Dave Boling

Sneaky Seahawks need to crown Huskies’ King

UW cornerback Kevin King’s size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and athleticism (4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vertical jump) have him projected as a potential first-round pick in this week’s NFL draft.
UW cornerback Kevin King’s size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and athleticism (4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vertical jump) have him projected as a potential first-round pick in this week’s NFL draft. The Associated Press

With their first-round pick in the 2017 draft, the Seattle Seahawks will … well, they’ll probably do something you probably never expected.

They seem to take joy in doing that. They love going against the grain, mocking the mocks, trading their way out of the round.

I see it making so much sense that the Seahawks use the No. 26 pick in the first round to invite Husky cornerback Kevin King to cross Lake Washington. So much sense, in fact, that they probably won’t do it.

Too predictable.

GM John Schneider reminded us this week that in two of the past three drafts the Hawks traded down to teams that wanted a low first-round quarterback (2016 Denver, Paxton Lynch; 2014 Minnesota, Teddy Bridgewater).

Such could be the case this year if there’s a quarterback-desperate team loving the idea of having the fifth-year contract option that goes with a first-round pick.

Last year, after trading down to Denver’s pick at 31, they ended up selecting tackle Germain Ifedi and in the process picking up tight end Nick Vannett with the third-round pick they gained.

They’re traditionally very eager, though, to trade back up for the next pick they really desire, as they did last year for Jarran Reed and in ’15 to get Tyler Lockett.

So there’s a pattern, but the targeted prospects sometimes come out of left field.

After they took Russell Okung and Earl Thomas in the first round of Schneider’s first draft (2010), pretty much every player they drafted with their first pick has been viewed as a reach or a dicey pick for some reason.

Successively, James Carpenter, Bruce Irvin, Christine Michael (second round), Paul Richardson (second round), Frank Clark (second round) and Ifedi were each questioned by national analysts as players who would have been available in later rounds or who had red flags on character or off-field comportment.

As Schneider likes to say, they draft for their purposes, not based on any consensus of other teams or media. Look, for instance, at that pipsqueak of a quarterback they took in the third round of 2012. Nobody else saw that value in Russell Wilson.

Meanwhile, if a player of dubious behavior is good enough and available when it’s their turn to pick, they’ll investigate and go ahead and take the chance he’ll straighten out when he gets in the fold.

Schneider was asked an interesting question about the effects of proximity to a prospect. For instance, might they be lured too strongly to a Washington Husky because they see them so much?

Schneider said it might actually work the other way, you can tend to get too picky, and it’s something to guard against.

To me, that sounds like an endorsement for King.

The first time I really watched King, the obvious takeaway was that he sure looks like a Seahawks cornerback. In fact, he’s almost identical to Richard Sherman.

At 6-3, 200 pounds, King is the same height as Sherman and 5 pounds heavier. Their arm length is the same (32 inches), but King is faster (4.43 in the 40 to Sherman’s 4.56) and has a 39.5-inch vertical jump compared with Sherman’s 38.

How to tell if King has the “raggedy-dog” motivation that Sherman said drove him from being a fifth-round pick to All-Pro? No way, really.

Let’s just say this: In his last 28 games at UW, King was beaten only once for a touchdown.

His one-handed, touchdown-saving interception against Arizona State last season looked like something out of an Odell Beckham Jr. highlight reel.

Whether Sherman is traded or finishes up with the Seahawks, the fact is they still need a top-flight cornerback.

Nobody knows how the draft will shake out as it nears the bottom of the first round. King’s combine numbers surely have attracted a great deal of attention. But there is a fairly tall stack of quality of cornerbacks in this draft, and King might be available.

I’ve argued every year for the past 10 seasons or so that the Hawks need to draft to upgrade their offensive line. They’ve spent a lot of draft capital there, but without consistent results.

They might be tempted again, but it doesn’t look like there’s enough quality tackles to make a first-round pick worthy this season.

So if King’s there, they need to take him.

Dave Boling: 253-597-8440, @DaveBoling

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