Who calls the shots in Seattle? Pete or John?

Yesterday I wrote a two-round mock draft. Today, I’ve decided not to publish it.

I think there’s a bigger question that needs to be asked and it makes writing a mock draft at the moment totally pointless.

Who calls the shots?

Is it Pete Carroll or is it John Schneider?

Because who the key decision maker is will dictate and shape one of the most important off-seasons in Seahawks history.

Be warned, speculative thinking out loud is forthcoming.

It’s about a year since Jody Allen met with Carroll and Schneider and had an end of season meeting that was described as ‘routine’ by some in the media, yet turned out to be the precursor to significant coaching changes, schematic adjustments and the Russell Wilson trade.

It was also speculated at the time that Schneider might gain greater personnel control as a consequence of that meeting. That has never been confirmed and we’ll never know for sure but it was suggested as a possibility.

I suspect Schneider’s vision for the 2023 off-season will differ to Carroll’s and that makes this an important topic.

I think it’s why chatter like this exists:

I think Schneider was always planning to draft a quarterback this off-season. It’s easy to forget but cast your mind back to last summer. Expectations were low. Most people assumed the Seahawks were starting Geno Smith in an attempt to just ‘see out the season’ before launching phase two of a major rebuild.

The 2023 quarterback class was being heavily talked up in the media — in my opinion, justifiably so. The Seahawks didn’t address the position at all last year apart from acquiring Drew Lock — who is out of contract as soon as the current season ends. It’s possible Schneider, as with other GM’s, was focused on the 2023 class.

Foundations were laid last off-season with the addition of book-end tackles. They also kept the players they felt provided a veteran presence (at great cost) such as Will Dissly and Quandre Diggs. Were they setting the stage to draft a QB?

The way they spent their money was also interesting. A lot of their 2023 cap space is gone already. The Seahawks have $28.5m in effective cap space to spend according to Over The Cap. In comparison, the Bears have $98m, the Falcons have $57m and the Giants have $44m. Even the Bengals have $10m more available at $38m.

The Seahawks only have the seventh most available spending money — and that’s with only 36 players signed for next season. Only the Chiefs and 49ers have fewer contracted players currently.

It’s easy to imagine everything was being geared towards having a cheap rookie quarterback in 2023. Or at least a rookie paired with a veteran bridge. If nothing else, you then have the money to fill out your roster — something that would be otherwise challenging with 36 players signed and only $28.5m to play with.

Travon Walker, the #1 overall pick a year ago, had a $6.7m cap hit as a rookie. His cap hit next season is only $8.5m. That would be the absolute maximum a young quarterback would cost Seattle, if they ended up with the top pick.

Instead they’ve gained the fifth pick, courtesy of the Broncos. Kayvon Thibodeax was the #5 selection a year ago. His rookie cap hit was only $5.7m.

This to me always felt like the plan. Draft a cost-effective quarterback early in 2023.

Then the season started and Geno Smith performed as he did.

I don’t think members of the front office ever anticipated a situation where fans would be calling for Smith to have his contract extended at $30m a year.

If they were anticipating Smith being a starter for the longer term, they likely wouldn’t have signed him to a mere $3.5m one-year deal with $3.5m in incentives. They would’ve paid more to get an extra year or two.

Smith’s performances in the first half of the season were unexpected and brilliant and have changed the discussion with many believing Seattle almost has to pay to keep him. I think a majority of fans want to ‘build around Geno’ rather than stick to what might’ve been the original plan of going younger and cheaper.

This is why I think whoever is calling the shots in the off-season really matters.

If John Schneider has final say

He may want to draft the younger quarterback still and plan for the future. They might be able to keep Geno Smith as a bridge — but that might be a bonus. They’re in position to select one of the top four quarterbacks in the draft — a rare opportunity for this franchise and GM.

I’ve watched all of their college games and I think all four QB’s warrant the pick. I also think players like Will Levis and Anthony Richardson absolutely fit what Schneider seems to value at the position. While people will dismiss the pair as not good enough (based mostly on what they read and hear from other people, it has to be said) — the reality is fans would’ve said the same things about Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. They had plenty of flaws, plenty of errors on tape and were seen as more potential over polish. They are also two players Schneider reportedly was very keen on.

This quote from Mike Tomlin was highlighted to me today and it rings so true:

“I love to hear coaches resist the responsibility of coaching… They’ll talk negatively about a dude that can’t learn and blah, blah. Man, if everybody could learn, we’d need less coaches. Right? If the group didn’t need management, then we wouldn’t make as much.

“I love reading draft evals and somebody’s talking about anything other than pedigree, talking about how poor somebody’s hand usage is. Well, that’s coaching. I don’t run away from coaching. I run to coaching. It all is in line with not seeking comfort, because when you’re a coach that’s talking about, ‘Somebody can’t learn,’ you’re seeking comfort because your teaching is struggling.”

The likes of Levis and Richardson have extreme physical qualities, pro-style experience and excellent character. These are qualities that will appeal greatly to Schneider (and other GM’s).

Let me go a step further. I think there’s every chance Schneider is determined to draft a quarterback. He comes from the Green Bay system — which has always valued the position. They drafted Aaron Rodgers in 2005 in order to be well prepared for Brett Favre’s retirement. They then spent a subsequent second round pick on Brian Brohm — despite the investment in Rodgers and the fact Favre was still playing.

Think about that for a second. At one point in 2008 Green Bay’s quarterback depth chart was:

Brett Favre
Aaron Rodgers — 1st round pick in 2005
Brian Brohm — 2nd round pick in 2008

Talk about doing everything it takes to find a long term solution.

More recently we saw the Packers use a controversial pick on Jordan Love when Rodgers was still in his prime.

The Packers have always been dedicated to the quarterback position. John Schneider has brought that DNA with him to Seattle.

We were told how the Seahawks were prepared to draft Mahomes in 2017 had he lasted to Seattle’s pick, despite enjoying Russell Wilson’s best years in that period. It’s since been reported they were trying to trade Wilson to Cleveland a year later, to draft Allen with the top pick.

The evidence suggests Schneider has been very conscious of the position. I have a really hard time believing that will change now. It seems fanciful that Schneider would instead focus on paying Geno Smith a fortune, as he approaches age 33, with only potentially Drew Lock waiting in the wings. This feels like almost the complete opposite of what the Green Bay executive tree would do.

Signing Smith and drafting a quarterback? Sure. Trusting Smith for the next few years with an expensive contract — especially after a fairly middling second half of the season — and putting all your eggs in the Geno basket? That seems unlikely.

The other thing to consider is unlike in 2012, there isn’t a third round quarterback who really screams ‘take me’. There’s no Wilson waiting in the wings this year. It’s a very top-heavy class. The Seahawks also have a higher pick this year than at any other point in the Carroll/Schneider era.

If Pete Carroll has final say

Reverse everything I just said. I think paying Geno and cracking on is exactly what Pete Carroll will want to do.

He turns 72 in September. What benefit is there in drafting someone at #5 who will be on the sideline during his final years in coaching? Someone who might never see the field? Or if he does see the field, will likely have to go through the growing pains most young quarterbacks experience?

There’s simply no benefit for Carroll in a plan to draft for the long term. Not when you can go and draft an impact defender who can help improve a struggling unit. Carroll’s philosophy is built on ‘completing the circle’ and as we know, it’s the defensive part of that circle that has let the team down the most.

If the plan is for Carroll to coach until 2025 when his contract expires, or at least around the time the team is eventually sold, time is of the essence. Any thought of what the Seahawks might look like beyond 2025 with a new quarterback isn’t likely to interest him. He knows he has an increasingly small window for success.

If he has the power to determine the off-season plan, he is much more likely to favour drafting one of the defenders. Re-sign Geno Smith even if it’s expensive. Try to win as soon as possible.

I think the problem with that plan — and this is how Schneider might see it — is the Seahawks are not that close to contending. The 49ers are able to win with lesser quarterbacks because they have arguably a nearly complete roster, built over many years of good drafting, trading and signing. Even then, they felt the need to spend a haul of picks trading up for Trey Lance — someone they thought could be better than average due to his physical traits.

