2019 NFL Draft Preview: With Talented Trio Already In Place, Are Seahawks Set At Linebacker? 

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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 four picks in the 2019 draft, which begins April 25 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Seattle’s 2019 Draft Picks: Round 1, No. 21 overall; Round 3, No. 84 overall; Round 4, No. 124 overall; Round 5, No. 159 overall. 

So far we’ve covered offensive line, defensive line and tight end, and today we turn our attention to linebacker. Tuesday we’ll take a look at where things stand at receiver.  

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), Shaquem Griffin (No. 141, 2018), Jacob Martin (No. 186, 2018).

Where The Seahawks Stand

Over the span of a few days earlier this offseason, linebacker went from being a pretty big question mark for Seattle to be one of the team’s most settled position groups. By re-signing K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks, who both briefly tested free agency, the Seahawks have in those two, and All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, a trio that Pete Carroll said is, “one of the aspects of our team I'm most excited about coming back to camp. It's because of the depth of experience and awareness those guys have, we go right back to really having a solid group. I think these guys can be the best we've ever had.”

While Wright and Kendricks played the same position last year, Carroll said the plan is to get those two on the field together with Wagner in 2019, giving Seattle a very talented trio of playmakers.

“I don't think we've ever been better (at linebacker),” Carroll said. “When that all comes together—we've got all kinds of ideas and things we want to do with those guys to use their strengths. Mychal Kendricks did a nice job when he played for us last year. Very aggressive, showed how instinctive he was, really fast, loves the game, smart about the game… The expectations are really high and those guys are going to be really good.”

The Seahawks also bring back Barkevious Mingo, last year’s starter at strongside linebacker and one of the best special teams players on the roster; as well as two other players with starting experience in Shaquem Griffin and Austin Calitro. In other words, while you can never rule anything out if the right player is available at the right spot in the draft, it would appear that linebacker isn’t a big position of need for Seattle heading into the draft.

NFL.com's rankings of the top linebacker prospects in the 2019 draft.

NFL.com’s Top 5 Linebackers

1. Devin White, LSU

Overview (via NFL.com): Running back convert out of high school who continues to show rapid development as a high-impact linebacker in a physical conference. White is still learning to take on blocks and play with better control/efficiency, but he's a willing pupil and coaching should improve both areas. White's work ethic, competitiveness, and rare play speed are elements that can't be taught and should push him into an early starter's role and a successful NFL career.

2. Devin Bush, Michigan

Overview (via NFL.com): Undersized three-down linebacker with the speed and cover talent to make an easy transition to WILL linebacker as a pro. There will be NFL defenses who pass on Bush due to his lack of size, but his ability to play fast and free as an outside linebacker should supersede those concerns. He will miss some tackles and get engulfed by blockers at other times, but his play strength and ability to run and cover are extremely valuable in today's game and should not be diminished due to a tape measurement.

3. Mack Wilson, Alabama

Overview (via NFL.com): He is today's version of an NFL linebacker with adequate size, plus strength and toughness, speed pursue and an ability to handle coverage duties on any down. Wilson is like a classically trained musician who hits his notes on time, but the question is whether or not he can play as a free-form, improvisational talent when the opportunity arises. Either way, he's a solid, three-down starter in any defensive scheme.

4. Germaine Pratt, N.C. State

Overview (via NFL.com): Free safety-turned-linebacker with good cover skills who has filled out his frame and checks the size and speed boxes, but Pratt is still in the process of learning to man his position. He plays upright in space and is unorthodox and inconsistent in taking on blocks and finding his run fits. However, he plays with good lateral athleticism and burst and found his way to the football enough to fill out the stat sheet in his lone year as a starter. He will continue to improve with time and could become an eventual starter at either SAM or WILL.

5. Cameron Smith, USC

Overview (via NFL.com): Inside linebacker whose four-year run can best be described as smart and steady. Smith is lacking the physical traits and athletic ability to excite general managers and his tape is hardly splashy. However, he has a keen sense of play development and uses smart angles and proper technique to do his job effectively. He could hear his name called in the middle rounds, but it won't take long for a coaching staff to look beyond his limitations and see a future starter.

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