Boxing Day mock draft: Seahawks focus on the trenches

Time for my second mock with the Seahawks currently in a very interesting position with the #3 and #12 picks in the draft.

I’ve included two trades in this latest projection, one involving Seattle.

The focus is very much on the trenches. Since the game in Germany, the Seahawks have been dominated up front on both sides of the ball. They simply haven’t been competitive on the O-line or D-line during this 1-5 run. If that doesn’t change in the future, they will continue to be a mediocre team.

I will post the mock below with a blurb for each pick. I will then include projections for Seattle’s picks in rounds 2-3 before producing the full first round in list-form.

Mock draft #2

#1 Houston — Will Levis (QB, Kentucky)
Levis has the physical tools, the character and potential to be another Josh Allen or Justin Herbert. For those reasons, he has a chance to go first overall. Don’t focus on his 2022 numbers playing behind an O-line that gave up four times as many sacks per game as any of the other top QB’s in this class, while playing in a pro-style offense and not one of the wide-open spread schemes many of the others featured in. Mahomes, Allen and others all had issues in college. The key is to project and Levis projects very well to the league.

#2 Carolina (v/CHI) — Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida)
Owner David Tepper has been seeking ‘special’ at the position for several years. Richardson has special qualities. The Panthers have a good defense, O-line and a talented top receiver. They can justify trading up to try and find ‘the guy’. They give the Bears an attractive package that includes a 2024 first round pick.

#3 Seattle — Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia)
This would be an ideal scenario for the Seahawks. They badly need an interior disruptor. Will Anderson is more of a project as a 243lbs EDGE or OLB and while he would likely be the alternative pick, Seattle already has players like that on the roster that they haven’t been able to develop. Carter’s reported character question marks, per Todd McShay, are a concern and there are no such issues with Anderson. Yet it’s been too long since Seattle had someone who can blow things up from the inside.

#4 Arizona — Will Anderson (EDGE, Alabama)
The Cardinals will likely do cartwheels if Anderson lasts to this spot. They badly need a quicker edge who can fill the void left by Chandler Jones.

#5 Indianapolis — Bryce Young (QB, Alabama)
Being about 5-10 and 185lbs will be an issue for Young and could lead to a slight fall. Yet with so many teams desperate at quarterback he would provide a winners mentality, leadership and natural ability to a mess of a franchise.

#6 Atlanta — Bijan Robinson (RB, Texas)
GM Terry Fontenot has been very consistent so far as a ‘BPA’ GM. He’s also collected skill players in the previous two drafts. Some Falcons fans will hate this pick but Robinson has a truly special skillset, will likely be the highest graded player on some boards and could help create one of the most dynamic offensive rosters in the league with Drake London and Kyle Pitts. He does everything well, a brilliant player.

#7 Detroit (v/LA) — Michael Mayer (TE, Notre Dame)
It might seem redundant to trade T.J. Hockenson only to select another tight end in the top-10. However, Mayer is just an absolutely fantastic player who fits the mentality of the Dan Campbell Lions. He is a complete tight end.

#8 Chicago (v/CAR) — Tyree Wilson (DE, Texas Tech)
The Bears trade down to acquire needed stock for their rebuild. It’s really hard to justify any offensive lineman here and the feeling is the league loves Wilson’s combination of size and amazing length. Chicago has a lot of cap space to improve their O-line.

#9 Las Vegas — Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU)
This isn’t an ideal spot for the Raiders, just missing out on some players they’d probably covet. Johnston will produce an elite combine performance and likely propel himself into the top-15.

#10 Philadelphia (v/NO) — Myles Murphy (DE, Clemson)
He’s an excellent athlete with good size but the truth is he’s a pussycat. He plays in flashes only and you can get after him in the running game.

#11 Houston (v/CLE) — Jalin Hyatt (WR, Tennessee)
His ability to create late separation by going into a sixth gear is extremely impressive.

#12 Washington (v/SEA) — CJ Stroud (QB, Ohio State)
Although this franchise recently wasted a pick on a quarterback from Ohio State, the Commanders are in a desperate position. They are competitive but the constant question marks at QB are an issue. If one of the ‘big four’ starts to fall, they will surely be tempted to make their move. Jobs are on the line unless they find a good QB. They give the Seahawks pick #53 and a third round pick in 2024 to move up.

#13 Tennessee — Peter Skoronski (G, Northwestern)
For me he’s a pure guard rather than a tackle. I think he’s a bit overrated and I don’t think he’ll go as early as some are predicting. With the top two receivers off the board, the Titans pivot to the O-line.

#14 New England — Joey Porter Jr (CB, Penn State)
Great bloodlines obviously but Porter Jr’s personality is the polar opposite to his father. He’s extremely grounded and likeable. I think teams will love his size, competitive nature and ability to recover and play the ball.

#15 NY Jets — Brian Branch (S, Alabama)
He’s a Rolls Royce in coverage at times who can line up in the slot and cover. He occasionally packs a punch as a hitter. He’s a very versatile player who can line-up in a variety of positions.

#16 Pittsburgh — Mazi Smith (DT, Michigan)
Just the kind of player you can imagine the Steelers loving. He will destroy the combine with his testing, he’s incredibly disruptive and can anchor from the nose.

#17 Green Bay — Darnell Wright (T, Tennessee)
An incredibly underrated tackle who deserves far more attention. He shut-down Will Anderson.

#18 Detroit — Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon)
The Lions have a ‘type’ and the sparky Gonzalez just fits it like a glove. Very athletic, very competitive.

#19 Tampa Bay — Calijah Kancey (DT, Pittsburgh)
The closest thing to Aaron Donald since 2013. Even so, some teams will be cautious about drafting a 280lbs defensive tackle with short arms. I suspect whoever has the bollocks to draft him won’t regret it.

#20 Jacksonville — Jordan Addison (WR, USC)
The Jaguars are building nicely and can afford to draft a player to further enhance Trevor Lawrence’s chances of becoming a top player.

#21 Seattle (v/WAS) — Sedrick Van Pran (C, Georgia)
The more I’ve watched of Van Pran the more impressed I’ve been. Seattle’s blocking scheme hasn’t called for a big investment at center and I do wonder if that will make this unlikely. They’ve basically written off the position for years, too. However, they need to be better in the trenches. Van Pran has an outstanding combination of power, aggression, an ability to progress to the second level and I suspect he can play in any system. For me, he’s the top center eligible for 2023.