Schneider may also feel like having the #5 pick is a rare treat — or that Geno Smith might not be good enough to lead you to the promise land to warrant passing on a quarterback with a top-five selection.

Regardless, it feels possible that the GM and the Head Coach will have very different ideas for this off-season and how the team should proceed.

For me, that’s possibly why some of this ‘Carroll considering retirement’ talk surfaced. He might have little appetite for long-term planning and drafting of a rookie quarterback with the top pick. It’s very easy to imagine he’d walk away, head held high, not feeling motivated to start all over with a raw signal caller.

People have suggested the retirement chatter was nonsense because if Carroll was going to go, he wouldn’t do it with a haul of picks to spend. If those picks are going to be used to lay the foundations for the next 8-10 years rather than create a winner in 2023 and 2024, I can well imagine him deciding this is the ideal time to bow out.

Carroll joined the Seahawks in 2010 because he was promised control. If he no longer has that and doesn’t agree with the plan for this vital off-season, it’s not such a stretch to imagine he might call it a day.

Alternatively if Carroll remains the man at the top making the calls rather than Schneider, it’s a moot point. He can do whatever he wants — and I suspect that would mean drafting a defensive lineman at #5 unless Schneider was able to convince him they were staring at the next Mahomes (which he may or may not believe exists in this class).

You might argue this is all a load of nonsense. In fairness, people said the same thing about Wilson being traded. For 18 months many fans and media rejected it was even a possibility, until the tweet from Adam Schefter announced a deal with Denver.

I think this is food for thought and warrants consideration and a conversation.

That doesn’t mean it will happen. It’s possible Schneider and Carroll are more aligned than I’m suggesting in this article and agree on the plan and the vision wholeheartedly.

I do think, however, it’s possible there’s a GM in Seattle thinking long term with a young quarterback and there’s a Head Coach thinking about trying to win before he retires.

Having the #5 pick, in a way, is a good and bad thing in this regard. If they were picking at #12 instead — there’s no real debate to be had. The fact they’re picking early enough to get at the top quarterbacks means the question of long term vs short term comes into focus.

When I wrote my mock draft yesterday, I toyed with doing a John mock or a Pete mock. I sided with the Pete mock because until he departs, don’t you have to assume he will have some sway? Or even full control?

If he doesn’t — and if his time in Seattle is nearing the end — what’s the point of doing a mock today? I might as well wait until we know for sure. That could be seven days away or — hopefully — a bit longer (because we all want the Seahawks to dump the 49ers out of the playoffs).

For those who wanted the mock I can tell you who I had Seattle taking after #5. They took Sedrick Van Pran after a trade down from #20 into the late first. I had the Seahawks tapping into the great value at receiver between #20-40 and selecting Jonathan Mingo. Then I had them drafting Keion White at #54.

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  1. Rob Staton

    Apologies to those who were waiting patiently for the mock

    I promise to do one next week if Saturday doesn’t go the way we want

    • PJ in Seattle

      Makes sense. A Pete vs. John pair of mocks would still be fun to compare.

      Really, not much point in mocking until after the 16th, when we will know precisely who is declaring vs.heading back for another year in college. Something tells me Stroud might go back for one more so we may have a big 3 at QB instead of Big 4.

      • Justaguy

        Pete vs John got us in this mess
        I don’t know why Stroud would not pursue the NFL but nothing surprises me anymore
        Anytime is a good time for a Station mock draft

        • Justaguy

          LMFAO *Staton

          • Ralphy

            Outstanding article. I’m curious though, what did we get in return for the trade down?

  2. Scouse Nathan

    Very interesting article, agree it feels like this off-season is going to have a major impact on the future!

    Understand if not as you’ve not published the mock draft and might want to wait till then but was wondering if you’d be willing to expand on why you would have picked Mingo and White and your evaluations on those players?

    Really hoping they do look at Center and don’t just stick with Blythe or be too rigid with going for someone extremely similar when there seems to be so many good prospects at that position in this draft, especially Van Pran!

    Thanks for all the work you do!

    • Rob Staton

      #38 Seattle (v/DEN) — Jonathan Mingo (WR, Ole Miss)
      I think there’s going to be a lot value at receiver between 20-40 and much like the Ken Walker pick a year ago, the Seahawks might look for impact and talent in this spot. Mingo is exceptionally underrated. He’s 6-2 and 225lbs with great speed and fluidity. He can get deep and make the big play but he does his best work as a big slot — finding mismatch opportunities. He also has soft hands and is a reliable target. The Seahawks have dabbled with Laquon Treadwell and might be looking for a bigger WR3. One final thing — with the receiver market exploding, expect teams to really look for cheap production at the position.

      #54 Seattle — Keion White (DE, Georgia Tech)
      The amazing thing watching White was he started the season a bit reckless and like a whirling dervish. By the end of the year he was flat out dominating, in control and making impact plays as a pass rusher. He was blowing things up time and time again. His athletic testing is off the charts and he looks like a ‘wow’ player at times. He does need some development but the idea of adding White is quite enticing.

      • Peter

        Give ne keion white, plus athleticism, good stats, room to grow, a fire inside to switch around positions… vs …..what’s increasingly looking like a good handful of players that were told they were the s— and haven’t really moved the needle.

      • Joe

        I’ll imagine my pick at 5 with your picks. A young stud QB, rookie stud C, and a rookie WR with your other 2 studs. They will take a RB somewhere. Add the TEs, Walker and those stud 2nd year bookends…. That’s the perfect environment to “make life easy for the QB”. A top offense to step into. Win now and later. (That’s how I would sell it to PC)
        The risk manager in me says Jody hedged responsibility risk revealed by many years of middling results and a breakup with a HOF QB. I think she gave both men roughly equal roles, just not public out of respect to PC. They are stewards of the franchise until it sells. I would be fascinated and EXCITED if PC retires and John gets the keys.

        • Rob Staton

          That is where the value would probably be

          But it flies against the needs on defense and I worry that they’ll fight the board to address those needs

      • Scouse Nathan

        Thank you! Hadn’t really kept up to date with either but sound like exciting prospects to give a watch! Really think if the talent is there we should go with it but worried too that they might fight the board a little.

  3. Hebegbs

    I’ll be quite disappointed if they don’t take one of the top 4 qbs at 5 unless they are all gone (which I think is a growing possibility) at 5

    I’m growing lazy and could research this. But I wonder if the Seahawks are the last NFL team to actually draft a QB. Have they drafted any QB since Russ? Has any other team not drafted a QB longer than Hawks?

    • Osprey

      Mr McGough in 2018, 7th round. So, yeah next to nothing invested.

  4. Palatypus

    Regarding Tomlin’s comments, we sure have drafted a lot of offensive linemen with explosive traits and had them turn out busts.

    I guess we don’t run to coaching.

    • Ishmael

      Coaching has been one of the biggest issues in Seattle for a long time now. The staff has been stacked with Carroll’s old friends and his literal family. It’s one of the clearest examples of why cronyism and nepotism is bad business that you’ll ever see.

      I mean honestly, look at this shit: “Unsure of what he wanted to do following graduation, the younger Carroll (Nate) was offered a job by his father to work for the Seattle Seahawks as a personnel assistant in the scouting department for one season before being named a defensive assistant in 2011.[3] Initially offered a coaching position in Jacksonville by former Seahawks defensive coordinator and newly hired head coach Gus Bradley, Carroll was shifted to offensive assistant in 2013.[4][5] He was a member of the coaching staff that defeated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, giving Carroll his first Super Bowl victory. He was promoted to assistant wide receivers coach in 2014, working with Kippy Brown and later Dave Canales.[6] Carroll served as the team’s wide receivers coach from 2018 to 2021.[7]” In 2022 he was made senior offensive assistant. Absolutely jokeshop stuff.

      Why is Aaron Curry a DL/DE coach? Four years at UNC Charlotte makes him the absolute best possible candidate for the job?

      Who’s the head of Strength and Conditioning? Ivan Lewis, who funnily enough was at USC from 2006-8, and then landed back there for the five years before Seattle hired him.

      How about Tater Smith still kicking about? If anyone can explain the point of him I’d love to hear it.

