Daniel Jeremiah: Seahawks drafted good players, but they took some early
The latest Seahawks’ draft has gotten mixed reviews, with some feeling that Seattle reached for players or selected guys that won’t contribute or a year or two while others feel that they added impact players at positions of need who could get on the field sooner than you’d think.
NFL Network draft expert Daniel Jeremiah is sort of in the middle of those two viewpoints.
“I think they came away with some good players. I think they maybe took them a little earlier than the general public, and I put myself in there, would have taken some of these guys,” he told Brock Huard and Mike Salk in the latest Brock and Salk Podcast. “But at the end of the day, if you can end up with three starters, which is the goal, it doesn’t matter where you found them, right? I think they’ve got a chance to come away with three starters in this draft I think (it would be) more than likely the top three picks.”
Those top three picks were linebacker Jordyn Brooks, defensive end Darrell Taylor and guard Damien Lewis. Brooks, the team’s first-round pick, has been considered a reach by many, Jeremiah included. But he understands the selection.
“Jordyn Brooks is someone I had (51st) on my list, so (taking him 27th) was a little earlier than I had him, but he’s someone who can run and he fits what they are and what they do, so it’s a good fit even though it’s early,” Jeremiah said. “I think in an ideal world you trade back, get a little extra value and still get your player. But these drafts when we look back, I think now, we look at ‘I don’t love that value really for this guy,’ but the drafts are going to be deemed successful or unsuccessful four years from now when we look back and say ‘did they get three starters out of this draft?’ And I think they still have a chance to do that.”
Taylor may be the most crucial pick in the Seahawks’ 2020 class because the Seahawks need pass rush help in the worst way after a poor 2020 showing, and because they traded the 59th and 101st picks in order to move up to 48 to select him.
The Seahawks don’t trade up often, but when they do, those players seem to work out. In recent drafts, they moved up to take receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf as well as defensive tackle Jarran Reed. Jeremiah says Taylor has a chance to join those guys as impact players if he’s healthy.
“You don’t make those types of moves unless you have conviction in the room. And usually when you have conviction you like the player and also have a plan for him, so that’s why I think you see a higher hit rate when you go after guys like that,” Jeremiah said. “If you watched him in 2018, he looked like a first-round pick. He’s explosive, he creates knock backs, he has a real good stutter bull move he has. But then this year, he has the shoulder (injury) and was not the same guy and didn’t play well, especially when they stepped up in competition, so that was kind of the issue with him.”
Jeremiah said Taylor doesn’t figure to be a major threat in stopping the run, but his twitch and “juice” on the edge could create problems for opposing quarterbacks.
Sehawks general manager John Schneider said after the second day of the draft that they thought so highly of Taylor that they considered him with their first pick. Jeremiah heard something similar as well.
“A week or two before the draft, I started getting a lot of buzz on him and I know a couple teams were targeting him in the second round and talking about him in the second round,” he said. “I was actually told by someone that the Seahawks really liked him and I was told to not be surprised if they took him in the first round. This was probably a week or two before the draft, so you knew that was a player they were targeting and other teams were looking at him and I know two teams were really looking to get him and didn’t come away with him. He was liked around the league but again, you’ve got to keep him healthy and you hope you get the 2018 version.”
Something Huard has said when referring to this Seahawks draft class is that Seattle opted for projection over production. While that worked very well early in Pete Carroll’s Seahawks tenure, the draft success hasn’t been the same in recent years.
“They believe they’re developers. They believe in their teaching that they can take and grow these guys once they get them, but it’s become harder and harder to do that in the NFL as the rules are what they are and you just don’t have the time to do it,” Jeremiah said. “And not to mention there’s such a benefit of getting guys who can come in as young players and get on the field because man, those are cheap starters.”
Jeremiah also noted that Carroll has far more job security than most other coaches, so he and Schneider can roll the dice more on project players.
“I think there’s a connection also between coaches with stability and security that they feel more comfortable being able to take some of these guys with traits and take their time and develop them because a lot of these coaches don’t have that luxury,” he said.
Listen to Jeremiah’s full NFL Draft discussion with Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.