There’s not a simple fix for Seattle’s defense in the draft

“They need to add a game-wrecker”

I’ve seen people say this a few times since the Raiders game.

If only it were that easy.

This is partly the problem with the draft. If you don’t have intimate knowledge of a class, it’s easy to be swayed by mainstream opinion (which isn’t always reliable).

I’m not convinced there’s an obvious ‘game-wrecker’ in the 2023 group. A player who might be, Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey, is an afterthought among most draft analysts purely due to his size.

Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter is a very good player and has shown game-wrecking potential in a couple of games since returning from injury. I’m not convinced, however, that we’re seeing someone who can crash the interior with consistency to truly ‘wreck games’. Certainly his numbers this year — two sacks and five TFL’s in 10 games — don’t suggest we’re talking about an unstoppable force.

As a point of comparison, Quinnen Williams had eight sacks and 19.5 TFL’s in his final year at Alabama (15 games).

Will Anderson, meanwhile, has endured a mixed season. After taking college football by storm in 2021 he hasn’t been able to rekindle that form this year. He’s had some really rough games, such as the outing at Tennessee where he was manhandled by Darnell Wright.

Teams will spend considerable time working out how a player with an astonishing 31 TFL’s and 17.5 sacks a year ago only has 17 TFL’s and 10 sacks in 2022.

Let’s be clear — those are still good numbers. They are far better than the other, somewhat overrated defensive linemen eligible for the draft. It’s still a reduction though and he hasn’t been the game-wrecking force we saw last season.

We also need to be clear about what Anderson is. He’s listed at 6-4 and 243lbs. That is a lot smaller than your typical game-wrecking EDGE. For example, Joey Bosa is 269lbs. Nick Bosa is 266lbs. Myles Garrett is 272lbs. They are all considerably heavier than Anderson — and his frame looks relatively maxed out already.

The hope has to be that he can be a Von Miller type. The combine, therefore, will be crucial. Miller weighed 246lbs at the 2011 combine and ran a 4.53 forty, a 4.06 short shuttle, a 6.70 three cone and jumped a 37 inch vertical. These are incredible numbers. Anderson will need to emulate Miller to truly warrant the comparison.

He’s still a quality player. Both Carter and Anderson, within this class, deserve to go in the top-five. Either would be a good pick for Seattle and present a worthy chance to take. But I don’t feel either are shoe-ins in the way the Bosa brothers or Garrett were. It also won’t be a surprise if both experience significant growing pains.

In many ways saying ‘draft a game-wrecker’ is similar to saying ‘draft a franchise quarterback’. It’s not easy to win the jackpot.

Look at the pass rushers drafted in the top-10 between 2017-2021:

2017 — Solomon Thomas

Genuinely looked the part at Stanford, was drafted third overall and was a complete and total bust.

2018 — Bradley Chubb

Recently traded by Denver to Miami, Chubb is a good not great player and while certainly offering plus ability off the edge, he’s not a particularly feared ‘game-wrecker’.

2019 — Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Clelin Ferrell, Josh Allen, Ed Oliver

Bosa is unquestionably one of the best in the game. Williams has needed all four years of his rookie contract to realise his potential and now looks legit. Ferrell was a bust, while Allen and Oliver are fairly middling players.

2020 — Chase Young

Injuries have stalled Young’s career but there wasn’t that much evidence of ‘game-wrecking’ potential when he was on the field. He feels more like a player who can become Bradley Chubb rather than Nick Bosa.

2021 — None

As we can see, the hit-rate isn’t good. It’s worse than the top-10 quarterbacks drafted that have become excellent players (Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, Tagovailoa, Herbert). You also have players who have flashed franchise potential (Murray) and players who could yet reach that level (Lawrence).

It is incredibly hard to find a game-wrecking defensive lineman. Often when you get one it’s through sheer luck. Teams passing on Aaron Donald due to his size. Maxx Crosby lasting to round four. Nobody realising Micah Parsons could play the edge because he focused on middle linebacker at Penn State. T.J. Watt inexplicably lasting until the late first round.

Something similar might happen in 2023 with Kancey, if his immense talent and production translates to the next level. He has, after all, helped Pittsburgh to 45 sacks in 2022 — the most in college football. I’m not sure many people realise that.

Yet it will be difficult for the Seahawks to find the next great superstar defensive lineman — even with a top-five pick.

I think that’s something that frankly just needs to be said at this point, amid the growing clamour to ‘just get a star in the draft’. It really is no different than trying to find the next Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow, I’m afraid, and there’s little to suggest such a player will be readily available when the Seahawks inevitably benefit from Denver’s miserable situation.

I think there are other things to consider here too. As I touched on last night, this can’t just be a ‘talent’ thing. No team should be conceding 300 total yards to a running back, giving up nearly 600 yards of total offense and nearly 300 rushing yards.

The Seahawks are giving up 388.7 yards a game. They’re on course to smash last season’s unwanted franchise record of conceding 379.1 yards a game. Despite all the scheme and coaching changes — they have regressed as a unit.

Promising players like Darrell Taylor have become total non-factors. They seem incapable of creating pressure. At times it feels like they’re playing without edge rushers. I’m not a X’s and O’s expert but I’ve wondered a couple of times whether the ‘OLB’ responsibilities thrust upon Seattle’s edge players are preventing them from just getting their heads down and having a blast at the quarterback.

The run defense is a shambles, the linebacker play isn’t good (despite what people tell you about Jordyn Brooks, including the Pro Bowl voting). Quandre Diggs is having a rotten season.

