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April 17, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Thursday links: Kiper reveals latest mock draft and Seahawks picks

We’ll start today passing along the latest mock draft from the man who pretty much invented mock drafts — ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

Here it is, as Kiper weaves his way through the first two rounds of the draft.

At No. 32, he has Seattle taking Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt.

Writes Kiper: “Seattle lost a little depth on the defensive interior, and I like the idea of Tuitt landing here not just because I think Pete Carroll and staff can maximize what I consider a significant level of talent, but because this is a team that can maximize players that aren’t exactly a round peg in the traditional round holes we associate with classic schemes. Tuitt’s the kind of defensive lineman who could work inside, or be a big body at defensive end, drive a tackle backward with a bull rush or help to create a formidable run-stopping front that frees up the linebackers to make plays. Seattle tends to surprise me, but this pick makes sense.”

My quick thought? To make it clear, Tuitt is not really a LEO type, so he’d be more of a guy competing initially for the spots where Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel play, potentially essentially helping replace Clinton McDonald and Red Bryant. As Kiper says, makes sense.

At pick No. 64 in the second round, Kiper has Seattle taking Tennessee OT Ja’Wuan James.

Writes Kiper: “Michael Bowie actually wasn’t too bad for the Seahawks at right tackle last season, but could end up inside, and I think James can play the position reliably early in his career.”

My quick thought? Another pick that makes sense, and certainly Seattle could use Bowie inside or out — recall that he started at left guard in the playoff game against the Saints. It still seems most logical to me that Bowie is their No. 1 thought at right tackle right now, after the departure of Breno Giacomini in free agency. But the draft could certainly change those plans. Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable also recently attended Tennessee’s Pro Day, when James was one of the standouts.


— Former Cal linebacker Khairi Fortt, who began his career at Penn State and transferred in the wake of the NCAA sanctions placed on the school, is reportedly visiting the Seahawks today:

Fortt played just one year at Cal before declaring for the draft. He’s generally projected as a third-day pick.

Peyton Manning says he “doesn’t really have a word” for what happened to the Broncos in the Super Bowl.

— writes about the team’s receiving corps, an article published just before Sidney Rice re-signed. One telling stat mentioned: “The Seahawks averaged 13.1 yards per reception, and only the Philadelphia Eagles (14.2) and 49ers (13.2) had better averages during the 2013 regular season.” That — making big plays — and not turning the ball over (Seattle’s nine interceptions tied for the third-fewest in the NFL) — are the keys to the passing game, in the eyes of Carroll, rather than total yards or completions, distinctions sometimes missed by those who do just look at the totals.

— waxes enthusiastic about “Seahawks South,” better known as the Jacksonville Jaguars.


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