Moore: Ranking the 11 Seahawks draft picks by their potential in the NFL
Several publications and websites grade NFL drafts by various teams, and a few years from now, we find that they’re usually way off. If they give the draft class an A, more often than not, the high expectations fall short. If they give the draft class a D or an F, the class exceeds expectations, making the guy who gave the original grade look like an idiot.
NFL Draft: All 11 Seahawks picks | UDFA tracker | UW/WSU players picked
So I won’t grade the Seahawks’ class, though it’s interesting to note that most of the report cards I saw gave Seattle high marks across the board. Instead, I’m going to rate the selections in a Top 11 list, which would have made more sense if it were a Top 10 list, but the Seahawks had to make yet another trade on Saturday, dealing a 2020 sixth-round choice so they could select their 11th player in the three-day draft – wide receiver John Ursua in the seventh round.
I’m ranking these players based on how quickly they make an impact and what kind of career I think they’ll have.
• 11) Demarcus Christmas, sixth round, defensive tackle, Florida State
Love his last name and the fact that he was born on the Fourth of July, but little chance for feeling jolly in August when cuts are made with the Seahawks already looking solid at defensive tackle with Jarran Reed, Poona Ford, Quinton Jefferson and newcomer Jamie Meder.
• 10) Travis Homer, sixth round, running back, Miami
Looks like a good pick, but keep in mind that GM John Schneider is batting only 3 for 12 with sixth-round picks in his nine years with the team. The hits are cornerback Byron Maxwell in 2011, cornerback Jeremy Lane in 2012 and running back Spencer Ware in 2013. Homer averaged 6 yards a carry in Miami and could be a fixture on special teams. Maybe he’ll even flash as much potential as last year’s sixth-round pick, Jacob Martin. But I’m guessing he’ll be on the outside looking in with the Seahawks already loaded at running back.
• 9) Gary Jennings, fourth round, wide receiver, West Virginia
Yep, I’m expecting this fourth-rounder to flame out even if he’s a slot-receiver candidate should Doug Baldwin retire. It’s based on Schneider’s bad luck or poor selections of receivers in the fourth round – Kris Durham in 2011, Chris Harper of Kansas State in 2013 and Kevin Norwood of Alabama in 2014. None of these players amounted to much of anything. It’s up to Jennings to prove history wrong.
• 8) Ben Burr-Kirven, fifth round, linebacker, Washington
I know, you’re probably thinking I’m rating Burr-Kirven this low because I’m a Coug and he’s a Dawg, but that’s not the reason. I actually enjoyed watching this undersized overachiever when he wasn’t making tackles in the Apple Cup. Burr-Kirven led the nation in tackles and was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, drawing favorable comparisons to former Seahawks standout middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu from Pete Carroll. But I’m guessing his lack of size will catch up to him in the NFL. And if you disagree, look, somebody had to be No. 8 on this list.
• 7) Marquise Blair, second round, safety, Utah
Everyone is raving about how physical and nasty he is, and maybe he will be reminiscent of Kam Chancellor, but I read where he was considered more of a third-day choice than a second-day choice, much less one who should have gone 47th overall. So by many accounts, he was expected to be a fourth-rounder at best, and most fourth-rounders rarely make big impacts. Blair was ejected for three targeting penalties in his career, perhaps causing one scout to say, “If he wasn’t crazy, I’d take him in the second round.” But the Seahawks did anyway, and my guess is that he’ll be a special-teamer who won’t replace any of the incumbents at strong safety and free safety.
• 6) Cody Barton, third round, linebacker, Utah
Might have been a little bit of an over-reach here too, but the Seahawks addressed a somewhat aging linebacker corps. Barton can play all three linebacker spots and probably will only get on the field for special teams this year, but his addition could lead to a subtraction of Barkevious Mingo.
• 5) Phil Haynes, fourth round, guard, Wake Forest
Insurance for oft-injured Seahawks guards Mike Iupati and D.J. Fluker, but the drafting of an offensive linemen isn’t a strong suit for Schneider, the latest examples being second-rounder Ethan Pocic in 2017 and third-rounder Rees Odhiamblo in 2016. He’s also had some hits, but as mentioned earlier, fourth-rounders aren’t even close to a given to make the team.
• 4) John Ursua, seventh round, wide receiver, Hawaii
Just a hunch that he’ll be a play-maker in the 2020’s if not 2019. He led the country with 16 touchdown receptions last year. At 5-9 and 175 pounds, he’s another little speedy guy like Tyler Lockett. Ursua could line up in the slot and be the latest seventh-round find to go with Chris Carson in 2017.
• 3) D.K. Metcalf, second round, wide receiver, Ole Miss
I almost put him lower than No. 3 because of the way he fell in the draft. Falling as far as he did, to No. 64 overall, when guys like Mel Kiper think you’re the No. 1 receiver in the draft, there have to be questions. But you like the measurables – 6-4, 238 pounds, 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash. And there’s the six-pack that he showed in his shirtless-to-shirtless meeting with Carroll at the combine. His durability’s an issue – Metcalf played in only 21 games in three years. I’ve got my doubts, but he’s a second-rounder so he’ll get plenty of opportunities to prove himself. Guessing he will be an upper-deck home run or a big bust.
• 2) L.J. Collier, first round, defensive end, TCU
With his last four first-round picks, Schneider has taken James Carpenter in 2011, Bruce Irvin in 2012, Germain Ifedi in 2016 and Rashaad Penny in 2018. Irvin was the best selection, Carpenter and Ifedi have had so-so careers, and Penny didn’t look like a first-rounder last year but it’s too early to tell with him. I know the Seahawks need Collier to rush the passer, but the thing I like him about the most is that he’s said to be a nasty, physical run-stuffer. It’s a need with a defense that allowed an average of 4.9 rushing yards a carry last year.
• 1) Ugochukwu Amadi, fouth round, safety, Oregon
According to this Top 11, Amadi has the biggest chance to be the best player from this class. He’s a ball-hawk on a defense that needs more takeaways. Amadi came up with six interceptions his last two years, including three pick-sixes and four forced fumbles. He should get an opportunity as a nickel back taking over for Justin Coleman, who left in free agency and signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the Lions. I also like that Oregon coach Mario Cristobal called Amadi the quarterback of his defense. Plus he won the 2018 Lombardi Award, which is given annually to the top FBS player regardless of position and based on the criteria of “performance and leadership honed by character and resiliency.” Mark my words, Amadi will be a an All-Pro on and off the field. Or forget what I’ve written if he’s waived.
The Go 2 Guy Jim Moore appears weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. on Danny, Dave and Moore on 710 ESPN Seattle. You can reach Jim at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo. Jim also hosts “Bark,” a podcast about dogs that’s available at 710Sports.com and wherever you find podcasts.
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