Seattle’s defense has been fairly miserable for a number of years but they’re in danger of plumbing new depths. While this is a group that certainly is in need of a talent injection, I’m wondering whether we should rue the fact they can’t draft a well organised scheme or a good defensive coordinator.

After watching the last two games I’m also returning to the thought that if you want to run the Vic Fangio defense, you better hire the man himself. Otherwise you’ll end up with a pale imitation. Or worse — you’ll watch a defense giving up 600 yards to a 3-7 team.

It also has to be said that a reasonable amount has already been spent on this group. L.J. Collier and Jordyn Brooks are both first round picks. They spent two firsts on the injured Jamal Adams. Boye Mafe and Darrell Taylor cost second round picks. Cody Barton cost a third rounder. Poona Ford has the biggest cap hit on the roster this year. They just paid Quandre Diggs a fortune, plus Adams a year ago. Uchenna Nwosu was the most expensive outside free agent they’ve ever signed.

For anyone thinking plunging picks and resource into the unit will be a cure-all — that’s not necessarily going to be the case.

Until they can get the scheme sorted, organised and functioning — with the team at least able to not be a shambles defending the run and rushing the passer — any optimism for the future will be checked somewhat.

I mean, does anyone really want to see Will Anderson essentially reduced to an ineffective role as an OLB within this scheme?

So how do they do move forward? They’ve tried different coaches and ideas. They’ve spent picks. The Head Coach clearly isn’t going anywhere. So how does this work?

This brings us back to the broader outlook for this team. Where exactly are they?

The 2023 draft might be the only time in this window the Seahawks get to use a top-five pick, thanks to the Broncos. How they approach the draft will shape the future of the team and determine so much.

Is Geno Smith good enough to win a Super Bowl? Is he good enough to justify avoiding the quarterback position with a high pick next year?

These are questions we must discuss in more detail.

As the team has been winning and succeeding, it’s been easy to imagine pairing a prolific offense with a better defense and Seattle growing within a muddled NFC.

Yet, as we’ve seen, it’s difficult to draft and create a great defense. It’s not unimaginable to think they could spend high picks on the defense next year (which I’m not opposed to at all) but we see little immediate return for that investment (rookie growing pains) and the team doesn’t really improve from where it is now (6-5). In the meantime, Geno Smith will turn 33 and while it’s quite fun watching him succeed this year on a $3.5m cap hit — how will we feel watching the same kind of results when they’re paying him, say, $30m?

Smith was probably one of the few bright spots yesterday against the Raiders but it was also clear he was throwing a few more riskier passes and he was responsible for an interception and possibly a fumble on a botched run/pass option.

The Seahawks undoubtedly will want to keep Smith beyond this year unless he implodes down the stretch. Yet they’re going to have a once in a generation (for this franchise) opportunity to pick very, very early in round one — with a reasonable quarterback class on deck.

If we take the view that perhaps this team isn’t as close to contention as we thought three weeks ago — it might be a wise decision to invest in a potential heir apparent to Smith and try to find defensive solutions with your other picks.

The ‘Alex Smith-Patrick Mahomes’ transition plan, if you will.

Such a decision might be thrust upon Seattle anyway.

The current top four in the draft are:

#1 Houston
#2 Chicago
#3 Detroit (via Rams)
#4 Seahawks (via Broncos)

On first viewing it’s easy to assume the Texans and Lions will both draft quarterbacks, leaving one of Jalen Carter or Will Anderson for the Seahawks.

I’m not so sure about that.

For starters — C.J. Stroud has not had the kind of year to justify the almost unchecked praise he receives on the internet. I think it’s possible teams will view him with suspicion mixed with intrigue. He has the arm talent for sure — but like all Ohio State quarterbacks he has been babied by the scheme and the talent around him. We hear all about Will Levis’ 10 interceptions (one of which was a clear sack/fumble against Florida) but Stroud has thrown six picks in a much better environment — with better weapons, easier opponents and superior protection.

Levis himself has not had a fun time this season. Kentucky’s O-line has been an abomination. They’ve given up 3.5 sacks a game — ninth most in college football. That’s with a recent improvement too — that number was nearer the 4-5 sacks per game mark a few weeks ago.

Here are some important comparisons as you form your own opinions on the quarterbacks in this draft…

Sacks conceded per-game in 2022:

Oregon — 0.4
Washington — 0.5
Georgia — 0.5
Ohio State — 0.7
Florida — 1.3
Alabama — 1.5
Tennessee — 1.9
Kentucky — 3.5

Of course, stuff like this rarely gets mentioned in the media. It’s an important statistic to know, along with the schemes these teams use. For example — put Michael Penix Jr behind Kentucky’s O-line and let’s see how he gets on. Ditto Bryce Young for that matter. I’m sure Will Levis would’ve enjoyed some of those wide open throws Penix Jr managed in the Apple Cup, plus the half-field read offense. And that’s not to diminish Penix Jr, who has a great arm and has achieved great things this year. But an apples for apples comparison you cannot make between all the signal callers entering the league. Their environments, schemes and situations are all terribly different.

Even so — Levis has no momentum going into draft season, unless you want to count momentum moving him into the medical room. He’s played with shoulder and foot injuries all year due to the battering he’s received. I still think he will be the first quarterback taken due to his extreme physical skills, experience in a pro-offense and winning character but it’s hardly a shoe-in. Neither is it a slam dunk he will become the next Justin Herbert or Josh Allen, as some are suggesting he could be.

Bryce Young is great but as we’ve said a few times — he’s 5-10 and 185lbs. That might not matter to people on the internet but it will matter to GM’s needing to justify their jobs and their owners’ faith and millions of dollars.

