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2018 NFL Draft Preview: Is This The Year The Seahawks Draft Linebacker Depth?

Where the Seahawks stand at linebacker heading into the draft, as well as a look at some of the top prospects in this year's draft class.


With the NFL Draft coming up, 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 8 picks in the 2018 draft, which begins April 26 in Dallas.

Seattle's 2018 Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 18, No. 18 overall; Round 4, Pick 20, No. 120 overall; Round 5, Pick 4, No. 141 overall; Round 5, Pick 9, No. 146 overall; Round 5, Pick 19, No. 156 overall; Round 5, Pick 31, No. 168 overall; Round 7, Pick 8, No. 226 overall; Round 7, Pick 30, No. 248 overall.

So far we've covered the offensive line, the defensive line, and tight end, and today we take a look at linebacker. Tomorrow we'll turn our attention to the running backs.

Draft History Under Schneider and Carroll: K.J. Wright (No. 99 overall, 2011), Malcolm Smith (No. 243, 2011), Bobby Wagner (No. 46, 2012) Korey Toomer (No. 154, 2012), Ty Powell (No. 231, 2013), Kevin Pierre-Louis (No. 132, 2014).

Where The Seahawks Stand

The Seahawks haven't drafted a linebacker in their past three drafts, at least in part because there hasn't been a huge need there thanks to the standout play of Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, who are not only two of the best in the league at their positions, but who have also proven to be pretty durable players who rarely come off the field.

Yet as good as those two have been, the Seahawks could still want to add depth by drafting a linebacker or two for the first time since 2014. There are currently only three linebackers on the roster other than Wright and Wagner: Paul Dawson, D.J. Alexander, and free-agent addition Barkevious Mingo. And while Mingo is a strong candidate to take over the strongside linebacker role—he'll also be a pass-rusher in sub-packages—the Seahawks could decide they want to add competition at that spot, or depth behind Wagner and Wright, via the draft.

As for Mingo, the former 2013 first-round pick is a player for whom the Seahawks have big expectations.

"A big role," Carroll said at the annual league meetings when asked about Mingo. "This is a very versatile football player. Just start off with he's got a tremendous motor and because of that he has been a big factor on special teams, so right off the bat he is going to be a core special teams guy. We are going to start him at SAM linebacker with the thought of using him there in base defenses and then also as a rush guy. He's been able to be very versatile as a rusher. He's been an edge rusher, he has great speed and a great motor to bring off the edge. He also has done a lot of things in terms of moving in and out and being able to move him around especially in aspects of the third down package, so I'm looking forward to that."

Check out which players NFL Media Draft Analyst Mike Mayock pegs as the top linebackers in the 2018 NFL Draft.

NFL Media Draft Analyst Mike Mayock's Top 5 Linebackers

1. Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

Overview (via Edmunds combines elite size, speed and explosiveness into a productive, versatile linebacker package that will have evaluators salivating. Edmunds has posted high-impact production over the last two seasons and he still has room to get bigger and better. He will make mental mistakes and his instincts are subpar, but he has an ability to mitigate those issues with his athletic ability. Edmunds can play in any alignment at any linebacker spot and has All-Pro potential no matter where he lands.

2. Roquan Smith, Georgia

Overview (via Smith is an ascending linebacker prospect with elite athletic ability, plus intelligence and an ability to be an effective cover linebacker on passing downs. While he's a little undersized, he does have the quickness and speed to keep himself from being mauled. He was good in 2016, but great in 2017 and projects as a player who hasn't tapped his full potential. Smith has Pro Bowl traits and talent and will come off the board in the first round.

3. Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

Overview (via Vander Esch is a loose-hipped, instinctive linebacker who played in 2017 like he had a GPS tracker on the football. His production totals against both the run and pass are rare for being a first-year starter and with a frame that is primed for more muscle, his NFL ceiling is high. Vander Esch might benefit from a reduced role his rookie season while he improves his play strength and becomes more skilled at taking on blocks. He's an every-down linebacker with very good starting potential and the talent to fill up a stat sheet.

4. Rashaan Evans, Alabama

Overview (via Ascending linebacker talent who has the speed to fly around from sideline to sideline and played with an improved feel for the position in 2017. Despite limited playing time over his first few seasons, Evans adapted a "work while you wait" mindset that prepared him to for impressive performances in three consecutive national championship games. Evans is an ideal inside linebacker fit for a blitz-happy 3-4 unit, but he could easily fit as a 4-3 WILL with rush potential on sub-packages. Evans is an early starter with high-end potential if he can stay healthy.

5. Uchenna Nwosu, USC

Overview (via Flashes the athletic traits and speed off the edge that teams will be looking for but the overall tape is very uneven. Nwosu may not have the edge strength to handle run downs, however, if he tests well at the Combine as expected, teams may fall in love with his burst and eyeball a future role as a designated pass rusher.