      It’s deeply silly stuff, and should be more than enough proof that the organisation isn’t serious about developing players properly, let alone winning. Carroll will forever be a Seattle legend, but he needs to retire yesterday. The team isn’t going anywhere until he moves on, and the house can be properly cleaned out.

      • Gary


      • Brian

        Pretty sure the Seahawks are going to the playoffs. So ‘anywhere’ is a subjective term obviously.
        All I say to Pete haters is that you should be careful what you wish for. Much easier to go down than up.

        • Rob Staton

          I absolutely hate comments like this.

          By all means make the case for Pete if you wish

          But please, calling people ‘haters’ because they simply disagree with you and warning people to ‘be careful’ for wanting to try something else after 13 seasons is such utter bollocks

        • GrittyHawk

          This is just an absurd analysis. “We made the playoffs therefore we are a good team and Pete is a good coach.”

          Do you actually believe this is a good team with good coaching? Our wins this year came against the Broncos (5-12), Lions (started the year 1-6), Jets (ended year 0-6), Cardinals 2x (4-13), Rams 2x (5-12, barely eking out wins against John Wolford and Baker Mayfield) — the only decent wins we had were against very overrated LAC and Giants teams. We got swept convincingly by the NFC South, whose division champ had 8 wins. Frankly if not for the complete and unexpected collapses by the Broncos, Rams, and Cards, we are looking at maybe a 3-4 win team and our own top-5 pick.

          This is what screams success to you? This is how you justify calling people “Pete haters”?

  5. Ashish

    Please publish JS mock version 🙂 Last year draft (JS) was great which helped Carroll team to perform well to reach playoff.
    Your article today and in past few weeks convinced me that #5 pick will be QB. Cha brought another great point in 5 years which position get paid more DL or QB. No brainer to me.

  6. Nick

    Rob, I really appreciate your patience and critical thinking here. I’m very much on the side of drafting one of the QBs at #5. It’s too important a position.

    My only two cents: is it possible that Pete Carroll is thinking of coaching for another 5 years? He seems like someone who couldn’t sit still in retriement…especially if his health wasn’t a concern.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s possible sure

      But given he was reportedly contemplating retirement in 2017 — I suspect the end is coming sooner than five years

      • Blitzy the Clown

        Further, if he does retire from the Seahawks, or even from coaching entirely, or even from football entirely, that doesn’t mean he sits still

    • epmason

      Pete’s contract is up in 2025. I could see him finishing out his contract, but it’s hard to see the Seahawks extending it for another three years after that. I would bet that one of the enticements for John Schneider signing through 2027 is that he would (finally) get to pick a head coach. I’d fully expect him to walk if Pete got extended and I don’t think the Seahawks want to to see him go.

  7. Rob Staton

    Something to keep in mind with Will Levis

    — Well versed in the offense Seattle runs, having played for Liam Coen at Kentucky. Coen was the Rams offensive coordinator in 2022 and coached under McVay between 2018-20 before taking the Wildcats gig (that he’s now just returned to)

    — That will enable him to potentially start quickly if he was drafted by Seattle because the terminology will be similar

    • Peter

      Good info find, sir.

    • God of Thunder

      Impressive… but I strongly suspect the only way we acquire Levis is if we trade up. Because Levis is going to be taken 1st or 2nd (either right before or right after Stroud).

      • Rob Staton

        And that makes me wonder if they’ll move up after all

  8. Ross

    I love this piece, Rob. It perfectly sums up what I think many of us are feeling. What’s happening inside that building? I have read here and there that JS took more control last offseason, but do we really know that? I assume people are thinking that because the draft was successful after many years of so-so, and RW was finally dealt. But we don’t actually know and it’s frustrating as hell.

    If we don’t beat SF and we don’t hear about Pete’s future within a week, does that mean he’s staying and ready to run it back? I’d assume so as the coaching search takes time and they wouldn’t want to miss out on their preferred guys.

    I look forward to your mock. I like the thought of SVP in the late first, but not excited at all about Jalen Carter at #5. He feels way too busty to me, but what do I know. JS and PC both love high character, high drive guys and Carter doesn’t seem to align with that – though they don’t shy from character concerns either.

    • Rob Staton

      Completely agree on Carter

      Very, very, very worried he’s the type of player you’ll need to kick his arse EVERY day and even that might not be enough

    • Blitzy the Clown

      I’d give it 2 weeks from the end of Seattle’s season. If there’s no announcement by then, he’s probably not going anywhere

  9. Jim Spurrill

    Enjoyed your article as always, food for thought.
    Been a Seahawk fan since 86? This is a nice problem compared to some I have
    I have seen over the years.
    I have a question regarding your top 2 defensive players. How did you grade them compared the top 5 payers from the previous 2 drafts? That may factor into Pete or anyone else over drafting player or positions.
    I have read articles were they suggest the Bears may have issues trading down with differnce between the 4 qbs. Pro days etc. will be very important this year
    Keep up the good work

    • Rob Staton

      I probably would need to review the players from the last two drafts to do a like-for-like comparison. Sometimes it’s easy to rank and compare but I don’t do a ‘score’ for grading like some people do and therefore it’s difficult to make those comparisons.

  10. Thomas

    Rob, would you take Bryce Young at 5? I’m just too worried we would have him for about 8 games a year due to injury.

    • Rob Staton

      I am not against it — Young has so much talent. It’s just the size that is troubling.

      If they drafted him I wouldn’t be unhappy

      • Ross

        Does Young have a frame capable of putting on muscle? Obviously not much as he’s only 5’10” or whatever, but bulking up a little might keep him healthier in the NFL.

        • Rob Staton

          I don’t think so Ross

          • KennyBadger

            So he’ll need protection. Does drafting young force the hand into the OL with their second pick?Young / van pran 1st rd duo?

            • Rob Staton

              Not necessarily because young OL’s aren’t always the best for a young QB

        • Mr Magic

          Young is 6’0 not 5’10 and his weight is listed at 194-197. Lets see at the weigh in.

          • Rob Staton

            Listed weights mean nothing

            Todd McShay has said a few times he was at Alabama last season and saw Young weighed and measured. He was not 6-0 and he was not 195lbs.

    • 509 Chris

      I’m not being sarcastic when I say we may only have to wait a season or 2 before rule changes and the style of officiating protects the qb enough that Youngs size doesn’t matter. If you take size out of it, young is an amazing prospect.

      • God of Thunder

        You make a great point. But two things. One, Young is still going to need to see (ie look over or around the OL) his targets.

        And two, he looks thin boned to me. Even protected, he’s be impacted by (landed in etc) by some mighty slabs of human beef.

        • God of Thunder

          *landed on* ffs

          • Mr Magic

            I dont think his size matters now. Data has shown qbs that are lighter outperform heavier ones. Of Course young will be on the lightest of light side btu show me a string of QBs who have failed at this weight? There simply arent any comps.

            I can show you dozens of 6-4+ 220lb+ QBs with cannon arms who have been total disasters however, Seattle has drafted many of them….

            • Rob Staton

              Size definitely still matters

              Durability concerns and throwing from the pocket are legit

  11. Big Mike

    Good stuff Rob. It’s a fascinating time in the history of this franchise. I believe JS has control over the draft now, but that just may be me wishful thinking. One thing’s for sure, the next few months are going to be interesting.

  12. jed

    Really good article. It makes the Seahawks mock very challenging, especially before the end of the season and free agency. I’m 100% on the draft a QB and sign Geno if you can structure an out after 1 year.

    On the Pete vs. John pick, I wonder if Pete was onboard with drafting a QB this year too. He didn’t have to trade Russ, unless Russ was saying he wouldn’t play for Pete. It seems like they knew this year wasn’t a championship team with a Geno/Drew QB room. Maybe it was the only option, but Pete may have been ok with resetting the QB while continuing to coach for his entire contract.

    It’s total speculation and a bit Pollyanna, but maybe Pete & John are more aligned than not.

    • Peter

      Well Pete hired him.

      They’ve worked together forever.

      Pete gave a third round pick that was clearly John’s idea a start and history was written.

      I’d say they were more aligned than people want to realize.

