With the NFL Draft coming up, Seahawks.com is taking a position-by-position look at where things currently stand on the Seahawks' roster, as well as the top prospects at each position. We'll also look at Seattle's draft history at each position under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.
The Seahawks currently hold 7 picks in the 2017 draft, which begins Thursday in Philadelphia.
- Round 1 | Pick 26 | No. 26 overall
- Round 2 | Pick 26 | No. 58 overall
- Round 3 | Pick 26 | No. 90 overall
- Round 3 | Pick 38 | No. 102 overall*
- Round 3 | Pick 42 | No. 106 overall*
- Round 6 | Pick 26 | No. 210 overall
- Round 7 | Pick 8 | No. 226 overall
So far we've covered the offensive line, defensive line, wide receiver, cornerback, tight end, safety and running back. Today, we turn our attention to linebacker.
Draft History Under Schneider and Carroll
- LB K.J. Wright (No. 99 overall, 2011)
- LB Malcolm Smith (No. 242, 2011)
- LB Bobby Wagner (No. 47, 2012)
- LB Korey Toomer (No. 154, 2012)
- LB Ty Powell (No. 231, 2013)
- LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (No. 132, 2014)
Where the Seahawks Stand
After the 2016 season came to an end, Carroll pointed to linebacker as a position of need. Yes, the Seahawks have two of the very best in the business in K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner, but Carroll wanted to see his team add depth and youth behind those two. Add to that the fact that Mike Morgan, last year's starting strongside linebacker, is a free agent, and that Brock Coyle, a top backup and core special teams player, signed with San Francisco, and linebacker looked like a position of need even with two Pro Bowlers on the roster.
"We need some youth at the linebacker spot," Carroll in his end-of-season press conference. "Bobby and K.J. played thousands of plays this year between the two of them and were extremely successful, but we need to address that. We didn't get anybody that really made a difference in the last couple years that can really fight to take those guys' job. Think if somebody can battle K.J. or Bobby for their starting time, well that's what we need to draft towards. We'll be looking there."
While the Seahawks haven't yet added much in the way of youth to that group, they have gotten considerably deeper at linebacker since Carroll said that in January. The Seahawks have added three free agent linebacker, Michael Wilhoite, Terence Garvin and Arthur Brown, giving them experienced depth, possible options at strongside linebacker and help on special teams, all reasons why Carroll said he was "really fired up" about the state of that position group.
"All three guys are all-around players," Carroll said at the NFL annual meetings. "They've all been behind the line of scrimmage primarily, not outside guys although they look to be able to help us there possibly. I think it's the most experienced group of guys that we'll start a season with in terms of special teams background, so we'll still have young guys come in to complement, but I think it's really an important place for us to upgrade the overall value to our team in terms of (special) teams. It will be very competitive throughout. All those guys have something special."
Those signings don't mean the Seahawks won't look to add that youth Carroll is seeking at linebacker this weekend. The additions of three free agents do, however, mean the Seahawks head into the draft already feeling pretty good about that position group.
"There are some really interesting players in the draft too, so we'll be looking and see how it goes," Carroll said. "If we're unable to draft anybody, I think we're on the verge of being OK as it is, so it's going to be a very strong group. I don't feel like I could say that over the last couple years. I feel like we've been piecemealing with young guys and free agent guys coming off the wire. We've had to work hard at that and I think this is a more experienced group coming in."
NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Linebackers
1. Reuben Foster, Alabama
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Foster is a vicious hitter with elite playmaking range and an ability to toggle between 225 and 240 pounds. Athleticism gives him cover ability that former teammate Reggie Ragland never possessed. Has Pro Bowl potential as a 3-4 inside linebacker or a 4-3 weak-side linebacker, but concerns over his medical history could be a consideration, according to some teams.
2. Haason Reddick, Temple
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Injuries limited Reddick to just four games over last two years of high school, forcing him to walk on at Temple. The Owls staff helped him unlock his explosive athletic traits on the field, which resulted in three forced fumbles, 9.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in 2016. Reddick's speed and athleticism might give him a greater shot at impacting the game as a 3-4 inside linebacker or a 4-3 WILL rather than trying to bulk up and play the edge. An ascending prospect with a high-end potential if he can continue to hone his craft.
3. Jarrad Davis, Florida
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Praised for both his football and personal character, Davis has athletic gifts to go along with the character traits teams are looking for. His ability to cover ground, operate with loose hips in space, and finish his tackles make him a draft favorite for some teams. While it is easy to fall in love with the traits and potential, Will have to take better routes to the ball and learn to keep himself clean against blocks. Should be able to compete for an early starting job as a 4-3 outside backer.
4. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Cunningham's missed tackles and lack of desired play strength could bother teams, but his consistent production is hard to ignore. Cunningham is a rangy, three-down linebacker who has a nose for the ball and special teams value. His downhill approach is made for attacking 4-3 defenses and Cunningham could become a good, early starter as a run-and-chase weak-side linebacker.
5. Alex Anzalone, Florida
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Anzalone's size, speed and athleticism will be tempting for teams looking for a linebacker who can play all three spots. However, concerns about his durability could cause some teams to shy away from him on the first two days of the draft. If he can stay healthy, he has the talent to become a solid three-down starter in the league.
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Take a look at NFL Media Analyst Mike Mayock's top linebackers in the 2017 NFL Draft.