2020 NFL Draft: Prospects that would be good fits for the Seahawks
The eyes of the NFL world were on Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine last week as the future of the league was on full display in the form of the draft’s top prospects and you can bet that the top Seahawks brass got their work in.
We’re pretty much in the thick of things as far as NFL mock drafts go, so fans are getting more and more familiar with players who some experts believe would be ideal fits for each team. After the combine, some of those mock drafts have changed as many players saw their stocks rise or fall depending on how the workouts went.
710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard, who also does college football analysis for FOX Sports, has seen some players that he thinks would fit right in with the Seahawks.
“This draft, loaded with Seahawk dudes,” Huard said.
He went in depth on his “prospect crushes” he would like the Seahawks to target in the April draft in the latest edition of the Brock and Salk Podcast.
RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Combine stats: 4.39 40-yard dash, 17 bench press reps of 225 pounds, 36-inch vertical leap, 123-inch broad jump
Measurements: 5’10, 226 pounds
Taylor is one of the most productive running backs not only in Wisconsin history, but in the history of college football. In three with the Badgers, Taylor compiled over 6,000 yards rushing to go along with 55 total touchdowns and was a unanimous All-American in 2018 and 2019.
Though the Seahawks have two good backs coming back in 2020 in Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, both are coming off season-ending injuries and the only other running back on the roster is 2019 sixth-round pick Travis Homer. Simply put, the position will likely be addressed this offseason.
After running a sub-4.40 time in the 40-yard dash, Taylor’s stock seems to be rising, and he could be someone the Seahawks look at with their first-round pick, which is the 27th overall selection.
“If the Seahawks draft Jonathan Taylor, I will fist bump my pops or (my wife) Molly or you or whoever I’m around because he’s been one of my favorites the last three years,” Huard said.
RB A.J. Dillon, Boston College
Combine stats: 4.53 40-yard dash, 23 bench press reps of 225 pounds, 41-inch vertical leap, 131-inch broad jump
Measurements: 6’0, 247 pounds
A three-time first-team All-ACC player, Dillon rushed for over 4,300 yards and had 40 total touchdowns in his three seasons at Boston College. He’s a bigger, powerful running back, so his 4.53 40-yard dash and 41-inch vertical leap at the combine definitely turned some heads.
“Whereas Jonathan Taylor may be too rich (in terms of where he’ll be selected in the draft), the A.J. Dillons of the world, you give me a 6’0 247-pound guy who runs that fast, is that explosive in this offense? Sign me up for that,” Huard said.
WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
Combine stats: 4.38 40-yard dash, 16 bench press reps of 225 pounds, 38.5-inch vertical leap, 131-inch broad jump
Measurements: 6’3, 207 pounds
One of the main takeaways from this year’s draft class is that the wide receiver position is loaded.
The Seahawks do have a formidable duo of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, but getting Russell Wilson more weapons can’t hurt.
Mims had two 1,000-yard seasons during his four years at Baylor and left the school with 28 touchdown receptions. He would be another big-bodied target for Wilson alongside Metcalf and tight ends Will Dissly and Greg Olsen.
“By the way, I was comparing him to DK Metcalf,” Huard said. “DK Metcalf at the combine last year was 6’3, 228 (pounds) and ran 4.35, vertical 41 inches and broad jumped (134 inches). I mean, absolutely outrageous numbers. Mims from Baylor’s not quite there, but pretty darn close. And if he’s available in the second round (he’s an option).”
WR Devin Duvernay, Texas
Combine stats: 4.39 40-yard dash, DNP in bench press, 35.5-inch vertical leap, 123-inch broad jump
Measurements: 5’10, 200 pounds
While this year’s receiver class is turning heads pre-draft, last year’s rookie class of wide receivers was pretty special too. Metcalf shined with 900 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season, but you could make a case he wasn’t even the most special rookie receiver in the division.
The case could be made for 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel, who had 802 yards and three touchdowns receiving and also ran for 159 yards and three scores. With how Samuel performed, scouts apparently were looking for players with a similar skillset.
“Most of the combine was trying to find the next Deebo, by the way,” Huard said. “That was a huge narrative, who’s going to be the next Deebo Samuel … Devin Duvernay is the next Deebo Samuel.”
Duvernay, like Samuel, stands shorter than six-feet tall and weighs 200 pounds or more. Also like Samuel, Duvernay didn’t truly shine in college until his senior year, when he exploded for 1,386 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns. Not only that, he has quite the reputation on the field.
