Seahawks address defensive and receiving needs in NFL Draft

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Seattle Seahwaks

The Seattle Seahawks continued their streak of winning seasons in 2018, finishing 10-6. Although losing in the wild card round, the team has been contending every year since 2011 when they finished 7-9. Seattle was 8th in scoring at 26.8 points per game and 11th in fewest points allowed at 21.7 per game. Of their first six picks in the NFL draft, three were defense and three offense, including two wide receivers. Let’s review those selections.

Round 1 (29th) L.J. Collier (DE) TCU

As a redshirt freshman in 2015, Collier appeared in just four games. In 13 games in 2016, he had 4.5 sacks among his 21 total tackles. Playing in every game in 2017, he had four sacks, an interception and 18 tackles. Improving significantly last season, Collier had six sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss of yardage and 42 tackles. His efforts were notice, being named first-team All-Big 12.

In need of a pass rushing defensive end after the trade of Frank Clark, the Seahawks addressed the position with the best possible player at that time. Several defensive ends were off the board by the time Seattle made their selection, but they believe Collier can fill the void at the position. He has decent size and versatility and the ability to create pressure.

Round 2 (47th) Marquise Blair (S) Utah

Blair made 100 tackles at Dodge City Community College in 2016, earning first-team junior college All-American. He started six games for Utah I 2017, recording 48 tackles. However his season was cut short after an injury against UCLA. Last season, Blair was second-team All-Pac-12 after intercepting two passes, forcing a fumble and registering 59 tackles.

Blair should bring immediate help to the secondary, having played nearly half his time at deep safety and half in the box at Utah. He has good size at 6’ 1” and 195 pounds and ran a sub 4.5 40 yard dash at the combine. Blair will likely compete at strong safety with last year’s selection Delano Hill. Even if Blair does not crack the starting lineup, he should pay immediate dividends in certain situations.

Round 2 (64th) DK Metcalf (WR) Ole Miss

Metcalf was SEC All-Freshman in 2017 after catching 39 passes for 646 yards and seven touchdowns. During his true freshman season in 2016, he broke his foot in the second game of the season.  He made seven starts last season before suffering a neck injury, which limited his overall production to 26 receptions for 569 yards and five touchdowns.

With Doug Baldwin set to announce his retirement, the addition of Metcalf was big for the team. He brings huge size for a receiver at 6’ 3” and nearly 230 pounds and adds excellent speed with a 4.33 40 yard dash. Despite his size, Metcalf has the history of injuries, which the Seahawks must watch. However, Metcalf was slated to go higher in the draft, so Seattle got a steal obtaining him when they did. He should be a starter this season.

Round 3 (88th) Cody Barton (LB) Utah

Barton saw times as a freshman in a reserve role, making seven tackles. He made five starts in 11 games the following season, recording 66 tackles. In 2017, Barton started four games and played in all 13, making 45 tackles, four of them as sacks. He was honorable mention All-Pac-12 last season after leading Utah with 116 tackles, to go along with four sacks and an interception.

There is some uncertainty to the depth at linebacker for the Seahawks, so addressing it at some point wasn’t a bad option. Barton is 6’ 2” and 237 pounds and can play both inside and outside linebacker. He adds versatility and will compete for playing time with Shaquem Griffin.

Round 4 (120th) Gary Jennings Jr. (WR) West Virginia

Seeing time as a reserve receiver as a freshman, Jennings also was punt returner and had a handful of kickoff returns. Primarily a punt returner as a sophomore, Jennings had two touchdowns and ten receptions in 13 games. In 2017, Jennings was second-team All-Big 12 after hauling in 97 passes for 1096 yards. Although his production in terms of receptions dropped to 54 last season, Jennings found the end zone 13 times, named honorable mention All-Big 12.

Jennings has good size at 6’ 1” and 214 pounds and ran a 4.42 40 at the combine. The production last season of 13 touchdowns while battling an ankle injury much of the season was impressive. Jennings add depth to the receiving group and should find some playing time this season.

Round 4 (124th) Phil Haynes (OL) Wake Forest

Haynes started nine games at right tackle as a redshirt freshman and all 13 games at right guard as a sophomore. He was third-team All-ACC as a junior, this time playing at left guard. Remaining at left guard last season, Haynes was second-team all conference.

Haynes has huge size at 6’ 4” and 320 pounds who displays much power and is an excellent run blocker. A versatile player, it appears Haynes will be best suited to play either guard position. Relatively inexperienced, having only played one year in high school and college, Haynes could need time to develop at the NFL level, but should be an impact player at some point.

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