Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore (4) holds off Nebraska linebacker Will Honas (3) during the first quarter of a game Dec. 5, 2020, in West Lafayette, Ind. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore (4) holds off Nebraska linebacker Will Honas (3) during the first quarter of a game Dec. 5, 2020, in West Lafayette, Ind. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Analyzing the Seahawks’ top three needs in the NFL draft

Seattle needs help on the offensive line, at cornerback and at wide receiver. Here are the players who might be good fits.

By Bob Condotta / The Seattle Times

With just three picks in the NFL draft, and only one in the first 129, expectations for what the Seattle Seahawks will get are understandably tempered.

They figure to try to trade down and acquire more picks. But with no pick until the 56th, in the second round, it may be more challenging than usual to turn a few picks into many.

Holding only one pick before the late fourth round means the Seahawks aren’t going to be able to address a ton of needs easily. That’s assuming that’s their goal, and not just trying to take the best player available. With so few picks, they more than ever might go BPA.

But like all teams, the Seahawks enter the draft with some positions that appear to be more logical needs than others. Here are what we think are three positions of need and three players who might be good fits for the Seahawks with the 56th pick.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Why this is a need

The Seahawks are set at guard with Gabe Jackson and Damien Lewis, each under contract for three more years. But their other three projected starters, left tackle Duane Brown, right tackle Brandon Shell and center Ethan Pocic, all have just one year left.

Finding the left tackle of the future might be difficult in the second round. But interior linemen tend to drop a little further.

Three players who might fit

For an expert opinion, we asked NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah for some names of players who might be good fits for the Seahawks at 56. He mentioned three offensive linemen, all of whom could play center.

Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater: Meinerz played left guard in college, but played some center at the Senior Bowl to show scouts he could handle that spot in the NFL. Said Jeremiah: “He’s so fun to watch. His Senior Bowl tape was as good as any that we’ve seen from an offensive lineman, so he’s someone that can plug into any of those three interior spots. Would be an upgrade for them.”

Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma: As Jeremiah said, Humphrey is probably off the board by 56. But if not, he’s the kind of player who might make the Seahawks want to keep its pick. The Ringer compared Humphrey to Max Unger, who the Seahawks got with the 49th pick in 2009 and anchored the line of the Super Bowl-winning team. “Humphrey is an incredible athlete for the center position,” wrote The Ringer. “He wowed onlookers at his pro day, notching 29 reps in the bench press, jumping 33 inches in the vert, and posting a 9-foot, 4-inch broad jump. … All of those marks would’ve ranked among the top five for centers at the 2020 NFL combine.”

Josh Myers, Ohio State: Myers might more likely be available at 56 than Humphrey. Said Jeremiah: “Somebody again who could play all three of those interior spots.” Myers played solely center at Ohio State and was never called for a penalty in 35 games.

CORNERBACK

Why this is a need

After the signing of Pierre Desir this week, the Seahawks have five veteran cornerbacks on their roster with significant starting experience. None has more than a one-year contract, and only Ahkello Witherspoon has enough dead money to make him a certainty for the 2021 roster. Tre Flowers has a $2.183 base salary that is not guaranteed and could be particularly vulnerable.

And yes, the Seahawks have never taken a cornerback higher than the third round in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era — Shaquill Griffin in 2017. But, these are not normal times, and they could find it tempting to add a young corner to the mix.

Three players who might fit

Kelvin Joseph, Kentucky: Joseph does not fit one key Seahawks metric of 32-inch arms or longer. He measured at 311⁄2. But Jeremiah mentioned Joseph as a player who could catch the Seahawks’ eye. Joseph comes with big questions, having played just two college seasons. He was suspended for LSU’s bowl game in 2018, leading to his transfer to Kentucky. He opted out five days before Kentucky’s final game in 2020. “You’ve got some stuff to sort through,” Jeremiah said. But his physical traits make him the kind of boom-or-bust, take-a-chance-on guy who the Seahawks have never shied away from.

Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse: Melifonwu has been a popular player for mock drafts to pick for the Seahawks, in part because he checks all the boxes, including a 32-1/8 arm length and measuring in at 6-2, 205 pounds at his Pro Day. He also played inside and outside and could add immediate versatility.

Benjamin St-Juste, Minnesota: St-Juste is another who checks all the Seahawks’ boxes, measuring in at 6-3, 202 pounds with 32-inch arms. And he might be more attractive since many analysts think he could also play safety. He has drawn some comparisons to Flowers, who was a college safety who moved to corner.

WIDE RECEIVER

Why this is a need

It’s been something of a surprise that the Seahawks have yet to add a receiver this offseason while losing David Moore and Phillip Dorsett in free agency. They have reportedly tried, linked to the likes of Marquise Goodwin and Sammy Watkins before they signed elsewhere. For now, the Seahawks have 2020 sixth-round pick Freddie Swain as the presumptive No. 3 receiver behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. But the Seahawks will surely add some competition for that spot before camp begins, either via the draft or free agency. Also, this is regarded as a good draft for receivers, while the early word is that next year won’t be.

Three players who might fit

Rondale Moore, Purdue: Moore comes with questions. He measured at 5-7 at his Pro Day after being listed at 5-9 throughout his career, and he missed 11 games due to injuries the past two years. But he was hugely productive in 2018, has lots of experience playing in the slot, which could make him a good fit for what the Seahawks need, and also got his share of carries in college on the Rams-style receiver runs the Seahawks might use more with offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.

Dyami Brown, North Carolina: Brown didn’t play a lot in the slot at UNC, but that might be where he’d fit best in the NFL. Wrote Pro Football Focus of Brown: “Brown just wins downfield. He’s not particularly physically imposing, but he knows how to get open. He’s averaged over 20.0 yards per catch in each of the past two seasons. His ability to play physically despite being only 189 pounds is a plus at the next level.”

Josh Palmer, Tennessee: Palmer’s a little off the radar compared to some other receivers. But he measured 6-1, 210 at his Pro Day, played 24% of snaps in the slot in college to show some versatility, and some think his potential is far greater than his college production indicates. Wrote PFF: “Palmer ran mostly the vertical tree in Tennessee’s offense and rarely got targeted because of it. That’s why his 475 yards this past season really don’t do him justice. His 81% win rate was the highest of any outside receiver at the 2021 Senior Bowl one-on-ones.”

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