MIKE SALK

Salk: Two simple Seahawks NFL Draft scenarios for first two rounds

Apr 19, 2022, 12:23 AM | Updated: Apr 20, 2022, 10:39 am
Seahawks draft Jermaine Johnson...
Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson II points after a false start penalty by Jacksonville State on Sept. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
(AP Photo/Phil Sears)

On April 28, the Seahawks will take the next step in the process they started on March 8 when they dealt Russell Wilson to Denver. To trade a player of his stature is an obvious risk but it could pay enormous rewards if they are able to accomplish two herculean tasks.

Seahawks could consider two impactful RBs in draft

First, they need to use all of their resources to build a roster full of impact talent at the most important positions. Then they’ll need to find his long-term successor. They probably won’t be able to accomplish all of that next weekend, but they can make enormous strides by following this very modest piece of advice:

Keep it simple.

Don’t out-think the room. There is no need. And there is a very real possibility that this draft board could break their way.

With that in mind, here is what the Seahawks should do in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.

Scenario 1

• Take a pass rusher with the ninth overall pick. No position other than quarterback can impact the modern game as much or as often as a premier pass rusher. While interior game-wreckers like Aaron Donald are the best options, they don’t exactly grow on trees and are especially scarce in this draft. So take Jermaine Johnson II out of Florida State and create a legitimate tandem with Darrell Taylor that can haunt the quarterbacks that dare remain in the NFC.

I like that Johnson bet on himself when he transferred from Georgia, and it paid off in spades. He got more playing time at FSU and turned it into 70 tackles, 18 tackles for losses and 12 sacks in 12 games. Those are the impact plays the Seahawks’ defense needs from a player that is known as a hard worker. I’m sold.

• Now that you have your cornerstone, you can afford to take a risk in the second round. It’s time to take a quarterback. Yes, this is a weak QB class. No, drafting a QB in the second round this year does not preclude you from pouncing on the next opportunity that presents itself. And yes, there are a few good options that may very well be available at No. 40, the first of back-to-back picks in the second round for Seattle.

I have been going back and forth between Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder and Mississippi’s Matt Corral, mostly favoring Corral because of his quick release. But this sentence from Dane Brugler’s Draft Guide might have brought me back over to Ridder: “A mobile athlete, Ridder moves well in the pocket and possesses the arm and poise to drive the ball to every level of the field. He has experience making whole-field reads and working his progressions, but ability to quicken his eyes and trigger vs. NFL speed will be the key to whether or not he finds sustained success at the next level.”

In fact, read Brugler’s entire blurb on Ridder. He just sounds like Russ 2.0. I could be convinced to go with Corral and I believe both guys could be successful in the NFL. But if I’m keeping it simple, I’m giving Ridder the shot. The guy did nothing but win in college (43-6, 26-0 at home) and did it with an NFL skillset that mimics the most successful QB in Seahawks franchise history. Sold. And if it doesn’t work out, the commitment to a second-round pick isn’t strong enough to prevent them from drafting a better option in 2023.

• In this scenario, I am probably looking to trade the 40th or 41st pick for a first-rounder next year. While I want a franchise tackle, the options likely to still be available at this point don’t excite me. This is a lousy class for defensive tackles so I wouldn’t reach for that position. I’d rather get three bites at the apple in next year’s first round.

If no one will deal, some options include a corner (how about Kyler Gordon out of UW if he’s available?) or a center (Nebraska’s Cam Jurgens has the athleticism to play in this scheme).

Scenario 2

• Trade back. I know, this makes you mad. But hear me out. You don’t have to trade back far, just a spot or two, because the player that fits best is Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning and you can likely snag him a little farther down the board.

I love Penning. He’s got the prototypical length for Shane Waldron’s system (6 foot 7) and he was described by ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller as the nastiest, most violent player in this draft at any position. Charles Cross (Mississippi State) will likely be rated higher but he comes from an Air Raid system and this draft is an opportunity for the Seahawks to build the type of team they say they want. I’d prefer the larger, nastier player.

You simply can’t function in the modern NFL without a quality offensive line and the Seahawks have struggled to find stalwarts at the position. This is their chance.

• A QB at No. 40. See above.

• At No. 41, with the left tackle spot handled and a gamble on a quarterback, it’s time to add that partner for Darrell Taylor. And unlike offensive tackle, there are plenty of great options available in the second round to play the edge. My two favorites are Michigan’s David Ojabo and Minnesota’s Boye Mafe. Both are physical, explosive players who are currently relying more on natural ability than a refined technique. That fits the needs of a Seahawks defense that may take a year or two to hit its stride. They can afford to wait for playmakers.

You could make a case for Oklahoma’s Nik Bonitto as well but I get a little nervous with Big 12 defensive players. If pressed, I’ll choose Ojabo.

See? That wasn’t that hard. Two scenarios that maximize the Seahawks needs, keeps them from making a disastrous choice, adds players that play impactful positions, and sets this team up for their next championship run.

Yeah. The draft is easy.

Right?

Oh, you probably want me to choose which scenario I prefer. Honestly, I like both pretty equally. The first gives you the best overall player, the second maximizes your three picks better. I’ll take Scenario 1 if you think you can actually deal No. 40 for a 2023 first-rounder. Otherwise, I’ll go with Scenario 2.

Wyman: Do the Seahawks draft well? What last 12 drafts tell us

Mike Salk

Mike Salk

Seahawks draft Bo Melton...
Brandon Gustafson

Bumpus and Turbin break down how Seahawks’ Day 3 picks fit in

Former Seahawks players Michael Bumpus and Robert Turbin discussed Seattle's five Day 3 draft picks and what they expect from them.
22 hours ago
Seahawks Drew Lock...
Brandon Gustafson

Huard: How Drew Lock impacts Seahawks’ timeline to add Baker Mayfield

The Seahawks need to get a closer look at Drew Lock before making any move for Baker Mayfield, Brock Huard said Thursday morning.
22 hours ago
Mariners Jerry Dipoto...
Brent Stecker

Dipoto: Mariners’ path to climbing out, when to expect Justin Upton

On the latest Jerry Dipoto Show, the Mariners GM and president of baseball operations shared his thoughts on the team's struggles.
2 days ago
Mariners Kyle Lewis, Julio Rodriguez...
Brandon Gustafson

ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Mariners: Too much can go right to dwell on what’s gone wrong

Despite some pretty major early-season struggles in 2022, ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan isn't ready to give up on the Seattle Mariners.
2 days ago
Seahawks Boye Mafe...
Brandon Gustafson

Big Seahawks Questions: Who will lead in sacks, secondary concerns

Former NFL WR Michael Bumpus joined Mike Salk to answer some quick Seahawks questions, including important ones about the defense.
2 days ago
Mariners Julio Rodríguez...
Mike Salk

Salk: Julio Rodríguez is ‘the truth’ Mariners haven’t had in a long time

The Mariners will make the playoffs in the next few years, writes Mike Salk, and he makes that claim for one reason: Julio Rodríguez is the truth.
3 days ago
Salk: Two simple Seahawks NFL Draft scenarios for first two rounds