Why it’s important to pay attention to character

“The Jets, after acquiring the 26th pick, go pass-rush, taking Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson II, but it’s not one of the two pass-rushers the Seahawks have in mind.”

This is an exert from a brilliant article by John Boyle on Seahawks.com, shortly after the 2022 draft. The piece took us into the Seahawks draft room, revealing some of the players they were potentially targeting — and some they were not.

Many people, myself included, expected Jermaine Johnson to be a top-10 lock. He had a great season for Florida State. He dominated at the Senior Bowl. His combine performance was strong and he carried himself like an alpha on the field during drills.

A few people had him lasting into the teens — but there was nothing as dramatic as a fall to the end of round one. I thought he’d be a great option for the Seahawks but it turns out they had no interest. Character concerns were not discussed pre-draft but in light of his drop to #26 — they were then revealed.

It’s times like these that you realise for all the mocks and the prognosticating — we don’t get the information we need to complete a full picture on these players.

Scouts are around the college programs all the time. They know who works hard in the weight room, who is a leader, who lacks maturity. Teams get to interview players at the combine, often with psychological experts present. You can invite players to your facility for an official visit. No stone is left unturned.

For example, recently John Schneider was interviewed on 710 Seattle Sports and he made reference to watching interviews on YouTube to learn about individuals. Jim Nagy has talked about social media accounts, as has Lance Zierlein. In a live seminar discussing the way he scouts, Zierlein made reference to pouring over a player’s Instagram page to try and learn about the person.

We can also do some of this to try and get an angle on things — but we can never go as far as the teams.

That’s why we have to rely on nuggets that emerge in the media.

Todd McShay stated the following during an ESPN broadcast, discussing his first published mock draft:

“With Carter there are some character issues. Does he get along with everybody? What’s he like to deal with in the locker room? I know it’s early in the process but I’m forewarning everyone out there. Carter’s going to be a hot-button name when we talk about some of the intangible aspects of it. It’s not about his talent, it’s not about his size, it’s not about his explosive take-off or finishing as a pass rusher. It’s about the character. Do we want to bring that guy into the building?”

McShay received a lot of pushback for this online. You can certainly argue whether it’s right for a draft analyst to publicly question Carter’s character. It’s one thing for teams to have those concerns privately. It’s another thing to, as some might suggest, throw him under the bus.

ESPN published an article praising Carter’s off-the-field contributions days later, probably in an attempt to diffuse an awkward situation and not be seen to be crushing a young player internationally without balance.

However, I personally don’t see what the issue is. McShay is clearly only reporting what is being discussed behind the scenes. There was a lot of nonsense thrown at McShay — suggesting he was doing the bidding of teams hoping to initiate a draft-fall for Carter. It’s a ludicrous proposition. As if any team would pass on a prospect based on a back-and-forth between McShay and Mel Kiper on ESPN.

Lance Zierlein has since written the following in his scouting report for Carter:

Across the board, Carter checks out in a big way. However, his maturity will need to be vetted by each team as they make their evaluations.

Scouts say maturity has been an issue for him at times.

There’s also the well-publicised issue with conditioning, as highlighted in this video:

The bottom line is — his coach told him he had to improve his conditioning. Carter said himself his priority was to improve his conditioning when speaking last April. Then in the biggest games of the season — against LSU in the SEC Championship and against Ohio State in the playoffs, he looked as gassed as any player I’ve ever watched on a football field.

The off-setting point is that Zierlein also grades Carter as the best player in the draft. I suspect McShay has the same view. Personally I think Bijan Robinson is the most talented player — but Carter would be second.

Teams will need to weigh-up the pro’s and con’s and make a call. It means, for me, that Carter’s stock is more in-flux than people think. He could go in the top-three. He could last a bit longer than people think.

The Seahawks placed a big emphasis on character in the draft a year ago and Schneider re-iterated that on 710 Seattle Sports recently. It’s something to remember as many assume Seattle would automatically draft Carter and call it a job well done.

Charles Cross, Boye Mafe, Ken Walker, Abe Lucas. Their four high picks a year ago. All very motivated, very grounded people with the right attitude.

