Mel Kiper’s most recent mock draft on ESPN.com has ultra-athletic cornerback Eli Apple of Ohio State falling to the Seahawks at No. 26.
“I know the offensive line is a concern, but I don’t think you can sacrifice talent for need here, especially when the reality is you’re not being realistic if you think there’s an immediate upgrade at left tackle to be found here,” Kiper wrote. “Apple has major upside as a physical cornerback with length. He’ll fit right in.”
While investing in another physically gifted player for the secondary might make sense on the surface, ESPN’s John Clayton doesn’t see it happening in the first round.
“I don’t buy that happening,” Clayton told “Brock and Salk” Wednesday. “For value, if he’s the best athlete at a position that you could use (it makes sense, but) I don’t know that necessarily is a position where you have needs now because not only did they get Jeremy Lane back, but they have four or five options that fit both the size dimensions that they like.”
Clayton pointed to Tharold Simon, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and DeShawn Shead as viable options to pair with Richard Sherman on the outside, with Lane handling the slot.
“A lot of times what happens when you’re putting together mock drafts, you figure you lose a player, or you think there’s a need there, and the next thing you do is try to attach it,” Clayton said. “(Apple) is 6-foot-1, that kind of fits the (Seahawks’) dimensions, but no, I think it’s going to be more of an offensive lineman.”
General manager John Schneider reiterated this week on “Brock and Salk” that the Seahawks will further address the offensive line in the draft, but they haven’t always used their first pick on their most pressing roster need.
Mike Salk believes the Seahawks have already invested too much of their limited resources on the secondary, with substantial salaries going to Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and, to a lesser extent, Lane. He said it’s hard to imagine spending much more on a first-round pick.
“If you really believe that, at No. 26, Apple is the only guy with the grade to deserve being picked there, but he doesn’t really fit what you need roster-wise or resource wise, then you’re probably going to trade out of the pick,” he said.
Salk has his own guess on what the Seahawks will do on draft day.
“They’re going to end up drafting a tackle, but not at 26,” he said. “They’ll trade back the pick and at like 34, on the second day, they’re going to draft a tackle you’ve never heard of.”