1st round: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Drafting Hopkins at #25 feels like drafting Julio Jones without selling the farm to get him.
Hopkins is the perfect WR for what Seattle needs. He runs terrific routes. He can cut on a dime on the short comebacker. He can beat DBs with double moves and beat defenses deep. He has the attitude of a champion and will work tirelessly to improve his craft. He is physical but also quick.
Tahj Boyd is actually a pretty good QB capable of spreading the ball, and yet he clearly favored Hopkins last season. Hopkins is the best WR on that team, but he still earns those targets.
The downside with Hopkins is that he doesn't have the strongest hands and sometimes struggles against good coverage (lots of balls knocked out). He's a great deep ball WR when he gets behind the DB and knows how to catch a ball in stride, but when he's targeted deep on contested throws (jump ball scenario) he often mistimes his jump much like Golden Tate does.
Bottom line: Hopkins is perhaps the best route runner in the draft (in a stellar WR class), he's got size, and he will probably surprise people with his 40 time at the combine. He's outrunning people on the deep stuff. The lack of hype for him is unfathomable to me.
2nd round: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
I think the "lack of athleticism," which I put in air quotes because it's been exaggerated, will cause Okafor to slip in the draft. Late 2nd, even 3rd or 4th round would not completely shock me. Purely in terms of size and athleticism, he's similar to Everson Griffen (2010), who was touted as a late 1st option but slid into the 4th round. Everson Griffen had 8 sacks last year, btw. While Okafor probably raised some eyebrows with a 4.5 sack performance in his final college game, I think at the end of the day a mediocre combine will lower his stock and this pick could become realistic.
Okafor is a player that I didn't like much at first but the more I watch him the more I warm up to the idea of drafting him. His speed is roughly on par with Chris Clemons' speed. Clemons is quick but he's hardly a blur. Clemons made it big in Seattle after mastering a wide repertoire of pass rush moves over his career. Okafor is similar in that he relies on skill more than pure athleticism. And like Clemons, Okafor is a finisher. He's not an elite prospect, but he's perhaps an under-rated one in a bleak pass rusher draft class.
Okafor is not an "ideal" LEO, but he is in my opinion the best LEO candidate that could realistically be in play at either #25 or #58. If Pete is adamant about Okafor not being athetic enough, he should probably address the area in free agency. My gut instinct is that Okafor doesn't end up a Seahawk. He might not be fast enough, and he's certainly not unique. He is good enough, and undervalued. I'd draft him, but I'm not sure our FO would. Then again, this draft is sorely lacking for fast LEO types.
3rd round: Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State University
(Williams is #66)
I hope that I am the only one outside our front office to make this comparison: Haloti Ngata. Both weigh 340 pounds, both move very fast for their size, both can shed blocks, and both alternate between 3-tech and 1-tech roles despite their mammoth size. Williams is so athletic he was often seen lining up in a 3-tech spot and then stunting around the end. Like Ngata, Williams is a nasty tackler and can obliterate his victims.
The only reason why Williams is a 3rd or 4th round pick is because he played for a small school (for which he owns their all time sack record: 29). His domination in the senior bowl should put to rest worries over level of competition. Like Russell Wilson last year, Williams is being devalued for reasons that can be factually disproven, or are at least on tenuous footing. Honestly, it would not shock me if Seattle took Williams in round 1, his upside is certainly high enough and he seems like the kind of player that could see a massive rise up draft boards in the final two months.
4th round: Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers
I'm guessing Pete Carroll is a much bigger fan of Greene than I am, but if Greene's 230 pound weight on a maxed out frame helps him last this long, count me as part of the fan club. Not to sound cynical. Like Okafor, Greene is a player that I like more and more every time I go back and watch him. He rarely moves at top speed, but Carroll might view that as a positive. Greene plays well below his speed potential out of tentativeness, but with coaching he could outgrow it and become a fast linebacker in the future. Greene looked faster in 2012 than he did in 2011- seemingly because of increased comfort and decisiveness.