By all accounts, that doesn’t sound like Carter. McShay and Zierlein are not shock-jocks trying to make a headline. Most people don’t even know Zierlein’s scouting reports are available yet. He hasn’t made any fuss of what he’s said, which aligns with McShay’s comments. What we do know is both are highly respected with sources in the league at the highest level.

People like this actively questioning Carter’s maturity and locker room fit need to be listened to.

I find it strange how fans perceive drafting a quarterback to be ‘risky’ at #5 — but very rarely talk about the risk of taking Carter. If it’s simply a positional thing — why is it a ‘risk’ to try and find yourself a quality, cheap player at the most important position in football? I’d say that’s the opposite of ‘risk’. It’s opportunity.

The one thing you can say about C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson is there are no character concerns. None. Especially with Stroud, Young and Levis who are all heart-and-soul leaders, highly respected by their programs.

I found it interesting listening to an interview with Jim Nagy talking about the Seahawks. He spoke about the home-run nature of drafting Will Anderson if he somehow lasted to #5. Nagy spoke of Anderson’s character, passion for the game, intensity on the field.

I get the feeling that if Anderson was on the board, the Seahawks would be all over it. The talent plus character equation adds up. Nick Saban has often gone above and beyond to talk-up Anderson as a person and team-mate.

With Carter it’s always a case of he’s talented ‘but’ there are some concerns.

I’ve mocked him to Seattle because I think there’s a chance they’ll view the talent and need meshing together. If the top three quarterbacks are off the board by #5, plus Anderson, then I think there’s a chance the Seahawks will roll the dice on Carter. After all, they badly need someone like him to create havoc up front.

Again though — character matters.

For the first time yesterday I saw a mock that had Tyree Wilson ahead of Carter. If Wilson tests well at the combine to go with his unique length and size — I wouldn’t be surprised if that became a common projection.

It all works to make things interesting at #5.

I wanted to highlight this article by Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, with a particularly interesting note on Geno Smith’s future and Seattle’s possible quarterback plan:

As noted, the Seahawks may not want too much of a long-term commitment and will want to assure they can structure the deal in a way to allow them to address their other issues.

And a two- or three-year deal — especially if there is a void year at the end — doesn’t mean the Seahawks can’t draft a QB in the first round. Seattle drafted Russell Wilson in the third round in 2012 after signing Matt Flynn to a three-year, $20.5 million deal.

In other words, the Seahawks can take care of the present while also looking to the future. And that may well be the way they go.

This speaks to what we’ve been discussing recently and comes from a connected and trusted source. Amid all the ‘pay the man’ talk on Twitter and in some sections of the media, in the last week we’ve seen this article from Condotta and Dave Wyman suggesting on his radio show (the same radio show John Schneider begins a weekly guest-spot on Thursday) that Geno Smith is looking for $40m a year.

The Seahawks have dabbled quite frequently in media negotiations in the past. It seems things are underway once more.

My guess is what’s written above is, precisely, Seattle’s thinking. They want to re-sign Smith but they also want the benefit of a low cap hit in 2023. They don’t want a big commitment for years. They will strongly consider drafting a quarterback in round one to be the future — with Smith being the bridge.

That has always felt like the best plan moving forward. As I keep saying — despite a lot of people criticising the quarterback class (especially Will Levis and Anthony Richardson) — there is a good quartet at the top. More importantly, three of them (C.J. Stroud, Levis, Richardson) have the tools that Schneider has typically sought — from Charlie Whitehurst to Russell Wilson and then Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes.

Schneider seems to worry less about flaws and more about potential and physical quality. Tilt-the-field talent.

I do think he’ll see a lot to like with Richardson. I think he’ll see even more that he likes in Levis — and I imagine he’ll be amazed, like we all were, with the world class showing Stroud put on against Georgia.

That should, in my opinion, secure Stroud a place in the top-two picks. If Levis gets out of the top-four — which is debatable — he could easily be Seattle’s man.

He literally played in the Seahawks/Rams offense in 2021 and shone. He will have an easier transition into the league as a consequence. Levis is adored by everyone at Kentucky — the staff, the players, the people working behind the scenes. Everyone thinks he’s great. He is a gym-rat who loves the game.

He has the exact kind of arm Schneider loves and he’s shown he can execute Seattle’s scheme at a high level. People spend too much time on a disastrous 2022 season where he lost his offensive coordinator, centre and right tackle to the NFL — plus his top receiver. He was left with a mess of a situation, he was sacked an incredible number of times and had to play most of the season with a broken toe.

Levis screams Schneider and Seahawks. It’s something to keep in mind as we go through the next few weeks — even if (when?) Smith is re-signed.

If they do take a quarterback at five, there will still be options to improve the defense. The more I watch of Will McDonald, the more I think he is everything Pete Carroll looks for in a pass rusher. It won’t be a surprise if he’s viewed as a ‘must-have’ at #20 — given his remarkable physical profile, amazing length, college production and outstanding Senior Bowl.

With two second round picks and a third round pick — they will have plenty of stock to also bring in a defensive tackle. Could McDonald and Keeanu Benton be a rookie equivalent to Troy Hendrickson and D.J. Reader in Cincinnati? Possibly.

I still think there’s a chance they will acquire a big name D-liner when the league year begins — possibly by trading for DaRon Payne (assuming he’s tagged) or DeForest Buckner, or by signing a veteran such as Javon Hargrave. We’ll see — but I think the Seahawks know they need to do something up front.

The Eagles should be Seattle’s guiding light. They have drafted well but they’ve also acquired well. They don’t make the Super Bowl without their free agent additions up front. They made trades for A.J. Brown, Darius Slay and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

The Seahawks will need to be open-minded about how they acquire players and that’s another reason for not investing mega-money in Geno Smith.

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  1. Hawkhawk

    After the Malik McDowell debacle a couple years ago character should continue to be highly valued! Anyone who isn’t A+ in that regard isn’t worth it IMHO..great article!

  2. Matt

    Good stuff Rob. It’s already hard enough to make it in the NFL. At Pick 5, a guy failing for anything other than performance reasons would be a black mark on JS; especially considering they never pick this high.

  3. cha

    I wonder how far this extends to professional players as well – particularly Geno. Not a big deal when you’re paying him $3.5m and have Drew Lock as the supposed 1A. When he’s asking for $40 million? It becomes a much bigger deal.

    With the insight we got a couple threads down, it would appear a potential DUI arrest is a possibility. Any team wanting to commit big money to him would need to do their homework.

    Might be interesting to see what the Seahawks’ taste for taking him on with the possibility of a suspension would be.

    They stood by Jarran Reed when he was suspended for DV but cut him the following year when he refused to rework his contract.

    They probably felt a little more than burned by the Josh Gordon affair. They stood by him through more than one suspension, got him into game-shape, cut a player off the roster to activate him and then were told he wasn’t eligible.

    There was a 5-minute flirtation with Antonio Brown – probably spurred on by RW’s friendship.

    • geoff u

      There is also the possibility of Geno missing 4 games due to suspension, depending on how his toxicology report goes. Yes, they’re still waiting for it due to extreme backlog.

      • J

        It’s what I didn’t understand about all the leadership talk. Pete came out with his whole 2nd chance thing, but when did Geno ever apologize for his deplorable actions? Never heard it. And now He’s a 40 million dollar man? If you block well, run the ball, and have good receivers, there’s no need for 40 million. Brock Purdy showed that. If Lock is 1a, sign him to a similar deal to Smith last year and keep building the team–including drafting a QB 3rd round or later (unless you have someone on your board higher you want).

        • BobbyK

          Geno is too stupid to use the English language to properly apologize. Generally, a PR firm is hired to say what the player is too stupid to say in real life (read why I hated T-Junk so bad 10 years ago). Geno and Junk are too similar for comfort even though one is more and idiot and the other is too much of a fool.

          I want/demand the QB of my favorite team to be a decent human. Is that too hard to ask?

          I realize fools and morons can be on the roster, too. Afterall, you cannot win without talent. Right?

          • FWBrodie

            This is an awful post.

            • Joe

              Not necessarily, I met TJax briefly (90 mins total) right after he was the Seahawks starter, he was with members of the team too, saw him lead the group; he paid for everyone’s meal and my tip. Won’t speak ill of the dead but watching him with his teammates and noticing how intoxicated he was at 2 am, I saw him for the person he was presenting as and not just a Seahawks QB. I was not impressed. Of all the Hawks and other pro athletes I met TJax (and Nate Rob) stood out as someone of questionable integrity. I prayed for him after he died because he seemed like an ok guy, just battling some demons and the tab came due.

