Seahawks focus on line of scrimmage with first 2 draft picks
RENTON, Wash. (AP) - The Seattle Seahawks had a defensive tone on the second day of the NFL draft, using four of their six picks on defensive players.
Seattle initially focused on the line of scrimmage in selecting defensive lineman Malik McDowell and offensive lineman Ethan Pocic with a pair of second-round picks on Friday. Seattle again focused on needs with its four third-round picks, drafting Central Florida cornerback Shaquill Griffin, Michigan safety Delano Hill, North Carolina defensive tackle Nazair Jones and Michigan wide receiver Amara Darboh.
Both of the second-round selections fill obvious needs for the Seahawks, but their positions in the NFL are yet to be determined. McDowell was primarily a defensive tackle at Michigan State but may project more as a defensive end, while Pocic was a center last season for LSU but played across the entire offensive line during his time in college.
Whatever positions they end up playing, the players help address needs for the Seahawks.
Griffin could fill an obvious hole with starter DeShawn Shead not expected to be ready for the start of the season after suffering a major knee injury during last season's playoffs, while Hill could be used at both safety spots in the secondary and possibly as a slot cornerback. Griffin was the first cornerback selected by the Seahawks earlier than the fourth round under general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll.
McDowell's size, 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, and athleticism seemed to have him pegged for the first round. But knocks about inconsistency and taking plays off seemed to ding McDowell as he dropped out of the first day. Seattle was more than willing to wait. The Seahawks even pulled off yet another trade - their third of the draft - to move back one spot and allow Jacksonville to move up while giving Seattle another sixth-round pick.
It's the second straight year Seattle used a second-round pick on a defensive tackle and third straight year the Seahawks have drafted a defensive lineman in the second round. Last year, the Seahawks grabbed run-stuffing tackle Jarran Reed from Alabama in the second round. A year earlier, it was defensive end Frank Clark.
This time it was McDowell.
Seattle's defense - especially the defensive line - is beginning to age. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are 31. Ahtyba Rubin will also be 31 when the season begins. The selections of McDowell and Jones go along with the picks of Reed, Frank Clark and Quinton Jefferson as players drafted by Seattle in the past three years in an effort to get younger.
Pocic started at center and guard during his career at LSU, but his size would allow him to transition to tackle if that's where the Seahawks think he fits best. Seattle's offensive line was an obvious weakness last season and that was somewhat addressed in free agency by the signings of Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi.