One week into the new League year the NFL's free-agent frenzy has started to stall, with the Seahawks re-signing cornerback Jeremy Lane, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, and punter Jon Ryan, adding defensive tackle Sealver Siliga and offensive linemen Bradley Sowell and J'Marcus Webb, and saying farewell to linebacker Bruce Irvin, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, and offensive linemen J.R. Sweezy and Alvin Bailey.
More moves are sure to be made before the 2016 NFL Draft gets going on April 28, but free agency's initial comings and goings have led to changes in several of the most recent mock drafts from around the web. So with free agency's first week in the rear-view mirror and the League's annual selection process just a month and a half away, let's take a look at which players NFL experts are projecting to Seattle with pick No. 26 in this year's first round:
Cris Collinsworth, ProFootballFocus.com: C Ryan Kelly, Alabama
Analysis: The more football I watch, the more I'm convinced that center is a very underrated position. The other thing I've noticed is that edge rushers are almost entirely dependent on the interior rushers getting a push that keeps the QB from stepping up in the pocket. I like Kelly's size. He should be able to hold his ground in the passing game to allow Russell Wilson to step up, get some movement on tough double teams, and still have the quickness get to the second level when needed. So many teams put a premium on the center's ability to get to the second level that they sign smaller centers that can move. I would put the premium on strength and size that could hold the point and allow my quarterback to step up. The Seahawks need help along that offensive line, and losing Max Unger in the Jimmy Graham trade last offseason hurt, but combining a talented young center like Kelly with Russell Wilson would give the Seahawks a communication tandem that would last a decade.
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
Analysis: After losing Bruce Irvin in free agency, the Seahawks could use another designated pass rusher to play a key role in their sub-packages.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: CB Eli Apple, Ohio St.
Analysis: He fits the profile of what the Seahawks look for in CBs.
Chris Burke, SI.com: G Joshua Garnett, Stanford
Analysis: Garnett and Kansas State's Cody Whitehair are the top two guard options in this class, and either would work here. Seattle also will be looking for tackles, but the guard combo hardly inspires confidence. Garnett can flat out maul in the run game. If the Seahawks sign a guard ... they might just take a tackle here instead. Circling back to a point made earlier, though, this stands out as a spot where Cleveland could jump up to nab a QB if it takes a defender early. The Seahawks get pick No. 32 (plus another one later), and the Browns get their potential 2016 starter under center.
Rob Rang, CBSSports.com: T Jack Conklin, Michigan State
Analysis: Seattle's offensive line was a weak spot in 2015 and has already lost two former starters in J.R. Sweezy and Alvin Bailey in free agency, with two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung a candidate to leave as well. The cap-challenged Seahawks may be forced to look to the draft for reinforcements. Conklin is a former walk-on turned All-American who plays with the aggression and physicality that the Seahawks lacked up front a year ago.
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: T Jack Conklin, Michigan State
Analysis: He is a self-made player who would really help a line that needs it. Conklin could play guard or tackle.
Dane Brugler, CBSSports.com: T Jason Spriggs, Indiana
Analysis: Seattle has several question marks on the offensive line, and left tackle Russell Okung is a free agent. Spriggs has core strength issues, but his frame and athleticism will be extremely appealing for teams with needs on the offensive line.
Dan Kadar, SBNation.com: T Jack Conklin, Michigan State
Analysis: Left tackle Russell Okung is still out on the open market, and if he signs elsewhere, Seattle needs to find his replacement. In this scenario, Conklin is still available and could slide into the starting job.
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