â€śDrafting a running back is an odd way to kick off your massive rebuilding project on defense, but letâ€™s remember: the better the ground game, the more effective an offense will be with a QB like Russell Wilson. â€¦ Since so many of Seattleâ€™s recent early round selections have been offensive linemen, finding a ballcarrier was the surest way to buttress the rushing attack. The people who like Rashaad Penny really like him.
The Seahawks stayed on offense with their fourth-round pick, as well, filling their enormous tight end void (or, more likely, just part of it) with Will Dissly. â€¦ Whatâ€™s shocking is that not one of those mid-round picks was a cornerback, the teamâ€™s greatest need entering this draft, even though the Seahawks have had success with those selections in past years.
AndÂ Shaquem Griffin: What a tremendous feel-good story. But feel-good stories donâ€™t impact winning or losing in the NFL, and Griffin is too respectable of a player for his selection to not be analyzed by the same standards as everyone else. â€¦ the Griffin choice appears to be about finding long-term depth. Though given that three-fourths of Seattleâ€™s defensive contributors are nearing the ends of their contracts, a long-term depth guy might have to be a short-term starter come 2019.â€ť
No grade, but the â€śWell, Theyâ€™re Certainly Doing It Their Wayâ€ť award
â€śAs the league trends toward pass-dominant, spread-offense football, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll seems intent on taking his team in the other direction. â€¦Â Both [new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and new offensive line coach Mike Solari] have been tasked with recapturing the essence of Seattleâ€™s offensive identity: smashmouth football. â€¦Â The teamâ€™s 2018 draft followed the same narrative. With its first-round pick, Seattle took San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny, a move that most analysts considered a reach. â€¦Â In the fourth round, Seattle reached again â€¦Â And in the fifth, the Seahawks nabbed Ohio State offensive lineman Jamarco Jones, another blocker who could reinforce the rushing attack. â€¦ Taken as a whole, itâ€™s clear that the top 2018 priority for Carroll and Co. is to build a balanced offenseâ€”or at least one that doesnâ€™t force quarterback Russell Wilson to be the teamâ€™s leading rusher again this fall.â€ť
Day 1 grade:Â DÂ
Day 2 grade:Â BÂ
Day 3 grade:Â B-Â
Overall grade:Â CÂ
â€śThere was zero surprise theÂ SeahawksÂ traded down, as they expected their guys to be available later. Penny is a good back but picked too early. This is the modus operandi for theÂ Seahawks in recent years, picking someone in the first round much earlier than most people project. And, in most cases, the picks havenâ€™t worked out. Seattle lost its second-round pick in a trade forÂ Sheldon Richardson, which only turned out to be an unsuccessful one-year deal. Selecting Green in the third round was good value, and could be a steal likeÂ Michael BennettÂ was years ago. He should be a better pro player than he was in college. Dissly is a blocker with some receiving skills. Getting Griffin not only reunited him with his twin brother, it added quickness and aggressiveness to the defense. Flowers is a very Seahawks-like pick â€” big and strong like another fifth-round pick,Â Kam Chancellor. GM John Schneider traded a seventh-round pick away for the draftâ€™s top punter in Dickson, who some thought could have been a Day 2 pick. Heâ€™s a good value and filled a need. Jones could start in a year or two given the offensive line issues. No corners or receivers selected puts Seattle in a hole at those spots after the draft.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s fine if Seattle wanted RB Rashaad Penny, but the Seahawks probably didnâ€™t need to use the No. 27 overall selection to get him. The defense is in serious transition and the Seahawks didnâ€™t begin addressing that until the third round. Using a fifth-round pick on LB Shaquem Griffin not only is a feel-good story; it also could turn out to be a meaningful addition.â€ť
â€śMaybe the Seahawks were simply reading PFF, who have been telling people thatÂ Penny is a first-round talentÂ for some time. His production was outstanding, but his numbers were impressive even on a per-carry basis, not simply due to workload. â€¦Â The Seahawks didnâ€™t pick again until the third round, and they brought in defensive lineman Rasheem Green from USC. â€¦Â With the Seahawks looking to add pressure up front, Green represents an intriguing player to add to the mix. â€¦OTÂ Jamarco Jones in the fifth round is also a steal, and they got the best punter prospect in the draft too in Michael Dickson.â€ť
â€śJohn Schneider wasnâ€™t totally wrong to think Penny could be special enough to draftÂ in the first round, but it was a weird luxury pick for a team with major needs elsewhere. It was crazy for Seattle not to take a cornerback at some point. Griffin mightÂ end up being the best pick of the bunch as a pursuit linebacker and situational pass-rusher. Dickson was needed to displace an aging Jon Ryan, but a trade-upÂ was unnecessary. The Seahawks also waited too long to think about offensive line. They drafted too much like a contender instead of a rebuilder.â€ť
Steal of the draft: Shaquem Griffin
â€śâ€¦ at worst, a solid situational player who will contribute on defense and special teams. If Griffin performs like he did in college, Seattle will get a lot more.â€ť