Gallant’s Seahawks Observations: What stands out about the 3 draft picks
May 2, 2021, 10:09 AM | Updated: 11:59 am
In a league marked by parity, nothing levels the playing field more than the NFL Draft. It’s an incredibly inexact and unforgiving science. And a science that the average fan thinks is a lot easier than it actually is.
Ask a fan of any NFL team how they feel about their general manager. For the most part, they’ll tell you that their favorite team’s roster architect has no clue what he’s doing. I sure see a lot of people here in Seattle who feel that way…
I get a kick out of the way the draft is covered. Everyone’s got an opinion on the hundreds of prospects selected over the course of three days, many of which they’ve never seen. And yet, so few of those opinions end up being right. This includes the actual experts – people you really should be paying attention to – who spend thousands and thousands of hours studying tape of these players. It’s really, really hard to determine who’s going to be a good or great NFL player.
For the most part, the average online draft breakdown will grade a team’s draft from A-F. Check that, though it’s really A-C seeing as most writers rarely give a grade for a pick or draft class lower than a C. I wish I had them as teachers in school. I have a particular fondness for the people who have the stones to give a pick an F before they even step foot on the field. I’ll spare you from both.
The Seahawks only made three picks this weekend, and while I’ve got no clue how any of them will pan out, I can tell you what the picks say about the direction coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider want to take the team.
If you’re not fast, you can’t sit with us
I wish that Tyreek Hill wasn’t a terrible person, because he’s one of my favorite players to watch in the NFL. He’s broken the league, a man with a 120-speed rating in an NFL that only rates from 1-99. But he’s not the only burner in Kansas City. The Chiefs also have speedsters Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, and probably the league’s most athletic tight end in Travis Kelce. You’re seeing teams try to copy their formula wherever you look. Take Miami, who signed free agent Will Fuller this offseason before drafting Jaylen Waddle, a receiver many are comparing to Hill.
The Seahawks already had a comparable arsenal to KC. We all know how fast DK Metcalf is. Tyler Lockett doesn’t seem like the most terrifying deep threat, but we also know he can slip by an entire defense. And Russell Wilson might have the best deep ball in the NFL. With all that in mind, how can you not be excited about Seahawks’ second-round pick, wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge? The ex-track star ran a 4.38 40 at the Western Michigan pro day and averaged a video game-esque 23.3 yards per reception.
Best of all? During his conference call with Seattle reporters, he may have tipped his hand that the Rams – picking right after the Seahawks in the second round – may have wanted him. After these years where LA has had Seattle’s number, I’m all about the little victories.
There’s reason for skepticism. Times in the 40-yard dash and game speed are two completely different things. Eskridge may have embarrassed defenders by blazing by them, but he was playing teams in a non-Power 5 conference. Will that speed translate to the next level? Who knows. But it’s worth noting that Eskridge had a fantastic showing at this year’s Senior Bowl, which may mean he’s faster than just about all of his peers in the ’21 class.
As a second-round pick, Eskridge has expectations on his shoulders to contribute immediately in 2021. Filling the void left by David Moore – who’s since left for Carolina – as the Seahawks’ No. 3 receiver is at the top of the list. I wonder if he’ll be used in offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s new offense the same way that 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan uses Deebo Samuel and Rams coach Sean McVay uses Robert Woods on jet sweeps.
What can’t Brown do for you?
Remember when the Seahawks only drafted tall cornerbacks with long arms? Those days might be dead. After a season where all 5 foot 9 of D.J. Reed was the Seahawks’ best corner, Seattle took Oklahoma’s 5-10 Tre Brown with their fourth-round pick.
A defender from the Big 12? The arena league-esque conference where defense barely exists? Brown’s not particularly exciting at first glance, but a little digging raised my massive eyebrows. Did you know that Brown may have won the last three Big 12 Championships for Oklahoma?
• In 2018’s championship game with 8:27 to play, Brown sacked Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger for a safety with the Sooners up just 30-27. Oklahoma scored the clinching touchdown on the drive following that two-point score.
• In 2019, Brown pulled a DK Metcalf. With Oklahoma down 23-20 with 5:45 to play, Baylor wide receiver Chris Platt looked like was about to score a 95-yard touchdown. But Brown didn’t give up on the play and tracked him after a 78-yard gain. The Sooner defense held the Bears to a field goal and Oklahoma ultimately won in overtime.
• Oklahoma was clinging to a 27-21 lead over Iowa State with 1:14 to play and the Cyclones driving at the Sooners 33-yard line. Brown picked off Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy to ice the game and a third straight conference championship.
— Stadium (@Stadium) December 19, 2020
So he’s clutch. But that’s not what excited me most about the pick. Pete Carroll and John Schneider did. Some more bullet points.
• Per Schneider, if Tre was 6-2, he’d have been picked in the top 10.
• Per Carroll, he wasn’t drafted to be a nickel corner, he has a lot of similarities to D.J. Reed’s game and always plays at full speed.
• Both said all the buzz words you want to hear about a player: he’s aggressive competitive, confident, even cocky.
I’m taking all that they said with a grain of salt. We know that John, Pete, or any coach or general manager will wax poetic about every single player they draft. They see potential – potential that might never be realized on the field. But they said all the right things about a player who’s been exceptionally clutch on the big stage. It stands to reason that they’re most excited about Reed among all their draft picks.
Is that a wrestler or a tackle?
The Seahawks drafted an offensive lineman with the first name “Stone”: Stone Forsythe.
First, let’s all pause a moment and let that sink in while looking at this amazing picture of him side to side with another of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Now, is there a better first name for a lineman than that? Stone joked during his introductory press conference that his name might give him a career in wrestling. Given that he’s 6-8 on top of all of that, he’s not wrong.
I’m not an offensive line expert, but I do know the Seahawks needed competition at swing tackle for Cedric Ogbuehi, who was underwhelming at best subbing for an injured Brandon Shell last season. Forsythe – a tackle projected by many to be a second- or third-round pick – at the very least gives the Seahawks that.
His strength is supposedly as a pass protector. Best-case scenario, he could (key word could) give Seattle an option at left tackle in a post-Duane Brown world (Brown turns 36 in August).
Forsythe’s size – 6-8, 307 pounds – is really intriguing. It makes me wonder what new offensive coordinator Waldron and his run game coordinator/right-hand man Andy Dickerson – who’s been credited with much of the Rams’ success in recent years in the trenches and on the ground – are looking for in an offensive lineman. We’ve only got a couple of players worth of evidence – Forsythe and the 6-3, 335-pound Gabe Jackson, who Seattle traded for earlier this offseason – but I think it’s safe to assume that they love size at the position. We’ll see if that’s a trait consistent with whatever undrafted free agent linemen the Hawks bring to training camp.