The Seahawks have traded out of the first round in the two previous drafts. This season they opted to stay put. Will that make a difference? Let’s see.
Germain Ifedi, OG Texas A&M
Round 1, Pick 1 (31st overall)
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The Seahawks started their draft by wisely investing in upgrading their 30th ranked offensive line. Ifedi is a solid if inconsistent prospect that should slot into the starting lineup sooner than later. It will be interesting to see if he is deployed at guard or tackle. If he is used as a tackle, he seems likely to play on the right side of the line. Ifedi, along with other draft selections, will have the benefit of being coached by Tom Cable who has produced outstanding results with previous players. Fundamentally, he is raw but his athleticism should make up for it as long as he takes Cable’s coaching to heart. The Seahawks appear confident that his intangibles will allow him to make strides quickly based on his draft position.
Speaking of which, one thing I admire about the 2016 Seahawks draft is that it is full of versatile players that played at major schools with good coaching and a history of winning. While not all of them may end up being starters, they should provide great intangibles to build a quality locker room environment. That starts with Ifedi.
C.J. Prosise, RB Notre Dame
Round 3, Pick 27 (90th overall)
The Seahawks backfield is in a state of flux after Marshawn Lynch’s retirement. Thomas Rawls performed well in 2015 but suffered an apparently nasty ankle break that he is still recovering from. After also letting Fred Jackson move on, the team really needed some depth, so a running back being selected comes as no surprise this early from Seattle. Where things get interesting is that Prosise is a converted wide receiver that could develop the all-around skills to be a three-down back in the NFL. He has good vision, size, route running, and receiving abilities already. He will need to learn to work on the line between being patient and hesitation. Some runners suffer when they are constantly looking for the big play and they miss out on the two or three yards that were available.
Prosise will have a tough hill to climb to get to the top, though, as he suffered a hip injury and missed most of the off-season program. Going into training camp, he will have to prove himself and earn touches. His background as a wide receiver converting to running back would seemingly guarantee him a third-down role, but his relatively high fumble rate with five fumbles in 156 carries in 2015 could be an indicator of ball security woes that will limit his playing time. Prosise has a really wide range of outcomes – he could be special or he could be Bishop Sankey. The opportunity is there for him, but he will need to get healthy and refine his game to get to the level we would like to see.
Nick Vannett, TE Ohio State University
Round 3, Pick 32 (94th Overall)
Vannett has the size necessary to play in all facets of the game at the NFL level. Rookie tight ends don’t often make large contributions to their team, but there is room for him to in the event that Jimmy Graham struggles to bounce back from his patellar tendon injury. Since this is dynasty, Vannett could prove to be a valuable asset. It is unlikely we will know whether he is or not for a few years as he refines his game and makes the tough transition from college to NFL that most tight ends experience. Keep an eye on him in 2016. If he makes some nice grabs and earns respectable playing time, it will be an excellent indicator of his future potential.
Rees Odhiambo, OG Boise State
Round 3, Pick 35 (97th Overall)
The biggest knock on Odhiambo is his durability, as he struggled to stay healthy at Boise State. He is athletic and has enough technique to be serviceable in the NFL at tackle or guard. With the previous offensive line pick of Ifedi, Seattle is loading up on quality linemen that have flexibility to play up and down the line. This is ideal for the Seahawks, as their previously noted poor ranking among NFL offensive lines means they need to view their entire line as a competition. We may be surprised by who winds up starting in each position come NFL Week 1. As with Ifedi, Odhiambo will benefit greatly from Tom Cable’s coaching. It will be interesting to see if he can stay healthy long enough to make an impact for the Seahawks.
Alex Collins, RB Arkansas
Round 5, Pick 34 (171st overall)
As mentioned previously, the Seahawks needed an infusion of talent at the running back position. They continued this infusion with their 5th-round selection of Alex Collins. The former Razorback is another player that has the potential to be a good NFL running back meaning Seattle went from one (Thomas Rawls, stop kidding yourself C-Mike Truthers) before the draft to three by the fifth round. While past performance from Rawls and draft position for Prosise should indicate that they are first and second in line for touches out of the backfield, Collins has a relatively clear path to playing time. Rawls and Prosise are both banged up and carry deficiencies to their game.
While Collins doesn’t appear to be a home run pick, he has plenty of ability as a solid-if-not-spectacular running back that should be able to provide stability and a predictable outcome at the position that others may not. The Seahawks did not invest heavily in Collins, and neither should you. Just know that when it comes to selecting end-of-roster players, Collins has a greater than zero chance of being the Seahawks back to own by 2017.
Joey Hunt, C TCU
Round 6, Pick 40 (215th overall)
Small but mobile for a center, Hunt is another piece for Cable to hopefully mold into what he is looking for along his offensive line. While he isn’t outstanding as an individual prospect, he clearly knows how to play good football after starting for three years at TCU and helped to pave the way for their surging offense. He may never be a starter due to his size, but he should provide a quality backup and intangibles for the team.
Kenny Lawler, WR California
Round 7, Pick 22 (243rd overall)
Tall and thin, Lawler was a touchdown machine for Cal with Jared Goff at the helm. In the NFL, his height should translate but he will need to put on some muscle to fill out his frame if he wants to continue to be an elite red zone weapon. He doesn’t have elite speed so he will need to rely on route running, hands, and a “my ball” mentality to make his mark. Given that the Seahawks just gave Doug Baldwin an extension as their presumed slot man and Tyler Lockett is a rising star on the outside, Lawler will have an uphill battle to fantasy relevance. While he has solid hands, he is prone to concentration drops and those tend to lose the confidence of quarterbacks. I like him as an end of roster stash but realistically he will not be contributing for you or the Seahawks in the near future. He profiled best as a slot receiver, but Baldwin’s contract may take that opportunity out of the picture.
Zac Brooks, RB Clemson
Round 7, Pick 26 (247th overall)
Brooks is the third running back selection by the Seahawks in 2016, and he may be the nail in the coffin for Christine Michael’s value. Brooks played for a great Clemson offense, but came away from college with virtually no production to his name. This selection is almost entirely based on physical upside, as he put up solid numbers all around at Clemson’s pro day. He may be competing for a roster spot with Michael, as teams typically only carry four or five running backs. Given the pedigree of those ahead of him, he seems like a long shot for playing time. What he does have going for him is that the Seahawks thought he was worth drafting with this very late pick rather than letting him hit UDFA status, so there is intrigue.