Then there’s Anthony Richardson — far from the finished product but an insane physical specimen who at times looks like a Josh Allen/Lamar Jackson hybrid. He could be the #1 pick or the #20 pick next year. I think as the process goes on teams will fall in love with his potential and think less about the slightly inaccurate throws (too many just behind the receiver or making the target work for the ball). Again though — there’s no guarantee that happens.

As such, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Texans decide their best course of action is to let GM Nick Caserio ring his old buddy Jimmy Garoppolo and decide their intention is to roll with a quarterback who has been to one Super Bowl and a separate NFC Championship game while building up their defense. Especially if Carter and Anderson test well at the combine.

Chicago will go defense at #2 given the lack of options on the offensive line. The only thing stopping that would be an attractive trade down option.

What I’m saying is — don’t be shocked if the top two picks are the top two defensive players. You might scoff at that now but try telling anyone a year ago that Malik Willis wasn’t a high first round pick. You’d get the same response.

If the top two defensive linemen are off the board when Seattle picks — I don’t think there’s another you can justify taking that early. Neither do I think trading down to acquire more stock is a great idea either. We’ve seen that show before — getting loads of picks and not doing anything with them. It should only really be a consideration if the compensation includes future firsts — and it’s too early to know how likely that is.

Aside from Anderson, Carter and the top four quarterbacks — the only two players I think you can legitimately justify taking in the top-10 are a running back (Bijan Robinson) and a tight end (Michael Mayer). As such, I think it creates the extra incentive to just stash a QB if the top two defenders are gone.

Frankly, it should be a consideration even if the defenders are available. This is still a quarterback league — even if you do need to support them with complementary offensive and defensive pieces.

Can Geno Smith lead Seattle to the promise land? That’s a big question. If not, you have a duty to ask whether others in the draft can. I do think the likes of Levis and Richardson look like the kind of big, strong, athletic, impressive types John Schneider tends to be wooed by.

That said, the Seahawks need to be able to win in the trenches to play their brand of football. At the moment, they are failing miserably to do that.

Peter Carroll admitted on the radio this morning:

“We didn’t win the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball and that was really devastating.”

At least, it seems, they know where their priorities lie for next off-season. With or without a high quarterback pick thrown in.

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  1. Tien

    Another great insightful piece, Rob! I hope the draft plays out as you think it might and the Hawks get a crack at either Levis or Richardson. We can’t control the defensive scheme for as long as Pete is still HC and I would rather the Hawks take a swing at a possible franchise QB in those two kids.

  2. bmseattle

    If Levis or Richardson is available, I think you need to take one of them.
    If the value isn’t there for a DL, take the QB with the highest perceived upside, and re-sign Lock to start if Geno isn’t reasonable.
    If we can then get Kancey with our native pick, there’s our potential game wrecker on the DL.

    • Big Mike

      I’m totally onboard with this idea/approach. The chance at a possible true franchise QB is something I couldn’t pass on.

      • Hoggs41

        I think that would work as well. The other option is could Richardson slide to around 15 and maybe a small trade up. Then potentially get Carter/Anderson with the Denver pick.

        • Rob Staton

          Carter will be the first defensive player taken, not Anderson. Not unless something happens between now and draft season.

  3. SoCal12

    So let’s say you’re on the clock with the third pick. Two QBs have been taken, and you have your choice between Anderson and Carter. Who would pick and why?

    Completely hypothetical scenario, but I’m curious what people think and their reasoning.

    • Trevor

      Favorite option: Trade back for more draft capital and multiple future first round picks

      Next favorite option: Draft Anthony Richardson.

  4. Ashish

    Bucs and Raider game both were winnable games and that hurts. Falcons and NO games oh boy. May be this will make Hawks prioritize to get QB or DL in their first 4 picks in upcoming draft. Safety comments also sound promising hope we can get something out of 2 safeties or get rid of both to have better $$ balance. Pete should not able to sleep with this run defense stop the run is the first rule of his defense.

  5. Denver Hawker

    Might as well lock in Detroit for #2 overall:

    • Rob Staton

      If Will Levis doesn’t go first overall, I bet Detroit take him

      He’s right up their street, for that coach and GM

      • Blitzy the Clown

        Motor City would love Levis

        • Rob Staton

          It’s a great fit for the player and team

      • Denver Hawker

        I keep waiting for Campbell to kickoff a presser with “Oooohh yea!” and throw in a “brother” after each sentence. I like the team building in Detroit and agree Levis would be perfect.

        • Hoggs41

          Id be OK with it if they shut down Darnold for the rest of the season.

  6. KD

    As Robbie pointed out on one of your stream ages ago, having a talented QB on a rookie contract is one of the biggest competitive advantages that any NFL team can have. Having Russ on that rookie contract was a HUGE factor in being able to augment the roster with FAs like Bennett, Avril, Miller, etc. Obviously, Hawks don’t have the cap space to add those FAs next year, but being able to stash that QB may be the most practical and conservative choice.

    As for the defense, a game wrecker on the D line would be wonderful, but I’m more than happy to just settle for a group of solid to above average players who can just play good, disciplined football and stick to their assignments and tackle well. The game wrecker in this draft may not even be on the D line. He might be a strong safety *wink wink*

    • Peter

      I’m not all that into the idea of the biggest competitive advantage thought.

      Mahomes, wilson, big Ben, Eli manning, Tom brady, Flacco (I think,) Foles (I think). Sure that’s a good list of rookies and makes you think a rookie is the way to go. Once. Ben, Tom, and Eli all did it again while being paid.

      The biggest competitive advantage is having a top ten or better top 5 defense.

