Rost: 4 potential fits – and 1 mistake – for the Seahawks in the 2021 draft
The Seattle Seahawks have just three picks in this month’s NFL Draft. Though general manager John Schneider and company are widely expected to make a trade to acquire more selections, they’ll be on the board first at No. 56 overall in the second round.
Until we all know whether the Seahawks have traded back, we might as well take a look at a few of their options with their first pick.
The Seahawks have a few big needs, primarily at cornerback, though also at a few other spots. Here’s a look at all of those needs and an example of one potential prospect, complete with a scouting report from my Jake and Stacy co-host Jake Heaps.
Need: Interior offensive lineman
The Seahawks needed a left guard heading into free agency following the retirement of Mike Iupati. With center Ethan Pocic then set to become an unrestricted free agent, there was a possibility they would add two new interior offensive lineman. No big story, right? Wrong. What the Seahawks – and all of us – weren’t expecting was comments from quarterback Russell Wilson about his frustration with being sacked so often.
The Seahawks have already made two big moves to shore up their line. They traded a fifth-round pick to the Raiders for guard Gabe Jackson (and then extended him) and also re-signed Pocic. With the starting five presumably set, the pick here is really a future investment – one that is likely to eventually take over at center.
Who they could take: C/G Quinn Meinerz
What you need to know: Meinerz (6 foot 3, 320 pounds) is a Division III prospect who has reportedly drawn interest from a few NFL teams, including the Packers and Browns. The standout from Wisconsin-Whitewater is skyrocketing up the draft boards and boasts a pretty solid Canadian wilderness-based workout plan. He also has a pet snake and rocks the crop jersey.
What Jake says: “Quinn Meinerz is the player that I’ve highlighted, circled, starred as a guy who would fit in perfectly here in Seattle. The Seahawks brought back Ethan Pocic … but if you have the opportunity to upgrade in the draft, then go ahead and do so. This guy is big and physical and strong, but still ran a 4.92 40. That is moving for his size. The thing that really impresses me is his story. He’s at a great Division III school but was an unknown commodity (on the broader college football landscape). Jim Nagy, the director of the Senior Bowl, invited him to the Senior Bowl after watching not a workout of his but a workout of another top offensive line prospect, and he kept having his eye drawn to Meinerz. And when he got to the Senior Bowl as a D-III guy, you might think, ‘Oh, this moment is too big for me.’ But Meinerz showed up and had a personality that was larger than life… and by the time he left, he was one of the most talked-about prospects in the Senior Bowl as an offensive linemen. He played very well at left guard and at center. He could easily go from one of the unknown DIII prospects to a first- or second-round talent like Ali Marpet did for the Buccaneers a few years back.”
Need: Defensive tackle
The Seahawks brought back Poona Ford on a long-term extension and re-signed veteran Al Woods, but the loss of Jarran Reed still leaves a hole on the D-line, even with additions at edge rusher.
Who they could take: DL Levi Onwuzurike
What you need to know: Add another name to the list of great defensive prospects to come out of Washington. The 6-3, 293-pound Onwuzurike was a four-star recruit who chose UW over offers from Georgia, Stanford, Missouri, Baylor and Michigan, among others. He started 12 games in 2019 and earned All Pac-12 First-Team honors. He elected to opt out of the 2020 season, but was still putting in the work: in an interview with Move The Sticks he talked about watching a ton of film and training as he prepared for the next step in his career.
What Jake says: “He’s not the prototypical size for the interior defensive lineman, but I still think he’d fill that 3-technique position very adequately. He opted out this year but did participate in the Senior Bowl. He did well but wasn’t a consistent, dominant performer. He’s a flash prospect. He’s shown at times to be extremely dominant, and he’s shown at times to be the guy who earned All Pac-12 Honors. He’s undersized for his position but he’s strong and very physical. He’s got an explosive first step and provides early momentum in the neutral zone. There’s things you love about him. You love how strong he is and you love that he plays with a great motor and tenacity. But his inconsistency in production is one of the (knocks he’ll receive).”
With their best and most experienced starter, Shaquill Griffin, heading to a new team, the Seahawks will have some adjusting to do in the secondary. Quinton Dunbar, who occasionally started opposite Griffin, has also moved on. That leaves Tre Flowers, D.J. Reed, and newly-added Ahkello Witherspoon as the primary corners, with Ugo Amadi and safety Marquise Blair competing at nickel corner. The Seahawks could surprise critics with a strong unit, but a year after fielding the worst pass defense in the NFL for half a season, it’s concerning that corner is their weakest position group.
Who they could take: CB Ifeatu Melifonwu
What you need to know: Melifonwu (6-2/212) is a redshirt junior out of Syracuse, and he comes from an NFL family (his brother Obi currently plays for the 49ers). He was AP Second Team All-ACC in 2020 and ranked fifth in pass breakups, and he managed to do all of that while majoring in economics.
What Jake says: “He’s a unique talent. His 40-yard dash at 214 pounds was a 4.48 and he had a 41.5 inch vertical. He’s got the size and toughness. He’s a willing tackler, and you know when the Seahawks are watching that tape they love his physical play. He’s got some unique physical traits that make him a potential star. He’s downright dominant at times as a cover corner in press coverage with his length, strength, and athleticism. He’s also got a knack for getting his hands on the ball. But he’s not a first-round surefire player necessarily. He could go in the first-round, but I think he’s a candidate for falling into the second because he doesn’t have a great body of work due to missed time from injury. Another knock is that he too often, with his size, plays off and soft… when he could be more of an enforcer out on the edge.”
Need: No. 3 wide receiver
Fans may be overlooking the loss of David Moore, but they shouldn’t be. The Seahawks needs depth in the receiving corps behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Maybe that effectively becomes tight end Gerald Everett, or maybe a wide receiver already on the roster (like Freddie Swain) steps up to the plate, but the Seahawks need an answer there. Will they find one in the draft?
Who they could take: WR Dyami Brown
What you need to know: Brown (6-1/181) is a native of North Carolina. Despite being the best receiver prospect in his state, he didn’t go too far for school, instead opting to stay in-state and play for the Tar Heels. His 1,099 receiving yards in 2020 led the ACC and ranked sixth nationally.
What Jake says: “He turned some heads at his pro day running a 4.4 40 and jumping a 35.5 inch vertical. He played a lot of snaps for the Tar Heels and he’s a player I don’t think is necessarily going to be a No. 1 elite receiver in this league. But if you’re talking about the Seahawks, he doesn’t have to be. You’ve got DK Metcalf for that, you just signed Tyler Lockett to an extension. But to legitimately upgrade that offense and take it to another (level), I think a guy like Dyami Brown would be perfect.”
Seattle needs a backup QB, but the draft might not be the answer.
Included in the list of Seahawks’ needs is quarterback, though it’s not because Russell Wilson isn’t being traded to Chicago (sorry, Bears fans). Backup Geno Smith is among Seattle’s free agents and has yet to be re-signed. Should the Hawks add someone with their first pick?
Former Seahawks and WSU Cougars receiver Michael Bumpus said the Seahawks should stay far, far away from that move.
“Do not get a quarterback. That’s the last thing you want to do,” Bumpus said while guest hosting Monday on Jake and Stacy. “At least don’t trade up to get a quarterback. I just think you stay away from that. You stick with a veteran. You bring a veteran in, a guy who’s been there and done that. Because knock on wood, Russell’s going to be available to play ball… If you do take one, it has to be a low-key pick. A guy who isn’t on anyone’s radar (in the late rounds). But just to stop all the drama, don’t even touch it. Get a veteran.”