      • God of Thunder

        Fair enough. I tend to agree because I suspect we would have heard more … “chatter” … about disagreements behind the scenes, over the years. It’s unlikely there has been total unanimity, but clearly they get along.

        • Peter

          I’ve just been looking at the circle of drafting.

          Many talk about JS in control but let’s break it down:

          The awesome start to this is by signing Pete’s favorite running back in Lynch.

          Then they spend early pucks on LT and Pete’s favorite safety ET3. Draft a fifth round after thought CB, a future legend safety in Kam, dig around for browner, find deals with Avril and Bennett, and have a real deal competition for qb. Fill in the line with afterthought but tough olinemen.

          Fast forward to now. Maybe John’s in control…?…

          Spend a high pick on LT. Pete’s a ton of things but he’s not a dummy. Draft a very good runningback. Got to have that run game going for Pete. It’s not a one for one but can’t sign Avril? Load up again in the Draft on pass rush with mafe. Get a tough and better RT than this team ever has. Find Pete a project corner no one really rates and turn him into something amazing. Can’t find a safety or lb…no problem draft Pete a nickel corner convert.

          It’s just weird the similarities, to me, where everything old is new again.

          And maybe John really is making the picks. It’s just that the good picks seem similar to the good decisions from back when. It’s hard for me to parse who makes/made those decisions since it’s the same two guys making the decisions all this time.

          • Rob Staton

            I wouldn’t make too much of this. John loved Lynch and wanted GB to draft him. They drafted a LT when they needed one. It is what it is.

  13. geoff u

    I honestly doubt we re-sign Geno Smith. Take the top QB, roll with Lock or some other cheap veteran if it turns out he’s not ready. I’m all for starting rookie QB’s though, and having them learn on the job. It’s amazing Tomlin got 9 wins out of Picket. And I don’t think Geno’s resurgence was all Geno, I think this coaching staff knows how to make the QB position successful. Just witness Russell Wilson’s poor season in Denver, what they did with Tavaris Jackson. I just hope John gets the QB he wants and I think he may trade up to get him. Think about it: no one expected Seattle to have #5 in the draft, and if John was aiming for QB in this draft, he’d have to trade up for him at any spot. He’s got to be thrilled to be sitting at #5.

  14. Zxvo3

    We are looking at the crossroads of destiny for the franchise. Not to sound dramatic, but if the Seahawks go with PC’s way, the team’s success will be delayed for many years. We would be a middle of the pack team with Geno and we will never get a shot again at a top 5 pick to get our franchise QB until many years.

    I am really hoping JS has control over this matter. If he has the QB that he wants to pick at 5, then I will be elated with the fact that he got the guy he wanted. Let’s face it, Will Anderson will be the first defender picked off the board. Whether it is Arizona, Chicago, or even Houston, one of those teams will pick him. I don’t want to be stuck with risky Jalen Carter and end up with the chance that he’ll be the biggest bust of the draft. Go big or go home. QB all the way.

    • Rob Staton

      It should be stressed that this is only my guess on how Carroll might think

      For all we know he might thrive on having a young QB again

      Who knows?

  15. Jefferson

    Rob, if both Levis and Richardson are available at 5, as is my reading of the tea leaves, would you be willing to muse about who would be better or to be selected?

    • Rob Staton

      I like both

  16. Ishmael

    I’m on the Anthony Richardson train in a big way. He’s 21 and built in a lab, the Ivan Drago of quarterbacks, genuine freakshow. Keep Lock, draft Richardson, then offer Geno a couple of years on medium bucks.

    It’s a bonus pick, an unbelievably rare chance to catapault the franchise, it’s exactly the right moment to swing for the fences. Any of the quarterbacks I’d be happy with, but the potential of Richardson is irresistable.

  17. Plip

    Thanks for the thought-provoking article, Rob.

    Are you willing to share with us the first four picks you mocked in the draft you didn’t post? I understand if you prefer to keep those picks to yourself until you post the entire draft. But it would help to tide us over if we knew what options you expected to be available to the Seahawks at #5.

    • Rob Staton


      • John

        That’s the nail-biter scenario right there. High motor Anderson is off the board, and Malik 2.0 is sitting there, but so is freak-show AR (built-in nickname options there if guns weren’t such a touchy subject). Both have risk. I can see why you got hung up there.

        One thing that seems to happen around draft time is we get really focused on the top two or three rounds as the salvation of the franchise. But I would submit that the probability of us making it back to the Owl can be swayed heavily by and might even be contingent on pulling gems out of the later rounds. Kam, Sherm, KJ, Russ, Lynch for a 4th. 9ers getting great play from Warner, Greenlaw and now Purdy. Tariq and Abe for us this year. Even if we miss on the #5, which you would hate to see, if you pull a gem out later the point is you got a gem. Or even to a lesser degree cases like Bruce Irvin vs Bobby Wagner.

  18. Daniel

    Good piece, Rob, and good food for thought, as you say.

    Although it’s worth considering that Carroll and Schneider might not be aligned, we must also admit (as you do here) that this is very much speculation. The evidence for Carroll potentially not wanting to draft a QB high boils down to 1) he’s old; 2) he’s 72; 3) he’s no spring chicken. This was also the evidence many people used to declare that Carroll wouldn’t want to move on from Russell Wilson. In your imagining of Schneider’s thinking, you offer lots of buttressing evidence such as Green Bay’s track record and the reports about Schneider wanting Mahomes and trying to make a move for Allen. But in imagining Carroll’s thinking, all that is offered is, “He’s old.”

    I think we’re all projecting onto Carroll some pre-conceived notions about how a 72 year old is supposed to think and feel. It’s fine to do this — and it may very well be accurate — but we simply don’t know. He hasn’t said anything that I can recall that makes it sound like he’s thinking “I gotta win now with what I got” (at least, not any moreso than he has always talked about “competing” and “win forever”).

    Perhaps the clue to a different kind of speculation lays further up the page in this very article. That Tomlin quote. Tomlin loves coaching. He takes pleasure in teaching young men their craft, and it sounds like he has a little bit of contempt for coaches who don’t feel that way. Pete, one presumes, also loves coaching. Maybe he’s incredibly proud of how he has helped nurture along young players who went on to do great things. Maybe he feels that way about Geno. But maybe he craves to do it again with a baby rookie, show the world one last time what a great coach of young men he is. Of *course* he’d be thrilled to win a Super Bowl on his way out the door, but I think it would be foolish to assume that this is the only possible acheivement he values highly. Plus, perhaps he’s thinking that drafting a young kid *is* in fact the fastest way to win a Super Bowl. You could make that argument; how do we know he doesn’t feel the same way?

    In the absence of any actual evidence, one could just as easily paint a picture with words of a man who is thinking of his legacy and who wants to leave “his” franchise set up for great success even after he retires, so that he can continue to be revered as even more of a legend. “Good ole Pete… he helped us get [star quarterback X]!” I’m not suggesting this imagining is correct, either, by the way. But how do we know this is not his thinking? We don’t. We’re just assuming that “old = win now and who cares about the future.” Pete has always been an outlier as an old man in many ways.

    So it’s all good food for thought, and I certainly understand why this very real possibility of non-alignment gives you pause in making your mock drafts. But since I have seen this assumption (old man = win now) bandied about with increasing frequency (not just here), I’m a little skeptical of it becoming a “fact” through mere repetition. You write clearly and with carefully chosen words, obviously admitting that it’s speculation, and this is wise. But sometimes, even with a million caveats attached, we repeat things so many times that we start to believe our own speculation to be truth, rather than than what it is: speculation.

    • Jack Frost

      Nice….. I agree with you. There are people that want to leave things better off than when they found them. It just doesn’t seem common in the NFL.

    • Skirmish

      This too, is a very well thought out and written comment. I appreciate your thoughts on this and do think we won’t know anything until it happens. I think the franchise does a very good job at keeping things tight to the chest until it pops.

  19. Hawks4life

    Great article Rob! FWIW one of my fellow managers at work used to be a scout for the Panthers for 10 years amongst other jobs he had in the league, we were talking about the QBs in the upcoming draft and he couldn’t stop talking about Will Levis. Said he has all the tools and character to be a franchise QB in the league. He also had very good things to say about AR15, he wasn’t as sold on Young due to size.

