Round 1, No. 29 overall: L.J. Collier, DE, TCU
My take: Going the entire first round without taking a defensive end would have been a questionable play given how much the Seahawks needed to restock after trading Frank Clark. They pretty much had to address that spot with their first selection, and the pickings were getting slim with five edge players already off the board in the first 16 picks. By moving back from No. 21 to No. 30 and taking Collier with their other first-rounder, the Seahawks filled the need without having to significantly overdraft to do so. And they picked up a ton of draft capital by trading back again from No. 30. Hard to argue with how the first round went for Seattle.
Where Collier will play: The Seahawks believe Collier’s frame — 6-2 and 283 pounds — gives him the ability to move inside in passing situations. He will play five technique defensive end in base situations. Coach Pete Carroll compared him to Michael Bennett in that regard. “He has the versatility and the style and the penetration ability,” Carroll said. “He’s really slippery. Terrific pass-rush makeup.” That trait appeals to the Seahawks. They had it with Bennett and they thought they would have it with Malik McDowell. Now they hope they have it with Collier, who produced 14.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss over his final three college seasons.
“He fits us.” The Seahawks have shown a proclivity for drafting players who have overcome personal hardships, which leads to what they like to call grit. Collier follows that pattern. “L.J. fits us,” General manager John Schneider said. “He’s a heavy-handed, tough, chip-on-his-shoulder guy. He lost his mother when he was a freshman in college and he didn’t play well in the last game that she saw, and he’s always used that to his advantage.” Said Carroll: “We think we’ve really got something really special in him. I fell in love with the fact that he’s got a big chip on his shoulder and he wants to prove it and all that.”
What’s next: The Seahawks had a league-low four picks as of Tuesday morning. They are now sitting pretty with eight selections over Days 2 and 3 of the draft. That is thanks to the Clark trade, plus their trades back from No. 21 and No. 30. The second of those two trades recouped a pick in the second round, which the Seahawks previously did not have. Their eight selections by round: a second (37), a third (92), four fourths (114, 118, 124, 132) and two fifths (142, 159). “We really feel like we’re back in the mix in this draft,” Schneider said.