overall I evaluated a lot of talents and 58 made it onto my shortlist. The results were relatively good too:
Drafted: 50 (14 drafted by me) (2 drafted by Seahawks)
UDFA: 8 (5 added by me) (2 added by Seahawks)
I learned a lot more about the intensity of the live draft and how fun the whole process is. Next year I will be able to look at this draft class and see whether just the process was fun or whether there were some good picks in the mix also.