Clayton’s Seahawks draft thoughts: Don’t rule out a LB in the first round

Apr 26, 2017, 5:05 AM | Updated: 9:36 am

John Clayton thinks Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis is a first-round possibility for Seattle. (AP)...

John Clayton thinks Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis is a first-round possibility for Seattle. (AP)


What looked to be a deep draft is suddenly getting thinner.

This will have an impact on the Seahawks.

Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley, a first-round consideration for Seattle, is under investigation after an accusation of sexual assault was revealed Tuesday. Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers and Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster had diluted urine samples at the scouting combine, which counts as a positive test in the league’s drug program. Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, a second-to-third-round prospect, is facing a misdemeanor battery charge after allegedly striking a woman earlier this month.

Then there are the injuries. Washington cornerback Sidney Jones (Achilles) and UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau (pectoral tear) suffered serious injuries prior to the draft.

More Seahawks draft coverage

It’s hard to tell how these issues will affect the players’ draft stock, but it will cause some changes for the Seahawks. General manager John Schneider may have the chance to consider them at No. 26. Or it could give Schneider more determination to trade back and acquire more draft choices.

Here are a few Seahawks thoughts as the start of the draft approaches:

• Conley might have been an interesting possibility for the Seahawks in the first round. Though he may not project to be a top No. 1 corner, he could be plugged in as a starter opposite Richard Sherman. It’s not known how the allegation will influence what the Seahawks do if he’s available at 26.

• I’m not sold that the Seahawks will draft an offensive lineman in the first round. Sure, Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk and Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp might be tempting at 26, but I could see the Seahawks taking a linebacker, a defensive lineman or a cornerback in the first round instead. Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis might intrigue the Seahawks in the first round. With Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright coming off Pro Bowl seasons, Davis would help to make Seattle’s linebacker corps one of the best in the league.

• Adrian Peterson’s deal in New Orleans could lead to Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders reaching a deal. Lynch, like Peterson, wanted more than $5 million a year. Peterson had to settle for a two-year, $7 million contract. So the market is $3.5 million. Lynch now knows that. If he wants to play – and he does – I think he will accept a deal before Thursday night. Update: Lynch and the Raiders have reportedly agreed to a deal.

• A Lynch deal would put the Seahawks in negotiations with Oakland for a draft choice. Expect that to be in the form of the teams swapping picks in a round, with Seattle moving up, instead of Oakland giving Seattle a seventh-round pick for Lynch.

• The Seahawks recently had Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell in for a pre-draft visit. He has interior pass-rushing ability and could be a consideration in the first round.

• Everyone knows about the Seahawks’ success with drafting cornerbacks in the later rounds and developing them into starters. That isn’t easy anymore. Teams such as Atlanta, San Francisco, Jacksonville, the Chargers and others are also seeking the long, angular corners that fit Seattle’s defense. The Steelers have gone through a similar issue. When the NFL was mostly a 4-3 defensive league, the Steelers could draft starting linebackers for their 3-4 defense in the lower rounds. But once half the league switched to the 3-4, Pittsburgh had to draft linebackers higher because not as many of them were going to slip into the later rounds.

• As expected, Sherman hasn’t been traded and is unlikely to be traded. With such a good draft for cornerbacks, no team was going to give up more than a first-round pick to acquire one in a trade. The Seahawks weren’t going to let him go for just a first-round pick or less. The price would have to be higher.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on

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