    • Rob Staton

      I think that will be a common opinion shared within league circles

      (And pleased to hear he shares the same thoughts that we’ve been voicing for months)

    • Sluggo42

      I really like Young. He might be the most accurate thrower and quickest reader of the bunch. But I keep seeing RG3 breaking in half, in my memory bank, and a really short career as a result. RW had enuff bulk to take most of the abuse, but I just can’t seriously include Young in the top 4, because he is a china in the bull shop.
      So I see only 3 QB’s.
      I actually like Carter as the pick as well. I think once he gets in the room with real professionals, and suddenly isn’t the class bully, he will have a much clearer picture of what he can be, and the “system” will help him get there. The defensive monster in the middle is super rare chess piece that can transform an entire defense. My guess is that someone takes him before we get a chance. All this will make Will Anderson fall into our lap, which honestly is the worst scenario in my view. We have a pile of young edge guys, and speaking of them, where is Alton Robinson? That guy was a wrecking crew in preseason.
      So it’s either
      #5 trade

      So if that’s how the picks fall, I see a trade down… as usual

      • Rob Staton

        On Carter though — is he going to step up to the plate just because he’s around veterans? When he’s suddenly guaranteed tens of millions, is he going to work on his conditioning just because Shelby Harris tells him to?

        He had everything on the line this year and his conditioning sucked. What’s on the line when you’ve been paid?

  20. JP

    Pete needs to retire already. Feels like we’re being held hostage with his age and where the organization is at. This team just isn’t close.

    All I’m saying for the people that don’t want to draft a QB, is that Russell Wilson was like 17-4 or some nonsense against them, and that includes the recent years when their defense has been top notch year after year. Hell remember in 2019 at the end? We were down by like 13, JImmy G looked like Tom Brady in that game and the 49ers defense was suffocating them and he nearly pulled them all the way back with Travis Homer. It came down to like 1 yard.

    I’m not saying we’re gonna draft the next Russell Wilson, but if we got something like that, it would speed up the process of beating them again as opposed to drafting like an entirely new defense and hoping that all those pieces work out and turn into a top 3 defense like the 49ers to carry Geno Smith. The Chiefs dismantled the 49ers. The only advantage they really had over them was their QB was just way better. What a great QB can do for a team.

  21. DC1234

    We are assuming Pete’s way is Anderson/Carter/defense at pick #5.

    Do you think Pete’s way could include Qb’s??

    Maybe he prefers Bryce Young and Levis over Richardson. They are more ready to start year one.

    Based on Carter’s work ethic and conditioning, maybe Pete will pick a qb at #5 instead (if Carter and qb available at five)

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not assuming anything

      I’ve offered an opinion on Pete’s way

      But it’s entirely possible I am wrong

      • DC1234

        No worries. Im just thinking Pete is hard to predict. You never know what he might do, that is all.

        Seahawks drafting over the years is so unpredictable.

        Ive just seen comments that Pete will build the team around Geno. Maybe Pete see flaws with Geno and know this is the best he can take them. And maybe he will want to swing for the fences a final time and draft a qb in the top 5.

        • Rob Staton

          Possibly so

    • DC1234

      I think Pete might be motivated to develop a young QB.

      It doesnt take that long for young qb to find success these days.

      Jalen Hurts, Trevor Lawrence, Herbert all have success early. I think seahawks just need to improve on the interior Oline and add more recievers/rbs. They can do that in this draft.

      Hurts is having the eagles contend for a superbowl and Lawerence made the playoffs in their second year.

  22. Palatypus

    Antonio Richardson needs to take off his shirt and flex for Pete Carroll.

    • Palatypus

      mean Anthony.

      But with his shirt off…he’s Antonio.

      • God of Thunder

        Lol! +1

  23. Silly Billy

    To quote Rob, “Be warned, speculative thinking out loud is forthcoming”:

    From the on-the-field post game interview and the press conference, I got a weird feeling Geno already knows he just played his last game in Seattle. Something about his emotional response felt more like “last ride” and less like someone who’s who’s just getting started.
    Interview for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZBnry2_C9g

    Then, when asked about free agency in the press conference, he answered with “it’s a business. Football is a business, a lot of people have a lot of decisions to make, that’s where I’ll leave it at”. Interview for reference, question is around 5:30 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_ULkRMW_8g

    This make me believe the Seahawks are still sticking to the “2011-like plan” they devised last offseason and fully intend on drafting a QB early this year. to piggyback on Rob’s “Pete Vs John philosophy” idea, the Hawks are sticking with John’s. If they had stuck with Pete’s… then Geno would have already been resigned weeks ago. Instead, the Geno era will be seen as a happy little accident, that ends in him getting paid $$$$ by someone else (giving us a juicy comp 3rd rounder in 24).

    • Rob Staton

      Interesting thoughts (although I never think Geno was going to be signed weeks ago)

      I will perhaps write a counterpoint to my own article for Friday’s piece

      • Nathan M

        THIS! This is why Rob Staton and SDB is top notch. A deep thinker who considers many possible outcomes and can ARGUE WITH HIMSELF, LOL!

        Love it, Rob. Thank you!

  24. Denver Hawker

    Nice analysis Rob. I differ in the Pete opinion re: draft though can see where you’re coming from.

    I think he just loves this game and being impressionable to the younger guys. Geno played in the system and had success sure. But I can see him being just as excited as JS to get a top QB. I think Pete loves building culture and that’s easier to do with a young core, not the journeyman who expect to get paid.

    • UkAlex6674

      This is a good point Denver, although I think Geno has bought into the culture as he has been there so long.

      But it could be PC is on board with taking a QB at 5 with a view to a good last year or 2 before he retires, and then can say we had a run AND I’ve left the team with a franchise QB.

  25. Daniel

    As prideful as Pete can be, perhaps Pete just rolls with whoever JS picks. If JS was really running the last draft, it would be hard for even PC to deny that it was a much better job than when his hands were involved. He was willing and able to eat the salary spent on Matt Flynn in lieu of Wilson which took a bit of humility. So Pete is capable of going against coventional wisdom. It wouldn’t shock me if in his mind, he’s willing to roll with Drew or a rookie. If he does though, my fear is that he’ll go back to an ultra conservative playbook.

  26. JJ

    I think it could it play into PC’s ego about finding a young QB to set up the franchise after he left. They would build a statue outside of stadium if someone like Richardson pops in his watch.

  27. no frickin clue

    Pete Carroll’s first game that counted as the head coach of the Seahawks was against…San Francisco (Week 1, 2010).

    Would kind of close the circle neatly if his last game was against this same team.

  28. Romeo A57

    I ran a PFN Mock Draft. CB Ringo went #1 overall and all of the Quarterbacks were still on the board when Seattle picked at #5. These mock simulations are fun but this run though was too silly 🙂

    Another big unknown is if Jody is going to be content if the Seahaeks go 9-9 and don’t look competitive against the Niners again. Is she going to demand changes to coaches, front office, schemes? It would be nice if she spoke to the media or even sent a some kind of notice to the fans more often. I dont expect her to be interviewed but sending a letter through the Seahawks would be ok. Who knows how she will look at this season. Or does she just consider herself a placeholder for 2 more seasons?

  29. Gross MaToast

    We saw a huge uptick in the quality of the picks with last year’s draft, so JS may have wrestled away some of Pete’s total control and called the shots for that, but no way to know until we see more. Pete’s not going to announce that he’s ceded power and you have to assume that if he’s still in the building, he still calls all the shots. So, who the hell knows?

    Any chance Pete steps down after this playoff run? I’d give it a 10% chance of happening.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s more than 10% but we’ll see

  30. Daniel D.

    This is great analysis and I agree that the pick depends on who makes it.

    That said, I think you underestimate Pete’s willingness to stick around and develop another quarterback. I think he’d like to run it back with Geno AND develop a new #1. In his post-game presser after the Rams game, Pete expressed confidence in the ability of his system to make QBs successful. He’s 2/2 with Russ and Geno and I don’t doubt he intends to stick around and make it 3/3, even if that means coaching until he’s 75.

