It’s still way too early to do a mock draft and I’m going to wait at least a couple more weeks before publishing my first horizontal board. However, I wanted to pair some names of players to ranges where the Seahawks are currently picking.
Current pick — #10 overall (via Denver)
I wouldn’t expect Will Levis or C.J. Stroud to get out of the top five. I think, by April, Anthony Richardson (should he declare) will cement his place in a similar range due to his immense upside. People will question that thought because typically they assess that he has ‘struggled’ this year (when in reality, he just looks like an inconsistent player who is starting his first full season). Given his physical potential, talent and ceiling — I would expect quarterback needy teams to think of this as an opportunity to draft a player with Josh Allen-upside, then try to develop him. Recent reports have suggested Richardson is leaning towards turning pro. If he does, I think he should be an option for Seattle to develop behind Geno Smith. As I said though, I’m not sure he’d last to #10.
Will Anderson will also be a top five pick despite an underwhelming 2022 season.
I think it’s plausible Bryce Young could fall to this range due to his size (5-10, 185lbs). I’m not convinced the Seahawks would select him if he was available. Young is undoubtedly a very gifted, intriguing player. Yet it will be a difficult decision for teams to balance out his natural talent versus the concerns over his durability at that size and whether he will be able to shine in the same way he does in college. People will scoff at that concern but it is a valid discussion.
Jalen Carter and Bryan Bresee could be available. Neither has shown consistent play on tape but in a year without clear-cut top-10 players, their upside potential and flashes of quality could be tempting. Michigan’s Mazi Smith has been the most disruptive defensive tackle that I’ve seen this year and he will dominate the combine. However, his lack of arm length has previously been a turn-off for the Seahawks (they have often sought players with +33 inch arms).
In terms of pure talent, Bijan Robinson and Michael Mayer warrant consideration and could be available. Robinson will top a lot of draft boards in terms of pure grade. Mayer won’t be far behind provided he tests well. It will be a hard sell, however, to justify taking a running back or tight end with your top pick for obvious reasons. However — both players have star, blue-chip potential and in a weak looking top-10 — they might constitute ‘talent value’ in an otherwise tough year to find it.
I think the Seahawks could also consider Quentin Johnston. He has great size, an outstanding physical profile and carries an X-factor. Like Robinson and Mayer, he might provide rare value at the top of the first round (although his play has been inconsistent at times this year which is slightly worrying). I just get the sense he’s ‘special’ in the way Seattle likes.
I also think Tennessee right tackle Darnell Wright is being massively underrated and deserves a shout-out here — even if the Seahawks are not going to draft another player at this position.
Current pick — #22 overall
This is a difficult one. There’s time for this to change and the Senior Bowl and combine will help shape the board. Yet this is a ‘black hole’ range where picks will likely be a reach in terms of value.
I wonder if teams picking in the 20’s might consider trying to trade their picks for proven players. After all, this year Philadelphia traded #18 for A.J. Brown, Las Vegas moved #22 for Davante Adams, Arizona dealt #23 for Hollywood Brown and Miami gave Kansas City #29 for Tyreek Hill.
This week we’ve already seen the Dolphins trade away a potential pick in the 20’s next year to Denver for Bradley Chubb.
Seattle’s record of trading for expensive veterans isn’t good and without a great deal of cap space to play with, it might be ill-advised. It is something to consider though, if it proves to be that the #22 range in the 2023 draft carries poor value. I would say it’s a distinct possibility.
Clemson pass rusher K.J. Henry only has two sacks in eight games and if that continues it could limit his stock. However — he is a former five-star recruit with the physical traits you’d expect from a top-level athlete. He has been highly disruptive all season and that shows in an 87.0 PFF grade. Henry has also been described as the emotional leader on Clemson’s defense.
Kelee Ringo hasn’t played well enough to go earlier than #22 in my opinion. The Seahawks might feel they don’t need another cornerback (and they’ve steered clear of drafting them early). However, pairing Ringo (a first class size/speed combo athlete) with Tariq Woolen would be interesting. They’d need to work on his technique though and he’s developed a habit of being targeted (and beat) deep more than you’d expect from such a physically impressive corner.
There could be some value at receiver here and the Seahawks could still use a really excellent WR3. Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt is having a fantastic season and his ability to increase acceleration in the final moments of a route to create separation is eye-catching. I’m not sure Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba is quick enough for Seattle (or perhaps even to go in round one) but he’s a skilled, natural receiver.
A lot of people rate Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy as a top-15 pick but I feel more comfortable giving him a fringe first round grade. He’s very athletic for his size, shows a good burst off the edge and is having a very solid season. I just get a Shaq Lawson vibe from him and wonder about his frame. He lacks muscle definition and is pretty limited to a 4-3 defensive end role.
