The Seahawks traded back in the first round once again, but this time they still made a first-round selection, taking Texas A&M offensive tackle Germain Ifedi with the 31st pick of the 2016 draft.
Ifedi, Seattle’s first first-round pick since Bruce Irvin in 2012, was a three-year starter for the Aggies, first at right guard, then at right tackle. Ifedi was acquired with a pick that originally belonged to the Super Bowl 50 champion Denver Broncos. The Broncos sent that pick as well as a third-rounder (No. 94 overall) for the 26th pick, which they used on quarterback Paxton Lynch.
Ifedi, who is listed at 6-foot-5, 325 pounds, will add competition to a tackle group that will look different in 2016 with left tackle Russell Okung departing in free agency. Garry Gilliam, last year’s starting right tackle, is moving to the left side to compete with free-agent addition Bradley Sowell. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have pointed to free-agent signing J’Marcus Webb as a potential right tackle for this season, but Ifedi could now factor into the mix there.
After picking Irvin in the first round four years ago, the Seahawks went three straight drafts without a third-rounder. Seattle sent its 2013 first-rounder to Minnesota to acquire Percy Harvin, then sent their first-rounder to the Vikings again a year later, allowing Minnesota to draft quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The Seahawks traded back again in the second round before selecting receiver Paul Richardson with their first pick of the 2014 draft. Last year, the Seahawks sent their first-rounder and center Max Unger to the New Orleans Saint for tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round pick.
With the third-rounder acquired in Thursday’s trade, the Seahawks now have four picks in Friday’s second and third rounds—Nos. 56, 90, 94 and 97 overall—giving them a total of five picks in the top 100, including Ifedi.
The Seahawks moving back hardly comes as a surprise given their propensity to move back in order to acquire more picks under general manager John Schneider. Of all the trades the Seahawks have made in seven drafts under Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, only two have seen them give up picks to move up—their 2013 trade to acquire an extra fifth-round pick, allowing them to pick Tharold Simon and Jesse Williams with consecutive picks, and last year’s trade to move up in the third round in order to select Tyler Lockett.
Acquiring more draft ammunition was also likely appealing in a draft Schneider has called one of the deepest he has seen in his seven years with the Seahawks.
“This is our seventh draft, and to us it’s the most impressive one so far in terms of sheer numbers of players,” Schneider said. “There’s 100 juniors… We think it’s strong all the way through. There doesn’t seem to be as many huge drop-offs along the way. There are a couple of positions, but not as bad as it has been in the past.”
#Pick31 - Germain Ifedi
Seahawks select Germain Ifedi, tackle from Texas A&M with the 31st overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.