#22 Miami — forfeited
With the season imploding for Miami, this is a big loss.

#23 NY Giants — Cedric Tillman (WR, Tennessee)
Tillman’s body control, size and quickness make for a very intriguing prospect.

#24 LA Chargers — Bryan Bresee (DT, Clemson)
I think a fall for Bresee is possible. He simply hasn’t been able to stay on the field consistently and his play is so erratic. You see great flashes from a brilliant athlete but there’s also a lot of ‘meh’ tape.

#25 Baltimore — Kelee Ringo (CB, Georgia)
Great size, great speed and he had some tremendous plays on tape. He was also beaten far too often in 2022.

#26 Denver (v/SF) — Cam Smith (CB, South Carolina)
A gritty player with good length and an ability to stick in coverage. I think some teams are really going to like him.

#27 Dallas — Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois)
Intensely competitive and he put together a very impressive 2022 season. Testing will determine how early he goes.

#28 Cincinnati — Paris Johnson Jr (T, Ohio State)
I don’t really understand Johnson Jr being mocked in the top-10. For me he’s an OK prospect who will need great testing numbers to reach those heights. I have him in round two as a grade. The Bengals need to keep building their O-line.

#29 Kansas City — Zay Flowers (WR, Boston College)
His change of direction ability is unmatched. Flowers is a tremendous player who could do real damage in a prolific, creative passing attack.

#30 Minnesota — K.J. Henry (DE, Clemson)
For all the hype surrounding Murphy and Bresee — it was Henry who was the most consistently disruptive and reliable this year.

#31 Buffalo — Lukas Van Ness (DE, Iowa)
He’s big and strong and looks like a Disney character with his helmet off but there’s something there. How do you judge a flash player though who wasn’t a full-time starter who moved around the line? His testing will dictate his stock.

#32 Philadelphia — D.J. Turner (CB, Michigan)
As the year went on he gave up a few plays but the combine will be a big day for Turner given his excellent athleticism.

Seattle’s day two picks

R2 — #36 — J.L. Skinner (S, Boise State)
Skinner is a player I can well imagine the Seahawks see as a ‘must have’. I’m not one for hyperbole but he’s the closest thing we’ve seen to Kam Chancellor since the 2010 draft. He’s a big, rangy safety with great length who delivers an absolute killer blow in the open field. He will strike fear into the hearts of any receiver tasked with running a crossing route. He sifts through traffic brilliantly before drilling a ball-carrier. His coverage ability is very good too and he had four interceptions in 2022. He screams ‘Seahawks’ and it’s time for Seattle to revamp the safety position and get younger, quicker, healthier and more violent. I did contemplate taking a receiver here for the value — with Jonathan Mingo and Josh Downs being the two players I seriously considered.

R2 — #50 — Jordan McFadden (G, Clemson)
I think he’s such a tremendous player and better than the other offensive linemen being highly touted. He played left tackle in 2022 but his natural home is at guard. He’s only 6-2 and that helps win many leverage battles but he has fantastic length for his height (reportedly around 34 inch arms) which Seattle really focuses on. For me he had a terrific year at tackle and he’d be an excellent option to kick inside. I’ve been thinking the Seahawks wouldn’t spend big on their interior line but it’s played so poorly over the last few weeks I have them taking a center and a guard in the top-35.

R2 — #53 (v/WAS) — Byron Young (DT/DE, Alabama)
This is the pick acquired from Washington for moving down from #12 to #21. As with McFadden, Young is such a massively underrated player. I’ve watched all of Alabama’s games from 2022, as I’ve done with Clemson and their D-line. Young had impact plays every single week. He constantly broke into the backfield to disrupt. He had a couple of games where he threatened to takeover and while his stat line (four sacks, 5.5 TFL’s) doesn’t speak to his impact — it was well and truly there. He played the edge for Alabama at 6-3 and 292lbs and occasionally kicked inside but at the next level he’d be an ideal 3-4 DE or a potential three-technique. Is he ever going to be a game-wrecking dynamo in the NFL? No. What he will bring is consistency, a surprising number of pressures, an ability to hold the point of attack and help defend the run and he’ll attack his gap to move quarterbacks off the spot. I can well imagine him, in this scenario, lining up very close to Jalen Carter and causing chaos as a duo due to the 1v1 matchups he’d receive.

R3 — #81 — Chris Rodriguez (RB, Kentucky)
It feels like the Seahawks need to add a partner in crime for Ken Walker. I seriously considered UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet in round two. I think he’s a player the Seahawks will love due to his combination of explosive traits, size and ability to run through contact. Kenny McIntosh could be another player they covet. A player described, literally, as a ‘BAMF’ by his coach Kirby Smart — McIntosh’s ability as a pass-catcher complements an aggressive running style that would work together as an ideal third-down runner who can spell Walker. However, I think both players will be off the board by this point. Rodriguez wears #24 and idolises Marshawn Lynch. He has tried to copy his playing style and it shows. There are so many games on tape where you sit up in your seat and feel like you’re watching a poor man’s Marshawn. He carries tacklers, drives through contact, finishes every run and would be a tremendous battering-ram partner for Walker.

Seattle’s picks

Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia)
Sedrick Van Pran (C, Georgia)
J.L. Skinner (S, Boise State)
Jordan McFadden (G, Clemson)
Byron Young (DE/DT, Alabama)
Chris Rodriguez (RB, Kentucky)

What are you getting from this group? Reinforcement in the trenches. Increased toughness on both sides of the ball. Aggressive, tone-setting players at positions of need. Players with the potential to be contributors early.

First round in list form

#1 Houston — Will Levis (QB, Kentucky)
#2 Carolina (v/CHI) — Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida)
#3 Seattle — Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia)
#4 Arizona — Will Anderson (EDGE, Alabama)
#5 Indianapolis — Bryce Young (QB, Alabama)
#6 Atlanta — Bijan Robinson (RB, Texas)
#7 Detroit (v/LA) — Michael Mayer (TE, Notre Dame)
#8 Chicago (v/CAR) — Tyree Wilson (DE, Texas Tech)
#9 Las Vegas — Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU)
#10 Philadelphia (v/NO) — Myles Murphy (DE, Clemson)
#11 Houston (v/CLE) — Jalin Hyatt (WR, Tennessee)
#12 Washington (v/SEA) — CJ Stroud (QB, Ohio State)
#13 Tennessee — Peter Skoronski (G, Northwestern)
#14 New England — Joey Porter Jr (CB, Penn State)
#15 NY Jets — Brian Branch (S, Alabama)
#16 Pittsburgh — Mazi Smith (DT, Michigan)
#17 Green Bay — Darnell Wright (T, Tennessee)
#18 Detroit — Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon)
#19 Tampa Bay — Calijah Kancey (DT, Pittsburgh)
#20 Jacksonville — Jordan Addison (WR, USC)
#21 Seattle (v/WAS) — Sedrick Van Pran (C, Georgia)
#22 Miami — forfeited
#23 NY Giants — Cedric Tillman (WR, Tennessee)
#24 LA Chargers — Bryan Bresee (DT, Clemson)
#25 Baltimore — Kelee Ringo (CB, Georgia)
#26 Denver (v/SF) — Cam Smith (CB, South Carolina)
#27 Dallas — Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois)
#28 Cincinnati — Paris Johnson Jr (T, Ohio State)
#29 Kansas City — Zay Flowers (WR, Boston College)
#30 Minnesota — K.J. Henry (DE, Clemson)
#31 Buffalo — Lukas Van Ness (DE, Iowa)
#32 Philadelphia — D.J. Turner (CB, Michigan)

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  1. Ok

    Thank you

  2. Mick

    Merry Christmas Rob! I like your picks a lot, as much as I don’t see us picking a C that high (or at all). Do you think there’s a chance we go for Kancey, maybe with our original 1st round pick? Would be interesting what we do with the Broncos pick then. How high do you think we’ll take a linebacker? I think Pete values the position (more than he should) and he will want to improve there.

    • Rob Staton

      On Kancey — important to note how much of a premium they’ve placed on arm length for defensive linemen

      Linebacker — they basically wrote the position off this off-season so won’t be surprised if they add on the cheap

  3. GoHawksDani

    I’d be sooo pumped with a draft like this. K9 is a runner who’d feast on decent holes. The run game starts with the OL and the iOL is terrible for the Hawks currently.
    We also need to stop the run and put more pressure especially from the interior would be nice.
    A BAMF safety could be amazing. It’d show precedent to other guys how to be more physical.
    An RB2 is a must. Hopefully a battering ram type who can almost always get 1-3 yards.

    My only other wish would be a TE (not sold on Fant or Parkinson) and a WR3 and an LB.
    A future QB would be nice but if Richardson or Lewis gone then no reason to pick others…Geno or Lock is as good if not better than the rest of this class

  4. Romeo A57

    Thanks Rob- is you mock for the Seattle picks influenced by the possibility that Carroll retires? He does not seem to value the Center position. and I believe he would want to have Adams and Diggs as the starting Safties next year.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve not really considered Carroll in this, only Seattle’s needs

  5. MarkinSeattle

    Thanks Rob and Merry Christmas! I agree on the importance of investing in the lines. My biggest concern is if we draft to this defense that doesn’t appear to be effective. It will be interesting to see the off season coaching changes and whether there are any changes with the Seahawks.

    On the OL, my preference is to use high draft picks on premium positions like DT. My inclination is for us to select a center in the second round. Any reason to be worried about McFadden’s height and ability to maintain weight at the next level?

    • Peter

      I’m super into a center early.

      It’s a joke that Seattle wants to run the rock but continues to treat the brains of the line like an afterthought.

      An oline that is good should be THE premium position just slightly less equal to dline for a team like Seattle.

  6. Jace

    Carter and Anderson are kinda no brainer picks, but if both Anderson and Carter are off the board, who is the target?

    Also, what about Jared Verse? I’m surprised he’s not a first rounder for you. I’m really impressed with some of his highlights, granted they are highlights and not game film. Compared to Tyree Wilson, he seems to play stronger at the point of attack, sheds well, and has great bend. Kinda like a Will Anderson lite.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think Verse is a R1 and testing will determine whether that is viable

    • Peter

      It’s a bit of an odd comp to tyree wilson.

      They are pretty different sizes. Just from a pure numbers look (no snap count) wilson was pretty effective.

      In Pete’s defense and not a goofy 3-4 I think I’d be pretty into tyree wilson.

      • Jace

        Definitely an odd comp, but I was trying to emphasize how I think Verse seems to play stronger and sheds better than a bigger player like Tyree Wilson. I’m not all that impressed with Wilson though, tbh.

        • Peter

          I’ve not really dug into both a ton yet. Just highlights. I like verse so far.

          Total projection but I wonder if Wilson isn’t playing out of position?

          I don’t know need to suck it up and see multiple snaps.

    • Marlo Stanfield

      I would love to take Verse with our second 1st round pick.

      14.5 TFL’s and 7.5 sacks. Sign me up.

      • Rob Staton

        Those stats aren’t that great you know

  7. AlaskaHawk

    Thanks Rob, Some good choices there.

    For everyone but Skinner. He does tackle hard – by leading with his helmet. He’s been thrown out of games for that. Who is to say he will be a hard tackler if, and that’s a big if, he learns how to tackle properly?

    Too much risk in round 2. I would rather they found another wide receiver; we all can see what happens when Lockett or Metcalf are injured. Last game I thought Goodwin was injured too, thankfully he got back on the field.

    Love the rest, though I need to see some video on the running back Rodriguez.

    • Rob Staton

      There are plenty of good hits from Skinner where he isn’t leading with his helmet. Not sure why you’ve singled that out. Hitters will get flagged at times.

      • AlaskaHawk

        I suppose it’s because the last game I watched him in he got thrown out on his first hit. That sort of thing sticks with me. But I’m sure the refs won’t pick on Seahawks or Skinner, right?

        I also agree with Cha below, I’ve seen a lot of language about how safeties aren’t a premium position. A good wide receiver is at a premium.

        • Rob Staton

          So you saw him get ejected once and that’s it? Mind made up?