“He’s just that guy on a football field that is just an absolute jerk,” Huard said. “That you hate him, but you love him. People don’t want to play him and even with his teammates on gameday, the dude is ferocious.”
OT Austin Jackson, USC
Combine stats: 5.07 40-yard dash, 27 bench press reps of 225 pounds, 31-inch vertical leap, 115-inch broad jump
Measurements: 6’5, 322 pounds
Like in years past, the offensive line is a bit of a question mark heading into free agency and the draft.
Left tackle and right guard are set with Duane Brown and D.J. Fluker, respectively, but the other three spots are murky.
Mike Iupati, who started at left guard in 2019, is a free agent and likely won’t be back due to his age and injury history. The Seahawks do have in-house options to take over in that role, such as Jamarco Jones, Phil Haynes and Jordan Simmons.
And at center, Justin Britt is coming back from an ACL tear and could be a cap casualty while his backup, Joey Hunt, is a restricted free agent.
Someone who could come in and immediately play right tackle is Jackson, a two-year starter and a 2019 First Team All-Pac-12 honoree who has yet to turn 21.
“This year, I remember watching him like man, this dude is good. Like why aren’t people talking about Austin Jackson?” Huard said.
Not only is Jackson a bigger guy, even for a left tackle, he showed at the combine he is an excellent athlete, similar to the Seahawks’ current left tackle.
“Remember when we watched Duane Brown run on the field and you’re like ‘this dude’s an athlete?’ Austin Jackson looks just like that,” Huard said to Mike Salk.
And if Brown, who turns 35 next month, regresses or retires, Huard thinks Jackson could easily slide to left tackle for the foreseeable future.
DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
Combine stats: DNP in 40-yard dash, 20 bench press reps of 225 pounds, 34-inch vertical leap, 120-inch broad jump
Measurements: 6’5, 266 pounds
The Seahawks’ biggest need for the 2020 season is at pass rush.
Jadeveon Clowney and four other 2019 Seahawks defensive linemen are free agents, and that group failed to get sacks. Seattle had just 28 sacks last year.
While that could lead some to think Seattle must address the defensive line in the draft, but Huard says there’s reason to be cautious.
“This is not a good class at defensive end,” Huard said.
The top defensive ends, such as Ohio State’s Chase Young and LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson will be long gone before the Seahawks select at pick No. 27, but someone like Gross-Metos could be available.
During his last two seasons at Penn State, Gross-Metos totaled 17 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss. He has shown both on tape and at the combine that he can be an explosive player on the edge, which 2019 first-round pick L.J. Collier failed to show to Huard at last year’s combine and ultimately in his first year as a pro.
“Unlike L.J. last year, (Gross-Metos was explosive with) a 34-inch vertical, a 10-foot broad (jump) and had 9.5 sacks (his last college season),” Huard said. “I went back and looked at L.J. Collier’s stats at the combine last year and a 4.97 40, just kind of a tweener (between defensive end and defensive tackle) at 6’2, 283 (pounds), like first round?”
If Clowney signs elsewhere and the Seahawks selected Gross-Metos, he would almost certainly have a starting spot or at least a major role alongside guys like Rasheem Green and whoever the Seahawks sign and draft in the offseason.
S Chris Miller, Baylor
Combine stats: 4.61 40-yard dash, 12 bench press reps of 225 pounds, 35.5-inch vertical leap, 133-inch broad jump
Measurements: 5’11, 190 pounds
The Seahawks have three starter-quality safeties on the roster in Bradley McDougald, Quandre Diggs and 2019 second-round pick Marquise Blair, but one collegiate safety that could be a late-round steal is Baylor’s Chris Miller.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll loves his hard-hitting safeties, and that is certainly what Miller provides. Though undersized, he’s tenacious and his tape stands out.
“The most violent college football player this year,” Huard said. “The dude had three targeting penalties and ejections this year.”
He’s not a playmaker at safety in terms of takeaways having never recorded a collegiate interception, but Huard would not be upset if the Seahawks took a flyer on him late in the draft.
“Give me a fifth- or sixth-round pick for Chris Miller because he’s just that guy, kind of like Marquise Blair, but even more violent,” he said.
You can listen to the full conversation and much more in the newest Brock and Salk Podcast at this link or in the player below.