              You may not like the anecdote and downplay its significance, but these details matter to front offices.

              While I’m here my comments on hawks I met:
              BeastMode: A+ just as expected. Met several times and I have many stories. :p
              Earl: moody but alpha dog and respectful
              Kam: CLASS act and leader
              Dougie-Fresh: cool cat just going with it, loves life
              Sherm: he wanted no interaction, was demanding but is a celeb
              RW: all business, always in CEO mode
              Mr. Ken Norton: an absolute gentleman.

              Others I forgot about. Some were genuine and affable. Some played the professional athlete mask and didn’t give a peek inside.

              • Joe

                I can’t leave out that same place. I was also privileged to spend two hours with Mike Leach, most of it one on one, just talking and telling stories. Gut wrenching when he passed.

                Other cool detail is that I met Mike Iupati’s college O-line coach months before he was drafted. I asked about where he was getting picked and dude said straight up “San Francisco is taking him at 17, I guarantee it”, exactly as it happened.

                Always made me wonder after that how much of these drafts are determined in advance, especially for blue-chip prospects.

  4. MountainHawker

    Stroud/Levis/Richardson at 5
    McDonald/Mayer at 20
    Benton/Downs/Kancy/Ade top of the 2nd

    After that I’m happy with a number of players

    • Trevor

      Sign me up.

    • Peter

      I’m really coming around on Macdonald.

      But at #20 I’m going to add Keion White. He fits what Seattle needs. Is a very interesting dude. Speaks like a thoughtful player. And has pretty much been all football doing whatever was necessary from playing Center, TE, DE in high school. TE and DE at old dominion. Then just DE.

      And unlike the number five pick that gets mentioned a ton has never shown to shirk a challenge to get himself better.

      • MountainHawker

        I’d be happy with Keion. I think McDonald might have a higher ceiling but I think Keion has a higher floor and is more flexible.

        • Peter

          I was just thinking of a little list of players at 20 where I’d be happy whether pundits thought it was a reach or not where I’d be quite stoked by the pick.

          Macdonald is very intriguing having learned he was playing out of position last year.

    • Robbie

      I think Kancy will be gone by then, good chance he wont even make it to 20.

  5. Trevor

    Great stuff Rob the content has been awesome this off season.

    • Troy


    • Rob Staton

      Thank you

  6. Troy

    Carter just scares me man, it’s hard to see how people can call him the second best talent in the draft when:

    1) his production in college wasn’t great
    2) his conditioning was awful
    3) his maturity appears to be a serious concern

    If I thought that I would have to be on a guys ass to study, condition, learn, I would say that’s not a guy I want. You are just inviting a headache into your club, to me I’m fine losing out on his upside given the known challenges involved.

    • GrittyHawk

      The production is what I can’t get past. Why isn’t a player with his absurd athletic gifts dominating college guards? Granted Georgia is an uber elite program, but why could he not force his way onto the field for more than 40% of snaps? Why is he running sprints the week before the national championship like a kid pulling an all-nighter to finish an paper that’s due tomorrow when he should have started 6 months ago?

    • TatupuTime

      I think talent is different from the three things you outlined above. I think he’s pretty clearly incredibly talented and either at the very top or right next to it in terms of talent/potential in this draft. The three points you make are the arguments why his talent may not translate into a successful NFL career.

      The unfortunate fact of the matter is none of us have enough information to judge how much of a concern 2 and 3 are. The NFL is full of guys that coasted by on pure talent in college and needed to become professionals. Some do and some don’t. It’s going to be a ton of interviews with the guys around him in Georgia as well as team interviews and psychological assessments. He very well could just be a 21 year old immature dude that isn’t a bad guy and just needs some guidance and focus. Maybe a Pete Carroll motivator paired with some d-line leaders like Al Woods are all the mentorship he needs. We don’t know and likely won’t know until seeing where he is picked on draft day what the NFL teams actually think about this.

