The Seattle Seahawks have certainly been an intriguing team at draft time during the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era. Early in the duo’s tenure, they were often criticized for not following the norm during the NFL Draft. However, given their recent track record of success with mid-to-late round draft picks, that criticism is practically non-existent.
From Richard Sherman to Kam Chancellor, K.J. Wright to Malcolm Smith, Seattle has hit home runs with draft picks that are often overlooked or even discarded by other teams. This is probably the reason why all eyes are locked on the Seahawks’ incoming draft class each and every season. Perhaps the most intriguing draft pick from the 2014 class is Kevin Pierre-Louis, a linebacker prospect from Boston College.
Pierre-Louis absolutely dominated the NFL Combine with eye-popping numbers in the 40-yard dash (low 4.5s), bench press (28 reps), broad jump (10-foot-8) and vertical jump (39-inches). Each event placed him at or near the top of the entire linebacker class. Coupling that with his extraordinary stat-line from 2013 definitely makes Pierre-Louis one of the hot up-and-coming prospects to watch in Seattle.
It will also be interesting to see where Seahawks linebacker coach Ken Norton sees Pierre-Louis lining up in Seattle’s defense. The young man from BC has experience playing both weak side and strong side linebacker. However, his greatest production in college came on the strong side where he posted 108 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks with an interception.
Of course, fans in the Pacific Northwest will know strong side linebacker is where reigning Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith lines up in Seattle’s defense. While Smith and former first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin split time at that spot last year, Pierre-Louis might be changing the landscape for everyone. With the way things stand right now, it looks as though Irvin will go back to a pass-rushing role after the release of Chris Clemons, meaning Smith will hope to fend off all newcomers for the job on the strong side.
Regardless of who ends up as the starter, it is quite possible that Smith’s tremendous postseason run priced him out of Seattle’s pay scale. They might even put the jack-of-all-trades linebacker on the trade block if Pierre-Louis plays exceptionally well this preseason.
Then again, it is also possible Smith or Pierre-Louis could move to the weak side making K.J. Wright expendable in the long run. That decision could depend on which player will take up less money toward the salary cap or which player is worth more on the trade market. Either way, Seattle’s veteran linebackers should be on their toes with a talented and versatile rookie looking for snaps.