It might be justifiable to trade down from #22 and pick up extra stock but this is also a tactic that has not played well for Seattle over the years. It’s far easier for me to list appealing options in round two than it is to list targets for #22.
Current picks — #41 overall (via Denver) & #56 overall
Now it gets interesting.
The value on day two feels far better than round one. Obviously if players get promoted into round one, day two will suffer. Even so, there are names I like a lot in this range.
Ole Miss’ Jonathan Mingo is a well sized, dynamic big target with plus athleticism and mobility. The Seahawks appear to be somewhat intrigued by a bigger WR3 type (they’ve taken a look at Laquon Treadwell and JJ Arcega-Whiteside). Mingo is one to watch and is flying under the radar. He glides as a runner despite his 220lbs frame.
A more diminutive option would be Zay Flowers. Don’t be put off by the size — he has better change-of-direction skills and stop-start ability than any other receiver I recall scouting since starting this blog in 2008.
Three other receivers worth mentioning are West Virginia’s tall, athletic playmaker Bryce Ford-Wheaton who seems to be flying under the radar, Tennessee’s other receiver Cedric Tillman (very talented in his own right) and Maryland’s dynamic Rakim Jarrett (who might be a bit too similar to Dee Eskridge).
Tight end isn’t going to be a huge need but Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave is going to be an underrated option for someone in round two with a fantastic combination of reliability, toughness and extreme athleticism.
There should be good O-line options. For me, Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski and Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan are better suited to kicking inside to guard and I’m not sure I’d take either any earlier than this. Penn State’s Olu Fashanu is incredibly raw as a 19-year-old prospect and his technique is a major work in progress. However, he has natural power and great size and could be moulded into a guard/tackle type. I think he’d be better off staying in college and honing his craft because I don’t think he’s that close to being ready to start at left tackle in the NFL.
There’s an embarrassment of riches at center. None of these players fit Seattle’s and LA’s apparent Austin Blythe/Brian Allen size/style preference (and I think the Seahawks will stick with it, thus the recent return of Joey Hunt for a look-see). That said — John Michael Schmitz, Joe Tippman, Ricky Stromberg, Olusegun Oluwatimi and Sedrick Van Pran all interest me for day two. Tippman and Stromberg are outstanding athletes who will test very well. Schmitz is a powerhouse who plays with violence. Oluwatimi has been a pillar of consistency for Michigan and there’s a lot of upside potential with Van Pran (if he declares).
There are high upside outside linebacker/edge rusher types. B.J. Ojulari is active, long and athletic and has been featuring specifically as a 3-4 OLB. He also wears the famous #18 jersey given to the LSU player who best characterises leadership. Will McDonald has had a poor season for Iowa State but has all of the athletic tools you look for in an OLB/EDGE. He needs a rocket up his arse though.
Michigan’s Mike Morris hasn’t played with a great deal of urgency this year aside from when he ran himself ragged in the Michigan State ‘revenge’ game last weekend. He’s still a big, powerful, athletic pass rusher who can handle power-end duties and could be a flexible EDGE or 3-4 DE.
Alabama’s Byron Young doesn’t get much attention but he has consistently found ways into the backfield this year to disrupt and impact games. He is a potential defensive tackle or 3-4 end. He’s never going to be a spectacular pass rusher but as a steady, consistent performer at the next level who plays with toughness and surprising quickness I think he’s worthy of day two consideration. He has a PFF grade this year of 83.7.
South Carolina’s Zacch Pickens has great size and athleticism at defensive tackle and has the potential to be a very solid, high-upside second round pick. I just worry a little about his stamina and endurance. His motor is good but he seems to get tired. Wisconsin’s Keanu Benton is well worth keeping in mind as another defensive tackle option and as we discussed earlier this week — undersized Pittsburgh pass rusher Calijah Kancey lacks typical measurables (6-0, 280lbs) but he’s a menace with great speed combining with quick, forceful hands to create pressure. He’s expected to run in the late 4.6’s and carries a 90.1 PFF grade.
UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet should be considered in round two. He has fantastic size, contact balance, footwork, he drives through contact, he’s explosive, has good speed and he’s a useful pass-catcher.
Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson isn’t having anywhere near the kind of season he had last year and has been one of the bigger disappointments so far. Even so, he is going to test very well at the combine and with the right guidance could yet emerge as a useful NFL player. In 2021 he was a strong blitzer and a big hitter but we haven’t seen as much of that this year. He only has half a TFL and half a sack in 2022 — despite playing behind the best defensive line in college football.
At safety there are three players I really like in this range.
Christopher Smith at Georgia wears #29 and it looks good on him. He can run to the sideline with great burst and recognition skills. He’ll sprint to the LOS and make good open-field tackles. Smith is a proper free safety who is a good forty time away from being taken in the top-50. His PFF grade is an 83.0 for the season including an 84.8 coverage grade.
