Draft helps Seahawks fill holes; filling Doug Baldwin's shoes is another story
Rookie camp is happening this weekend at Seahawks headquarters in Renton. It’s the first look at the team’s 2019 draft class. Sports commentator Art Thiel breaks down the draft results and their implications in his weekly chat with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.
Thiel said Seahawks general manager John Schneider employed a successful strategy in turning the team's initial four draft picks into 11.
The team has holes to fill, created in part by the $140 million, four-year contract extension for quarterback Russell Wilson. That forced the Seahawks to trade players such as defensive end Frank Clark, whom they could no longer afford under the salary cap, given the commitment to Wilson. The trade gave the team two first-round picks this year and more room to negotiate.
Thiel said the three standouts in the draft class are first-round pick L.J. Collier from Texas Christian University, a defensive end who will likely replace Clark; second-round pick DK Metcalf, a wide receiver from Ole Miss; and fifth-round pick Ben Burr-Kirven from the University of Washington, who led the nation in tackles last year for the Huskies.
BALDWIN'S LIKELY EXIT 'A BIG BLOW'
Thiel said the biggest hole to be filled will be the one created by the expected retirement of star wide receiver Doug Baldwin.
The Seahawks won't say for sure that Baldwin is on his way out, Thiel says, but the indications are that the 30-year-old likely won't return for a a ninth season.
"The number of injuries and surgeries he's had this offseason has really taken a toll," he said. "That's going to be a big blow to the Seahawks because he and Russell Wilson formed a very dynamic combination."
Plus, Thiel added, Baldwin is second in club history in career touchdowns, behind Hall of Famer Steve Largent.
"I think there (are) a lot of people who are going to miss his skills and the way he carries himself in the locker room and the community," Thiel said of Baldwin. "That's a blow that no draftee is going to replace. He's one of a kind."