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Seahawks Draft Preview

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There are plenty of juicy stories at the top of this week’s upcoming NFL draft. What will the Texans do with the 1st overall pick? Where will big names like Texas A&M QB Johnny “Football” Manziel and South Carolina DE Jedeveon Clowney be selected? And who will be the 32nd overall pick off the board?

That’s right, if you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan, you care about the bottom of round 1 and who will be selected with the last pick of the first round. Not necessarily bad news considering the fact that this spot is reserved for the defending NFL champion and considering the bargain hunting history of GM John Schneider and Coach Pete Carroll with late picks in previous drafts.

The Hawks rich draft history includes such successes as SS Kam Chancellor at 133rd overall in the 2010 draft, CB Richard Sherman 154th overall in 2011 and QB Russell Wilson 75th overall in 2012. With the defection of free agents, the late round picks assigned to teams with better records and the need to sign core players approaching contract years to big money contracts, the Hawks need to nail the draft again this year.

As far as the Seahawks needs are concerned, Seattle should be looking at offensive line where the combined 18 games missed due to injury last season by Russell Okung, Breno Giacomini and Max Unger point to hole in the depth. Giacomini is now a NY Jet, adding to the weakness. Seattle re-signed Michael Bennett at DE but still felt enough of a need to make a failed run at DE Jared Allen in free agency. And they lost WR Golden Tate to a 5-year deal with the Detroit Lions. WR Sidney Rice has been re-signed to a 1-year deal but both he and WR Percy Harvin have a long history of injuries so a little depth at WR would suit the Hawks.

So let’s take a look at the OL, DE and WR that the experts predict will be available when the Seahawks pick 32nd:

Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN has Seattle selecting DE Stephon Tuitt out of Notre Dame. NFL.com lists Tuitt at 6’5” and 304 lbs and says he’s a hulking, long-armed, physically gifted defensive lineman with desirable size, strength, athleticism and versatility.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com sees the Hawks taking OT Morgan Moses from Virginia. Moses is listed at 6’6” and 314 lbs. NFL.com’s bottom line is that Moses is big, long-armed leaner with sheer size and length and enough movement skill to function at an adequate level on the right side, though his high-maintenance conditioning, intermittent intensity and uneven performance turns off some teams. He’s a developmental project.

Locally, Todd Dybas of the Tacoma News Tribune has the Hawks taking DeMarcus Lawrence, a DE from your Boise State Broncos. NFL.com lists Lawrence at 6’3” and 251 lbs. Their analysis is that he’s a loose, explosive, long-limbed athlete who consistently pressurizes the edge and harasses quarterbacks. His pass-rushing ability rates among the best in this year’s class, and he holds mass appeal.

Several experts have OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, 6’4” and 307 lbs out of UCLA, available at the end of round. NFL.com says he does not look the part and was miscast when forced to play left tackle for the Bruins, but Su’a-Filo is more effective than he is pretty.

The experts also have the Hawks looking at Florida St. WR Kelvin Benjamin. He’s a really big WR at 6’5” and 240 lbs. NFL.com describes Benjamin as a tight end-sized, intimidating, big-play receiver with a rare wingspan. They say Benjamin has the overall strength, length and wide catching radius that will demand extra coverage be rolled his way. He showed continual improvement, is still growing into the position, and possesses the traits to become a legitimate No. 1 receiver. Benjamin is a very intriguing mismatch weapon with ascending talent.

Here’s hoping that Schneider and Carroll continue their late pick success and the Hawks find some bargains in the basement.

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