Now that the Seattle Seahawks have Jimmy Graham, how much are they in the market for a wide receiver in this week’s draft?
The 6-foot-6 Graham has been a tight end is name only for most of the past few years while split out wide or in the slot on the majority of his snaps for New Orleans. But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said Graham will play tighter on the line more often in Seattle’s offense that is far more run-based than the Saints’.
Plus, Graham’s arrival still leaves the Seahawks with this as their thin top self of their wide receiver cupboard:
• Previously undrafted Doug Baldwin
• Undrafted Jermaine Kearse
• Still-unproven Paul Richardson, a 175-pound guy whose rookie season ended in January with a second tear of the same knee ligament he shredded a few years ago while he was at the University of Colorado.
Good thing for Seahawks this appears to be a booming receiver market.
Draft gurus are predicting as many as seven wide receivers may go in Thursday’s first round. The headliner is Alabama’s prolific Amari Cooper; he might go in the top three.
That prediction of seven includes wild card Dorial Green-Beckham. At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, he is a monster physical mismatch with most defensive backs already in the NFL. But he got kicked off Missouri’s team, transferred to Oklahoma and didn’t play last season after a charge he dragged a woman from an apartment by the neck.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider and his staff have estimated the cost this year to sign a first-round pick will start at about $3 million against the 2015 salary cap at the bottom of the opening round, and of course will soar the higher the pick. So Seattle isn’t going to be trading into the first round to get Green-Beckham, or a new starting left guard or center.
Plus, as Schneider said last week: “When you acquire a player of Jimmy’s caliber with the 31st pick, that makes it that much easier to sleep at night knowing that we wouldn’t be able to get a player like that.”
Even though Seattle might love his size, and even if no team wants to risk that first round millions on Green-Beckham given his background, it’s highly unlikely he won’t be taken with one of the first 62 picks. So when the Seahawks make their first selection, scheduled at No. 63 overall, late in Friday’s second round, Green-Beckham is likely to be gone.
But many other potential impact receivers will still be available.
The Seahawks have had Michigan’s even-bigger Devin Funchess — 6-5, 230 pounds — in for a pre-draft visit at team headquarters in Renton. His hands and route running are question marks, but if he’s available at 63, Seattle might not be able to afford passing on that size, given what the Hawks have had outside to throw to the past two seasons.
How important is size for this team at wide receiver? The play-behind-the-play that cost the Seahawks their second consecutive NFL title on Feb. 1 was Kearse not being big or strong enough to fight through more rugged New England defensive back Brandon Browner’s jam at the goal line in the final 30 seconds of Super Bowl 49. Kearse was supposed to clear out that area on second and goal from the 1 for even slighter Ricardo Lockette to get off the line free on a slant behind him. Russell Wilson assumed the clear out and threw the pass toward Lockette at the goal line, never thinking Kearse would get stonewalled by Browner or that the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler would have a clear path to the ball instead of Lockette.
Lockette wasn’t stout enough and got knocked back by Butler’s charge through him. The resulting interception will haunt Seattle for, oh, about as long as Puget Sound has water.
Breshad Perriman of Central Florida is the son of former Detroit Lions wide receiver Brett Perriman. He’s way bigger than dad at 6-2 and 214 pounds. The younger Perriman is still raw, but keep an eye on him as a middle-round option for Seattle because of that stature.
Many believe Tyler Lockett will be available in rounds two and three, and Seattle that should take Kansas State’s record-breaking catcher. But he’s 5-10 and 181 pounds. Do the Seahawks really want to spend their top draft choice on that for the second consecutive draft, with the jury still way out on the recovering Richardson and those pressing needs on the offensive line?
Stanford’s Ty Montgomery is an intriguing option. He’s a hugely productive athlete for a big-time program. He has been a dazzling kick returner, which Seattle also sorely needs. He plays strong and is built like “a full-grown man … like a running back,” according to NFL.com. He’s intriguing one for the Seahawks’ needs, but is only 6-foot.
So, given their need and the available talent, the Seahawks might well use more than one of they 11 picks from rounds two through seven on a wide receiver.