          Come on man

    • TomLPDX

      Alaska, go find some tape on Rodriguez, I think you’ll like what you see.

      Rob, it was an interesting decision between Rodriguez and Charbonnet but to be honest I’d be happy with either.

      • Rob Staton

        I didn’t pick between Rodriguez & Charbonnet to be fair, as noted in the piece I suggested Charbonnet won’t last to R3

  8. cha

    i really like this draft. I can get behind it. We definitely need to think through a scenario where Levis and Richardson are gone, even if they do end up at pick #3.

    Skinner at 36 is a bit high for my taste. We have been talking for three seasons about investing too much at lower-impact positions. Pete Carroll has even said safety is undervalued in the league because it is a ‘plug a talented guy in’ position.

    I’d take Young or McFadden at 36, and I love Josh Downs turbo-charging the passing game and eventually stepping in for Lockett.

    Absent those guys I’d overdraft Nolan Smith and maybe even Siaki Ika at the spot given how poor their interior DL is. Ika and Carter inside for the next 10 years? Yes please.

    I could work with Skinner at 50 or 53.

    But I could easily walk away from Day Two very happy with the scenario you outlined.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t see Ika as a top two rounds player personally but I can definitely get behind Downs early in R2

      • cha

        Hence the “overdraft” and “maybe even” language. 🙂

        I think we’re going to see another glut of WRs in Round 2 again and the Seahawks would be wise to take one if they can secure their most pressing needs before then. There will be scads of talent there.

        • swedenhawk

          Cha, do you think that the increasing number of teams transitioning to a Fangio-style defense is inflating Ika’s draft stock?

          • cha

            That I do not know. It’s possible.

      • pdway

        @Rob – If either of Levis or Richardson is available at our first pick (wherever it winds up being) – are you pro jumping on one of them w that pick (as opposed to Carter or anyone else)?

    • Roy Batty

      Nolan Smith is someone I really love watching.

      The guy is fast, powerful and relentless in pursuit.

      Whenever I watch the Niners I’m reminded of the benefit of speed and power. They consistently run down the ball carrier and punish him.

      That’s something the Hawks are sorely lacking.

  9. Joshua Smith

    Would the Bears pass up on the opportunity to draft Carter if they are looking to rebuild their defense?
    If it went
    Chicago -Carter
    I think John might jump at the chance to draft Richardsons upside.
    Just need to bring in Sean Payton👍

    • Rob Staton

      Who knows 🤷‍♂️

      But the Bears are in a long build. They will likely consider adding more picks

    • Matt

      I don’t say this flippantly, but it really feels like the legend of Jalen Carter is becoming out of whack with him as a prospect. He’s a really damn good prospect; but we are not talking about a guy who just took over games and put up 10 sacks.

      I don’t want to get hung up on numbers, but I feel like there is this notion that he is simply an unmissable prospect who will undoubtedly dominate the NFL. He could have a great rookie season and Seahawk fans are going to be perplexed because we got the Quinnen Williams-Aaron McDonald love child and he didn’t put up 8 sacks.

      • Matt

        *And I like the Carter pick – I have zero against that in any way.

      • Matt

        **Donald not McDonald (hilariously I’m literally drinking a McDonald’s coffee at this very moment).

      • Rob Staton

        This is a good point to mention

        Carter played extremely well in 2022 when he returned from injury

        Yet these are his numbers:


        14 games
        3 sacks
        8.5 TFL’s


        11 games
        3 sacks
        7 TFL’s

        Now let’s compare that to Quinnen Williams’ final year at Alabama:

        15 games
        8 sacks
        19.5 TFL’s

        And for a couple of other comparisons to DT’s taken in the top three:

        Gerald McCoy:

        12.5 sacks in his last two seasons at Oklahoma
        26.5 TFL’s

        Ndamukong Suh:

        19.5 sacks in his last two seasons at Nebraska
        36.5 TFL’s

        Carter’s numbers are six sacks and 15.5 TFL’s in his final two seasons at Georgia

        • Matt

          Yep. Thanks for showing that. He’s a great prospect but I think people are just wishcasting instead of analyzing who he actually is.

          Here’s the real question with Carter – can you live with an above average run defending DT who only gets 3-4 sacks a year with a top 5 pick? I think it’s an honest question that too many people don’t want to ask.

          • Rob Staton

            I will not shed a tear if the Seahawks don’t get Carter in the draft

            What will be tough to take is picking say 5th overall and the options being crap

            • Matt

              I’m right there with you. Seahawks Twitter tends to get so hyperbolic that I always feel like I’m simply being contrarian. Jalen Carter has basically become the one ring to rule them all – his presence solves all of our problems.

              They are just gearing up for disappointment. “Well you can’t blame Pete – he picked the best defensive prospect of all time and the player didn’t live up to it.” Preview of the 2024 off-season.

          • cha

            While I can concede that Carter’s topsheet stats maybe don’t warrant placement alongside the greats listed there, I do think too much can be put to stats at DL.

            Matt you said

            can you live with an above average run defending DT who only gets 3-4 sacks a year with a top 5 pick?

            I think it’s far more nuanced than that. Interior DL are mischaracterized by stats all the time.

            If he is the linchpin of a top run defending team, is constantly disrupting the offense’s plans, and is a guy you can scheme up effective stunts and things for your edge rushers, sure I can absolutely justify that. The golden ticket for PC, the entire purpose of his defense these last 13 years, is to create problems without blitzing. If he does that, I would never be upset that he only gets a few sacks a year.

            But if he is Al Woods – a big folk hero type who makes a couple above-average plays a game, collects 3-4 sacks over the season but rarely has a substantive effect on an offense – no.

            It will be down to scouting, scheme and interviews to know his temperament. Is he determined to be great? Can he overcome the ‘Alabama problem’ – not playing with elite talent on each side of him, and against NFL offensive linemen? Does he fit your scheme? Do you have the coaching staff to fully utilize him or will they take one look at him and try to jam a square peg into a round hole?

            • Rob Staton

              What I will say for Carter is his PFF grades were excellent for 2022:

              Overall — 92.7
              Pass rush — 89.9
              Run defense — 91.5

              #2 overall graded defensive tackle

              • Rob Staton

                Calijah Kancey was the next highest graded of the draft prospects for 2023:

                Overall — 91.8
                Pass rush — 92.4
                Run defense — 80.9

                • cha

                  You know I’m sweet on Kancey Rob.

                  My best-case fantasy would be a QB early, a small trade down from 12 like you did, Kancey at that pick, and then a LB/Edge, WR, C, RB with the next 4.

                  • Matt

                    I’m all on board with that.

                    The guy I really want is Mazi Smith. I think you get way more bang for the buck and his athletic profile could lead to a potentially good pass rusher, as well.

            • Matt

              Agree with most if not all of that.

              Of course – requires way more nuance. My quote is a simple way of saying “a good player but not transformational.” If people are truly banking on him as more of an elite run player who is disruptive but not necessarily a pass rusher – I think you can get 90% of that, with more upside in Mazi Smith.

              While it may be unfair, I think that’s the hardest part about drafting a DT so high. If they aren’t going to be a legit pass rusher; I think I’d rather say “let’s double dip at DT” with 2 of our top 4 picks. I think I could live with two above average DTs with a pick in the teens and 40s than I can for what I think Jalen Carter will be in the NFL, using pick 3.

              For example, in Rob’s mock – I’d rather go a different route at #3, possibly trade down and end up with Mazi Smith (teens) and Byron Young. Unless that DT is going to completely wreck games and rack up sacks; I’d rather have a rotation of good DTs that can stay fresh through the course of a game. I know this is an overly simplistic way to talk this stuff, but I think this is a long-winded way of saying I just don’t think Carter is an elite DT. I think he has some elite qualities, but not in the areas that I’d consider at the very top of the draft.

              • Matt

                In an ideal world, you have that game wrecker at DT. I just think people are wishing that with Carter rather than actually seeing it – if that makes sense. Again – I think he’s a great player; I am just not sure I see this no brainer Donald 2.0.

                • cha

                  Fair enough.

                  To piggy back on that thought, I think there probably would be a notion that drafting Carter would solve the DL problems. No.

                  The teams with killer interior players like Philly, Tennesee, Baltimore, etc still invest in the DL.

                  You have to stack talent on the DL. Not just draft one high-profile guy and surround him with Bryan Mones and Quentin Jeffersons.

                  • Matt

                    Totally agree, which is why I’d rather go with 2 DTs in the first two days (not including #3) over using #3 and potentially another high pick. Hell, Mazi and Kancey would be a ridiculously fun pairing.

        • Rob Staton

          And that might be a reason why teams value Will Anderson higher despite his lack of size (along with no reported character issues). Anderson has 48 TFL’s in his final two years at Alabama and 27.5 sacks.

          • Matt

            As they should, IMO. You and I definitely agree that there’s no trust in PC to deploy Will Anderson the way he should be deployed to take full advantage of his skill set.

            That’s literally the only reason I’m opposed to Anderson. Really nothing with him, at all (though I do wish he was bigger).

  10. Matt

    Great mock. I think the dream for me is either Carter and Wilson or Murphy OR QB (Richardson, Levis) and whoever falls from Wilson, Murphy or Mazi Smith.

  11. Joe

    Hmm…So you don’t see us drafting QB at all? I think that is a huge need since Geno hasn’t looked good these past 6 games.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s one mock draft

      I’ve talked extensively about drafting a QB

      What I put in this mock doesn’t indicate what I see happening. It’s one projection.

      But if Levis and Richardson go first and second we need to appreciate there’s not much you can do

      • Joe

        Thanks Rob. I don’t see Levis and Richardson going 1 and 2. If that’s the case and we are still the 3rd pick, get one of them. These guys are 6’3 and 6’4. I don’t want a 6 foot QB like Young. I think the Texans were likely going to draft Young anyway.

    • cha

      Rob is displaying strategic thinking.

      Something every draft blogger out there could use more of.

  12. Matt

    Thanks for the insightful mock Rob! If we keep the 3-4 scheme, would you see Jalen Carter be a 3-4 DE or would he become our NT?

    • Rob Staton

      He’s definitely not a nose tackle

  13. JimQ

    Nice mock Rob, finally the Hawks addressed both trenches (where games are won), I can’t see PC doing this, he’ll likely want a draft consisting of LB, S, TE, WR, Kicker, OT (a redundancy) & a mid-round QB.

    Reportedly, QB-Lamar Jackson MAY be on the market soon. Does anyone think the Seahawks would be interested and if so, what would the trade look like? As a QB in a run first offense, maybe PC would think about trading for a real dual-threat QB, —IF— he’s still around?

    • Rob Staton

      Pete might not be here

    • cha

      Personally I wouldn’t touch Lamar Jackson with a ten foot pole.

      You’d have to rearrange your entire offense around him. At 25 he is already showing some injury challenges and that lightning speed and maneuverability is a huge part of his game. I personally don’t agree with the ‘get him to throw for a first down and you’ve already won’ rap that got out there a couple years ago on him. But he is definitely not plug and play.

      Then you’ve got the contract. He is mercurial and hard to predict. With this franchise tag play, he may be gunning for a Deshaun Watson contract. Fully guaranteed money until he’s 31 or 32. Is he the guy for it? If you even have to bat an eyelash before answering, no, he’s not the guy.

      I think Baltimore will do what they frequently do. Draft well, get the best years out a guy and then trade him or let him walk and take the draft comp and start over again. Meanwhile the guy is 25-50% less effective and 200% more expensive for the new team.

      I think Atlanta is a realistic destination for Lamar. They were ready to go all in on Deshaun until the Browns jumped in at 11:59. He would be a cultural hero there, a natural Michael Vick successor, a splashy move for Arthur Blank – who likes those types of moves and hasn’t done one in a while – and maybe even some job security for Arthur Smith.

      Baltimore could take Bijan at Atlanta’s pick or trade down and re-stock their DL like they always do.

      • Rob Staton

        Personally I wouldn’t touch Lamar Jackson with a ten foot pole.


        I think Atlanta is a realistic destination for Lamar. They were ready to go all in on Deshaun until the Browns jumped in at 11:59. He would be a cultural hero there, a natural Michael Vick successor, a splashy move for Arthur Blank – who likes those types of moves and hasn’t done one in a while – and maybe even some job security for Arthur Smith.

        Baltimore could take Bijan at Atlanta’s pick or trade down and re-stock their DL like they always do.

        Great shout

        • TomLPDX

          Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way about Lamar.

  14. Mick

    Love the call on Rodriguez. He’s not on the same level as Marshawn talent-wise, but you watch him and can see the same desire to run through some MFing faces. Curious to see where Zach Evans goes – he’s less ‘Seahawky’ but I can see some front office falling in love with that burst and physical profile on day 2. Reminds me of Aaron Jones as a runner.

  15. Rob Staton

    For all those asking about a lack of QB

    I would happily take Dorian Thompson-Robinson in round four

    I can easily see him turning into a bit of a Jalen Hurts type at the next level

    • TomLPDX

      I’d be good with that, assuming we get a deal done with Geno for 2-3 years.

  16. Palatypus

    I’ll bet Bryan Bresee is that guy at the Senior Bowl who is constantly talked up by Daniel Jeremiah on television. Then when he starts falling like Thurman Thomas on draft day everyone acts surprised.

  17. cha

    PC Monday press conf

    [q John Boyle] Defensive improvements in KC? “Obvious we held them down pretty well. Good all-around day for D, needed to score points to make it happen. Contained top offense in league?
    [q] specific? “Matched up well. Tackling wasn’t bad.”

    [q Jen Mueller] More injury info Lucas, Dissly? “Not really. Go through tomorrow see how things go. Banged up a bit. See how they respond. Concerned about guys that missed. Neal, Woods, Lockett. Don’t have updates. (I’m just watching Tyler run over here, he looks great. It’s his hand thought).

    [q Matty Brown] Change in defensive language new system made it a challenge to you personally? Tough for you in season? “Some learning yeah. Adjustment, yeah.”
    [q] Refreshing? “Yeah. Dan Quinn moved, Gus had a whole mentality unique to him. I want to use their stuff and learn theirs, not the other way around.”

    [q Corbin] Chiefs 5 TFL last week, negative plays impact drives? “Good to see them go away, played better in 2nd half. Times guy gets beat, stunts, etc. Has been a problem, issue for me in particular allow penetration. Progress this week. First half two or three plays got away from us.”
    [q] Abram play? “Didn’t have many opps. Shared with Teez Tabor and Q. Plays had a chance did well. Doing a lot in the system already. Safety, dime, nickel, still learning. After meetings today felt good, felt confident. Grow in communication with guys, adjustments, etc. Area of importance as we close out.”

    [q Moz veda] Run game change in second half what changed? “Showed clips team mtg today to demonstrate how much better in second half. LOS changed. Same guys. Stone got a chance to play and contributed. Sticking to it. Ran 11 in first half, 20x in second half. Ken hitting the LOS more consistently helped us.”

    [q Bob Condotta] Tyler this week? “Don’t know yet.”
    [q] Further tests or what? “Find out is he comfortable catch FB and hang onto it. Hasn’t caught a lot in the last week. Different. Will be in good shape just how he handles FB. Wednesday starts.”
    [q] Goodwin ok and WR play vs KC? “Banged a little on wrist. Nursing for a while. Had to quiet down and it did. Been able to come back from things. In terms of WR group without Tyler. Can’t replace him. Utilize strengths other guys bring. We missed him on third downs. Key guy. Missed him. Crucial third down conv’s for us late in the game. Loved to have had in that game.”

    [q Michael S-D] Tyler need to practice or throw in? “Does not need to practice. Q is what it’s like to catch FB. Might not know until late in week. Ready in game plan.”
    [q] Fit around the QB, biggest reason for losses? “Feels like we haven’t played like we need to make turnovers. Gone quiet for a while. Part of contributes to that observation about QBs, it’s not happening. Feels like we’re not playing connected to help one another out. Couldn’t take adv of a terrific day by the defense.”

    [q Tim] 2 of 14 on third down, issues behind it? “First and second downs making thirds shorter. Facilitate converting. Six of them third and 10. Around league, odds hard. Execution early downs. Second half should have helped us when we ran well. Use our guys, use them well, make sure they play well. We build a lot around Tyler and his capabilities.”
    [q] Lucas and Dissly not available? “Too early to tell.”

    [q Gregg Bell] Challenge OL in KC at halftime? “Direct, get back in this game by running the FB. Talked to Ken too. Give us a different rhythm hitting the LOS. He totally did it. Everyone started clicking.”
    [q] First time you’ve had this convo this season? “No.”
    [q] More physical? “I don’t know they were. Second half we play three or four yards, positives, not taking negatives. Challenge to OL but TE and WRs as well. Dareke had a block, DK had a key block too.”
    [q] Is it sustainable? “I showed them on film. Made sure they all saw it. Undeniable.”

    [q Matty Brown] Nickel run fits improving, comfort? “I’d like to talk about some of that off-camera. Not as easy as that. Still gotta play blocks. Disengage and fall back like you need to do. Sometimes connection clear. That happened.”

    [q John] Tariq deep ball breakup? “The one he baited him into? Good illustration, distance he makes up in last 20 yards, hand on the ball too. Remarkable play. Recognized as Pro Bowl. Ton of plays. So many more out there for him too.”

    [q Brady Henderson] Was he really baiting him? “No.”
    [q] Lucas play before injury? “alright, battling. He’s banged up, find out how to do that. Never wavered to take on challenge. Doing fine. Would have liked to see him as part of second half rising, but great to see Stone off bench, key blocks.”
    [q] Walker, what did you tell him, looking for the big play too much? “Grown. Incredible player. Allow him to be instinctive or you make him like everyone else. Fine line. We thought it was worth seeing what we got with direct approach. He is that kind of player, looking for the big play. I don’t want to take that away from him. Felt important to hit it and we’ll take what we get. Bit of a factor in game.”

    • Rob Staton

      We’re 1-5 in the last six, right?

      • cha

        It might seem crazy what I’m bout to say
        Pete Carroll he’s here, you can take a break
        We’re losing games but we could go to space
        Freezing air, like I don’t care baby it’s the way

        Because I’m happy
        Clap along if you feel like halftime was the roof
        Because I’m happy
        Clap along if you feel the second half is the truth
        Because I’m happy
        Clap along if you know what the next game is to you
        Because I’m happy
        Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

        Here come .500 talking this and that
        Well give me all you got don’t hold it back
        Well I should warn ya, I’ll be just fine
        No offense to you, don’t waste your time

        Because I’m happy
        Clap along if you feel like halftime was the roof
        Because I’m happy
        Clap along if you feel the second half is the truth
        Because I’m happy
        Clap along if you know what the next game is to you
        Because I’m happy
        Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

        • Peter

          Well played cha. Well played.

      • Roy Batty

        But Rob, the “tackling wasn’t bad.”

        Good grief. When you have to use the words ”wasn’t bad” when referring to the most basic task of tackling, you know the direction of the franchise is not good.

  18. Romeo A57

    I was extremely disappointed that Denver fired Hackett today. Some other teams that fired their HC this season like Indy and Carolina immediately started playing better after a coaching change. Kansas City is still playing for the #1 seed so I don’t think Denver has much of a chance next week. The Chargers should have a wild card spot wrapped up before Week 18 and the game against Denver will most likely be meaningless for them. I can see LAC sitting Herbert and other starters in that game.

    I am expecting Denver to be favorites against the Chargers and make a bunch of the SDB followers sad by not sending Seattle a Top 3 pick.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m getting a bit bored of the doom-mongering over the pick.

      Even if the Chargers rest their key players, the Broncos just got pumped by the Rams backups

      I’m not going to worry about the outcome of that game

      And plenty of crap teams fire coaches and stay crap (or get worse)

      • Palatypus

        Doom Monger is my arch-villain alter ego.

    • Peter

      Totally different viewpoint….

      Does it matter?

      If you can’t find good to great players at #5 and beyond in any draft well that might be a FO problem.

      If there’s “literally,” only three good players in the draft then I shouldn’t care about 12 or 44, etc.

      It’s still probably is top three. But if it turns into top five somehow do we cancel the draft or do we look to what hopefully awesome player could be had there.

    • Roy Batty

      This has been gone over many times in the last week.

      The Chiefs are gunning for the top seed.

      The Chargers are gunning for playoff seeding.

      The Broncos fired an ineffective head coach, have no viable NFL ready head coach to take over, and just had Randy Gregory suspended.

      On top of all that, their backup QB just got into a shoving match with an offensive lineman, then entered the game and threw a pick 6.

      Also, one of the top defenses in the NFL has 44 points scored on them by a severely depleted Rams team. That’s a defense that has thrown in the towel for the year.

      I’d be surprised if Denver sores over 10 points per game the next two weeks.

      • Palatypus

        But the worst part is that they were mocked by fake starfish on the Nickelodeon simulcast.

  19. Trevor

    Love the mock and focus on the trenches.

    If Levis and Richardson are off the board then I hope this is the route they take.

  20. Alec

    Hey Rob,

    I was having this discussion with a few others – what distinguishes Anthony Richardson from Malik Willis in your eyes?

    The points made were that both have similar speed, (lack of) mechanics, arm strength, and football IQ. We know from the draft circuit that Malik interviewed very well.

    Is the only difference that Willis lit up a small conference, whereas Richardson was average in the SEC?

    • Matt

      Not Rob, but Richardson is Willis on steroids. Also, I think AR showed flashes of extremely high level QB play that I never saw from Willis.

    • Alec

      Also, Im wondering why you would choose to address Center over WR, given that its rare for rookie centers to step in and be effective, and we have a demonstrated need for a quality WR3 given Lockett’s age. Although, I suppose that its a weak FA Center class.

      • Rob Staton

        Do I really need to explain this after the last few weeks and with DK and Tyler still on the roster?

    • Rob Staton

      Anthony Richardson is ten times the prospect Willis is.

  21. ElroyNumbers

    As always great work Rob.
    I hope we go pass rushing interior d lineman at least twice with our first three picks.
    They say running backs have the shortest shelf life of any position in the NFL.
    But I believe it’s actually pass rushing d tackles that have the shortest time span, where they play at high level before regressing. I think of Hawks own Rocky Bernard as a good example of this. He was very effective his first couple years then steadily declined. Another example is Geno Atkins.
    Being around 300 pounds and explosive athlete – I have to think injuries take harder toll on explosiveness than say a 200 or 240 pound athlete. Hence my desire to address this need via the draft rather than free agency.
    Seems like from what Rob has reported we have the cap space to spend highly on maybe one free agent that current plays for another team. Hopefully we can find a center or guard and then get another interior o lineman in first couple rounds of draft as well.
    This team can be much improved if they get stronger up the middle. Maybe not a legit contender like say Bills or Chiefs. But at least have the squad to win a playoff game or two.

  22. KD

    I’m down for this scenario. There are several other scenarios that I would be down for. Richardson, Levis, Young, Carter, Anderson, Wilson, a short trade back two or three spots if they feel comfortable. All I can really ask for is that they don’t try to get too clever like they have done in the past. There are several directions that would be good choices JUST. DON’T. GET. CUTE

  23. Rob Staton

    FWIW there’s a groundswell of Texans fans who want them to take a defensive player first overall

    • Palatypus

      This might be why they are always bad.

  24. JAFreeman

    No Jackson Smith-Ngidba in the first round? Is that because you think he is not a first round talent? That would seem odd given that his former teammates went high in the first round last year and he was generally considered the best of the three.

    Or am I missing something?

    • Rob Staton

      His team mates a year ago didn’t basically sit out their entire final season at Ohio State with injury

      Plus both of them ran in the 4.3’s which Smith-Njigba most definitely will not

      So not that odd

      • JAFreeman

        Fair enough, thanks!

  25. Canadian Hawk

    I think it’s a really solid, well thought out draft Rob.

    If CJ Stroud is there at #12, I might be inclined to take him.

    His mechanics need work, but he certainly passes the eye test, great arm, accurate, highly respected on the team and evidently a complete workhorse.

    Did you give any thought to holding onto that pick and drafting CJ?

  26. Jeff

    I love reading this stuff!

    Rob, something to consider for the future when you mock 2nd round (or later Seahawks) draft picks is maybe just including a list 2-4 players you would like for value for those picks if the player “slipped” in the draft. Doesn’t need a writeup on those players – just more like as extra food for thought for everyone. Or additional a list of 2-4 players identified as “also considered”.

