The Seahawks hold the last pick in the first round of next week’s NFL Draft, and analyst Mike Mayock sees that as being advantageous because of QB-hungry teams trying to trade back into the first round.
Asked to gaze into his NFL Draft crystal ball, Mike Mayock sees what the Seahawks might do with the last pick in the first round next Thursday being related to what the Houston Texans do with the first pick overall.
Mayock, an analyst for the NFL Network and NFL.com, fielded more than 65 questions with the deftness of Russell Wilson eluding the pass rush during a two-hour conference call Thursday. When it came to the Super Bowl champion Seahawks, he devised a scenario where general manager John Schneider can add to the team’s six draft choices in May 8-10 draft. And that’s also where the Texans came into play.
“What I think has a good chance of happening is if Houston doesn’t take a quarterback at 1, the entire league expects them to take a quarterback at 33 (with the first pick in the second round),” Mayock said.
And how does that impact what the Seahawks might do at No. 32? “Depending on who’s sitting on the board at the quarterback position at 32, I think they could get an awful lot of activity to move down,” Mayock said. “I think they’re in a great spot because of that.”
Mayock projects three quarterbacks going in the first round: Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles and Fresno State’s Derek Carr – the brother of David Carr, the quarterback the Texans selected with the first pick overall in the 2002 NFL Draft.
Mayock also sees more teams than that in the market for a quarterback in this draft – starting with the Texans, but also including the Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 3), Cleveland Browns (No. 4) and Minnesota Vikings (No. 8); and possibly the Oakland Raiders (No. 5), Tennessee Titans (No. 11), St. Louis Rams (with their second pick in the first round at No. 13) and Arizona Cardinals (No. 20). Some need a QB who can come in and start. Others need to groom a young quarterback to eventually replace a veteran starter. Still others need depth at the pivotal position.
So that takes us into Mayock’s second tier for quarterback prospects, and leaves teams looking to scratch that itch early in the second round from a group that includes Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.
That also could leave the Seahawks in the catbird seat as teams try to get ahead of the Texans and the 33rd pick.
“If I’m a Seattle fan, I’m rooting for Houston to take (Jadeveon) Clowney at 1,” Mayock said of the defensive end from South Carolina. “I’m rooting for Mettenberger and Bridgewater and Garoppolo and all those guys to still be on the board, so that somebody wants to come up ahead of Houston and Seattle will trade down a few spots.
“I really believe that has a good chance of happening.”
And if it doesn’t? “Then I’m a big believer in this: You just have to be versatile,” Mayock said of a trait Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have flaunted in their first four drafts with the Seahawks.
Mayock even had a story to show how versatility can play into the favor of a team coming off a Super Bowl championship.
“Years ago, when New England was coming off a Super Bowl (in 2005), they desperately wanted a defensive player,” Mayock recalled. “That entire board, the defensive first-round board, was wiped. They ended up taking a guard by the name of Logan Mankins.”
And Mankins has ended up being a six-time Pro Bowl selection.
“I think there’s a story, and a lesson, to be learned there. You’ve got to pick at 32, regardless of your needs, a good football player,” Mayock said. “Picking good football players at the end of the round is paramount, rather than trying to catch lightning in a bottle and taking a great a talent with less production.”
So Mayock could see the Seahawks drafting UCLA guard Xavier Su’a-Filo.
“But,” he added in the same breath, “I think they’re going to trade down.”