The sports league that’s plowing ahead most in the face of the coronavirus pandemic is the NFL, and that includes holding its draft as scheduled next week.
So which position should the Seattle Seahawks be prioritizing when the draft takes place virtually on April 23-25?
The Seahawks currently have seven picks in the draft: one first rounder (No. 27), two seconds (Nos. 59 and 64), one third (No. 101), two fourths (Nos. 133 and 144) and a sixth (No. 214). Of course, Seattle general manager John Schneider can be counted upon to trade down in order to acquire more picks.
And the Seahawks have what appears to be several needs it can address in the draft. Here’s a few of them:
- Defensive line. Seattle’s pass rush was already shaky, having recorded just 28 sacks last season, and star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney remains a free agent and seems as likely as not to sign elsewhere. Adding free agents Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa helps, but more assistance may be required there, even if Clowney re-signs. Meanwhile, while the Seahawks were able to re-sign defensive tackle Jarran Reed, DTs Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods left for other clubs. So there would seem to be a need both on the edge and in the interior.
- Offensive line. It seems like an annual refrain, but Seattle could use some help in pass protection. The Seahawks allowed 48 sacks and 111 quarterback hits in 2019, ranking t-23rd and 29th in the NFL, respectively, and three of the team’s top six offensive linemen (Germain Ifedi, Mike Iupati, George Fant) are gone. Seattle signed four free agents, but they’re all of the budget variety and none are sure-fire upgrades on what Seattle had last season. Add in the questions about center Justin Britt — he’s coming off a season-ending knee injury and is a potential salary-cap casualty — and the Seahawks could be on the lookout.
- Running back. Whether the Seahawks need help here depends on the health of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Carson had a Pro Bowl-caliber 2019, and Penny showed glimpses of his first-round talent. But both had their seasons ended by injury, forcing Seattle to bring Marshawn Lynch out of retirement to handle the primary ball-carrying duties. If Carson and Penny can get back to 100 percent and top form, the Seahawks should be covered. But history shows promising running backs don’t always make it all the way back from significant injuries — just see Thomas Rawls for an example.
There are other possible areas of need. The Seahawks could use a No. 3 receiver or an upgrade at cornerback, though Seattle at least gave itself veteran options in those areas by signing receiver Phillip Dorsett and trading for cornerback Quinton Dunbar. And the Seahawks may want to finally close the revolving door at back-up quarterback, though Wilson’s durability means his back-up is never needed for anything other than overtime coin flips.
So which position do you think the Seahawks should target in the draft? Vote here, and if you vote for “other” let us know which position in the comments section: