With the 2019 NFL Draft now less than a month away, all 32 franchises will have the opportunity to visit with up to 30 players prior to the start of the first round in Nashville on April 25.
We’ll be monitoring the Seahawks pre-draft visits as they’re reported over the next few weeks while providing brief analysis on each prospect who travels to the VMAC. All visits are sequenced by position group.
Darwin Thompson, Utah State
Very productive as a dual-threat weapon out of the backfield, Thompson posted 1,044 rushing yards, 351 receiving yards, and 16 combined touchdowns in his lone season with the Aggies. Though he’s undersized (5-foot-8, 198 pounds) and may be limited to playing a third-down back role at the next level, he showed off surprising strength with 28 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and ran the 40-yard dash in a respectable 4.50 seconds.
Parris Campbell, Ohio State
An explosive athlete, the 6-foot, 205-pound Campbell ran his 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds and also posted a 40-inch vertical jump as well as 4.03-second 20-yard shuttle run. He was a bit of a late bloomer for the Buckeyes, failing to surpass 600 receiving yards in a season until he was a senior, and he’ll need work refining his game as a route runner. But with his impressive athletic traits and ability to create yardage after the catch, he’s a high upside prospect who could go as early as the first round and the Seahawks could select him as Doug Baldwin's long-term replacement.
N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
After posting back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons for the Sun Devils, Harry opted to forgo his final year of eligibility to enter the draft. Built with a thick 6-foot-2, 228-pound frame, he makes spectacular catches look easy and consistently wins at the point of attack to haul in contested receptions. Once the ball is in his hands, he's difficult to bring down, as he racked up over 500 yards after the catch in 2018. His overall route running skills still need refinement, but after running the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds and posting a 38.5-inch vertical, questions about his athleticism have been answered. If available at No. 21, Seattle could make Harry one of the first receivers to hear his name called in Nashville.
Nyqwan Murray, Florida State
As a result of subpar quarterback play at times, Murray's overall production wasn't spectacular for the Seminoles. But the 5-foot-10, 191-pound receiver still managed to tie for the team lead with 744 receiving yards as a senior and caught three touchdowns while earning Third-Team All-ACC recognition. Though lacking elite speed, he has enough burst to create after the catch and still has plenty of room to grow as a route runner. Since he's experienced working out of the slot, the Seahawks could look at Murray as a day three option to develop behind Doug Baldwin.
Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
After transferring from Kansas to Texas A&M, Sternberger thrived in College Station, TX, catching 48 passes for 832 yards while scoring 10 touchdowns and averaging nearly 17.5 yards per reception. He possesses adequate size for an NFL tight end (6-foot-4, 251 pounds), but he struggled as a run blocker for the Aggies and will need to hit the weight room before he can be effective in that area at the next level. For now, he’s a savvy route runner who will make his mark from the outset more as a receiver than an in-line blocker.
Jeffrey Simmons, Mississippi State
Once widely viewed as a top-10 pick in this year's draft, Simmons suffered a torn ACL during a workout in February and there's a chance he may need to "redshirt" his rookie season. Still, assuming he'll make a full recovery, he proved to be one of the most dominant defensive tackles in college football for the Bulldogs, racking up 163 combined tackles, 33 tackles for loss, and 7.0 sacks in three seasons. A two-time First-Team All-SEC selection, the 6-foot-3, 301-pound defender may be too talented for the Seahawks to pass up if he's still available in the late first or early second round.
L.J. Collier, TCU
Collier isn’t the prototypical defensive end Seattle looks for, as his testing numbers at the combine weren’t anything spectacular. However, he’s a surprisingly effective pass rusher at 283 pounds, using his power and a couple of quality counter moves to collapse the pocket. With his size, he also sets anchor well at the point of attack working against the run and can reduce inside as an interior rusher in pass rushing situations, providing versatility Seattle loves to have along the defensive line.
Rashan Gary, Michigan
Once a five-star recruit and the 2015 USA Today Defensive Player of the Year, Gary posted solid numbers in three seasons with the Wolverines, but he never seemed to quite meet lofty expectations. Despite possessing an incredible blend of size (6-foot-4, 277 pounds) and athleticism (4.58 40-yard dash), he only recorded 9.5 sacks at the collegiate level, failing to take over games as anticipated. Few prospects offer the physical tools Gary has, but whoever drafts him will need to shore up technical aspects of his game to unlock his full potential. If he slips in the draft as a result, Seattle may not be able to resist at No. 21 overall.
Jalen Jelks, Oregon
Though he has great length (34 5/8-inch arms), Jelks will enter the NFL as a bit of a tweener that NFL teams may struggle initially to find a position for. Weighing only 256 pounds, he may not have enough strength to hold up as an every down defensive end and his athletic testing at the combine suggests he could struggle as an off-ball linebacker at the next level as well. Despite questions about where he fits, however, he earned First-Team All-Pac 12 honors as a senior and did record 30 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks over four seasons with the Ducks, so teams like Seattle could use him as a situational pass rusher to start as he develops.
D'Andre Walker, Georgia
Much like Jelks, Walker falls into the tweener category and he may be best-suited to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme where he can pin his ears back and rush off the edge. But if he can add some weight to his 6-foot-2, 252-pound frame, he registered 13.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss over the past two years with the Bulldogs, so he's proven to be a highly-productive player despite not being a full-time starter until his senior season. On day two of the draft, he could be an intriguing fit at the LEO defensive end spot or even potentially play SAM linebacker for Seattle.
Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas
He’s a bit undersized for an NFL linebacker and missed nine games due to injury with the Razorbacks, but Greenlaw ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at 237 pounds during his pro day workout and offers excellent athleticism for the position. He also posted over 100 tackles two years ago, proving he could be productive using his speed and quickness to make plays near the line of scrimmage. He’ll likely have to carve out a role on special teams to make it in the league, but as a former safety, Seattle may be able to bring out the best in him as a late-round pick.
Kaden Elliss, Idaho
Elliss, whose father Luther played for the Lions from 1995 to 2003, stuffed the stat sheet for the Vandals, finishing his career with 278 tackles, 47 tackles for loss, 17.0 sacks, and five interceptions. Despite those excellent numbers, he didn't receive an invite to any college all-star games or the NFL Scouting Combine. But the 6-foot-2, 239-pound linebacker has the attention of several NFL teams, including the Seahawks, after posting sensational agility numbers during his pro day. Along with running the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, he finished the 3-cone drill in 6.49 seconds, which would have topped all linebackers at the combine.
Derrek Thomas, Baylor
Seattle always has interest in lengthy, athletic corners and the 6-foot-3, 189-pound Thomas checks off both boxes. He showed off outstanding athletic tools by running the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds and posting a 39.5-inch vertical jump at the scouting combine. He's only been playing cornerback for three years, so he's raw at the position and will need to be developed by whichever team drafts him. But the former receiver offers enough physical tools to be worth late-round consideration for the Seahawks.
Sean Bunting, Central Michigan
Checking off numerous boxes for the Seahawks at the cornerback position, Bunting offers reasonable length (31 3/4-inch arms) and athleticism (4.42 40-yard dash, 41.5-inch vertical jump) to go along with several years of starting experience playing for the Chippewas. As a redshirt junior, he allowed only 39 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed and during three seasons in Mount Pleasant, MI, he intercepted nine passes and forced four fumbles. He'd be a good depth addition behind Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin on the outside, but may possess the quickness to play slot corner as well.
Justin Layne, Michigan State
Layne screams Seahawks corner, as the 6-foot-2, 192-pound defender offers great length (33-inch arms) with plenty of athletic tools. Similar to Thomas, he started his collegiate career as a receiver for the Spartans before transitioning to the secondary midway through his freshman year. He became a full-time starter in 2017, developing into a stellar bump-and-run cornerback on the outside and finishing his collegiate career with 130 tackles and three interceptions. He will likely need time to develop before becoming a starter and needs to show improvement as a run defender. But Seattle should have plenty of interest in Layne as a day two prospect given his size and ball skills.
Darnell Savage, Maryland
Savage isn’t the biggest safety in his class (5-foot-11, 198 pounds), but he’s a ball hawk who intercepted seven passes during his last two seasons with the Terrapins. As seen on film and at the combine, he’s a fluid athlete who has the speed (4.36 40-yard dash) and burst to play single-high safety as well as man coverage in the slot. Tacking can be hit and miss for him, but his superb coverage and ball skills should intrigue the Seahawks as a potential long-term option at free safety.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida
A bit thicker than Savage, the 210-pound Gardner-Johnson also posted impressive numbers at the combine, running his 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds and jumping 36 inches on the vertical jump. He hasn’t mastered any aspect of his game, but his athleticism, size, and tackling skills have allowed him to thrive near the line of scrimmage while also making some plays as a single-high safety. After a highly-productive three seasons at Florida, Seattle may have strong interest in him because of that versatility, as he could play nickel corner or either safety spot right away.
Juan Thornhill, Virginia
Formerly a cornerback before transitioning to safety, Thornhill has well-developed ball skills, as exhibited by his six interceptions as a senior for the Cavaliers. When not picking off passes, he excels at making plays on the football, as he registered 19 passes defensed over the past two seasons. With those ball hawking tendencies, some teams may look at moving him back to corner in the NFL, but the Seahawks would be wise to give him a look as a single-high free safety option after he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds.
Corrion Ballard, Utah
Unlike the previous three names, Ballard isn’t on the radar for being selected during the first two days of the draft and may not hear his name called in Nashville at all. In two seasons with the Utes, he recorded 116 tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. Boasting great size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds), he reportedly didn’t have a good pro day but Seattle may have interest in him as a developmental undrafted free agent option.