    • Rob Staton

      I think you underestimate Pete’s willingness to stick around and develop another quarterback

      You might be right

  31. Jordan

    “We were told how the Seahawks were prepared to draft Mahomes in 2017 had he lasted to Seattle’s pick, despite enjoying Russell Wilson’s best years in that period. It’s since been reported they were trying to trade Wilson to Cleveland a year later, to draft Allen with the top pick.”

    That would then follow that, at least at one point, either Pete was open to the idea of investing a high pick and starting over with a rookie QB, or he didn’t have control then. I doubt JS would have been unilaterally eyeing those moves without the HC on board.

    I guess Pete being amicable or resistant to JS vision for ’23 and beyond comes down to whether or not 4-5 years since Mahomes/Allen he has started contemplating the end or if he isn’t thinking within a defined window of time at all.

  32. Mick

    I understand the thought process and the decision of not publishing the mock draft (as eagerly as I was waiting for it). I hope the possibility that Pete would rather ride with Geno is wrong. Geno started turning the ball over a little too often for Pete’s taste, and Pete also knows it’s a numbers game and Geno’s price has increased. He could (and should) let Geno test his market and sign him later at what we can offer him if he doesn’t find a better deal.

    I love the idea of a WR in the second round, and imagine the draft going Richardson, Van Pran, WR. We could find solutions for D in free agency and with lower picks.

  33. Jordan

    Pete loved pushing the QB position with the next 5 star talent he could bring in.

  34. Dingbatman

    My hope is that Pete plans to replicate his first years as coach of the Seahawks.

    2010. Initial year with aging legend at QB in Hasselbeck
    2011. Moves on from Hasselbeck. Brings in Tarvaris Jackson as stopgap
    2012. Drafts rookie quarterback.
    2013. Key free agents signing. Super Bowl

    2021. Final year with aging legend at QB in RW
    2022. Starts Geno Smith as stopgap
    2023. Draft rookie quarterback (hopefully)
    2024. Use cap to sign key free agents. Contender??

    Pete may not be as against a rookie QB as we might speculate. He’s done this before and I’m convinced he believes he can do it again. This also creates a timeline that aligns with his current contract. As Rob pointed out “this may have been the plan all along”. It certainly has that feel to it. The potential to recreate the “one ring to rule them all” a quality starting quarterback on a rookie contract would hopefully have so much allure and shininess that Pete won’t be able to pass it up.

  35. Rob4q

    Nice write up Rob, appreciate the perspective on onw possible scenario. And while we don’t really know what the relationship is between JS & PC, it’s still an interesting topic to discuss…

    I am firmly in the camp of taking the opportunity to draft a QB early if one is there at 5. I think they only way you wouldn’t is if all 4 go in the first 5 picks or the one that’s left isn’t one you really believe in.

    Side note for the community – what is the feeling on LB Daiyan Henley from WSU? I just read a little write up on him and sounds like an interesting player that could fit into a lot of systems. Could make a nice mid-round pick…

  36. Plip

    With Rob mocking Stroud, Levis, Anderson, and Young in the first four picks, I think it highlights the struggle in mocking a pick for the Seahawks at #5. The two big-six players left are Richardson and Carter. One is the least NFL-ready quarterback of the top QBs, who might be the most difficult of the six to sell to Pete. And the other is the player many of us assume (hope?) would be the last choice (at least out of the six) for John. It’s impossible to decide between them without having a sense for who’s calling the shots.

    If it had come down to any other two out of the six, then it might be easier to imagine a meeting of the minds on one of the players. Even there, it’d be a collision of (presumed) approaches to the future. But the decision between Richardson and Carter would be the most polarizing possible.

  37. OnlyThe Lonely

    Rob, you are SO on point to focus on who has been calling the shots for past Seahawks drafts and how that will effect our 2023 draft. HOWEVER, I think there’s been a change at the macro-level that will effect how we look at this draft cycle. We need to factor-in that this franchise is positioning itself FOR SALE. IMO, it will be a “front office/John Schneider draft” (as was 2022) vs a Pete Carroll draft (one-ring to rule them all). Hear me out: The people at Vulcan Inc are simply world-class business executives (I know some on a social basis), FWIW. It’s well-known that Paul Allen’s Will requires the Seahawks be sold within the next couple years. They (Vulcan) will be very cognizant of what “actions” will help get maximum value. More to your point, across the past ten years, no one will ever know to what degree it’s been John Schneider or Pete Carroll making the final decisions re player personnel…Jimmy Graham, Jamal Adams, Malik McDowell, etc. I suspect PC because those transactions all seem uncharacteristic for John, who is from the GB Packers-tree (i.e. build a dynasty through the draft). I don’t think this aspect can be dismissed or under-rated, especially since Carroll, as Head Coach/VP of Operations, has had carte blanche control over pretty much everything. Given that Allen’s estate is approaching the deadline to sell the team, Carroll’s “blanket authority” may have been modified in order to posture the franchise to capture maximum sale-value. Coincidentally, but fortuitously, the fact that PC has us in the play-offs bolsters the franchise value. Trading Russell Wilson and securing attractive future “assets” (ie. draft picks) would not be counter to that proposition either. Further, having a renowned head coach ready for retirement is perfect for the new owners – they can have their guy as head coach. Plus, they get a solid front office headed by a proven GM (John Schneider). Not like some other franchises i.e. Cardinals (Bidwell), Colts (Irsay), Raiders (Davis). I realize what I’m postulating doesn’t focus on specific players, but I believe that in this macro-sense, John Schneider will be empowered to do his job in the 2023 draft with less interference from Pete Carroll…which is huge IMO. I expect the 2023 Seahawks draft will: follow a visible plan, get great team value at every pick, and be pleasantly without any of those “head-scratchers we’ve seen in prior years. Disclaimer: I am not a NFL draft expert or an authority on the Seattle Seahawks… but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express before writing this.

    • Andy J


    • Peter

      People need to fire up the Google and read Allen’s own words.

      There is literally no timeliness to wind down Paul’s assets.

      The only clue is a report from Brock Huard about the minimum length before a sale can start with regards to a deal with the city.

      She has literally stated it may take years perhaps decades to wind down his assets.

      • Rob Staton

        There have been other reports. I forget the name but it’s a journalist in Oregon who covers the Blazers.

        A sale is going to happen sooner rather than later. It’s inevitable. The Seahawks don’t have a proper ownership at the moment it’s just a holding pattern.

        • Peter

          John canzano.

          I know a sale will happen.

          I just think those of is who hope two years on the nose may be left a little deflated.

          She purportedly turned down a deal with Phil knight for the trailblazers which would maybe have been the most logical buyer due to money, connections, locality, and freaky passion for oregon sports.

          • Rob Staton

            It might be two years or it might be longer — I don’t think it’ll be too much longer though

            They’ve known a sale is coming down the road and so have any potential buyers. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of work is being done behind the scenes in preparation for this and we might just find out one day it’s all done and that’s that — without any long run up in the press

  38. Gaux Hawks

    Love the Mingo and White pick… I’m really struggling to find a DL in R2-3. I like Siaki Ika, but don’t see it happening. Enjoyed the write up in the comments on this guy, thanks!

  39. Wade

    I get slightly different vibes.

    It’s been genuinely odd to me how Pete’s gone out of his way to complement how well Lock has competed at practice. Then mentioning this past week how he believes the Hawks have a great QB system in place? If he loves Geno so much, why not complement the quarterback rather than his own coaching?

    Just a hunch, but I bet they resign Lock and draft the QB who falls. Or trade for 1.4 if they fall in love with Levis/Richardson and the player is on the board. In 2013, I believe Pete/JS mentioned that Pete wanted to take Wilson in the second round but JS talked him into waiting until R3. So they can have similar tastes.

    That said, I do believe JS is annoyed at the power dynamic which (I’d imagine) led to Pete blowing so many F1s on Harvin, Graham, and Prez Peacock.

    • Rob Staton

      Then mentioning this past week how he believes the Hawks have a great QB system in place?

      I missed this at the time but someone brought it to my attention after I’d written the article

      It did make me raise an eyebrow

      I may write a counter to my own article for Friday’s piece

  40. Andy J

    I don’t know Rob… you’ve kinda had me sold that Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a great fall-back. I’ve watched him play and he does dynamic things.

