The Seattle Seahawks decided to make their first-round pick early this year when they traded for Percy Harvin this week. They sent their 25th overall pick to the Minnesota Vikings, along with one of their 2013 seventh-round picks and a conditional third-round pick in 2014.
While on it's face it seems like a lot to give up, the picture changes if you consider it like the Seahawks traded up for Harvin this year. At 24 years old, he’s the same age as many players in the draft, and it’d be hard to say he wouldn’t go in the top-10 if he declared. According to the trade value chart, the 25th overall pick is worth about 720 points. An early seventh-round pick is worth about 10 points. A future late third-round pick is worth the same as a late fourth-pick this year, or about 50 points. So all three picks combined are worth 780 points, or the same as the 22nd overall pick.
So, in essence, with their first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Seahawks select...
First Round: Percy Harvin, Wide Receiver/Running Back, Minnesota
The Seahawks add a dynamic playmaker to their already talented young offense. Harvin’s experience with the read-option will add a lethal new dimension for opponents to consider. Defenses won’t like lining up across from Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin, knowing any of the three may run with the ball. Harvin is also a constant threat as a wide receiver. He can high-point the ball as well as anyone, and he is extremely elusive and difficult to tackle. Finally, as a kick returner, he will actually be an upgrade from Leon Washington, who was already a Pro Bowl-caliber returner.
Second Round: John Simon, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle, Ohio State
The Seahawks still have a good bit of cap space, and they will likely be active in the second round of the free agent front. I expect them to add a mid-tier defensive tackle and an older edge rusher like John Abraham or Dwight Freeney. With those players able to step in and contribute at an immediately high level, the pressure would be off of Simon. As I mentioned in my scouting report, Simon may have a future as a pass-rushing interior lineman.
With Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant already providing excellent size on the line, Simon can serve as a rotational edge and interior rusher. He can spend the next 18 months adding 20 pounds or so, allowing him to potentially step in as the future at three-tech in 2014.
Third Round: Mark Harrison, Wide Receiver, Rutgers
With the addition of Harvin, the Seahawks only lack one skill position: move tight end. Zach Miller and Anthony McCoy are both excellent blockers and talented receivers, but they’re big and slow like traditional tight ends. The Seahawks have been searching for the big, long, fast and athletic modern tight end for a while, shuffling through guys like Cameron Morrah, Kellen Winslow Jr., and Evan Moore.
Harrison is big (6’3” and 231 pounds), long (35” arms), fast (4.46 forty-yard dash) and athletic (38.5” vertical jump, 10’6” broad jump, 6.99 three-cone, and 4.33 short shuttle). He was an elite downfield threat for Rutgers in 2010 (18.84 yards per reception) and 2011 (19.57) before freak-of-nature Brandon Coleman took over that role. Harrison is a good and willing blocker, and he uses his size and length to his advantage as he boxes out defenders and plucks the ball.
Fourth Round: Quanterus Smith, Defensive End, Western Kentucky
Pete Carroll has stated several times this offseason that upgrading the pass rush is a priority. I expect them to make a couple moves in free agency toward that end, and drafting Simon qualifies as well. Smith was one of the elite pass-rushers in college football in 2012, notching 12.5 sacks in 10 games, including three against Alabama’s top-flight offensive line. If he hadn’t been felled by a torn ACL, we’d likely be talking about him as a late first to early second-round pick.
He ended up with 23 sacks in 34 career games, and at 6’5” and 250 pounds, with 33 ¼” arms and 10” hands, he has the length that appeals to Seattle. He probably won’t contribute much in 2013, but if they can stash him on injured reserve for the year, he can make a complete recovery and launch into the 2014 season with a vengeance.
Fifth Round: Phillip Steward, Outside Linebacker, Houston
The worst position on Seattle’s defense in 2012 was the weakside linebacker/nickel cornerback spot, manned by veterans LeRoy Hill and Marcus Trufant. Neither is likely to return. Malcolm Smith and Jeremy Lane filled in at the linebacker and corner positions, respectively, but Lane is probably best suited on the outside and Smith didn’t wow enough to emphatically lock down the position. Seattle will be looking for a weakside linebacker in the draft, and coverage skills will be at a premium.
