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Rob Rang's Draft Preview; Exploring Trade-Down Scenarios From No. 16 Overall

NFL draft analyst Rob Rang breaks down what a trade back from No. 16 could look like for the Seahawks.

Clemson defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro (33) runs onto the field before an NCAA college football game against North Carolina Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Clemson defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro (33) runs onto the field before an NCAA college football game against North Carolina Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

One of the most recognized names in the industry, Rob Rang is an NFL Draft analyst for FOX Sports. Rob has been covering the NFL Draft for more than 20 years, with work at FOX, Sports Illustrated,, USA Today, Yahoo, and, among others. He also works as a scout with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Rang's opinions and evaluations are his own and do not reflect those of the Seahawks. Follow him on Twitter @RobRang.

With just two of the first 101 selections, the Seahawks are being projected by many as a trade-down candidate in next month's NFL draft.

After all, no team in the NFL possesses as large of a gap between their first and second selections as the Seahawks, who currently have the No. 16 overall pick and then won't be on the board until No. 81 – a span of 65 selections.

Further, look at the club's recent history. This will be John Schneider's 15th draft as general manager of the Seahawks. He's used at least eight picks in 13 of the 14 previous years. The Seahawks currently have seven with picks in the first (No. 16 overall), third (81), fourth (102, 118), sixth (179, 192) and seventh (235) rounds.

The two rounds in which the Seahawks are currently missing selections – the second and fifth – happen to be where Schneider and his staff have enjoyed some of their biggest wins in the past, landing current stars like Kenneth Walker III, Boye Mafe, Riq Woolen, DK Metcalf and Michael Dickson, among others, in those rounds, as well as Seahawk Legends like Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor in prior years.  

Of course, the Seahawks needn't feel pressure to trade in April. The club already cashed in some of this year's draft capital, landing star defensive tackle Leonard Williams and 23-year-old quarterback Sam Howell in deals with the New York Giants and Washington Commanders, respectively.

If the Seahawks were to trade back from No. 16 overall, however, we thought it might be fun to explore the possible trade partners and scenarios.

Teams are listed in alphabetical order.

Arizona Cardinals

The Seahawks have not executed a single trade with the Cardinals during the Schneider era but given that their NFC West rivals boast the most overall picks in this draft (13), as well as the most picks within the Top 100 (six), it makes sense to lead off with them as potential trade partners.

The Cardinals have the fourth overall selection and are widely thought to be leaning towards a receiver, probably Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr.

They also have the 27th overall selection, which if packaged with picks from the third (No. 71) and fourth (No. 104) rounds would be an almost exact numerical value match for Seattle's first pick, at least according to the trade value chart popularized by Jimmy Johnson during his time with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cardinals acquired this pick a year ago when the Houston Texans boldly traded up for edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., just after nabbing quarterback C.J. Stroud. The duo, of course, would go on to lead the Texans to the playoffs, earning the Rookie of the Year honors on both sides of the ball.

Capable of making a similarly splashy move in this draft, Cardinals' defensive-minded head coach Jonathan Gannon might have his heart set on one of the top pass rushers in this class – someone who might slip to the middle portion of the first round. 

With the Seahawks pass rush already expected to improve with the healthy return of Uchenna Nwosu and expected growth from Boye Mafe and Derick Hall, Seattle might see more value in dropping down.

Even with additions made in free agency, the Seahawks roster still has questions at linebacker, tight end, safety and on both sides of the line of scrimmage. While not as flashy as some of the candidates available 11 spots earlier, of course, plug and play starter options at each of these positions will be available at No. 27.

Dallas Cowboys

Speaking of "them Cowboys," there isn't a hotter seat in all of Texas than the one Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy sits in, right across from Jerry Jones' office. Despite the annual Super Bowl expectations lobbied on the team, Jones' beloved Dallas Cowboys have not advanced further than the divisional round of the playoffs since 1996, which could leave the team willing to trade up to secure yet another star blocker for Dak Prescott.

The Cowboys currently have just one center on the roster, former undrafted free agent Brock Hoffman. Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson is the consensus top center in this class. Burly, powerful and surprisingly athletic, JPJ plays with the physicality and passion worthy of a Top 20 selection but he's unlikely to be available to Dallas at No. 24. The Seahawks wouldn't likely be able to pry both of Dallas' top two picks away but perhaps their selections in the first (No. 24), third (87) and fifth (174) might be enough to do the trick. Besides doubling its picks on Day Two with this move, the Seahawks would have a fun span of three picks within 17 selections at the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth rounds, with nine picks, overall.  

A blocker would still make a lot of sense at No. 24 but if the Seahawks trade out of position to nab the top interior lineman of this class they are likely focusing on defense. Defensive linemen Byron Murphy II (Texas), Ruke Orhorhoro (Clemson) and Kris Jenkins (Michigan) will likely come off the board around this time, as might the first linebackers, Edgerrin Cooper (Texas A&M) and Junior Colson (Michigan).

Green Bay Packers

Just behind the Cardinals in total picks and selections among the Top 100 are the Packers (with 11 and 5, respectively), the franchise, of course, where Schneider began his NFL career.

Green Bay has rarely attacked free agency with more fervor (and success) than the Packers enjoyed this year, luring star running back Josh Jacobs out of Las Vegas and safety Xavier McKinney from the New York Giants. Big dollars and Jordan Love's big step forward at quarterback last year probably each played roles in the Packers landing these big fish in free agency but the club's progress would be stymied if it can't pass protect, a concern given that the club has been moved on from longtime starting left tackle David Bakhtiari.   

The most unique position group in this year's draft are the offensive tackles with five (Notre Dame's Joe Alt, Alabama's JC Latham, Washington's Troy Fautanu, Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga and Georgia's Amarius Mims) all considered Top 20 shoo-ins.

The class is good enough that the Seahawks might want to nab one of these tackles, themselves, if they are looking for reinforcements at that spot, or if they see one of those players as a guard at the next level. 

A trade down of nine spots to the Packers' No. 25 overall selection, however, might be pretty enticing if Green Bay were to throw in its pair of third round picks, No. 88 and 91, overall. The third round should be a sweet spot for interior linemen on both sides of the ball, as well as tight end.

Pittsburgh Steelers

For the same reason the aforementioned Cowboys and Packers might want to move up – a gifted class of offensive linemen - the Steelers may want to do the same.

Swapping picks with Pittsburgh wouldn't require as complete of a shuffling of the draft board as the other clubs on this list, as the Steelers check in at No. 20 overall, just four picks later than Seattle.

If head coach Mike Tomlin has his eyes on someone, however, it might be enough for Pittsburgh to pounce, as they've shown boldness this offseason with the signings of Russell Wilson and linebacker Patrick Queen in free agency, as well as the trade for Justin Fields.

A package of No. 20, as well as the second of Pittsburgh's two third round selections (No. 98 overall) and its fourth rounder (No. 119) would be fair trade that would give the Seahawks an extra pick on Day Two and back-to-back selections in the middle of the fourth round.

Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald continues to build out his coaching staff for 2024 so check out who will be will leading the team next season. (02/28/24)

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