    • Rob Staton

      I really like him but for me he’s a flier still

  41. Andy J

    You know, a lot of people raise a lot of counter-speculation to Rob’s speculation. I think I more partial to the counter-view of Pete as a flexible, Tomlin-like coach, not ready to hand up his cleats just yet.

    BUT THAT BEING SAID… I think Rob is asking questions that local and national media ARE REFUSING TOO. That’s what really grinds my gears. I rolled my eyes extra hard at everyone and their mother badgering Bill Belichick about who was gonna be calling plays this year, but at least they were doing their fucking job by being annoying.

    I think the PC/JS really is a mystical balance of mind-meld slash power sharing. But the team really is at a major transition moment this past year and this coming year. I don’t see why more reporters who cover the team aren’t asking these questions or diving into the decision-making process behind the scenes. Pete has never been coy about how he wants to improve the team in his yearly end-of-season press conferences. He has never come off as vengeful about the leaks and stories from the LOB years. I want the gossip. I want people to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. I also wanna see Pete make another run at it (& I don’t think that’s possible with Geno, sorry folks). Gimme gimme gimme.

  42. Nick

    I feel this debate is a bit skewed. Here is my two cents on the QB vs DL at 5 spot. In my opinion, with the evolution of the league rules protecting QB’s, promoting career longevity if you hit on the Mahomes, Allen, types. YOU MUST TAKE THE SHOT AT QB AT 5.

    Sure, we would all love to have the game wrecking DL, who imposes his will on opposing offenses for decades. WE ALL see what Aaron Donald has done against us, but his body is starting to crumble due to the sheer violence imposed on himself(and our helpless Oline) over the years.

    The contrast is stark to me, the NFL protects franchise QB’s(rightly so). A nice career for a DL is going to be much shorter in years of effective play, as opposed to the QB, who could last 15 plus years in the league.

    If Levis or AR is there at 5, run don’t walk to the podium. The chance at winning the lottery on the holy grail of sports(ELITE QB play on rookie contract) is too great to pass on

    • UkAlex6674

      Yes agree. I’d he happy with either of those 2 at pick 5.

  43. Big Mike

    In case any of you don’t know, Saturday’s game is likely to be played in a near monsoon. Ball security will be key obviously. The 9ers lost the first game of the season in Chicago in the same kind of conditions. Here’s hoping for a repeat.

    • Peter

      1. I want to beat the niners for a ton of reasons.

      2. However I’m not sure I’ve ever consistently seen a team with less of a handle on how to play in their own elements than my seahawks.

      3. Who can hold the lines better for a probable display of ground control on saturday.

  44. Simon Mc

    Another thing that would have prompted talk about Pete retiring – the recruitment of Sean Desai in a role that had hints of embedding Pete’s successor in the organisation.

    • Mick

      I doubt that, heard he’s interviewing with the Browns. Should Pete retire, I think John will want way more control over who gets the head coach job than he can have with Pete still in the building.

    • Peter

      I read comments like this all the time but I’m always struggling to find successor coaches.

      I’m sure it must happen I just can’t recall when.

      More importantly with the elephant in the room of possible sale of the team it may not be Pete or even John’s call.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think Desai was tied to that but it did feel like they were pumping up Clint Hurtt. Perhaps with idea Desai could be DC

      But I think that’s a non starter now given the way the defense played this year

  45. Brendan

    After reading this blog for years and listening to Rob, I hope that Schneider is making the call. I’m cool gong QB this year, and if we find out that JS made the call, I won’t care who they take. When you consider that the 2 QBs he really wanted were bonafide studs, I think it warrants a level of trust.

    Rob – Have you ever been asked by a team or considered becoming an NFL scout full time? Your analysis is tremendous (and usually on point – see Joel Bitonio). Especially amazing since this is your “side hustle”. Lol

    Either way, keep up the great work!

    • Rob Staton

      I have never been asked and never will be asked. I appreciate every single person who reads this blog and I’m still amazed any of you care what I have to say. But the idea that a NFL team would ever have any interest in giving credence to a random bloke in Rotherham who just watches a ridiculous amount of college football tape… it just won’t happen.

      I have actually worked as a scout in English football, briefly. I managed to make some contacts years ago and started covering non-league and lower league football for a company that had several pro-team clients. I worked there for two seasons and did enough to impress sufficiently to eventually scout a Premier League game — Bolton vs Reading — for the now Portugal manager and former Belgium & Everton manager Roberto Martinez (who was Swansea manager at the time and Swansea were a client).

      I still have all my old scouting reports in a big folder (we had to write them out in a database, print them off and post them believe it or not). So it’s something I’ve always had interest in but in terms of the NFL — it’s a nice side hustle. If I thought it ever could be more I’d go for it but English blogger becoming NFL scout is about as likely as me partnering Harry Kane at Euro 2024 🙂

      • Brendan

        Thanks a lot for answering. I feel like the Hawks are missing an opportunity, lol. Cool Prem experience. Love your work!

  46. Denver Hawker

    Why hasn’t CJ Stroud declared yet? Anything to read into there? Dude is Top 5 lock, why delay?

    • AL

      A “theme” is emerging at Ohio State this offseason where a number of draft-eligible players have decided to stick around to fourth or even fifth years with the team. Among the most notable players returning for 2023 are RB Miyan Williams, linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, tight end Cade Stover and offensive guard Matt Jones.

      Buckeyes fans on Twitter agree – and many believe it could be a precursor to what they really want: For star quarterback C.J. Stroud to return for one more season

    • Spectator

      I mentioned this last week, but buddy of mine says there is some real smoke signals that he is contemplating returning to OSU for another year. Motivation- win Heisman, beat Michigan, and win a NC. Feels like he has unsettled business. Rumors are it will boil down to the insurance policy he can get and the NIL deals. If he does return, to me (as someone who didnt like the idea of drafting him) that shows a lot about his character and competitor attitude.

    • Rob Staton

      Clearly he is thinking about whether to turn pro or return to Ohio State

      I respect him for giving it careful thought

      I hope he declares but if he doesn’t, fair play

      • Denver Hawker

        Definitely shakes up the board for the Hawks if he doesn’t declare.

  47. Mr drucker in hooterville

    I’ ve done a few PFNsim drafts. Each one Seattle gets Levis or Anderson with Mayer and Van Pran. Even with some trade downs. I am fine with this.

  48. Mr Magic

    I agree and am 100% convinced JS is chomping at the bit to go QB at 5. He tends to have pretty specific loves in a QB and has been attached to a few as mentioned. I wonder if he is infatuated with the 4 early QB thoughts or is there 1 or 2 he is truly obsessed with over the others. WIll have to wait and see.

  49. Bobbob

    A couple of alternative speculative takes…

    PC/JS’s relationship is such that they reach agreement regarding picks. If you really respect what the other brings to the table, you can reach agreement. I’ve had many business relationships that work this way. It doesn’t have to be a zero sum game.

    I get what you are saying about the niners, but the argument could easily be flipped on its head. The niners have put together an elite defense, a scary amount of weapons on offense, and could well win it all with Mr. Irrelevant as their QB. It may turn out that drafting Lance was a huge waste of draft capital.

    • Rob Staton

      I get what you are saying about the niners, but the argument could easily be flipped on its head. The niners have put together an elite defense, a scary amount of weapons on offense, and could well win it all with Mr. Irrelevant as their QB. It may turn out that drafting Lance was a huge waste of draft capital.

      That’s not the argument I’m making though.

      People don’t realise how long it has taken the Niners to put this group together, or what it has taken. We’re talking years of drafting for only one position (D-line). It wasn’t just draft Bosa and you’re away. Plus Bosa is a rare diamond and not readily available.

      On top of that they struck gold with two later round linebackers and a day three safety. So the defense took years to build with inspired picks that are difficult to emulate.

      In free agency they absolutely smashed it out of the park acquiring Trent Williams. To go with that they invested a first round pick at right tackle and a second round pick at guard. They drafted one of the best players in the league (Deebo) in R2 and one of the best players in the league (Kittle) in round five.