Greene is a natural linebacker who fills gaps well and isn't afraid of the scrum. I doubt he'll clock a 40 time better than 4.6 (another reason I think he'll last this long), but he's not an embarrassment as a blitzer and can drop deep into coverage quickly.
Above all, I just get that "Pete Carroll LB" vibe from Greene like crazy when I watch him. It's reassuring knowing that Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan made the same observation on a recent Sirius radio segment. Kirwan is close friend with Carroll and might be privy to some inside information. It's enough to make you wonder.
If Pete wasn't our coach, I wouldn't draft Greene. But given Pete's track record with linebackers just like this, I think he could probably turn Greene into a minor star next year just like he did for Wagner. Getting a minor star at a position of need is a bargain in the 4th round.
5th round: Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa
Hyde is an outstanding, well rounded cover corner with size who's being devalued for a lack of speed and a one time public intoxication incident. This pick is right up Seattle's alley.
5th round: Denard Robinson, WR/RB/KR/QB, Michigan
Robinson just bombed the Senior Bowl practices as a WR. That's to be expected, WR is not a position that can be learned overnight. Tony Pauline (SI) tends to have good sources. Here is what he tweeted about Robinson yesterday:
Senior Bowl notes posted- most scouts presently have a last day grade on Denard Robinson/WR/Michigan
I think Robinson's future is very bright at RB should he add just a little bit of bulk. I think he could excel in a Leon Washington role. As a WR, well, Seattle isn't afraid of projects at WR. And while I don't think Robinson is an NFL QB, he does have read option experience and could be an emergency consideration. Most importantly, Robinson's 4.3 speed could make him an asset on kick returns and give Seattle their heir to Leon Washington.
That's a ton of utility out of one roster spot, and remember, Pete and John love versatility out of their players. It's worth noting that a Seattle scout was seen chatting with Robinson at the Senior Bowl.
6th round: Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
I said before that this draft is very thin on speedy LEO candidates. One under the radar option that I think could be worth looking into on day 3 is Corey Lemonier. He's undersized (6'3", 242 pounds), but possesses outstanding speed. He had 9.5 sacks in 2011 but really hurt his stock this year by posting just .5 sacks over his final 8 games (5.5 for the season). Lemonier actually had a year of eligibility left but turned it down to go pro. That's a big mistake, although it could be a mistake that plays in Seattle's favor.
Lemonier needs to add weight, but it's worth noting that he's the same height and six pounds heavier than Chris Clemons when he was coming out of Georgia in 2003. Lemonier looks fast enough to run sub 4.6, and he'd not without a few pass rush moves. I like how he finishes a sack too. The thing that stood out to me watching the video above is how Auburn played him at a 5-technique position (shaded just outside tackle). Had they lined him up in a LEO type position he probably would have faired a lot better. Could be a case like Irvin at WVU. Irvin's production plummetted when they moved him inside, but he bounced back immediately when returned to a nine-tech type role.
Lemonier is generally graded in the late 3rd round, but there are extenuating circumstances that could cause GMs to underrate him come draft day.
7th round: Cooper Taylor, S, Richmond
More potato filmed footage of a true freak of nature, Taylor stands 6'5" and yet moves like a much shorter man. He can cover a lot of ground in a hurry and I love the way he flings himself into tackles. 2013 is looking like a great draft for small school players.
7th round: Brandon Ford, TE, Clemson
Ford is a classic H-back type, and gives the Seahawks a stretch the field threat from a tight end spot. Would make for good competition alongside Cameron Morrah for the #3 TE job.
7th round: Matt Scott, QB, Arizona
I would almost guarantee you that Seattle will draft a backup QB capable of running the read option, and the list of mid to late round QBs who can offer that is a short one. Matt Scott is a leading candidate, and they might take him earlier than this. I probably would, but I have him this low after he (according to youtube) measured 6'1.75" at the Senior Bowl.