      Every superbowl winner except the ravens with Flacco and the giants had a top 10 or higher defense. Brady got most of his rings with a top five defense. Nothing against his game. Just saying.

      There in lies a bit of my problem with Pete. It’s starting to feel like scheme and personnel are problems.

      Whether they resign Geno, draft a rookie to play or stash, roll with lock until they figure out a way to dial in this defense I’m not sure this team is going anywhere.

  7. KennyBadger

    We share the same concerns about defensive scheme Rob, but I have more of a talent question. While there may not be a bona fide ‘game wrecker’, you’ve been complementary of other defensive players at some of our more desperate positions. Do you think there’s enough defense available in the draft at the later picks to adequately address the problem that way?

    • Rob Staton

      I think you can add good players in this draft

      I don’t think you can draft your way out of giving up 600 yards to a 3-7 team though

  8. Ashish

    Rob, to fix Defense (run game) is there anyone we can sign in a free agency? I know cap space is issue but if we shift priorities like drafting a QB and stay away from Geno if he is 10+ mil and cut Diggs and Adams so on.

    • Rob Staton

      There are no notable upcoming free agents who are grading very well vs the run (per PFF)

      Michael Clemons, blog favourite from this year, is grading at 84.6 for run defense as a rookie though (76.8 overall). Shame.

  9. Big Mike

    Well thought out and well presented article as usual Rob. Lots to consider for sure.
    A question: from what I’ve seen of Bryce Young, mentally/reading/processing he appears to be the best of the 4 top QBs. Do you think he’d be a slam dunk first overall if he were 6’3″ and 225 lbs.?

    • Rob Staton

      Yes — but I suppose you could say that about any player. If only they were bigger, faster, stronger etc.

      The fact is he’s 5-10 and 185lbs and hasn’t faced a physical pounding like the one that is coming. If you draft him and put him on a bad team, I would worry for him. Let’s see how the poise and processing is impacted when you’ve got no time in the pocket, need to make quick decisions and don’t get to play for Alabama against inferior opponents. And let’s see if he can survive being hit all the time.

  10. Rob Staton

    Bunch of scouting notes from the weekend to come — will likely write them up and publish Wednesday.

  11. cha

    This is a great well thought out article Rob.

    How far behind Jalen Carter do you see Mazi Smith?

    I would really have to think long and hard at drafting a NT high, but if the QBs and the Big 2 are gone, I would really struggle with Mayer or Bijan from a value perspective if this defense cannot ever get untracked.

    • Blitzy the Clown

      Along those same lines of if the Denver pick isn’t high enough for one of Levis/Richardson/Carter/Anderson…

      …is it unreasonable to take Kancey that high? Especially if he tests to expectations?

    • Rob Staton

      Very different players for me — Smith a nose, Carter more of a penetrator. Smith can be disruptive but I can’t really get excited about him at #4

      • cha


        I get it. As much as I’d like a moose in the middle I struggle with the idea.

        If I knew that Kancey would be there later (or a small move up for not much compensation) I could make peace with say Mayer at their first pick.

        • Rob Staton

          I think it has to be DL or QB at #4

          But if Mayer was there at #16 somehow I’m running to the podium. He’s too good.

        • AlaskaHawk

          From the limited amount of film I’ve seen, I’ve been most impressed with Kancey.
          I’m more inclined to use him at defensive end as a pass rusher, or thinking outside the box as a middle linebacker. I just think that he would be more effective in the pros at those positions.

          I don’t know if Kancey could play middle linebacker, but think about how much stronger the run defense would be with him filling holes and making tackles. He could still blitz from there.

          My thoughts would change if I saw some one awesome on film, but I really haven’t seen anyone posted on this site that I want more.

          • cha

            He would be wasted at MLB.

            He has a PFF pass rush grade of 92 on the interior and is consistently productive.

          • Rob Staton

            Middle linebacker???????

            He’s 280lbs! And built like a cannonball!

            • AlaskaHawk

              Speaking hypothetically – what if he doesn’t excel as a lineman due to size. After all there is only one Donald. Are you willing to try him in other positions?

              • AlaskaHawk

                I’ll also add that the middle linebacker has the most tackles on a team. No matter how good the line is. So why not put a 280 pound player there? If they have the skills then they will most likely stop the run more effectively in that position.

                • DW

                  There’s more to playing middle backer than just being a big body that people will run into over and over. Not even to mention that asking a 280+ pound interior lineman to play a new position at the pro level for the very first time after investing a premium pick on him seems like bad process when he really doesn’t even have translatable skills.
                  There’s also the fact that the NFL has moved away from big, thumbing interior backers. Look at Fred Warner, Darius (Shaquille?) Leonard, Roquon Smith. They’re all long, lean, premium athletes and under 240. They need to be able to drop into coverage, cover TEs, and go sideline to sideline.
                  A converted interior lineman isn’t going to do that.

              • 509 Chris

                I think moving him around the line is a fine idea. Donald plays every spot pretty much every game. It might be he’s better on the edge in early downs but collapses the pocket from the top in clear passing situations.

          • Elmer

            I understand why they made the decision to cut him ($$$&, youth, building for the future, scheme change), but do believe that they miss Wagner at ILB.

            • cha

              I don’t.

  12. Spectator

    This is a great breakdown on how the QBs could fall into range to grab, and most definitely worth discussing. If Richardson fell to us I think that’s different than some just saying we need to get a QB at with our top pick. I still bring up the talking point of, would PC/JS use this pick on a player they may not even be coaching/managing? I understand that is really any pick, but I think it’s different being at the QB position opposed to another positions. Someone said the team is going to be sold in the next two years, is that owner going to come in an just let PC/JS continue OR are they going to want to bring in new blood and THEIR guy. PC/JS gotta be betting the latter and really only have 2-4 years to win it.

