Daniel Jeremiah, a draft analyst for the NFL Network and a former NFL scout, joined “Brock and Salk” on Tuesday for an early look at this year’s draft. Here are some highlights pertaining to the Seahawks and the Huskies:
Bad year for OL. Jeremiah said he doesn’t think there’s an offensive lineman in this year’s draft that’s worth a top-15 pick, “so we don’t have the elite guys and then even the overall depth is just not great. So it’s a tough year. I think if you’re an agent and you represent a tackle or a guard in free agency this year like maybe a (Kevin) Zeitler from the Bengals, you’re loving life right now.” For context, in each of the last three drafts, three offensive linemen have been chosen in the top-15 while 19 in all have gone in the first round (including Germain Ifedi at No. 31 last year). The Seahawks have the 26th overall pick and would have a hard time finding a blue-chip offensive lineman that late in the first round even in an average year, let alone one that, in Jeremiah’s view, is low on top-end talent. It’s another reason to think there’s a good chance Seattle brings back right tackle Garry Gilliam, a restricted free agent. Jeremiah’s current mock draft has Seattle taking offensive tackle Garett Bolles at No. 26. But he acknowledged that any projections this early in the game entail filling teams’ needs that could easily change after free agency in March. Bolles is a junior who’s listed at 6 feet 5 and 300 pounds. Said Jeremiah: “Garett Boles from Utah is a really, really talented player. He doesn’t have a lot of experience but you can see he’s a physical kid, got good feet. So he’s somebody I think kind of falls in that middle- to late-first-round range.”
Seahawks CB possibilities. In addition to offensive line, cornerback is a position the Seahawks figure to be looking hard at in this draft, especially with DeShawn Shead coming off a serious knee injury. Jeremiah said this is a good draft for cornerbacks and mentioned a couple names that could be of interest to Seattle. One was Rasul Douglas (6-2, 203) of West Virginia. Jeremiah said he had a great week at the Senior Bowl and that “if there was ever somebody that looked like a Seahawks corner, this is it.” Jeremiah also mentioned Ohio State’s Gareon Conley (6-0, 195), a junior, as a good fit with Seattle, saying he could come in and play right away.
Budda Baker’s prospects. Asked if there are any safeties in this year’s draft similar to the Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas, Jeremiah mentioned Washington’s Budda Baker: “Everybody’s going to talk about Budda Baker as kinda the Earl Thomas clone a little bit. I would say the big difference there is Earl’s got great hands and Budda puts himself in position to make a lot of plays and just didn’t catch it all that well.” He thinks Baker could go in the first round, after Malik Hooker of Ohio State and LSU’s Jamal Adams, whom he thinks will be chosen in the top 10: “To me, everybody loves Budda. It’s just a matter of how soon they do it. I would not be surprised if he was in the latter portion of the first round. I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe he slid maybe to the middle of the second. But he’ll be in there.”
Other Huskies. Jeremiah said he thinks UW wide receiver John Ross will be chosen somewhere between 25 and 35. Of cornerback Sidney Jones, he said: “He’s always in position. He’s maybe not the sexiest of some of these guys just in terms of their build or how they’re put together, but he is just an all-day football player.” Jeremiah projects fellow UW cornerback Kevin King to go as high as late in the second round. He said defensive tackle Elijah Qualls “maybe could fall a little bit below those guys but I don’t think he’s going to fall far, to be 300-plus and move around like he does. I kind of pencil him in kinda that third-, fourth-round area. He’s a really good player.”
Praise for Cooper Kupp. Jeremiah is a big fan of Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp, both his game and his maturity. He, along with Brock Huard, thinks Kupp could be chosen early in the second round: “I’m all in on Cooper Kupp, man. I’ve liked him since I first watched him on tape and then getting to watch him up close in practice, I loved what he did. He’s a clean route runner, he’s very efficient, he’s tough, he can play inside, he can play outside, so I loved him from that standpoint. And then we talked to him. I was like, ‘Oh, this couldn’t be any better.’ You feel like you’re talking to Peyton (Manning), just the way he talks about football. He’s just got it together. Some of those guys you just talk to and you’re like, ‘That’s a 10-year pro,’ and that’s the vibe I got when I talked to Cooper Kupp.”