Clayton: Who will Seahawks take with top draft pick? Look at pass-rushers

Mar 8, 2019, 3:23 PM | Updated: Apr 18, 2019, 3:08 pm

John Clayton has the Seahawks taking FSU's Brian Burns in his Washington Post mock draft. (AP)...

John Clayton has the Seahawks taking FSU's Brian Burns in his Washington Post mock draft. (AP)


The other day I did a mock draft for my Washington Post column and had Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns going to the Seahawks with the 21st pick in this April’s NFL Draft.

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Predicting what the Seahawks will do in a draft is pretty much impossible, though. General manager John Schneider is usually trading down in the first round, and with only four draft choices this year, moving down in the first round is even more on the agenda for the Seahawks.

What helps Seattle going into the draft is how deep it is with defensive players. This is one of the best defensive line drafts I’ve been around. It’s also decent at cornerback and very good at linebacker.

While it’s unlikely the Seahawks will keep the No. 21 pick, Burns could drop toward the bottom of the round, giving the Seahawks the chance to pick up more picks along the way to drafting the long, angular and fast linebacker-defensive end hybrid.

This is so similar to 2017. The Seahawks had the 25th pick that year, made three trades and came up with four additional picks, three of which turned into starters: cornerback Shaquill Griffin, safety Tedric Thompson and halfback Chris Carson. They also picked up defensive back Mike Tyson.

Overall, the Seahawks netted extra picks in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds by moving back their first selection from No. 25 to 35 in 2017. They might get even a little more this year knowing they have the 21st pick.

Wherever they pick, I still believe getting a pass-rushing defensive end is the main need for the Seahawks.

What helps is that there are up to nine pass-rushers who could be taken in the first round or early in the second. In my first mock draft this offseason, I had the Seahawks taking Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat. There is no chance of that happening now. He ran a 4.41 40 at the combine and is probably going in the top 10.

I also believe that Nick Bosa of Ohio State, Josh Allen of Kentucky, Rashan Gary of Michigan and Clelin Ferrell of Clemson will go in the top 15. That’s five of the nine.

Remaining is Burns, Jaylon Ferguson of Louisiana Tech, Jachai Polite of Florida and Zach Allen of Boston College. Can one of those players last into the top of the second round? It’s possible.

In this week’s mock draft, I had Sweat going to the Detroit Lions. Gary went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I had the Packers taking Ferrell.

Polite did not run well at the combine so I had him drop out of the first round. Allen is probably at the bottom of that list of pass-rushing defensive ends. Figuring out which end the Seahawks like is going to be the main focus of where the team is heading.

Safe to say, the Seahawks want to add to their defense. They want more of a pass rush. They want better coverage. They’ll have a hole at weakside linebacker if they lose K.J. Wright.

Things have been quiet for the Seahawks the past few weeks. They put the franchise tag on Frank Clark and re-signed cornerback Akeem King to a one-year, $1.4 million contract, but that’s about it.

Schneider has had a meeting with team scouts and is in the beginning stage of figuring out free agency and the draft, though. Expect him to be wheeling and dealing.

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