First in a series of NFL draft previews.
With all the attention on the Seahawks losses on defense this offseason — Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Byron Maxwell and perhaps Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor — Seattle isn't exactly stacked on offense, either.
The Seahawks enter next week's draft having lost two of their top four wide receivers since September, plus their two top tight ends.
Wide receiver Paul Richardson signed a $40-million, five-year free-agent contract with Washington last month. In September the Seahawks traded Jermaine Kearse, at one time their No. 2 wide out behind Doug Baldwin, plus a second-round pick in this draft to the New York Jets, to get defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. Tyler Lockett, more accomplished as a Pro Bowl kick returner, is currently the No. 2 wide receiver. His rookie contract ends after 2018.
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The Seahawks need Amara Darboh to show why they drafted him in the third round last year. Marcus Johnson arrives with special-teams and fourth-wide receiver experience in the trade of Bennett.
Coach Pete Carroll stated desire to return to his run game roots means more run blockers than pass catchers at tight end. Only 2016 draft choice Nick Vannett and 2017 undrafted rookie Tyrone Swoopes, a college quarterback, were on the roster at the position until Seattle signed free agent Ed Dickson from Carolina last month.
Dickson is 31. The Seahawks can get out of the final two years of his team-friendly deal at a cost of only $1.7 million in 2019. So it's not unfathomable that the Seahawks, who have selected only one tight end in the last seven drafts (Vannett), would use one of its scheduled eight draft picks next weekend on a younger blocker at the position.
That is why Seattle has been scouting and has met with Washington's Will Dissly. NFL Network's Mike Mayock rates Dissly as the best run-blocker in this draft, and the fifth-best tight end overall. Tacoma NFL draft expert Rob Rang thinks Dissly may get drafted before the fifth round ends.
Here are the top 2018 prospects at wide receiver and tight end, with others as possibilities for the Seahawks later in the draft.
Seattle has the 18th-overall pick in round one, then nothing in rounds two and three, one pick in round four, four in round five and two in the seventh and final round.
1. Calvin Ridley, Alabama: Consensus best wide receiver in this class. Not quite a lock to go in the first round anymore. He catches everything but is slight (a lean 190 pounds).
2. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: Sharp route runner, slot man extraordinaire inside in the Aggies' wide-open offense. Seattle already has a slot man extraordinaire: Baldwin. Lockett plays there at times, too.
3. Courtland Sutton, SMU: The huge, athletic wide receiver Pete Carroll loves. 6 feet 3, 218 pounds. Built like a linebacker. Can't see Seattle using a 1st-round pick at wide receiver. Can't see Sutton lasting until round four, either.
Possible later-round options:
Dante Pettis, Washington: Huskies star is like Lockett: Excellent kick returner, slight build. Great route runner. May not last past the third round.
Auden Tate, Florida State: Huge (6-5, 225). Has run a 4.56 40-yard dash. Raw, sloppy running routes. But, oh, the physicality.
Javon Wims, Georgia: Carroll's kind of guy: a high-school basketball stud in Miami. 6-4, 215. Also raw technically in his routes.
Daurice Fountain, Northern Iowa: 6-1, 210. Was a standout at East-West Shrine Game for college all-stars.
1. Mike Gesicki, Penn State: Touted as best route runner in TE class. Nittany Lions' career receptions leader. Athletic at 6-5, 242.
2. Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State: Former FCS walk-on, hoops player. Gained 45 pounds (to 255) in college. Also out wide plenty at SDSU. Some see a future Pro Bowl player.
3. Mark Andrews, Oklahoma: Former wide receiver seen as a "soft" blocker. The Seahawks don't need anymore of those at tight end.
Possible later-round options:
Will Dissly, Washigton: Converted DT. Widely viewed as draft's best blocking tight end. Seattle needs more of that, and has talked to him.
David Wells, San Diego State: 6-5, 255. A QB until senior year of high school. Blocked for nation's leading rusher in 2017 (Rashaad Penny).
Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan: Another ex-basketball player and former walk-on. Gained 70 pounds in college. 6-4, 240. Senior Bowl standout.