NFL draft 2021: Guide with Seahawks’ biggest needs, how to watch

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NBCSNW Staff
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NFL draft 2021: Guide with Seahawks’ biggest needs, how to watch originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

When the 2021 NFL Draft kicks off in Cleveland in two weeks, 32 teams will have an opportunity to change the future of their franchise. 

With this year’s class featuring some of the most talented quarterback prospects in recent memory and a deep pool of wide receivers, the next Patrick Mahomes or DeAndre Hopkins could be sitting in the green room on April 29. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock expected to draft Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 overall. Here is everything else you need to know ahead of the draft:

When is the 2021 NFL Draft?

The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 29, when all 32 selections in Round 1 will be made. Rounds 2 and 3 take place on Friday, April 30, beginning at 7 p.m. ET, and Rounds 4 through 7 will be on Saturday, May 1, beginning at 12 p.m. ET.

What is the 2021 NFL Draft order?

After the 2021 NFL Draft order was finalized in mid-March, the San Francisco 49ers traded up to the No. 3 overall pick. The Miami Dolphins then traded the No. 12 pick they got from San Francisco to the Philadelphia Eagles for the sixth overall pick. More trades could shake up the order before the draft begins, but here’s how it stands as of now:

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Will this year’s draft be in person or virtual?

After the NFL held a virtual draft in 2020 due to COVID-19, this year’s draft will be held in person in Cleveland. Some of the top prospects will be there to take the stage when they’re selected, while others will appear from their homes. Lawrence declined an invitation to Cleveland and will watch the draft at Clemson.

Can fans attend the 2021 NFL draft?

Yes, fans are allowed to attend this year. A select group of fans who are vaccinated will be chosen by each of the 32 NFL teams and will be seated in the "inner circle" near the main stage. The league’s main website has more information on NFL Draft tickets and events.

How can I watch the 2021 NFL Draft?

The draft will be broadcast live on the NFL Network, ESPN and ABC on all three days.

How many draft picks do the Seahawks have in 2021?

The Seattle Seahawks have the fewest picks in this draft of any team in the NFL with just three. Beyond their first selection late in the second round, they only have a fourth-rounder and a seventh-rounder to use in this draft.

They sent their first- and third-round picks in the 2021 draft to the Jets in the Jamal Adams blockbuster before the 2020 NFL season. In March 2021, they traded their fifth-round pick to the Raiders for offensive lineman Gabe Jackson. They also dealt their 2021 sixth-round pick to the Dolphins during the 2020 NFL draft.

Here is a list of all the Seahawks’ 2021 draft picks:

  • Second round: No. 56 (own pick)

  • Fourth round: No. 129 (own pick)

  • Seventh round: No. 250 (own pick)

What are the Seahawks' biggest needs?

Russell Wilson has been outspoken this offseason about how he wants more protection on the offensive line. Seattle gave up 48 sacks last season, tied with the Cincinnati Bengals for fifth-most in the NFL. The Seahawks have already addressed the position to a degree with the Jackson trade and by re-signing starting center Ethan Pocic, but it could be worthwhile for them to invest even more with the No. 56 pick. Starting guard Mike Iupati retired this offseason, so even with Jackson coming in, there should be a spot on the interior offensive line for a rookie in 2021.

The Seahawks should be set elsewhere on offense. With Wilson staying -- he told Carlos Dunlap as much this offseason -- they are set at starting quarterback. They do not have much at the position behind Wilson, as Geno Smith was the backup quarterback in 2020, but with just three picks, the team might be more inclined to find a free agent backup for 2021. The team also addressed their skill positions: running back Chris Carson re-signed on a two-year deal, wideout Tyler Lockett inked a massive four-year extension, and the team signed Gerald Everett to replace Greg Olsen at tight end.

On the defensive side of the ball, the team has a couple of cornerstones in Adams at safety and linebacker Bobby Wagner. The Seahawks' passing defense struggled in 2020 even with the addition of Adams, surrendering the second-most passing yards per game in the NFL (285.0). Shaquill Griffin left Seattle for a three-year contract in Jacksonville, so there is an opening at cornerback. If the Seahawks do not address the offensive line with their first pick, look for them to select someone in the secondary.

Seahawks’ draft needs: OL, CB, DL