Seattle Seahawks: Complete 2014 NFL Draft Wrap-Up and Analysis
As the Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks went into the 2014 NFL draft picking at the back end of almost every round. They had also already traded away two of their draft picks, leaving them light on potential selections.
Luckily, Seattle went into the draft without any major holes in its roster. There were some positions where it needed depth and potential long-term solutions, but no areas that would incite desperation out of general manager John Schneider and his staff.
The Seahawks were free to let the draft come to them. They focused only on guys whom they had strong convictions about and didn't settle for players who were marginal athletes. Overall, it appears at this point to be a typically successful draft from Schneider and the Seahawks.
With a full day to let the results of the draft sink in and to watch some more game tape, it is now possible to reflect a little better on everything that transpired over the weekend with the Seahawks. So just how well did Schneider do at adding talent to Seattle's roster? It is time to take a closer look and find out.
Round 2, Pick 45: Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
Round 2, Pick 64: Justin Britt, OT, Missouri
Round 4, Pick 108: Cassius Marsh, DE, UCLA
Round 4, Pick 122: Kevin Norwood, WR, Colorado
Round 4, Pick 132: Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB, Boston College
Round 5, Pick 172: Jimmy Staten, DT, Middle Tennessee State
Round 5, Pick 199: Garrett Scott, OT, Marshall
Round 6, Pick 208: Eric Pinkins, CB/S, San Diego State
Round 7, Pick 227: Kiero Small, FB, Arkansas
Overall Grade: B+
Seattle entered the draft with just six picks. To help counter this, it traded down twice before it made its first selection.
Once they finally began selecting players, the Seahawks were able to fill their need for depth at wide receiver, defensive end and offensive tackle while not having to resort to picking players who strayed from the organization's prototypes.
The Seahawks won the Super Bowl by embracing the philosophy of being bigger, stronger and faster than their opponents. That philosophy was very apparent in Seattle's draft selections. With the exception of perhaps Norwood, each of Seattle's draft picks were among the most athletic players at their position.
This gives Seattle a group of high-ceiling prospects. If the team continues to develop the inherit talent in players like it has been able to do under head coach Pete Carroll, this draft class should turn out to be a very solid one for the Seahawks.
Best Pick: Paul Richardson
As much as this pick was criticized because of Richardson's small frame, he comes into the league at roughly the same size as wide receiver Marvin Harrison. Drafting Harrison certainly worked out well for the Indianapolis Colts, so there is reason to be optimistic that Richardson won't be perpetually injured as some people have feared.
If you take the size issue out of it and just focus on the film, Richardson's talent is undeniable. While he is a different type of player, Richardson has the ability to change a game like wide receiver Percy Harvin can. Richardson is an electric playmaker who is a threat to score every time he touches the football.
This is a draft pick that makes the rest of the offense better. Teams will no longer be able to crowd the line to try to stop Seattle's running game. Safeties will play deeper, creating more room underneath for Harvin and Doug Baldwin to work with.
Few players have the potential to make such drastic changes to the way opposing teams play defense, and that is just the type of player Richardson is.
Worst Pick: Eric Pinkins
If Pinkins develops like the rest of Schneider's late-round cornerback selections, then choosing him as Seattle's worst pick is going to look very silly in two years. The problem is that the Seahawks drafted only high-ceiling players, so whoever is listed in this space has a chance to become a very good player.
Pinkins gets the call here for two reasons. First, he's never played the position before and appears to lack some of the physical skills necessary to make the transition. Pinkins was a safety in college, where his straight-line speed was a major asset. As a cornerback in the NFL, he'll need much more quickness in changing direction than is apparent in his game tape.
The second reason Pinkins was chosen here is because of the players the Seahawks passed up at cornerback who seem to better fit the profile the team looks for in that position. Pierre Desir, Shaquille Richardson and Keith McGill all would have been ready to contribute to Seattle's defense sooner than Pinkins will, and all were available at some point during the third day of the draft.
Ultimately, though, Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell are proof that Schneider has an eye for what it takes to become an NFL cornerback. If Pinkins follows the same track as those two, this may end up being viewed as one of the best picks from this draft class in just a few years.
Undrafted Free Agents
After the draft was completed, the Seahawks signed nine undrafted free agents:
Keith Price, QB, Washington
Once considered a potential top prospect, Price's lack of development over his final two years in college became a major red flag. He is a bit undersized and doesn't have a great arm, though his agility allows him to make plays that are reminiscent of Russell Wilson.
Dion Bailey, S, USC
With a linebacker's playing style in a free safety's body, Bailey is a football player without a true position. He shows great instincts and awareness against the run, but his coverage skills are still developing.
Brock Coyle, LB, Montana
Coyle is an athletic and physical inside linebacker with good speed. He shows good instincts and was very productive in college, though he played against low-level competition.
Chase Dixon, TE, Central Arkansas
Although he's listed as a tight end, Dixon has very similar measurements to Carolina Panthers first-round wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. This suggests that Dixon has some major upside as a "Joker"-type tight end.
Garry Gilliam, OT, Penn State
After missing most of two seasons with an ACL injury and subsequent infection, Gilliam converted from tight end to offensive tackle. He shows great movement skills, but his blocking technique is still quite raw.
Bronson Irwin, G, Oklahoma
While he doesn't have the natural athleticism that the Seahawks typically look for in their offensive linemen, Irwin is a maximum-effort player known for his toughness.
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Jeffcoat has a good first step and is a natural pass-rusher, but he plays too upright at times and doesn't anchor well against the run. He was highly respected by draft analysts, and it was a surprise to many that he went undrafted.
Jimmy Legree, CB, South Carolina
Legree isn't a typical Seattle cornerback. He lacks the length the Seahawks usually look for and isn't at his best in man coverage. Instead, Legree is very good when facing the quarterback in zone coverage, which suggests he might be converted to free safety.
Andru Pulu, DT, Eastern Washington
Pulu is short for an NFL defensive tackle at 6'1" but has good strength and a powerful first step. His measurables, including his height, are very similar to those of Seattle nose tackle Brandon Mebane.
What's Next for the Seahawks
The Seahawks will hold a rookie minicamp this next week for their draft picks and rookie free agents, as well as a few players who are being brought in for a tryout. The rookie minicamp is scheduled to begin this coming Friday and conclude on Sunday.
This will be a chance for the coaches to get a really good look at many of the rookies and determine if the team needs to sign any additional players prior to the start of training camp.
After that, the team is allowed 10 organized team activities (OTAs), all of which must be concluded by June 12. There is then a minicamp in mid-June, followed by a long break until the start of training camp in late July.
From a roster standpoint, the only thing the Seahawks are likely to do is try to finish up an extension with wide receiver Doug Baldwin. They have already locked up head coach Pete Carroll, free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman with new deals. They also appear to have sufficient depth at every position, so there is no pressing need to sign any of the available free agents.