RENTON, Wash. – Shaquem Griffin deservedly received the bulk of the attention when the Seattle Seahawks drafted the star linebacker with one hand in the fifth round and reunited him with his twin brother Shaquill.
But aside from Griffin’s selection, general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll made clear the Seahawks intent to re-establish the core tenants of how they want to play: run the ball, play aggressive defense and rely on field position.
It started in the first round with the selection of San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny and continued through the nine selections made.
After an eventful offseason that’s seen Seattle overhaul its coaching staff and say goodbye to some key veterans, the Seahawks needed to have a successful draft. Recent drafts have been filled with more misses than hits and started to catch up with Seattle last season when the depth wasn’t there to overcome key injuries.
“We feel like we made great decisions all the way through and we’ll see how it goes. You always feel that way right after,” Schneider said.
Here’s what else to know about Seattle’s nine picks, including seven on the final day:
End of the road
The end may be near for the longest-tenured Seahawks player.
Seattle traded up in the fifth round to draft Texas punter Michael Dickson, who left school early for a chance at the NFL. Dickson was regarded as the top punter available in the draft and could be a sign that Jon Ryan’s tenure in Seattle is coming to an end. Ryan has been with the team since 2008 and has two years left on his contract with Seattle but counts $3.2 million against the salary cap in 2018 and $3.6 million in 2019.
Both Carroll and Schneider insisted Ryan will be part of the punting competition.
Dickson averaged 47.4 yards per punt as a junior, was a two-time Big 12 special teams player of the year, and was the Ray Guy Award winner in 2017. Perhaps most impressive, Dickson was the MVP of the Texas Bowl victory over Missouri after downing 10 of his 11 punts inside the 20-yard line.
“He can do stuff with the ball we haven’t seen yet so we’re really intrigued to see how that translates,” Schneider said.
Runnin’ down a dream
Seattle continued to focus on improving its run game on offense by drafting Washington tight end Will Dissly in the fourth round.
“We thought he was the best blocker in the draft,” Carroll said.
Dissly arrived at Washington as a defensive end but transitioned to tight end for his final two seasons. While blocking is his strength, Dissly also had 21 receptions and two TDs as a senior. Dissly is the first Washington player drafted by the Seahawks since another tight end, Jerramy Stevens, was selected in the first round in 2002.
It wouldn’t be a Seattle draft without at least one player switching positions. But this one makes sense as the Seahawks intend to use Tre Flowers at cornerback. Flowers was primarily a safety at Oklahoma State, but his size makes him a perfect fit for cornerback in Seattle. Flowers is 6-foot-3 with long arms and has experience playing some cornerback in college.
A gem of Seattle’s draft could end up being Ohio State offensive tackle Jamarco Jones, selected late in the fifth round. Jones was rated by Pro Football Focus as the No. 3 offensive tackle available in the draft, but was taken with the 168th overall selection. Seattle projects Jones as a left tackle.
For just the second time in nine drafts, the Seahawks used a draft pick on a quarterback. Florida International QB Alex McGough was selected with Seattle’s final pick, No. 220 overall in the seventh round. Seattle indicated this may be the year it takes a QB to develop behind Russell Wilson, the only other QB drafted by the team since 2010. McGough threw for 2,791 yards and 17 TDs as a senior, but suffered a broken collarbone in the opening minutes of FIU’s bowl game in December.
McGough did run some read-option in college and his mobility makes him a logical backup option to Wilson.
The Seahawks addressed their most pressing needs, but could still use more depth at linebacker and an offensive lineman with the ability to play center. The other area Seattle may look to target among undrafted free agents could be a bigger wide receiver, but this draft clearly defined the Seahawks are going back to relying on the run first.
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