    We are understanding that Geno probably needs to be signed regardless as a bridge, if trying to go the Mahomes route. Can Geno/PC be to Levi’s or Richardson what Smith/Reid were for mahomes tho? And if they are on a 2-4 year window, 2 of those at least have the pick have 0 impact. Maybe they think that’s okay tho and really looking at the year 3 and 4 to win it will a potential star QB on cheap contract. Maybe then go the Rams route and blow up future picks for the win NOW. Idk anyone would be mad at that either if it got us the Super Bowl victory.

    Like I said before, I’d love Richardson for his potential. And would be arguable the best pick for the long term future of the Hawks.

    I disagree on some peoples statement that a game manager can’t win a Super Bowl tho. Look at the past 10 years of Super Bowl winning QBs and the QBs they faced. Quite a few game managers (files, Goff, Flacco JimmyG, and I’d even consider Russ a manager when he won it for us, Brady in his last one, and Manning in his last one). A game manager with a good supporting cast, good scheme (which you have mentioned Rob and makes complete sense and needs to be addressed), and some luck can most definitely win a Super Bowl.

    I know Rob you mention in here and have continue to echo that trading back isn’t the right move, which I can understand, but I agree 100 percent on your analysis of Anderson and Carter and don’t see them as game-wreckers. So if Levi’s and Richardson are gone, why not move back get a few more darts to throw this year? I’m really on the Kancey train, so moving back and collecting more picks to grab Kancey and some other pieces just seems like a good idea. Say we have 5 and the top 4 are the 2 QBs and 2 def players. Someone will want to move to get stroud. Or say we have 4 or 3 and one or both of the D players are there. Is there that much separating the d players and middle first D players?

    • Rob Staton

      They’ve had darts

      They kept missing the treble 20 and hitting the five or the one

      • Spectator

        Last year aside, this is so true. But having more throws (chances to hit) is still better, no? Unless staying put, puts us way closer to the board than where we would be getting another throw.

        And I guess a scenario where we are 5 and the 2 QBs and 2 D players are gone isn’t the discussion right now.

        • Rob Staton

          The minute you trade down you are picking a worse player theoretically

          They should only move down for a kings ransom. They surely shouldn’t (or won’t) nickel and dime this to get a few more picks

  13. 12th chuck

    take a qb with the first pick. Geno isn’t going to give us a team friendly deal and let’s not forget he had a dui that he has to deal with. save the 30 mill or whatever, and get rid of 2 overpriced, underperforming safeties and get that over with. its going to suck next year as well. Then, invest in the d line, center safety, linebacker. Having a 3rd wr, is needed, but when you play peteball, it’s not a priority

  14. GerryG

    Good read thanks!

    Regarding a trade back:
    “It should only really be a consideration if the compensation includes future firsts — and it’s too early to know how likely that is.”

    Agree with this, I’ve been one to entertain the trade down idea, but it would need be for a haul ala what SF gave up to draft Lance. I’d also want to remain in the top ten. Personally my gut feel based on nothing, is teams will be chomping at the but draft a QB after punting on the position last year.

    • MarkSouza

      The problem with trading down for future draft picks is you don’t know what you’re getting. Will it be a top 5 pick, or #32? There’s a huge difference in value between the two. One would be equitable, the other would mean you got screwed.

      • cha

        I doubt that would deter teams from making a trade for future picks.

  15. Andrew

    Rob could not agree more on QB, The denver pick Will go to #3 once Chicago has its bye adn the only winnable game for Den would be against Rams. Give Gino a 2 year deal. draft Levis or kid from Fla, this gift must be a dart thrown at future QB in my opinión…We Will have pretty much 3 first rounders with the low second from denver, we Will have ammo to move around draft board to build trenches, safe to say we Will not have a chance at a qb again with this gift from Denver. You draft work gets better every year, keep up the solid work. Cheers

  16. Ryan Purcell

    It’s going to be a fun draft this year. Hard to say which way they are going to lean at the moment. I am sort of wondering if maybe we’ve switched to a 3/4 based defense right at the time where offenses have figured the 3/4 defense out. Use heavy run sets and fullbacks!! Seems like the running game has never been more important than it is right now.

    • Rob Staton

      Nobody runs Vic Fangio’s system well

      Apart from Vic Fangio

  17. Erik

    Dilemma: root for the Seahawks, because I’m a fan, or for the Rams (yuck), which helps our draft positions.

  18. Denver Hawker

    At least 2 things I know to be true about the next 5 months:
    1. I will spend an unnecessary amount of time stressing each week rooting for the best draft picks possible. Like the Raiders game, losing to Rams is good for Broncos pick? But doesn’t feel good so I don’t want it?
    2. I will then spend a couple months stressing over who to pick with our Top 5 choice.

  19. Donovan

    Great stuff, as always. My two cents:

    1. Stopping the run is predominantly a scheme/coaching issue, as opposed to lack of talent.

    2. Getting QB pressure with front 4 (or 3) primarily comes down to talent.

    Coaches need to fix former, and the latter needs a talent infusion.

    • UkAlex6674

      Re point 1 – the players still need to make the tackles though.

  20. Romeo A57

    It seems all but a lock to me that Houston will get the first pick. I cannot see them winning another game.

    I believe they will definitely draft a QB as Mills has run his course. They will want to get a replacement for the creep that quit on the team They also must feel the need to energize the fan base. There is no better way to do that then by drafting the perceived number one overall QB. A Defnsive Lineman, even if he us a much better player, isn’t going to boost interest in the Texans.

