In the days that have followed the 2020 NFL Draft, there has been an overwhelmingly negative sentiment surrounding the Seahawks class of eight players.
Only the Texans and Packers had worse drafts according to a compilation of more than 20 sets of media draft grades. Seattle was given one “F’s,” five “D’s” and a whole collection of “C’s” for a grand total of a 1.86 GPA. The Seahawks highest grade was a straight “B.”
🚨 2020 NFL Draft | Team Grades— René Bugner (@RNBWCV) April 28, 2020
💡 UPDATED version with 22 total evaluations
Now including the grades by:@McClain_on_NFL@PriscoCBS@adrianbb89 🇩🇪@Eric_Edholm@phillip_heilman@HaydenWinks@evansilva@MikeTagliereNFL@sidelinerep 🇩🇪
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I think everyone is well aware that immediate draft grades are a bit of a silly practice given we won’t know how each class fares until years down the road. But they’re undeniably fun, easy to consume and serve their purpose nonetheless.
Still, I was surprised to see just how pessimistic the national conversation was regarding Seattle’s picks. That’s why I decided to check in with a few different NFL personnel sources to get their perspectives. I’ve previously written about one scout’s affinity for first-round linebacker Jordyn Brooks.
Now I’ve had multiple conversations with a few folks who are very high on the edge rushers taken by the Seahawks: Tennessee’s Darrell Taylor in the second round and Syracuse’s Alton Robinson in the fifth.
Seattle traded up 11 spots to take Taylor with the 48th-overall pick. Many saw that as a reach and questioned why Seattle coveted Taylor compared to the other edge rushers in the class. The Seahawks notably passed on Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos in the first round in favor of Brooks.
One source called Taylor a “grown man,” and added that he’d prefer to the Tennessee product over Chaisson “all day long.” He had Taylor as the third-ranked edge player in this year’s draft, behind only Chase Young and Gross-Matos.
Another source said it wasn’t a reach to take Taylor in the second round at all, adding that he had “first-round flashes but third-round consistency.”
The main issue with Taylor, as both sources noted, was his health. On one hand, it’s impressive that Tayor battled through a stress fracture in his shin and posted 8.5 sacks in 2019. On the other, he had to have surgery following the season and wasn’t able to partake in any physical aspect of the pre-draft process. That automatically gives him somewhat of a medical red flag.
Should Taylor stay healthy, there’s no reason why he can’t end up offering tremendous value in the middle of the second round.
As for Robinson, one scout said he loves the player and said there are legit comparisons to be made to Titans edge rusher Harold Landry. Had Robinson left after his 2018 season, “there’s no way he would have made it out of the third round,” the scout explained.
Instead, Robinson returned to Syracuse but got lazy before his senior season, adding 10-12 pounds of unnecessary weight. That’s a likely contributor to Robinson’s dip in production from 2018-19, where he went from 10.0 sacks to just four.
It also likely cost him some money when it came to the 2020 draft, where he fell to the fifth round. However, should he buy in fully in Seattle, he could be another tremendous value pick, especially when considering his position value. Robinson's 4.69-second 40 time at the NFL Combine, the third-fastest among all defensive linemen, indicates he's already back to tip-top shape.
Who knows how things will turn out. Maybe the media consensus will prove to be correct and Seattle’s 2020 draft class will flop tremendously. But maybe they won’t, and I think there’s enough reason for optimism to sit back and see how things play out before jumping to any conclusions.