Clayton: Seahawks made most of draft, but they still have 1 big area of need

Apr 28, 2019, 12:37 PM | Updated: 12:39 pm
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stressed that the roster isn't done even with 11 draft picks. (AP)...
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stressed that the roster isn't done even with 11 draft picks. (AP)

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said it best in his post-NFL Draft press conference Saturday: More work needs to be done with the roster.

NFL Draft: All 11 Seahawks picks | UDFA tracker | UW/WSU players picked

Specifically, the Seahawks need more help at defensive end. First-round pick L.J. Collier (TCU) should help as a 5-technique but the Seahawks are still missing that speed-rushing defensive end for replace Frank Clark.

General manager John Schneider pointed out that the draft is the second phase of building the roster. A pass-rusher is needed in the third phase, which begins May 7 when unrestricted free agency ends. At that point, unrestricted free agents turn into street free agents, and that means if the Seahawks sign any of those players, it won’t cost them 2020 compensatory draft picks.

That’s the reason why the Seahawks haven’t signed an unrestricted free agent pass-rusher yet – it would cost them a compensatory pick. As it stands, the Seahawks are expected to have four compensatory picks next year: one each in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds.

Factor those picks in, and entering Saturday the Seahawks knew they had 12 selections in next year’s draft. Having that many picks allowed them to trade back into the seventh round after we thought they were done on Saturday, sending a 2020 sixth-rounder to Jacksonville so they could take slot receiver John Ursua (Hawaii), who might help fill some of the void at receiver if Doug Baldwin retires.

The Seahawks still can sign former Green Bay Packers pass-rusher Nick Perry anytime because he had been cut and wouldn’t count against the compensatory pick formula. Or, after May 7, they could also use some the $17 million savings they created by trading Frank Clark to Kansas City and go after Connor Barwin, Ziggy Ansah or another available defensive end.

Thanks to the Clark trade, the Seahawks exceeded expectations in the draft. As the draft approached, Carroll thought Schneider might be able to trade back and get as many as seven total choices. They had just four before the Clark trade on Tuesday. Schneider ended up being able to turn that into 11.

A couple months ago, Carroll said the Seahawks’ roster was deep enough that it was going to be hard for new players to make the roster. The 11-player draft now gives Carroll the same feeling that he had in 2013 and 2014 when the roster was loaded.

The Clark trade allowed Schneider to have fun swapping picks. His trade down from the first round got Seattle a third-rounder from the Carolina Panthers, which then gave him the chance to trade into the second round and draft D.K. Metcalf (Ole Miss), a tall, 233-pound wide receiver who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds at the combine.

Carroll couldn’t believe Metcalf fell to the 64th pick. His selection was a luxury.

The news that Baldwin might be at the end of his career created some urgency for the Seahawks to get receiving help. They did that by adding Metcalf, Gary Jennings (West Virginia) and Ursua.

The Seahawks went back to their old ways of player selection. They went after alpha dogs who have attitude and play with a chip on their shoulder. They went after players with punch-you-in-the-mouth mentalities, players who are physical.

Collier has a great bull-rush from his defensive end position. Safety Marquise Blair (Utah) reminds some of Kam Chancellor with how hard he hits. Metcalf and Jennings are receivers who love to block on running plays.

Another theme from this draft is how competition will intensify on special teams. Linebackers Cody Barton (Utah) and Ben Burr-Kirven (UW), defensive backs Blair and Ugochukwu Amadi (Oregon), and running back Travis Homer (Miami) will press veterans for playing time on coverage teams.

Having the extra draft choices also allowed the Seahawks to add at offensive guard (Wake Forest’s Phil Haynes) and in the backfield (Homer). Those were positions the Seahawks could have ignored because they have depth at those spots.

This team is deeper, but more work is needed to make sure it’s better than last year.

Full video interview: Seahawks’ Russell Wilson on why he wanted to stay

John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle
  • 710AM ESPN SeattleTune in to 710 ESPN Seattle on Saturday mornings for The John Clayton Show.

The Professor's Notes

John Clayton hosts a daily video breaking down the NFL

John Clayton

Seahawks Sean DeSai...
John Clayton

Clayton: A look at Seahawks’ list of defensive coordinator candidates

Something had to change for the Seahawks, and they decided on defensive coordinator. So who are they looking at? John Clayton breaks it down.
1 day ago
Seahawks Pete Carroll...
John Clayton

Clayton: No news from Seahawks meeting with Jody Allen is good news

Despite reports that changes could be coming with the Seahawks, there were none after last week's meeting with team chair Jody Allen. John Clayton it breaks down.
4 days ago
Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny...
John Clayton

Clayton: What Rashaad Penny can get from Seahawks after big finish

The Seahawks will likely look to retain RB Rashaad Penny, but John Clayton says it won't cost as much as some people seem to believe.
8 days ago
Seahawks Poona Ford...
John Clayton

Clayton: Seahawks make important improvements going into offseason

The Seahawks went into the offseason pointing in the right direction, as John Clayton breaks down as he looks at Seattle's season finale.
11 days ago
Seahawks Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf...
John Clayton

Clayton: Seahawks’ offense has chance to finish strong vs Cardinals

The Seahawks wrap up a tough 2021 season against the Cardinals. John Clayton breaks down the matchup between Seattle and Arizona.
14 days ago
Seahawks DK Metcalf...
John Clayton

Clayton: Seahawks stack up positive signs heading into final week

The Seahawks improved to 6-10 with Sunday's win over Detroit and now will set their sights on an upset bid in their season finale against 11-5 Arizona.
18 days ago
Clayton: Seahawks made most of draft, but they still have 1 big area of need