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2018 NFL mock draft: The Seahawks could shock everyone by taking Lamar Jackson

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Here is the single craziest pick ever in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft.

NCAA Football: TaxSlayer Bowl-Louisville vs Mississippi State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks are at a bit of a crossroads as a franchise. The coaching staff has been overhauled under Pete Carroll and several popular veterans are gone. That includes defensive stalwarts Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett, as the team still waits to hear about the future of Kam Chancellor.

Because of the uncertainty now in Seattle, this is a critical draft. Unfortunately, Seattle is without picks in the second and third rounds. In the actual draft, the expectation is that the Seahawks will trade back from the 18th pick. But in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, there are no trades.

That puts Kenneth Arthur of Field Gulls in a tough spot, which leaves him to swing for the fences.

18. Seattle Seahawks: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Arthur: If it’s my mock draft for the Seahawks, then I am going hard and nobody can stop me. This draft class doesn’t have a lot of first-round talents and I’m feeling that most of them are going to be gone by pick 18. I do not care for Seattle to draft a middling tackle or guard prospect at pick 18 (and they will trade down, but I don’t have that option), there aren’t any corners here that I think the Seahawks desperately need or want (they could trade down and see if Isaiah Oliver falls to them), and I would never draft a running back in the first round; what a waste of a first-round rookie contract that would be. Instead, I’m going with the absolute best value in the NFL: a good quarterback on a rookie contract with a fifth-year option. I believe Lamar Jackson could be a good pro quarterback and would have a greater opportunity to succeed with two to three years of development in Seattle behind Russell Wilson.

As I’ve recently written at Field Gulls, I think we’re perhaps in the middle of a significant paradigm shift in regards to how franchises will handle “franchise quarterbacks” as they approach $30 million salaries. The Chiefs traded two first-round picks and a third pick to acquire Patrick Mahomes even though Alex Smith is a very good QB in his prime, then traded Smith to Washington because Washington didn’t want to pay Kirk Cousins $28 million per year even though he is a very good QB in his prime. Teams are suddenly willing to walk away from players they previously would not have. Why? Because a good quarterback making $7 million could be better for a franchise than a great one make $27 million. Look at the success that the Eagles, Seahawks, Rams, Cowboys, and Jaguars were able to have because they weren’t paying their QB a ton and could spread that money out to all 53 positions. It’s important and this should push more quarterbacks into the first round in coming years.

I don’t think that Jackson would be drafted to replace Wilson, but instead to give Seattle options when Wilson’s contract comes up for extension or expiration in 2020. The Seahawks don’t have a backup quarterback on the roster currently and have only drafted one quarterback in John Schneider’s nine-year tenure, but Schneider was also an assistant to Ted Thompson in Green Bay when the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers to backup Brett Favre. Seattle drafting a quarterback early would be less of a shock than you think, because even if it may not help them on the field in 2018, it is a sensible business move, which is something the Seahawks also value highly. The Patriots managed to get 3.5 years out of Jimmy Garoppolo as a good backup and then swapped him for a higher second-round pick than they originally used on him, so Seattle could also just be putting a trade chip in their pocket if Jackson doesn’t become the future starter. I’d take a pass rusher if there was one I thought really made sense, but if a pass rusher falls out of the top 15, that usually means they’re not all that exciting; Jackson is perhaps the most exciting player in this draft. People forget that.

Analysis: This is the 12th year of the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft. I’ve handled nine of them, and this is the most shocking choice I can recall. The detailed logic behind the choice is sound. This notion of taking advantage of having a quarterback on a rookie deal is being aggressive taken advantage of this offseason by the Rams. With Jared Goff on a cheap deal, the Rams have acquired several high-price veterans to push for the Super Bowl. If this pick is made as a potential post-Wilson doomsday scenario, then I like it.

If not, a player like UTSA pass rusher Marcus Davenport makes more of an immediate for Seattle. That’s even considering that he may start his career as a pass rush specialist.

Dan Kadar’s top five players remaining

  • 14. Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
  • 19. Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA
  • 20. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
  • 21. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
  • 22. Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

Coming at 11 a.m. ET is a little bit of normalcy in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft courtesy of Blogging the Boys making the choice for the Dallas Cowboys.

Poll

What grade do you give the pick of Lamar Jackson by the Seattle Seahawks?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    A
    (595 votes)
  • 25%
    B
    (546 votes)
  • 14%
    C
    (315 votes)
  • 12%
    D
    (263 votes)
  • 19%
    F
    (427 votes)
2146 votes total Vote Now