Steward is the best coverage linebacker in the draft, and he has a nose for making plays. In his college career, he racked up an astonishing 389 total tackles, 40 tackles for a loss, 11 interceptions, 18 passes broken up, 20 quarterback hurries, and 6 forced fumbles. He’s a little undersized at 6’1” and 223 pounds, but he can run with tight ends and wide receivers and still packs a punch as a tackler. He could compete with Smith for the starting weakside linebacker job, and probably win it.
Fifth Round: Cooper Taylor, Safety, Richmond
Every year, the Seahawks have targeted defensive backs in the fifth and sixth rounds who fit their profile really well, but weren’t rated that high on anyone else’s boards. Kam Chancellor is on track to be a free agent at the end of the 2013 season, so Seattle will need some insurance for his position.
Taylor fits their mold to a tee. He’s a huge strong safety, between 6’4” and 6’5” and around 230 pounds. As a senior, he piled up 78 tackles, five tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, four interceptions, four quarterback hurries, nine passes defensed. He had a great Senior Bowl, demonstrating good instincts and range in coverage to complement his natural ability as an in-the-box enforcer. The Seahawks drafted Chancellor and let him play part-time behind Lawyer Milloy. They could take Taylor and do the same with him and Chancellor.
Sixth Round: Rayon Simmons, Running Back, Winona State
When the Seahawks traded for Harvin, they cut Leon Washington, leaving Lynch and Robert Turbin as the only pure running backs on the roster. They’ve been actively scouting running backs recently, and seem to be focusing on guys in the 225 pound range.
Simmons had an excellent pro day, and he tweeted himself that he had a good conversation with a Seahawks scout who seemed to be very impressed with him. At 5’9” and 223 pounds, he’s built similarly to Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram, and Alfred Morris, and he ran around a 4.6 forty-yard dash like they did. On film he has great agility and lethal cutback ability. As a senior, he set team and league records with 1,586 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns.
Seventh Round: Vinston Painter, Offensive Tackle, Virginia Tech
Projecting seventh-round picks is a complete shot in the dark, especially with a team like Seattle. I mean, last year they took a defensive tackle nobody had heard of so they could turn him into a guard. So the exact names I’ve listed for seventh-round picks aren’t as important as the player profiles they represent.
Painter is a huge, long, athletic offensive tackle who would fit a Tom Cable zone blocking scheme really well. While the Alex Gibbs' zone schemes of the late-90’s Denver Broncos featured small, agile offensive linemen, Cable has indicated pretty explicitly that he prefers huge, powerful, fast offensive lineman, and that length is important. Painter is 6’4” and 304 pounds, and he has 34” arms, so he’s long. He had a vertical of 30.5”, so he’s explosive. He benched 32 reps of 225 pounds, so he’s powerful. And he ran a 4.95 forty-yard dash, so he’s fast. He fits the bill and he has the tape to back it up. He’ll be a developmental guy, but he could be the future behind Breno Giacomini.
Seventh Round: Khalid Wooten, CB, Nevada
With the addition of Harvin and the subsequent release of Washington, as well as the potential release of Trufant, Seattle may be in need of nickel cornerback depth and a capable punt returner. Wooten can do both. He was a four year starter for the Wolf Pack, and he has ten interceptions to his name (two returned for touchdowns). He averaged over 15 yards per punt return this last year, placing them in the top five in that category in the nation. His fourteen pass defensed in his senior year speak to his coverage ability.
Note: The Seahawks will probably end up with two compensatory picks (likely seventh-round selections) as a result of letting Charlie Whitehurst and Atari Bigby leave as free agents following the 2011 season. Those picks weren’t considered in this mock because they haven’t yet been confirmed.