Clayton: If Seahawks can get a starting DE, the Brooks selection is fine

Apr 24, 2020, 10:49 AM
Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks...
The Seahawks drafted Texas Tech LB Jordyn Brooks rather than trading down. (Getty)

As it turned out, the NFL Draft didn’t have as many surprises as expected, though the Seahawks certainly provided one.

Seahawks ‘surprised’ Brooks with pick, say he ‘checks all the boxes’

Most mock drafts may not have matched the player with the teams, but most mock drafts had 19 of the top 20 players in the top 20. The only surprise was cornerback Damon Arnette going to the Las Vegas Raiders with the 19th pick.

Jordan Love to Green Bay reminded me of the Denver Broncos’ decision to take Tommy Maddox in the first round when John Elway was the quarterback. Elway didn’t like it and Maddox didn’t make it through his rookie contract. Aaron Rodgers isn’t going to like this move. Plus, he didn’t get any help at wide receiver, a problem from last year. Love may not play for two or three years.

The San Francisco 49ers got a defensive tackle and a wide receiver but you can’t totally feel good about the DeForest Buckner trade. The 49ers benefited by getting the 13th pick in the draft and the chance to get defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. They added a fourth-round pick by moving down one spot in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But they ended up trading the pick to take wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who is coming off core surgery. They traded up to get him and then gave away that fourth-round pick. Aiyuk, if healthy, could be a great playmaker, but basically the 49ers traded Buckner for Kinlaw. Buckner is the third best interior defensive linemen in the league.

Sure, it was a money decision. Buckner ended up getting $21million a year from the Indianapolis Colts. The 49ers might have been better served by not re-signing Arik Armstead and keeping Buckner. Plus, the 49ers now don’t have a draft choice until the fifth round.

And then there was the Seahawks’ selection of Jordyn Brooks. John Schneider was trying to trade down. He was talking to the Green Bay Packers, but the Packers felt they had a better deal for a fourth-round choice, so they made the deal with the Miami Dolphins.

That put Schneider in a rare position. With no trade, he had to take the best player available. Brooks graded out for the Seahawks higher than Penn State defensive end Yetar Gross-Matos. Schneider deserves the benefit of the doubt because of his success in building teams, but there are two things to mention.

First, the Seahawks didn’t fix the starting defensive end position. Clearly, it would be too much to think Gross-Matos would have been the total answer. He didn’t project to be a starter as a rookie. This was a weak draft for defensive ends, a weak draft up top for pass-rushers.

The door isn’t closed on re-signing Jadeveon Clowney but it sure seems as though he’s walking.

Second, Brooks might be in the same spot as Marquise Blair last year. He’s a talented player who might not get on the field. The Seahawks have their three starters at linebacker, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Cody Barton. Unless they cut Wright – which they won’t – Brooks is more the player of the future.

In the Seahawks’ eyes, he should be like the next Bobby Wagner. He’s got sideline-to-sideline ability. He’s a tackling machine. Again, he sounds like Wagner. If Schneider can find a way to get that starting defensive end, the Brooks selection will be fine.

The biggest surprise is that the Seahawks didn’t trade down.

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Clayton: If Seahawks can get a starting DE, the Brooks selection is fine