Three things you should you know about the draft picks for the Seahawks: Character, courage and desire. That's why my evaluation on their nine draft picks are higher than most so-called draft experts.
Here are my grades for each man, along with an overall grade for the 2018 group:
Round 1 – San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny – B+
Happy to see they took a running back with their first pick, but not sure they took the right one. Georgia running back Sony Michel, more highly rated by most NFL scouts and draft experts, went four picks later to the Patriots. It will be interesting to see how the two rookies compare next season.
Penny (5-11, 220) is an explosive runner and an excellent kick returner, but do you really want to risk injury to your top draft pick on returning kicks and punts? The Seahawks need Penny as the lead guy to help them return to the power running game they had in the back-to-back Super Bowl years with Marshawn Lynch.
Would Michel have been the better man to accomplish that feat? Time will tell.
Round 3: Southern Cal DE Rasheem Green: B
Green (6-4, 275) is the man the Seahawks hope can fill a similar role to Michael Bennett by playing both defensive end and defensive tackle. Green doesn’t have Bennett’s quickness, and frankly, it’s unfair to compare anyone to the Pro-Bowl player Bennett was for the Seahawks.
Green also is the team’s answer to make up for last year’s second-round pick Malik McDowell, who never played a down after a serious ATV accident before training camp.
Green overcame a speech impediment as a child. He probably would have gone higher but some teams were concerned about a previous knee injury. Green is a hard-nosed player who had 83 quarterbacks pressure in his three season at USC.
Round 4: Washington TE Will Dissly – A
The Seahawks found the right guy to help with edge blocking in the running game. Dissly (6-4, 265) was viewed as the best blocking tight end in the draft. The Seahawks will have two excellent blockings tight ends, along with veteran free agent signee Ed Dickson.
This was the plan all along and the reason the Seahawks didn’t try to re-sign Jimmy Graham, whose next block will be his first one.
The one knock on Dissly is his lack of experience as tight end, moving to the spot in final two years at UW after starting his college career as a defensive lineman.
Round 5: Central Florida OLB Shaquem Griffin – A-plus
The top grade here doesn’t come from the obvious feel-good reasons of drafting a player with only one hand, who now get to play again along side his twin brother, Seattle cornerback Shaquill Griffin.
The highest grade is for stealing an athlete with so much talent in the fifth round. Shaquem is lightning fast and a ferocious ball hawk. He was the best player on the only undefeated team in college football last season. His lack of a left hand causes him no visible limitations.
At 6-foot, 225, Shaquem is a bit of a “tweener”, but he can rush off the edge with speed and power, and also cover wide receivers and tight ends. He also is an excellent special teams tackler.
Round 5: Oklahoma State DB Tre Flowers: B
At 6-3, 205, Flowers is the type of lanky, physical cornerback the Seahawks love. He measured almost 34 inches in arm length at the combine.
The lone concern here is Flowers played safety in college, so it may take some time for him to transition to a cover corner in the NFL.
Round 5: Texas P Michael Dickson – A-plus
It sounds crazy to give a team the highest grade for drafting a punter, especially when they moved up and gave up a draft pick to do it. But Dickson is a once-in-a-generation talent, possibly the best punter since Ray Guy.
How good is he? So good that he was named the MVP of the Texas Bowl when 10 of his 11 punts pinned Missouri inside the 20. Dickson, who is from Sydney, Australia, honed his skills in Australian Rules Football, where directional kicking and perfect placement is a big part of the game.
With Seattle’s goal of returning to a power running game, field positon is critical and Dickson can make a big difference.
This also is a financial move. Jon Ryan, 36, has been a solid punter for the Seahawks for years, but releasing him could save $5 million the next two years on the salary cap.
Round 5: Ohio State OT Jamarco Jones – C
He had a solid career for the Buckeyes at left tackle and will learn this season under starting LT Duane Brown. Jones didn’t do well at the NFL Combine and post-season workouts, which is why he fell to the sixth round.
Lots of critics have a problem with the Seahawks waiting until Round 6 to take an offensive linemen, but they signed guard D.J. Fluker in the offseason. Nevertheless, I might have taken an OL (possibly Alex Cappa of Humboldt State) instead of Green in the third round.
Round 6: Temple DE/OLB Jacob Martin – C-minus
This pick is a little puzzling. Martin is listed at 6-2, 235, but was 230 at the Combine and reportedly played at 250 at times in his college career. He’s an undersized edge rusher. So is Shaquem Griffin in many ways.
Probably what the Seahawks hope is Martin bulks up to 250 and uses his quickness to give them as added option off the edge.
Round 7: Florida International QB Alex McGough – C-minus
There are a lot of unknowns taken in the seventh round, but McGough (pronounced Magoo) is about as unknown as they come for a drafted QB. He had good size at 6-3, 215 and reportedly throws well on the run, which can be an important asset for an O-line that has struggled as much as Seattle’s has.
The Seahawks needed another arm to compete for the back-up QB spot. However, let’s address the elephant in the room – Colin Kaepernick. The Seahawks could have signed him and had a proven QB to back up Russell Wilson. Kaepernick’s ongoing political opinions weren’t worth the distraction for a team trying to eliminate distractions.
Overall grade – B
Most experts disagree, saying the Seahawks reached on Penny, didn’t take an O-lineman high enough and didn’t draft a true cornerback. USA Today gave the Seahawks its lowest grade at D.
But Seattle GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll never have followed conventional draft wisdom. They go with their gut and often look for underappreciated, athletically-gifted guys who have something to prove.
This time, they also went with high-character young men who just might prove the pundits wrong.