    Handsome Jimmy G is very popular with some of the fans, but cannot be viewed as a comparable replacement for the Creepy Pervert QB that left.

    • Rob Staton

      You can run through a whole bunch of things you would expect the Texans to do

      They are highly unpredictable

      • Romeo A57

        True, no one could have predicted them hiring a former team chaplain to run their football operations

    • AlaskaHawk

      It’s too bad there isn’t a good quarterback from Texas coming out this year. He would be a fan favorite in Houston.
      As an alternative maybe we can trade Lock to them – who I’m sure is much better with Pete Carroll’s expert tutelage.

  21. James

    Thoughts on Jared verse. He is so explosive and converts speed to power as well. He really looks like a superstar edge/olb to me. Another Brian burns which is funny because they both played at florida st. He also has only been playing defensive end for two years (maybe 3) as he was initially a tight end his freshmen year in college. He converted sophomore year to defensive end. Personally I think he is a game wrecker and if we went jalen carter 1st, then with our 2nd first round pick we got Jared verse I would be ecstatic.

    I wouldn’t mind doubling down on Jared verse and will Anderson even. Find defensive tackles in free agency or later in the draft. Let Darrell “I’m special and run onto the field” Taylor go away lol.

    • MJ

      Jared Verse = Darrell Taylor, I don’t believe the issue is Taylor’s lack of talent, he’s just not developing and or being utilized effectively in this messy scheme. I really hope the Hawks go with a QB with their first pick (preferably Levis or Richardson). On the defense staff they need fresh ideas/new faces, not a Pete yes man and they need to be empowered.

  22. Sea Mode

    (Some) Draft media shocked that their darling “top 10 pick” Olu Fashanu decides not to turn pro. Funny, maybe he got a realistic grade from the advisory committee who actually, you know, watch tape…

    Pete Thamel

    Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu tells ESPN he will return to school for the 2023 season. The decision comes as a surprise in the NFL world, as @olu_fashanu projected as the top lineman in the 2023 NFL Draft. Huge news for PSU coming off 10-2 year.

    Dane Brugler

    Major NFL Draft news: Penn State OT Olu Fashanu will return to school next season and bypass the NFL. ESPN reported first.

    Fashanu was a projected top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft by NFL scouts.

    • Rob Staton

      ‘Projected as a top 10 pick’

      Yeah, OK

      Very raw. Made the right decision.

  23. Jed Simon

    “Perhaps this team isn’t as close to contention as we thought three weeks ago. . .” –Rob

    . . .They also run the risk of seeing their native 2023 draft picks slide down unnervingly lower than what is typical for teams of their evident bottom-12 quality, due to the weak strength-of-schedule factor overstating their 2022 record and falsely illuding playoff-worthiness. A playoff-missing 9-8 finish, which is where we can fairly project this team at present, would push that native first rounder down toward the #17–18 spot, despite the likelihood that the pick would have projected closer to the #12–13 spot had the Seahawks taken on an average SoS this year. Making the same assumptions, their second rounder drops from about #45 to #50.

    Look, the Denver haul is great, and I don’t mean to minimize that. However, Seattle appears to need all the draft resources it can get it hands on; picking five slots or so behind where they should be picking. . .well, that’s a lotta draft cheese. Tankathon currently slots them at #16, which wouldn’t be terrible, but a chalk finish likely would nudge them down below that while still failing to qualify them for the playoffs.

    The only way I can see to sidestep this hit to the draft chart is for Seattle to become something they haven’t been all year—a physical LOS team on both sides of the ball—and claw their way into the postseason come hell or high water. That’s it. Too bad for them strong finishes aren’t really Pete Carroll’s thing anymore.

    • Jed Simon

      For what it’s worth, here is Pro Football Reference’s 2022 Team Quality Rankings heading into Week 13:

      1. BUF 11.3
      2. DAL 8.3
      3. BAL 6.4
      3. PHI 6.4
      5. KC 6.1
      6. CIN 5.9
      7. NYJ 5.1
      8. NE 4.4
      9. MIA 4.0
      10. SF 3.6
      11. MIN 2.1
      12. TEN 0.0
      13. CLE -0.2
      13. JAX -0.2
      13. WAS -0.2
      16. NYG -0.5
      17. DET -0.6
      18. TB -0.7
      19. GB -1.3
      20. SEA -1.7
      21. PIT -2.9
      22. CHI -3.1
      23. ATL -3.3
      24. LV -3.6
      25. LAC -3.8
      25. NO -3.8
      27. CAR -4.4
      28. IND -4.8
      29. DEN -5.2
      30. ARI -6.1
      31. LAR -6.2
      32. HOU -8.7

      • Jed Simon

        If Seattle continues to be a Bottom 12–13 team, they will still likely finish out with a 9-8 non-playoff record, placing their native first-round pick in the #16–18 range. . .

        . . .This represents an approximate draft capital loss of 225 points on the Jimmy Johnson chart, equivalent to the #73 overall pick, or about 41 points on the Rich Hill chart (#86 overall). The slippage of the second-round pick from #44–45 to #48–50 would roughly equate to the value of the #127 or #164 overall pick (JJ and RH, respectively, and even the third-round slippage is equivalent to a high sixth-round pick according to both charts.

        Wow, does that add up fast. It’s unfortunate for Seattle, and can only really be addressed by suddenly flipping the switch and making a spirited run down the final stretch.

  24. Tony

    Even if Carter or Anderson are not elite by the measure of bosa or Donald, its still the best hope for a better dline. But ignoring the glaring scheme issues, there’s is some decent complimentary players on the hawks d. Even with numbers looking worst, we have some promising young players emerging this year in the secondary. I still feel better with this year’s defense vs last. Plus 1 yr closer to unloading adams.

