Happy Draft Day. Or at least Day One of what is now a three-day extravaganza that continues tomorrow and concludes Saturday.
Back in the day, as they say, the Seahawks’ PR staff began conducting a mock-draft competition between the reporters who covered the team. That’s when Gil Lyons, Craig Smith, Larry Stone, Les Carpenter, Percy Allen and Jose Romero were on the beat at various times for the Seattle Times; John Clayton and Mike Sando were launching their careers at the Tacoma News Tribune; Todd Frederickson, Bill Williamson and Scott Johnson had the duty for the Everett Herald; and that guy with the girl’s name was the beat writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
That’s also when John Clayton was on his way to becoming JOHN CLAYTON, but he still dominated the friendly competition. Yours truly won for the first time in 1998 – the first year Clayton had officially moved on to ESPN – and also in 2001 and 2005.
Times have changed, and so have the beat writers. Here’s who they are projecting for the Seahawks with the 25th pick in the first round tonight (click on their names for the complete first round):
Danny O’Neil, Seattle Times: CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
This would address the secondary, which is a primary concern for Seahawks.
Eric Williams, News Tribune: DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina
Could be the pick if guys like Corey Liuget and Mohammad Wilkerson are gone. Did not play all of last season because of NCAA suspension for taking improper gifts from an agent, but has shown accountability for his actions and could be another reclamation project for Pete Carroll.
John Boyle, Everett Herald: Smith
GM John Schneider has made no secret of the fact that he’d like to trade down, but if a talent like Smith, a big, fast, physical corner, is still on the board, look for the Seahawks to use this pick. Smith has top-15 talent, but character concerns could cause him to fall to Seattle.
Here’s who others are projecting for the Seahawks in just-released mocks:
Mike Mayock, NFL Network: DL Marvin Austin, North Carolina
Pete Carroll is not afraid of Marvin Austin. He didn’t play last year, but he’s rehabbed his image. He played great in the East-West Shrine Game and turned it on at the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s a gifted specimen, and he’s the ideal 3-technique. He fits, especially if the Seahawks don’t re-sign Brandon Mebane.
Don Banks, SI.com: QB Andy Dalton, TCU
As one NFL personnel man told me, “Seattle at No. 25 is about where things could start getting whacky with trades.” I’m buying that, because I think this slot will be targeted by the teams chasing quarterbacks like Dalton, (Florida State’s Christian) Ponder and maybe even Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett. Seattle could still wind up taking Dalton, or maybe even Ponder, but a quarterback of some sort is going 25th overall to somebody. How’s that for clarity?
Clark Judge, CBSSports.com: DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
Seahawks have a raft of needs, and they’ll start with defense.
Todd McShay, EPSN.com: OG Danny Watkins, Baylor
Watkins is the best available player at a position of need. He is a tough, nasty player with good strength who is NFL-ready.
Mel Kiper, ESPN.com: Dalton
There is talk that Seattle would be happy to move off this pick, but if not, Dalton is a guy who makes a lot of sense. A darling of the draft process, Dalton has impressed with his accuracy, smarts, better-than-average arm strength and the suspicion that he might be as ready or more than any other QB in the draft to step in and manage and NFL offense. Seattle might need a guy like that sooner than it’d like given the question mark at quarterback. (Jake) Locker is clearly an open here if he’s still around, but for this exercise, he’s isn’t, and Dalton is the fit.
Let’s see, that’s eight mocks, with six different players at three positions projected for the Seahawks.
Me? I’ll defer to something Carroll said the other day: “We’re going to take the best player available that we need.”
Unless, that is, Schneider is able to work a trade – a scenario we examined in this story.