Heaps: Positions for Seahawks to address and avoid in 2021 NFL Draft
We’re officially less than a week until the 2021 NFL Draft and for the Seahawks, they enter the draft in a very different spot than usual.
Since general manager John Schneider came to Seattle in 2010, the Seahawks have made at least eight picks in every draft. That likely won’t be the case this year as Seattle enters the draft with only three picks, and since the Seahawks have no first-round pick, it will be harder than usual to trade down and add mid- or late-round picks. Seattle’s first pick is 56th overall, which comes near the end of the second round. The Seahawks also have a fourth-round pick as well as a seventh-round pick.
But, the Seahawks are in a good place when it comes to their roster, which doesn’t have a ton of glaring holes as things currently stand.
So when the Seahawks wind up on the clock, which positions do they need to address and which positions do they need to avoid? Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps shared his thoughts this morning with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant.
“I think (tight end) would be a strange one,” Heaps said. “I think if you went out and drafted a running back right now it would be a strange selection, even though they have a history and tradition of drafting a running back every single year. And definitely not safety at this point. Those positions right there to me would kind of be (unnecessary) in this draft at this time.”
As far as tight end goes, the Seahawks signed Gerald Everett in free agency and return Will Dissly, who led all Seattle tight ends in yards in 2020, and 2020 rookie Colby Parkinson.
At running back, the Seahawks re-signed two-time 1,000-yard rusher Chris Carson ad return 2018 first-round pick Rashaad Penny, 2019 draft pick Travis Homer, 2020 rookie DeeJay Dallas as well as Alex Collins, who Seattle re-signed this offseason.
And at safety, the Seahawks have two Pro Bowlers in Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams, as well as 2019 second-round pick Marquise Blair, who can play both safety positions and nickel corner.
So if those are positions the Seahawks don’t need to address, which positions does Seattle need to look at with its limited draft supply? Heaps said there’s three positions and one “wild card.”
“I think it comes down to (No. 3 receiver), if there is a really good interior offensive lineman or tackle that falls down to them in the second or third round or wherever they’re selecting with the first pick, I think that becomes tempting for them, and then you’ve got to look at corner,” Heaps said. “I think those positions are premium with the potential wild card pick being a defensive end.”
The Seahawks have a top wide receiver duo in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but 2020 rookie Freddie Swain is the only other wide receiver on the roster with more than one career reception.
Seattle returns four starters on the offensive line and traded for veteran guard Gabe Jackson, but at tackle, left tackle Duane Brown will be 36 in 2021 and is on the last year of his deal while right tackle Brandon Shell is also entering the last year of his contract. And at center, Ethan Pocic returned after starting 14 games in 2020, but his cheaper contract could signal that Seattle wants to add competition to that spot.
And at corner, the Seahawks lost veteran starter Shaquill Griffin in free agency as well as Quinton Dunbar, who was a Week 1 starter for Seattle in 2020. The Seahawks do return D.J. Reed, who is a presumed starter for 2021, as well as Tre Flowers, who has starting experience for Seattle but didn’t play as much in 2020. They also signed Ahkello Witherspoon in free agency and re-signed Damarious Randall, who has played corner before but was a safety and special teamer for Seattle last year.
Defensive end is a wild card due to both how the draft develops, as well as because recently-signed defensive end Aldon Smith’s status is unclear due to an alleged battery in Louisiana just days after he officially signed with the Seahawks.
“There’s a lot of defensive ends out there that if they fall into the second or third round, which I think they will, I think that could be very intriguing given the fact of (Smith’s legal issue),” Heaps said. “I have a hard time seeing them do that at this point. I think they’re going to be patient with the Aldon Smith situation, so those (other) three positions are going to be the areas they address early on.”
Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.