    Best hope is that we gain enough raw talent and potential that these guys break thru and play above some of the flaws in carrols defense. Or screw it and draft Mayers, bijan, a 3rd wr, and a center. Go full greatest show on turf and play fantasy mode.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I have a hard time advocating for a top draft pick who isn’t elite and is having a worse year than the year before. The Seahawks need to find a difference maker, a game changer in the top 5.

  25. Tony

    Good news for seahawks tho. Kupp, Stafford look like they might get shut down for season. Donald has a high ankle sprain from chiefs game, and could get shut down in lost season. Allen Robinson is out for season.

    Bad news is losing those would just be an epic depressive low.

    • Blitzy the Clown

      Is it good news though?

      Beating the Rams is fun. But the fun wears off by the next week.

      On the other hand, the fun from a top 3 draft pick should last a lot longer. Especially if it leads to beating the Rams more often.

      I think I’d rather have the higher pick than beat the Rams.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Sadly I agree with Bltizy, but it looks like Denver will do that for us. So lets win this meaningless game.

        • Blitzy the Clown

          I don’t think so Alaska.

          Right now the Rams hold the 3rd pick and Denver the 4th. That won’t change if both teams lose. But if the Rams win while Denver loses, Denver moves into the 3rd pick.

          Also, what if Denver wins?

          Look I almost never want Seattle to lose. But beating a decimated Rams without Stafford, Cupp or Donald isn’t going to satisfy me much.

  26. clbradley17

    2 months until Senior Bowl week, and quite a few good prospects have accepted invites already, with a lot more to come. DE Tyree Wilson, DTs Ika and Benton, WR Mingo, TEs Musgrave and Kincaid, OLs Avila, Patterson and Forsyth, RB Rodriguez, LBs Pappoe. McDonald and Overshown, and DB Witherspoon + S Ji’Ayir Brown. Hardly any QBs yet.

    Saw Tony Pauline put red flags on Stroud after the Michigan game, “I don’t believe Stroud to be NFL-ready. Stroud still struggles to see the field, he’s late making decisions, and too often, wide open pass catchers must twist into pretzels in order to catch errant throws. Part of the problem is the coaching at Ohio State, which has stunted Stroud’s development, in my opinion.”

    • Spectator

      Where did you see that write up on Stroud? I’m trying to send that to a friend but can’t seem to find it using google lol

  27. Rushless pass

    Hey Rob, have you looked at Adetomiwa Adebawore out of northwestern?

    • Rob Staton

      I haven’t, sorry

      • Rushless pass

        6’2” 280 DE. He’s on Bruce’s freaks list

        • Rushless pass

          30. Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern, defensive end

          He led Northwestern with 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss in 2021. The 6-2, 280-pounder this offseason did 30 reps on the bench at 225. He maxed 410 on the bench and 685 in the squat and 375 power clean. His times also are elite: a 4.05 pro shuttle; a 6.9 3-cone to go with a 10-5 broad jump and a 37.5 vertical jump. His name is pronounced: add-E-TOMMY-wah add-E-BAR-eh; NFL scouts are already practicing it.

          • clbradley17

            He’s on the accepted invitees to the Senior Bowl list.

            Favorite part of practice week is the one on ones between the DL and OL.

            • Rushless pass

              Excellent! Thanks for the update cl!

  28. Mr magic

    It’s too bad Caleb Williams cant come out this year. I think he is the best quarterback prospect since Joe Burrow. Kid is an absolute stud on every level place in the pro off. Perfect size foot work instead. It’s only 20 as well.

  29. Mr magic

    Sign Geno 2yr $36mln, $25mln gteed. Draft Richardson and redshirt. Cap going up 25-25-50mpn next 3 yrs. Everyone has room after next year. Genos market will be stronger than we think.

    • JJ

      If Geno’s market is strong than we think then 2 years for $36mil is not getting it done.

      • Rob Staton

        I don’t think it will be strong

        • JJ

          I don’t either, but just based off what he said the contract wouldn’t be enough.

          • Mr magic

            Stronger than we think is 2yrs 36mln , 25mln gteed. Id think the team wants the deal closer to 3-36, 15mln gteed. I expect a few teams to want a bridge qb.

        • Trevor

          I agree completely Rob. I keep seeing the market for Geno will be $30 mil. Would love to know what team is going to pay a 33yr old careeer backup that kind of money. Imagine the GM trying to see that to an owner.

          I went down the list of all teams in the NFL and could not think of 1 team that makes sense. Teams like Carolina, Texans, Detroit will want to go with youth as they are not close to competing for an SB yet.

          The only teams I could see having any interest would be Atlanta, Indy, TB and perhaps the Jets but Indy and Atlanta have already tried going the veteran route with Mariota and Ryan which has not gone well. Would Geno even consider going back to NY. TB if Brady retires seems to make the most sense.

          The idea of letting him test the market makes the absolute most sense because I think it will be much weaker than anyone expects.

          • Rob Staton

            I can’t think of any team being prepared to pay that

            And the Seahawks know it

            Which is why all the ‘pay Geno now’ stuff online is silly

            They’re doing the right thing letting him discover his market

          • Big Mike

            Jets may have their guy in White. Obviously time will tell tho.

  30. Ryan Griffey

    How about Tyree Wilson out of Texas Tech?

    He’s 6’6” 270.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve already written a fair bit about him

  31. Erik

    With how well the rookie class is performing (and the free agent for that matter), are we back to trusting the Seahawks leadership to draft well going forward? After 2010-2012, my confidence in them sure eroded.