  27. HOUSE

    Interesting take…

  28. Blitzy the Clown

    Boxing Day mock draft should become a tradition

    I can dig an OL of Cross-Lewis-Van Pran-McFadden-Lucas

    And I still think we should add Payne in FA. Imagine Payne and Carter on the same DL 😮

  29. Stuart

    What Jeff said, please?

  30. cha

    Troy Aikman: “There are lot of teams in playoff contention that aren’t playing great football.”

    Amen Troy.

    • Denver Hawker

      Strength of Schedule separates picks 12-20 and none of them have any business in the playoffs. This 7-seed business is terrible.

      • Rob Staton


      • Elmer

        In the real world it’s stupid. But there’s the money world…

  31. DJ 1/2 way

    Love the Mock, Rob. Seems like a fair trade that really makes sense in this scenario. For those that are into it, what do the formulas say? Drop from 12 to 21 and get 53 and a third next year year, which is generally consider equal to a fourth this year. Lets call it pick 112.

    The drop of 9 slots does not seem to impact the pick much. There is only a couple guys that are taken in this mock from 13-20 that ar interesting, so outside of the Kancey fans there is little doubt that 21 and 53 are better than 12. Let’s call the third next year a bonus. Now watch that pick be an impact pick.

    I love the emphasis on trenches plus at least one BAMFer and maybe two with the running back. Can we just please get Rob as GM?


  32. Matt


    You continue to be the best. You challenge your audience to think, and back up your opinions with research-based information.

    It’s a pleasure to read your stuff man. Seriously.


  33. Stuart

    Excellent analysis and write up Rob! There is NOBODY like you and we are so very grateful!!!

    As a GM, why not spent a bit more on a young player that plays a position of need vs signing 2 older players who are not that good for that same amount of money? Why JS, why?

    Then, if you do sign a young free agent, why do you sign him to just a 2 year contract? Why JS, why?

    Why does JS draft players 2 rounds early? My sister who knows zero about football could read the list of BPA and just select the BPA with every pick and it would likely be superior to the history of JS. We do this same thing with Fantasy Football drafts when a player cannot attend the draft and it works out just fine.

    His trades are awful, he over pays for our own guys and his roster building skills have depleted our roster of overall talent and depth (save last years draft).

    It’s coming-the big overpay in terms of dollars and years for Geno, also he will be keeping Diggs and Adams too. Pete’s order!

    With the 3rd pick in the NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Alabama Quarterback Bryce Young. Both Pete and John both sign long contact extensions.

    This city of Seattle is over joyed with the sheer brilliance of JS . He cant fit his head into the press conference room doorway so he just comments from outside in the hall way on how good little guys can be at QB.

    He ends it with how he knew both Joe Montana and Roger Staubach were the real deal long before anyone else did.

  34. Zorn Is King

    As we mull over the possible choice of a First Round Center, consider that Pocic is being touted for the Pro Bowl be writers in Cleveland….

    • Robbie

      Same ones that said Diggs was a pro Bowler?

    • Denver Hawker

      If we had Bitonio and Teller on each side, Blythe would be getting early HoF votes

  35. Luis

    Wow, a first round grade for Witherspoon, that’s a first. I like him, he’s a Kam Chancellor fan (and even got a call out from his idol after delivering a vicious hit this year). But most mocks I see project him to late second. Why you’re so high on him, Rob?

    • Rob Staton

      Because he’s a good player

  36. Peter

    As we round into draft season can any smart fans explain why some positions have greater perceived value?

    I see some thoughts on an early center or early-ish safety and read about value.

    I’ve been following this place since there was about 20 of us. I have fairly agnostic views about positions. If it were me I’d draft BPA probably all day. Which would be wrong probably in its own way.

    If van pran ends up somewhere between Ragnow and Frederick why would it matter? To me short of missing a qb getting a great player is the goal of the draft.

    On Skinner. Sure Pete said safety doesn’t matter. But actions being louder than words and all that. Earl Thomas was a high pick and I don’t think anyone thought that was a waste. In a draft redo I’m sure a ton of teams would have taken Kam.

  37. Forrest

    Exactly the kind of draft we need, Rob! We could add a LB and CB after round 3.

    What are your thoughts on ILB Jack Campbell to replace free agent Cody Barton? Maybe early R4?

    • Rob Staton

      I’d be happy to take him in that range

      But not earlier than R3 — I think he’s overrated in the media

  38. HOUSE


    I LOVE this mock. I saw a comment you on another post regarding taking DTR in the 4th rd and that could make some sense.

    Not sure if you watched the Cowboys/Eagles games, but during the game, there was a discussion about Jonathan Gannon. They were talking about him and the production of the defense. They also mentioned that Gannon got to see a lot of Minshew playing against the defense and that GM was definitely a Top-32 QB in the league. I thought about previous discussions regarding Gannon possibly being a replacement for Carroll and building the defense. Totally hypothetical, but thoughts of him possibly luring Minshew to SEA with him?

    • Rob Staton

      I can’t get excited about Minshew in Seattle

      • HOUSE

        I can understand that. I know Carroll is driving the bus and the direction will be foggy until we figure out if he stays/retires. I just don’t think a new regime would be keeping Geno around. Maybe Minshew would be a cheaper alternative and the coach has familiarity

  39. Pran

    I think Richardson will be there to be had in Top5 or even 10. Will John make the move?

  40. Paul

    * Seattle isn’t drafting a center in the first round

    * If Bryce Young really drops to the Seahawks (doubtful), Schneider would be an idiot to not take him. While Schneider has made some head-scratching moves, he’s not an idiot

    * Unless Will Levis can throw 50-yard strikes across his body on a dead run, mentioning him in the ssme paragraph as Mahomes is, well, fill in the blank. OL notwithstanding, Levis is going up against the equivalent of AA baseball. If he’s really #1 overall caliber, it’s fair to wonder why he hasn’t done more

  41. Jason Nelson

    I wonder what the chances might be that, given the opportunity, the Seahawks might take DT Jalen Carter at #3 and DT Mazi Smith at #12 (or thereabouts, depending on how we finish).

    COMPLETELY remake the interior of the line with two massive and talented inside players who can grow up together.

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