Seahawks add some bulk up front to close out NFL draft
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — For the first two days of the NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks seemed to tease their fans. With clear needs on the offensive line and defensive interior, Seattle chose a trio of skill players and a pass rusher during the first three rounds.
General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll likely appeased those fans on the final day, when they addressed needs on the offensive and defensive lines.
“They all have a similar makeup about them. Mentality,” Carroll said. “This is a very strong, very physical, aggressive bunch of guys and it fits on both sides of the football. It complements what happened on the top end of the draft, too. There’s a commonality and it should be obvious, and it’s what we’re looking for.”
Seattle selected LSU offensive lineman Anthony Brandford and Mississippi State defensive tackle Cameron Young in the fourth round. With two picks in the fifth round, the Seahawks found a pair of Michigan teammates in defensive lineman Mike Morris and center Olu Oluwatimi.
The first two days were skill-focused for Seattle, which took cornerback Devon Witherspoon and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round, and edge rusher Derick Hall and running back Zach Charbonnet in the second.
The last day was about bulk.
Seattle rounded out the draft by taking undersized safety Jerrick Reed II from New Mexico in the sixth round and adding Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh — who could make as much of an impact catching passes as he does running the ball — in the seventh.
“It’s toughness and physicality,” Carroll said. “I think this is a group that’s really, from top to bottom, going to demonstrate that.”
Brandford and Oluwatimi were clear needs on the interior offensive line. Brandford may have a chance to start as a rookie, with right guard expected to be an open competition.
Oluwatimi won the Rimington Award and the Outland Trophy during his only season at Michigan, receiving universal recognition as the top interior offensive lineman at the college level last season.
“You can't move him. He's super stout," Schneider said. “Really good person and a top-level competitor.”
Young will be a nose tackle in Seattle’s defensive structure. Whether he’s directly over the center or lined up in a gap, Young’s long arms and skill as a run stuffer should give him the chance of being an instant contributor.
“I like to describe myself as a dog. A guy that’s very physical who loves to establish the line of scrimmage and stop the run,” Young said. “But I also got a little twist in there and can rush the passer.”
Morris may be a bit of a project as he moves into a different role than he played at Michigan. Once considered a likely second-day pick, Morris slid after a poor performance at the NFL combine. He was primarily a pass rusher in his final year at Michigan, but was impactful enough overall to be named the Big Ten defensive lineman of the year.
After weighing 275 pounds at the combine, Morris said he’s added 20 pounds as he expects to play a more stout defensive end position for Seattle, likely behind new signings Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed.
“I’m not really concerned too much about where I’m going to play at. All I know is that when I put on the uniform and they coach me up, I’m going to get after it,” Morris said.
Reed has a strong connection to the Seahawks — he’s from Olive Branch, Mississippi, the same hometown as former Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright.
Reed said he ended up at New Mexico because his size at just under 5-foot-10 scared away other programs. His NFL position is uncertain — safety or slot cornerback are possibilities — and he could contribute immediately on special teams.
“I’m putting on for the short guys, showing that we’re players too, and we can compete with any size guys,” Reed said.
Seattle scouts were hopeful of keeping Reed under the radar, but other teams started bringing him in for visits just before the draft.
Schneider described Reed as playing “like you're mad at somebody.”
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Tim Booth, The Associated Press