The 2014 NFL Draft is less than a week away, and while you may have grown tired of perusing the latest mocks from football analysts around the web, last night's three-round exercise from ESPN Insiders Mel Kiper and Todd McShay put an interesting twist on the simulated event.
The two analysts alternated picks, selecting the players they would pick in each spot, not necessarily the player they think the team in that spot would take. Seattle is currently without a third-round selection in this year's draft, so the pair turned in just two picks for the Seahawks through the first three rounds.
Here's a look at their choices for the Seahawks:
Round 1, No. 32 - Kiper's Pick: Stephon Tuitt, Defensive End, Notre Dame
Kiper's Analysis: "The Seahawks won a Super Bowl as much with great rotational depth on the D-line as they did with the Legion of Boom. A versatile talent of this caliber at No. 32? Easy call."
Our Take: Kiper speaks to the Seahawks' rotational depth, an area that took a few hits this offseason. The team released defensive ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons in salary-cap related moves prior to the start of free agency. Both players joined former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley with the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald signed a free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Selecting Tuitt in the first round would help shore up some of those losses.
The Question: On top of D-line mainstays Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Brandon Mebane, and Tony McDaniel, the Seahawks expect a few young defensive linemen who missed time last year to injury to be ready by the start of the season. That list includes third-year man Greg Scruggs, who says he has bulked up to 310 pounds, and second-year players Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams, selected in the third and fifth rounds, respectively, a season ago. And don't forget about promising pass rusher Benson Mayowa, who flashed during the 2013 preseason. Tuitt would compete against a long list of players who have more experience in Seattle's defensive scheme. Is his talent level enough to warrant the Seahawks' first pick?
Round 2, No. 64 - Kiper's Pick: Kevin Norwood, Wide Receiver, Alabama
Kiper's Analysis: "I added needed D-line depth in Round 1 with Tuitt, and Norwood is a great fit in Round 2. One thing Norwood does really well is find ways to get open after plays break down. That's a useful skill with Russell Wilson at QB."
Our Take: As Kiper notes, a receiver that never quits on their quarterback is a good thing. That's especially true when the quarterback likes to work outside of the pocket and maneuver in the backfield as much as the Seahawks' Russell Wilson. Norwood possesses that trait and provides a size (6-foot-2) that only Ricardo Lockette, Chris Matthews, and Sidney Rice match or exceed, with Rice being the only one of the three who has proven he can consistently produce at the NFL level.
The Question: Without a pick in round three, are the Seahawks willing to wait until round four to address needs at other positions? The Seahawks haven't selected an offensive lineman before the third round since taking James Carpenter in the first round in 2011, but the position group comes to mind as an area worth addressing early in 2014 after losing starting right tackle Breno Giacomini to the New York Jets and versatile veteran Paul McQuistan to the Cleveland Browns in free agency.