      The Christian McCaffrey trade was expensive and has also worked so far.

      So the first point is — we can’t hold this up as something we can aspire to. Not unless our plan needs to be epic team building of an elite scale over half a decade.

      On top of all this massive investment, creating the best roster in the NFL and having a coach who has shown he can turn water into wine at QB — they still felt they needed to spend three first round picks on a raw, massively athletic QB. So despite everything — they still needed to do the one thing some of us think the Seahawks should do at #5.

      This is why I don’t like the Niners as a suggestion of a team to copy.

      • DC1234

        The niners were a terrible team after Harbaugh left. Drafted in the top 10 for a few years.

        That was when they were starting to build up their defense.

        You can’t strive to build a team like the niners. Unless you are doing a full rebuild and have a few bad years where you are drafting in the top 3 in consecutive years.

  50. AL

    Last years draft spoke for itself. Gone were the head scratching moments, the reaches and the just plain bad picks. It was a John Schneider draft and a very good one.

    I think its safe to say, JS is targeting a QB in this draft and I think that QB is Will Levis. Js missed out on Josh Allen, I don’t think he’s going to miss out a second time on the next best thing and he has the draft capital to make it happen.

    Will Levis is the best plug and play QB in this draft and fits the Seahawks offensive system.

    I’ll bet Js has been dreaming about Will Levis since last years draft!

  51. Rokas

    Great article, Rob, I especially like it that we don’t assume too many things, such as a potential division between JS and PC.

    PC might be eternal optimist, but he is no fool. I am pretty sure they will get this right, meaning that they will draft a QB with their first pick.

    And I don’t think it will be a particularly close or tough decision tbh. Pete won’t be fooled by Jalen Carter. You can almost feel Malik Mcdowell vibe all over again. At that time, they traded down, and took him at the beginning of the second round. They could afford that gamble. They can not do that with Carter at No. 5, and they know it. Oher than that, the earliest they took DT was Jarran Reed where they traded up a bit and got him at 47th if memory serves me well. And it was a good pick.

    I even think it does not matter that much, whether they think they are close enough to contention. They still need to hedge against the fact that Geno is ageing and might decline as soon as next year. Or that his erroneous throws will lead to 5-8 more picks, which he was very fortunate to avoid this year.

    Ironically, Nwosu and Taylor brought 9.5 sacks each. It’s almost a territory of Bennet/Avril, and I know it’s ridiculous to even make that comparison, because for sure it did not feel that we had Bennet/Avril. Pressures and sacks came in bunches, and were sporadic. Half of the time if not more pass rush was non-existent.

    Why i brought this then? Because, I think they might believe that Dline is not that bad, but just need a few pieces and experience. They might believe that Taylor is finally figuring it out. Mafe had a great PFF grade on the last 4 games or so, setting the edge and bringing some pressure. If they could get someone like Payne + draft someone, that could make a huge difference.

    And they have plenty of picks this year to address the Dline and other needs. No need to spend No. 5 on that. They had a good line with Mebane, Mcdonald, Mcdaniels, Red Bryant and Jordan Hill (when healthy) rotating the interior. If they had only that many picks as before trading Frank Clark, that might be a tougher call.

    About that 3-4 thing. I remember from the book the Art of Smart football, that it’s impossible to convert from 4-3 to 3-4 in ONE SEASON. It takes 2 seasons for multiple reasons. PC said in a press conference, that 3-4 will stay, since it gives more flexibility. Jury is still on.

    I think it’s quite telling, that they stood pat and did not waste their picks to “make a run” this year. I think that tells a lot, that PC is not that desperate, for whatever reasons a person can be not desperate. And he understands the value of a QB, admitting, that he would not have kept the job all theses years if not for RW.

    They made that unfortunate Jamal Adams trade, because “they are not in position to draft such players”. Now they are in position, and they know they can’t get it wrong. I’d say the risk is too great not to draft a QB. Since it might bite them in the face. If QB will not work out, no one will bash them for not drafting a freaking DT, unless he turns out to be Donald. Odds are, that we can get a good QB from this class are much higher than Carter turning into Donald.

    Honestly, for me the only intrigue is, are they gonna trade up. It’s possible, that Chicago DO NOT want to move into 9th-10, at 5th they could still get Carter, and at 9th-10, whoever they draft, would be a reach.

  52. Jace

    100% agree with the Tomlin quote. A coaches job is to develop players. What do we think of Pete’s ability to develop a rookie quarterback? A lot of rookie QBs bust or become average players unless they end up in the right place. I’m probably in the minority and think Pete is a great coach. However, I don’t think his ability to develop a QB is on par with, say Andy Reid. I’m also likely in the minority in thinking that Geno is a top 5 qb – Mahomes, Burrow, Allen, maybe Herbert, then Geno.

    For these reasons, although I’m OK with picking a QB in the draft at #5, I’m not in favor of the rookie starting right away and definitely not in favor of not resigning Geno despite the salary cap concerns. RW as a rookie was an anomaly. Whoever we draft needs to hold a clipboard for a couple years and learn the pro game while Geno does his thing.

  53. Jessie

    Look forward to the mocks and very interesting idea to break it into a Pete vs John mock, creative idea.

    Am I the only one ok with drafting a tight end with one of our first 5 picks? Hear me out, last year we passed on a deep liner backer class and now this year it looks like we need to draft two linebackers in a much weaker class. This tight end class looks insanely deep going into round 3 with quality players and dissly is coming off another injury, Colby and Noah fant have one year left on their deals. If we pass tight end up in this draft we may very well need two tight ends next year in what may be a much lesser class. In a lot of mocks I’ve done tight end is bpa at a lot of our picks going from Michael Mayer with our native first rounder to Darnel Washington in the 2nd round or luke musgrave in the 3rd round

    Anyways just a thought, look forward to the coverage

  54. jessie

    If a sure fire top 10 pick and possibly #1 pick in CJ Stroud returns to school the NFL will seriously have to find a way to counter this NIL money. This should be one of the biggest talking points in sports outside of the superbowl in the coming months. I can not believe a possible #1 overall pick would return to college.

    How does the NFL counter this? I think they may have 2 options 1. lower the eligibilty requirement to two years down from three, 2. give more pay but that doesn’t seem feasible to NFL salary caps. This is monumental if it happens and people much smarter then me would have to figure it out.

    • Rob Staton

      If CJ Stroud stays it’ll be nothing to do with NIL money

      Players stay for a whole bunch of reasons. Andrew Luck snubbed declaring when he was guaranteed to be #1 as a redshirt sophomore

      Stroud will be going back to achieve his goals — presumably a BIG10 title at least, with an eye on a Heisman or National title too

      And that should be applauded

      • jessie

        Thanks for the insight. I was unaware Andrew Luck stayed an extra year. The push back I will say is being that he isn’t in a pro-style offense he is really doing himself a disservice if he was to stay. If he was at Kentucky or working in a pro style offense then awesome he will continue to develop. Instead he will just be wasting a year going into the same watered down offense, i personally think it would be a bad decision. Outside of these accolades what will he actually learn from going back to the watered down offense of Ohio St for another year.

        • Rob Staton

          What if they’re letting him run the offense next season, as they seemed to against Georgia?

          I will never, ever criticise any player for returning to school. Nobody should.

          Good luck to him if he does it. Teams will love that about him. It will show he means business, is serious about achieving goals and leaving a mark.

  55. Sluggo42

    Right off the bat this game is showing the difference between a strong rush, vs a weak rush.
    This is where a Carter presence is felt. The knock being, will the guy be motivated, when nothing has motivated him yet. I suppose personal pride is really the only true motivation, and maybe in college he’s always been the big bad wolf, so he never was really challenged.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I want AR or Stroud or Levis more, as that’s the future. But if they’re gone, I just can’t see passing on Carter. Obviously we will never know until a few years go by and we can actually measure what he does.

    These next 3 months of pre draft dribble is the worst time for me every season, because the waiting is the hardest part.

    The weirdest trend I’m seeing in mocks, is everyone has Young as the easy first qb picked….

  56. Sluggo42

    Maybe we need a middle linebacker first… Barton stinks….

  57. Madmark

    It’s time for Geno to drive and score.

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