The opinions and analysis contained in this feature represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the thoughts and opinions of the Seahawks’ coaching staff and personnel department.
The clock is ticking toward the first round of this year’s NFL Draft on Thursday, April 26. Literally. ESPN.com and NFL.com have tickers featured on their sites that are counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the start of the draft.
So it’s probably a good time for the first roundup of mock drafts that are out there, and who they’re selecting for the Seahawks with the 12th pick in the first round:
Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (published April 4): Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College. “A year ago the Seahawks’ starting three linebackers were Aaron Curry (strong side), David Hawthorne (middle) and Leroy Hill (weak side). After trading Curry to Oakland during the season, Seattle doesn’t appear particularly concerned about the possibility of losing Hawthorne or Hill to free agency. Perhaps that’s because they’re targeting the All-American Kuechly, who’d be an upgrade in the middle.”
Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (April 4): Kuechly. “Kuechly isn’t just an inside or middle linebacker, he can play all over, which will be especially appealing to the Seahawks who could use that versatility. GM John Schneider was with the Packers when they selected AJ Hawk in the top-5 of the 2006 NFL Draft and while linebacker isn’t the top need for Seattle, the BC linebacker is worthy of this pick. Kuechly, who patterns his game after Ray Lewis, is very similar to a bigger Zach Thomas, who was a perennial Pro Bowler in Miami.”
Mel Kiper, ESPN.com (April 4; this is an Insider feature, so a subscription and free is required to view the entire mock): Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina. “Even if Kuechly is still on the board, it would be tough for Seattle to pass on perhaps the safest 4-3 DE option available. Coples has prototypical size, can play every down as a pass-rusher and has a solid arsenal of moves to get to opposing quarterbacks, but with the size and discipline to be a force against the run. Seattle can’t go wrong here with either the top LB or DE available. This defense is close to being considered among the NFL’s finest.” Second round (No. 43): Ronnell Lewis, LB, Oklahoma. “His production dipped some in 2011, but Lewis could start as a situational pass-rusher and become more.”
Todd McShay, ESPN.com (April 4; this also is an Insider feature): Coples. “A great value at a position of primary need. Coples is a versatile prospect with solid measurables, good pass-rush ability and the ability to hold up against the run.” Second round: Mychal Kendricks, ILB, Cal.
Don Banks, SI.com (April 4): Coples. “Seattle needs to generate more heat on opposing quarterbacks, and Coples has natural ability in the pass rush department. His effort level has been inconsistent, and he could drop into the teens because of it. But his upside makes him a decent gamble at No. 12 for the Seahawks.”
NFL.com goes with the-more-the-merrier approach with four mocks in one:
Chad Reuter (April 6): Kuechly. “This week, New Orleans locked up free-agent middle linebacker David Hawthorne, who led the Seahawks in tackles the past three years. Finding an instinctive leader in the middle like Kuechly available is just what the doctor ordered.”
Brian Baldinger (April 4): Kuechly. “Kuechly is too good a player to pass up. He fits in well as every-down linebacker on a very good defense.”
Bucky Brooks (April 2): Kuechly. “Pete Carroll needs to address the second level of Seattle’s defense to re-emerge as a contender in the NFC West. Kuechly is an instinctive playmaker with the athleticism and skill to play multiple spots, and his strong nose for the ball could make him a star on the Seahawks’ aggressive D.”
Charles Davis (March 23): Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis. “Potential over production in college, as Pete Carroll often gets the production to emerge.”
While we’re at it, FoxSports.com has this video report on the Seahawks’ draft needs.