Over the past weekend, the NFL held its annual draft in which teams have the chance to choose the best college players in the country to join and improve their team. Normally, the top players would be invited to attend the draft to walk across the stage to shake the commissioner’s hand while they hold the jersey of their new team. However, in light of recent events, the draft had to be run slightly differently this year.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, the draft was held virtually for the first time in its existence. Coaches and team executives communicated with each other from the comfort of their homes with technology rather than being gathered together. Fans, who would usually pack the venue holding the draft, were forced to stay home and watch everything on their TVs. However, to everyone’s surprise, ESPN’s telecast of the draft was the most watched ever in the draft’s history.
Part of the reason the draft was so successful was because of the NFL’s “Draft-a-thon” campaign that was designed to raise money for COVID-19 relief. Over $100 million was raised over the weekend.
“The theme of hope is always prevalent in the NFL, especially with regard to the Draft,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “In 2020, that’s especially true, as we help honor healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the front lines of the battle with COVID-19 while giving our fans something to cheer about as we celebrate the next generation of NFL stars.”
Now, on such a historic night, how well did the Seahawks fair? There are mixed opinions, to say the least.
The team came in with glaring needs on both offense and defense, especially with the likely departure of star defensive end Jadaveon Clowney. Most experts were expecting a pass rusher to replace Clowney with the Seahawks first pick in the draft — which was 27th overall. In classic Pete Carroll and John Schnider fashion, they went against the popular opinion and went with the outside linebacker, Jordyn Brooks, out of Texas Tech.
Although this was an unpopular pick, I like it. Brooks was named a second team all-American after his senior year in which he finished 103 tackles and three sacks. It’s predicted that he will bring much needed speed to a defense that seemed slow at times. Starting linebackers and longtime Seahawks Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright are closing in on retirement and free agent Mychal Kendricks will not be returning to the team. Brooks is a player who can make an instant impact.
With their next pick, they gave the people what they wanted and drafted pass rusher Darrell Taylor out of Tennessee. Like Brooks, Taylor brings more speed to a defense that struggled to get to the quarterback last year. Taylor finished second in the SEC for sacks and tackles for loss in the past two years. General manager John Schnider is excited about the pick and even stated that they were considering him with their first round pick.
“He was in consideration last night [1st round] and our guys did a great job working their tails off to try to keep getting up to try and acquire him,” Schneider told reporters after the third round was over. “We view him as one of the very, very top pass rushers in this league.”
My personal favorite pick of the draft was Stanford tight end Colby Parkinson. Parkinson is 6’7” 251 lbs and will soon be Russell Wilson’s favorite target in the red zone. Parkinson dropped very few passes during his time at Stanford and will be a reliable target for Wilson. While Wilson is in his prime, it is important to surround him with weapons to throw to and Parkinson fits that exact mold.
Although the Seahawks did not make a huge “splash” like they did last year with a pick like DK Metcalf, they addressed needs and focused on making the team much more athletic on the defensive side of the ball. With only eight picks, this will be the smallest draft class in the Carroll/Schnider era. Overall, when looking at this class a few years now, I believe it will be looked at as a success.
DRAFT GRADE: B
Seahawks Draft Picks
Round 1, No. 27 Overall: LB Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
Round 2, No. 48 Overall: DE Darrell Taylor, Tennessee
Round 3, No. 69 Overall: G Damien Lewis, LSU
Round 4, No. 133 Overall: TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford
Round 4, No. 144 Overall: RB DeeJay Dallas, Miami
Round 5, No. 148 Overall: DE Alton Robinson, Syracuse
Round 6, No. 214 Overall: WR Freddie Swain, Florida
Round 7, No. 251 Overall: WR Stephen Sullivan, LSU