  32. CJ

    With the lack of high end game wreckers in the draft what are the chances Seattle goes all in for free agency Rob? Anybody on an expiring contract that tickles your fancy? Do they even have the money to do it? Maybe trade that high pick to a QB needy team?

  33. Blitzy the Clown


  34. cha

    What a goal by Pulisic.

    Wonderboy delivers.

    • Blitzy the Clown

      Perfect set up by Dest

  35. Blitzy the Clown


    Damn offsides

  36. Adog

    Geno has played admirably, but the Seahawks need to see what Lock can do in this offense. If they play this entire year without any gained perspective on the the qb position other than Geno ‘s typical played well but almost had three turnovers due to bad throws and his jelly bean fumbles, then they don’t really learn anything.

    • Rob Staton

      No they don’t

  37. Ukhawk

    I’ve got no problem with Will Anderson’s size.

    He would’ve been the 1st DE of the board last year is a great DE draft. Played at about the same in college as TJ Watt, Von Miller, Brian Burns and Micah Parsons and I’m guessing he will test similarly very well.

    Think he’s the perfect size to play in our scheme and does a great job at not only pass rushing but setting the edge and playing in coverage.

    • Rob Staton

      His coverage grade is 61.6 which isn’t very good. I would argue his 2022 season has not been close to Watt, Miller and Burns in their final years (and Parsons played middle linebacker for Penn State).

      He’s a very good player but think perception and reality are not aligned in the way he’s being universally viewed

      • Ukhawk

        Rob, thanks for the reply!

        If you check out, you’ll see that Will Anderson’s stats this year are exactly in line with those 3 guys in their last years’ based TFLs and Sacks per game and bettered only by Miller for Tackles. Last year of course he blew them all out of the water.

        • Rob Staton

          I’m not talking about stats though — I’m talking about performance

          • Ukhawk

            Gotcha. Good point. His did have a BAD game vs Tenn.

            I take your point that he’s not a cert to be a dominant player.

            But I just disagreed that size (not performance) is the issue. Others have succeeded at his size and I think he will get bigger. And lots of bigger performing guys have been drafted high and failed

            IMO WA has got the profile and stats as an indication of performance to succeed and be a difference maker and i’d be willing to roll the dice IF he lasts to our pick.

  38. Happy Hawk

    Great read again Rob. I truly feel if the draft order is set at the top and either Levis or Richardson is available it would be neglect not to select one of them and understudy under a quality pro like Geno Smith for a year. This is a rebuild and we need to take advantage of this rare opportunity to draft up high. Use the reamining draft capital (which is ample) to retool both the trenches.

    Thanks again Rob – love your content and insight. Should be an interesting few month

  39. Ukhawk

    Rob, thanks for the reply!

    If you check out, you’ll see that Will Anderson’s stats this year are exactly in line with those 3 guys in their last years’ based TFLs and Sacks per game and bettered only by Miller for Tackles. Last year of course he blew them all out of the water.

  40. Bradley

    Very good article. It seems that last year it was easier to hit with picks given priority positions – after all Boye Mafe has arguably been the weakest of the picks. I agree that it’s probably safer to go with a quarterback early. But if Geno Smith does lead us to the playoffs and behind, might it actually be better in this case to trade down and select multiple defensive linemen in the hope one comes off. If it’s an especially hard position to draft might quantity of picks help to compensate for that?

  41. AlaskaHawk

    Kansas St. vs TCU –

    TCU Duggan showing a nice touch on a long pass to the sideline. I think he’s underrated as the team has done well. Yes he has good receivers and protection but he still has to deliver the ball.

    • Matt

      He completely sold me on that drive. I want him in Seattle. There’s something there.

  42. Matt

    Never thought I’d say this…I’m 100% on the Duggan train. There is definitely something there. *I’m not saying some high draft pick; but I LOVE what I’ve seen. That throw where he is just ambushed in the pocket…can’t teach that.

    Gimmicky offense; but I don’t think you can teach that level of calm under fire.

    • AlaskaHawk

      When you can elevate a team like he has – he deserves a shot in the NFL. I agree that he isn’t top round material, but he should be considered in the mid rounds. Mostly I just think he has a winners mentality, which is why he both passes and runs the ball.

      • Matt

        Totally agree. He’s got enough physical talent to succeed. I think as a 4th rounder; I’d gladly say why not? Seems like a guy who would soak up learning too.

        Just really like what I see from him. To your point, elevating teams and dealing with pressure – I just think they are must haves with the QB.

        Now that said, I’m still solid on Anthony Richardson because the skill set is jaw dropping.

    • AlaskaHawk

      Kansas State 14-7 now – they should have kicked the field goal!

    • Matt

      Also…our second 1st round pick – if Quentin Johnston is there…that’d be a tough guy to pass up.

      • AlaskaHawk

        I like Johnston but there is a lot of depth at receiver in this draft, so no rush to find another receiver.

      • AlaskaHawk

        I know this is a longshot, but if Bijan Robinson was there for the second pick, I would run to the podium.
        I guess picking Anthony Richardson and then Bijan wouldn’t help the defense as much, but it sure would make the offense interesting.

  43. AlaskaHawk

    Duggan taking some shots in the pocket today. Kind of a tough game for him – but a good test of his ability.
    Johnston just made another catch on a long pass.

    • AlaskaHawk

      Duggan ties the game up with a touchdown and 2 point conversion. This is crazy! He’s put so much effort into running and getting knocked around in the pocket and on runs. He is putting it all out there on the field.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Touch loss for TCU in overtime.

        Looks like two spots in the BCS are open!

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