SEATTLE – Like the rest of those comprising what likely will be another record TV audience, the Seahawks apparently will watch the first round of the NFL draft tonight only as interested observers.
Having traded their first-round pick to New Orleans in the deal for tight end Jimmy Graham last month, the Seahawks are not due to make a selection until the end of the second round Friday night.
And though rumors involving the draft typically ran amok Wednesday, none that became public involved the Seahawks. Instead, the Seahawks appear content with having acquired Graham for their first pick and center Max Unger, and with having a league-high 11 selections.
Their first selection is No. 63 overall Friday (though it’s worth having the usual disclaimer that nothing the Seahawks do would surprise anyone).
If the Seahawks go without making a pick tonight, it’ll be the third consecutive year they have not had a first-round selection but just the fifth time in franchise history.
Still there are plenty of non-Seahawks drama to be had on the first night of the NFL draft:
The QBs at the top
Tampa Bay is expected to select quarterback Jameis Winston of Florida State with the first pick, and Tennessee should follow by taking Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second choice.
But Twitter was lively Wednesday with reports that the Browns, to name the most notable rumor, were among a few teams that might be interested in trying to trade for the chance to draft Mariota.
If both are drafted with the top two picks, it would be the sixth time since 1967 that quarterbacks have gone 1-2 in the draft. Two of those years involved Washington State quarterbacks – 1993 (Drew Bledsoe, Patriots, and Rick Mirer, Seahawks) and 1998 (Peyton Manning, Colts, and Ryan Leaf, Chargers).
UW’s core four
Washington has four players expected to go early in the draft, including two regarded as certain first-rounders – defensive tackle Danny Shelton and cornerback Marcus Peters – and two more expected to be high picks in linebackers Shaq Thompson and Hau’oli Kikaha.
But Thompson’s stock has seemed erratic, with one recent ESPN mock draft pegging him for late in the first round. UW hasn’t had more than one player taken in the first round since 1995 (running back Napoleon Kaufman and tight end Mark Bruener).
If all four get drafted, it would be the first time that many Huskies were to get the call since 2001, when five were taken.
A year after the NFL welcomed a receiving class that some thought was the best in league history, this year’s crop of pass-catchers is regarded by some as better. Depending on the analyst, there are as many as 11 receivers who could be taken in the first round.
Running back also is regarded as strong, with everyone expecting that a back will be taken in the first round for the first time since 2012 – Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon are considered the top two available.
“Wide receiver and running back are elite,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “Really good at the top end and depth throughout.”
Conversely, Mayock echoed the consensus that the “quarterback, tight end and safety positions are poor.”
A new locale
To the TV viewer, it might not matter much where the draft is held. But get ready for lots of shots of Lake Michigan as the draft has moved this year to Chicago after being held in New York since 1965, part of the NFL’s stated plan to explore moving it to different cities.
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