With only four selections heading towards the 2019 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks appear destined to trade down from the No. 21 overall selection to recoup picks.
Seattle hasn’t picked in its original first-round slot since 2011, when the franchise used the No. 25 overall pick on Alabama guard James Carpenter. Since then, general manager John Schneider has dealt away two first-rounders for receiver Percy Harvin and tight end Jimmy Graham along with trading down in four other drafts, including moving down to the No. 27 overall pick last year to select running back Rashaad Penny.
Schneider has made a living transforming first-round picks into proven commodities or additional picks albeit with mixed results and when asked about the changes of only picking four times in April, he simply responded, “I hope it’s slim.”
Based on his comments and prior history, it’d stunning if Schneider actually used Seattle’s original pick without trading down. But if a perceived top-10 talent slipped far enough for the Seahawks to pick him, would that alter his logic?
In his latest mock draft, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com projected the Seahawks to select defensive tackle Ed Oliver, a Three-Time First-Team All-American selection from Houston.
The likelihood of Oliver or any other player of his caliber still being on the board when the Seahawks pick remains slim to none, but it wouldn’t be unheard of. Way back in 2005, California quarterback Aaron Rodgers went into an unexpected free fall before the Packers finally selected him as Brett Favre’s heir apparent with the No. 24 overall pick.
While Oliver should be a top-10 pick based on his freakish athleticism and college production, there are some question marks that could cause him to tumble into the middle of the first-round as Rodgers once did.
Many teams aren’t sure where Oliver will be most successful position-wise in the NFL, as he only weighs 287 pounds and doesn’t have enough girth to hold up as a nose tackle at the next level. He also dealt with some injuries as a junior in 2018 and got into a heated argument with Cougars coach Major Applegate while wearing street clothes on the sideline, leading to some questions about his character.
Still, if Oliver somehow slipped into the 20s-range in the first round due to these concerns as well as overall defensive line talent in this draft class and Seattle had a crack at him, how could Schneider resist selecting such an elite talent?
Regardless of how badly Schneider wants and needs to add draft capital, adding a premier defensive tackle who often draws comparisons to Rams star Aaron Donald seems well worth altering the game plan. Who wouldn’t want to see Oliver, Frank Clark, and Jarran Reed terrorizing quarterbacks every Sunday?
At the end of the day, though, it seems improbable, if not impossible, Oliver would fall far enough to be in striking range for the Seahawks. Even if his draft stock has taken a bit of a hit due to his size and questions about his attitude, 20 other teams won’t pass up on the chance to pick him and the idea he’ll still be available seems little more than a pipe dream.