NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Seattle Seahawks focused on defense by drafting safety Marquise Blair from Utah with the first of two second-round picks and later traded up to land Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf with the final pick of the round Friday night.
Seattle was set to have the fifth pick of the second round but made its third trade in the first two days of the draft, this time with Carolina. Seattle moved back to the 47th pick and picked up an additional third-round selection, No. 77 overall. That 77th pick was later packaged with a fourth-round selection to New England in exchange for the No. 64 pick, which landed Seattle the big pass catcher it sought in Metcalf.
Metcalf was deemed a potential first- or early second-round pick because of his impressive pre-draft workouts. Metcalf is 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, but ran a 4.33 40-yard dash, did 27 reps in the bench press and had a 40 ½ inch vertical jump at the NFL combine. The eye-popping numbers made up for Metcalf’s mostly pedestrian numbers last season at Ole Miss. He played in just seven games and had 26 receptions and five touchdowns in his limited action.
Picking up Metcalf was an important move by Seattle because of concerns about Doug Baldwin after the veteran wide receiver underwent a pair of surgeries in the offseason.
In drafting Blair, Seattle may have found the next version of former hard-hitting safety Kam Chancellor. At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Blair appears capable of playing either free or strong safety and his highlight tape is filled with big hits reminiscent of what Chancellor brought to Seattle.
Blair showed his versatility by playing in a variety of roles in a complex defensive scheme at Utah. He estimated he split time nearly 50/50 between both safety positions. Blair was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection last season after recording 59 tackles and grabbing two interceptions.
Blair said he hasn’t been given any indication of where the Seahawks want him to play.
“I can be physical in the box and I can cover the back end,” Blair said.
Safety was a need for Seattle after the team lost Earl Thomas in free agency and struggled to develop a replacement, with both Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill showing potential at times but struggling with consistency. Seattle seems set with Bradley McDougald at one of the safety positions, but the addition of Blair opens up the competition in the secondary.
Blair is the highest pick Seattle has used on a secondary player since selecting Thomas No. 14 overall in the 2010 draft.
Seattle started the week with a league-low four selections.