Mel Kiper Jr. Projects Seahawks to Draft Potential ‘All-Pro’ From Washington

RENTON, WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 01: John Schneider, general manager of the Seattle Seahawks, poses with Mike Macdonald as Macdonald is announced as the new Seattle Seahawks head coach at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on February 01, 2024 in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Getty John Schneider and Mike Macdonald during head coach announcement press conference

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. dropped his third 2024 NFL mock draft on March 19, predicting the Seattle Seahawks would select Washington offensive lineman Troy Fautanu with the 16th overall pick.

It’s the second time Kiper has predicted the Seahawks drafting Fautanu, citing that nothing had changed in free agency to look at other positions of need.

“Fautanu, my top-ranked guard, played mostly as the left tackle in college, starting 28 games. But he played 114 snaps at guard, too. And while he has the frame to be a tackle in the NFL (6-foot-4, 317 pounds), I see the potential for him to be an All-Pro guard,” Kiper wrote.

“He is hard-nosed and nasty when he latches on to defenders. The Seahawks offense will look a lot different with new coordinator Ryan Grubb, but they would do well to add Fautanu to build up the interior of their line”

On March 15, Kiper released his updated 2024 top 50 big board. Fautanu was ranked as his 10th overall prospect, with Kiper using New York Jets guard Alijah Vera-Tucker as a similar comparison.

“I see Fautanu’s future at guard as a way to best maximize his skill set, but I’m not ruling out that he’ll end up at tackle,” Kiper wrote. “Fautanu’s versatility will be a huge asset at the next level.”

Potential Reunion for Fautanu & New Seahawks OC Ryan Grubb

If the Seahawks were to select Fautanu, he would be working under two familiar faces in Seattle.

New offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb and offensive line coach Scott Huff joined the Seahawks coaching staff on February 13. Both had previously been at the University of Washington under the same roles.

Fautanu spent two seasons with Grubb and Huff, playing over 900 offensive snaps in both seasons. During the 2023 season, which saw Washington reach the CFP national championship game, Fautanu excelled in pass protection. In the 15 games he started, he never slipped below a PFF pass block rating of 71.2, surpassing 81.0 in 8 games.

It would be a great fit for Fautanu, having spent the last four years in Seattle. Being around coaches and an environment he is familiar with could benefit his development as an NFL player.

Seahawks Offensive Line Would Still Need Work

If Seattle chooses to use their 16th overall pick to improve their offensive line, it would still need more work.

The tackle spots look healthy with the free agency signing of former Seahawk OT George Fant and the second-year players Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas. However, the guard spots have glaring holes.

The Seahawks’ signing of free agent guard Tremayne Anchrum Jr. on March 18 brought the total guards on the depth chart to two. The other is 2023 fourth-round pick Anthony Bradford, who started 10 games last season.

General manager John Schneider and new head coach Mike Macdonald could use late-round 2024 draft picks on the offensive guard position. Considering they’ve used only two picks (out of 62) on pure guards in the last seven drafts since 2017, it’s more likely they add a veteran free agent(s). It would add some much-needed experience to the position group.

Many of the top free agent guards have signed with teams. However, there are still options along the offensive line that the Seahawks could sign to short-term deals for 2024.