Take this with a grain of salt — but this report in the Washington Post from Jason La Canfora is worth acknowledging if nothing else:
An NFL general manager, under similar restrictions about discussing prospects, concurred, and both officials said that from what they have gleaned, the Houston Texans (second overall), Indianapolis Colts (fourth) and Seattle Seahawks (fifth) are among the teams exploring what it might take to land the first pick.
This is the first suggestion we’ve seen that the Seahawks might be interested in trading up. La Canfora adds:
“He’s (Anthony Richardson) the kind of kid I could see Seattle looking to move up for,” the executive said. “He fits their mold. But [Seattle GM John Schneider] loves to move back. He doesn’t like giving up picks to move up.”
So what should we make of this?
Firstly, it shouldn’t be seen as a shocking development. Schneider has often talked about being in ‘every deal’. If there was an attractive opportunity to pick first, why not take it? Especially if there’s a player you really want in this class. There’s no indication this is anything more than a tentative enquiry at this stage.
We know the Seahawks were interested in acquiring the #1 pick in 2018 with a view to selecting Josh Allen to replace Russell Wilson. They’ve also had some success trading up over the years. Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf and Jarran Reed were all taken after moving up. The Lockett deal in particular was very aggressive and was an inspired decision. The team also traded two first round picks for a safety — so being aggressive for a quarterback shouldn’t be seen as a grand departure.
Who might the Seahawks have their eye on if they were considering a trade?
Anthony Richardson is a reasonable shout — but not the only one. His incredible upside and athleticism will certainly appeal to Schneider. If he was willing to take Allen with the first pick, he might see Richardson in the same light.
Remember — Josh Allen was the third quarterback taken in 2018 after Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. It would’ve been quite the headline had Schneider traded Wilson, acquired the top pick and selected the raw but physically gifted Allen. Darnold was typically considered the consensus #1 — just like C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young are now.
People might react badly to such a move but we have to understand Schneider’s background. He loves traits. Pete Carroll is also a fan of athletic upside. The whole system in Seattle is predicated on an ability to compete and develop. I’m sure Carroll looks at Richardson and believes he can work with such a profile. There’s a sparkle of magic around Richardson as we saw at the combine. Carroll is keenly aware of that.
It’s also interesting to note Geno Smith’s words yesterday, speaking of his willingness to help a quarterback if Seattle drafts one. He almost sounded resigned to the prospect of having to compete for his job — perhaps not this year but in the future. The structure of his contract, to be fair, makes that a fact.
The Seahawks have done a tremendous job with the deal. They can create the ideal situation we’ve talked about so much — an Alex Smith-to-Patrick Mahomes style torch passing. Everything is set up to draft Richardson, who would benefit more than anyone from a redshirt year to bring out his incredible potential.
Here’s what La Canfora says about the QB’s in general:
The scouting community, for what it’s worth, continues to buzz about the Texans being particularly smitten with Young and the Colts being enamored with Levis. The Carolina Panthers, who pick ninth, are fixated on drafting one of those four quarterbacks, while the Atlanta Falcons (eighth), for all of their purported devotion to second-year signal caller Desmond Ridder, are viewed by other franchises as probable to select a quarterback as well. The Raiders (seventh), meantime, have to add to their quarterback room in a big way. If that doesn’t involve a veteran like Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo or Lamar Jackson, then it most certainly will involve one taken in the first round of the draft.
I wouldn’t assume the Seahawks, if they did move up, would do it just for the insane upside of Richardson. I get a sense Schneider will be a big fan of Will Levis. If the Colts are ‘enamored’ with him as JLC’s sources suggest, that could be motivation itself to move up. If the Texans and Cardinals are unwilling trade partners and you fear Indianapolis at #4 — the way to guarantee your man is to get to #1.
That would be seen as a highly controversial pick by many but again, people would’ve said the same about Allen in 2018. Let’s not forget Levis’ background in Seattle’s offensive scheme playing for Liam Coen. It’s not often you get to watch a college quarterback playing in your actual scheme before he turns pro. He also has incredible physical talent and the traits, again, that Schneider covets.
On C.J. Stroud — it’s worth mentioning how ‘Mahomes-esque’ his performance was against Georgia. We all know Schneider was very interested in Mahomes in 2017. As with Levis and Richardson, Stroud has fantastic character and he’s no slouch as a physical specimen. If they did move up, the three quarterbacks would be a serious option.
The final point I’d make is not to rule out the Seahawks moving up for Will Anderson.
The way the defense played last season (and let’s be honest, the last few seasons) left a mark on Carroll. With Jalen Carter’s legal issues almost certainly taking him out of consideration for Seattle, there’s really only Anderson left as someone with the potential to be an impactful defender in the top-five.
With the Cardinals (and as noted in my mock draft yesterday, potentially the Texans) ready to select Anderson — the only shot Seattle has is to move up.
I’m not convinced Anderson has the bend and twitch to be a dominant game-wrecker off the edge. However, I also think he’s tremendously low-risk. At worst, he’s not going to flame out provided he avoids any unfortunate injuries. He will be a contributor, just possibly more on a Bradley Chubb level than a Nick Bosa.
This quote from a NFC Executive in Lance Zierlein’s scouting report is also telling:
“Power Five players with traits who get sacks in college are going to get sacks in the pros. Anderson is way more likely to succeed than any of these quarterbacks (in the draft). It’s not even close.”
Although I suspect Schneider views the quarterbacks more positively than that — the Seahawks might see Anderson as a future star and the answer to their problems on defense.
It’s also worth noting what a tremendous character Anderson is. For a coach like Carroll who focuses so much on culture, he’d be drafting an immediate heart of the locker room and a future captain.
The short shuttle is the key to determining his upside. It’s hard to read much into Anderson’s combine considering he only ran a forty yard dash and did on-field drills. His forty and ten-yard split are unspectacular in isolation. We really need to know how explosive he is (vertical, broad) and what his short shuttle is.
As you can see below — elite edge rushers typically excel in the short shuttle:
Von Miller — 4.53 (1.62) at 246lbs (4.06 ss)
T.J. Watt — 4.69 (1.59) at 252lbs (4.13 ss)
Nick Bosa — 4.79 (1.62) at 266lbs (4.14 ss)
Joey Bosa — 4.77 (1.68) at 269lbs (4.21ss)
Khalil Mack — 4.65 (1.53) at 251lbs (4.18 ss)
Myles Garrett — 4.64 (1.63) at 272lbs (DNR ss)
Will Anderson — 4.60 (1.61) at 253lbs (DNR ss)
If he runs in the 4.1-4.2 range like the names above, that will be a serious indicator that he actually does have the potential to be something special.
Whoever the target is, I’m all for the Seahawks ‘paying the iron price’ (as someone put it on one of my recent live streams) if there’s a player they really want. Having the #5 pick is cool but you’re in the hands of four other teams. They’ll never be this close to the #1 pick — with ample stock to move up without impacting future drafts.
The Bears might be prepared to take a lesser deal to stay in the top-five, too.
However — with four appealing quarterbacks and Anderson — you can easily make the case that they’re better off letting this play out and protecting #20, #38 and #53 (especially if Bryce Young is going to go as high as everyone says, meaning one of the other three QB’s will last to you). There’s still no harm in asking the question and staying in touch with the Bears just in case.
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