Then there’s the two players I discussed earlier this week. Ji’Ayir Brown has an unorthodox, stocky frame but he’s quick, impactful, has nine interceptions in the last 1.5 seasons and is considered the heart and soul, highly respected leader at Penn State. Boise State’s JL Skinner is a violent, big-time hitter with plus run-support skills and the ability to strike fear into opponents on crossing routes and anything short.
Current pick — #87 overall
There are more receivers I like in this range (it’s another deep class). Ohio State’s Julian Fleming hasn’t delivered on his incredible recruiting potential but there’s definitely something there. If he chooses to turn pro, this is the kind of range I’d consider taking a shot on his talent.
Kayshon Boutte has had a tremendously disappointing season for LSU. If it leads to a fall — and I think it should — there will come a time when someone should take a punt on his upside.
A lot of people are projecting Georgia left tackle Broderick Jones in round one. I think he’s arguably more of a guard convert or a swing-tackle. Yet his aggressive style and athletic build would be appealing here. I’d also be interested in Clemson’s Jordan McFadden and Arizona’s Jordan Morgan in this range for the same tackle-to-guard conversion.
Clemson has a fantastic D-line (as noted already) and Tyler Davis deserves some love among the big name players. I’m not sure he’ll go much earlier than round three but he’s a very solid, consistent, disruptive performer in his own right. Florida’s Gervon Dexter flatters to deceive and based on his performances so far, could last into the middle rounds. He has the upside — he’s just never been consistent or that impactful.
I think some big name, slightly overrated linebackers will go in this range. Nolan Smith, for example, looks like a third rounder to me (and has just been ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn pec). Iowa’s Jack Campbell and Alabama’s Henry To’oto’o are also marked in round three for me. I have Arkansas’ Drew Sanders in this range after his hot start quietened somewhat.
I really like Ventrell Miller — a great leader, run defender and a tough linebacker who’s been playing through injury all season. I think he has physical limitations though and an injury history that could keep him in the middle rounds. Is he athletic enough for Seattle? Probably not but I want to keep mentioning him anyway.
I think there will be good value at running back in round three — with Kentucky’s Chris Rodriguez a big, bulldozing, yards-after-contact tone-setter, Auburn’s explosive Tank Bigsby and Ole Miss’ Zach Evans are also potential options.
I have Ohio State center Luke Wypler graded in round three plus a collection of what I’d call slightly overrated pass rushers — Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Isaiah Foskey, Tyree Wilson, Derrick Hall, Jared Verse and Andre Carter. I still think a third round grade is pretty good frankly — and some of these players chose not declare for the 2022 draft in part because that’s likely what they heard from the draft committee.
Current pick — #124 overall
This is where I would personally start considering the next tier of quarterbacks. I appreciate Hendon Hooker is having a great season but he’s also going to be a 25-year-old rookie who plays in a half-field read system in college, often throwing to wide-open (well schemed) receivers. His accuracy is patchy and covered up by the manufactured production. He’s having a great year and deserves a ton of praise — but it’s hard to project him to the NFL.
This is also the range where I’d start to consider Dorian Thompson-Robinson (who I like a lot), Tanner McKee (Mike Glennon II) and K.J. Jefferson.
If you gave me only one choice at quarterback and it had to be retaining Drew Lock to backup Geno Smith or drafting someone in round four I’d probably stick with Lock.
There are three running backs I’d consider in this range (remember — this is all pre-testing and Senior Bowl analysis) — Kenny McIntosh, Sean Tucker and Blake Corum.
This could be the area where TCU’s athletic but inconsistent pass rusher Dylan Horton lands. USC’s Nick Figueroa is a player I think is better than people recognise. He’s a very active defensive end.
At linebacker, Owen Pappoe at Auburn has some absolutely dreadful moments on tape but he’s a superstar athlete. Seattle has often targeted great athletes at linebacker. At SPARQ he ran a 4.47 forty, a 4.00 short shuttle and he jumped a 40 inch vertical. His total score was an elite 147.12. That’s the kind of profile Seattle has gone for in the fourth round range previously.
I think Washington State’s Daiyan Henley could go earlier than this if he tests well. I like him — I just want to see his measurables and testing numbers before committing to a higher grade. Texas’ DeMarvion Overshown will likely not test well enough for Seattle but he’ll have some value if he’s there early on day three.
The final name I want to mention is safety John Torchio. He’s been a real playmaker this year with five interceptions (eight in the last 1.5 seasons). I thought he had a tremendous game in an otherwise miserable night for Wisconsin against Ohio State. He’s gritty, quick and can hit. If nothing else he looks like a core special teamer. I’m intrigued to see his testing results.
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