      That said, it does feel pretty doubtful to me that he’ll be a year one impact player given the need for conditioning, lack of college production and just the way most of the elite DTs have taken 2-3 years in the league before reaching their potential.

      And as much as it’d be frustrating to have him as a rotational player with a few splash plays next year, you combine the talent and the impact of an elite DT on a defence, and I think it’s absolutely reasonable to draft him top-5 if you think he just needs some mentorship and guidance.

      • Peter

        Right but why does he need mentorship when Travon Walker, Devontae Wyatt, and most notably Jordan Davis all go to the combine the year before and are clearly busting their asses to put on a show?

        • TatupuTime

          I don’t know. I really don’t know much about Jalen Carter other than what I can tell from his interviews and the “maturity issues” some of these NFL Draft heads have raised. I don’t know for sure how close Walker/Wyatt/Davis were with Jalen and why those guys plus the team couldn’t get him into better shape. I don’t know what other things Jalen may have been dealing with personally and juggling while being in a major college program. I don’t know what motivates Jalen and how much he loves football. I don’t think anyone else on this board does either unless they know Jalen or someone close to him.

          We can point to the red flags which are super obvious. But we’re almost completely blind on a huge volume of info that NFL teams have access to. I think as fans we can look at tape and measurables and form a reasonable opinion of whether we think a college player has the skills, football IQ etc. to translate to the pros. When it comes to character issues we have no idea.

          Jalen feels risky to me as a fan based on these issues, but I don’t feel like I have enough information to say the Seahawks should or should’t draft him based on conditioning/character concerns.

          • Rob Staton

            When it comes to character issues we have no idea.

            But we do have an idea.

            Todd McShay and Lance Zierlein have been very open about the issues. Scouts have concerns about his maturity and McShay says there are question marks about whether you want in him in the locker room.

            We have separately done a good job (if I say so myself…) in detailing the conditioning issues beyond just ‘he looked gassed against Ohio State’.

            So you don’t have to have a definitive opinion on whether you do/don’t want to draft him. But let’s not pretend we’re totally ignorant to the issues. We aren’t.

            • TatupuTime

              You’ve done a good illustrating the conditioning concerns. It’s abundantly clear that he didn’t put in the necessary work to put himself in a position to succeed during his draft year (it’s also clear from his comments on a week of wind sprints that he’s woefully ignorant as to how conditioning even works). It’s a massive concern that he wasn’t self-motivated enough to do the work when its clear the coaches were on him about it and Georgia is a major program with significant resources. It’s also pretty clear that at a minimum he’s not a popular guy in the dressing room and that it might be even more serious than that.

              My comment “When it comes to character issues we have no idea” would have been better phrased as “it’s difficult to fully evaluate character concerns from the outside”.

              We can say he has major red flags that may cause him to fall in the draft. I still don’t think anyone here knows enough about his character concerns to accurately assess just how much of a risk those issues present and where he should be drafted as a result.

              Character concerns and motivation are more difficult to assess than physical capabilities and talent.

              • Rob Staton

                I still don’t think anyone here knows enough about his character concerns to accurately assess just how much of a risk those issues present and where he should be drafted as a result.

                I wouldn’t assume that

                And his maturity has actively been called out by Lance Zierlein

  7. Cheese22

    A couple questions:
    If they are adamant about not overpaying for Geno, wouldn’t it make sense to draft your QB if it’s possible and roll with Lock next year. I can see that conflicting with PC’s ‘timeline’, but building the team last year to be just good enough to squeeze into the playoffs should be avoided next year. They are very lucky Denver collapsed or they would continue to pick at a spot where it would be much harder to get a QBOTF.
    Also, whenever anyone talks about the pass rush, I haven’t heard Alton Robinson’s name mentioned at all. He was having some success and continuing to improve from the beginning of his career until he got hurt. It seems like he’s been written off unfairly.

    • DougM

      I think Alton got caught in the middle of their scheme change to 3-4. He doesn’t have the size to play DE in a 3-4 at 260 pounds and I don’t think they see him fitting as an OLB.

      • Cheese22

        Good points. Failed to think about that angle. So, somebody will trade for him and get really good value for like a 6th or 7th round pick. Jacob Martin all over again.

        • BobbyK

          Or the Seahawks will prove really stupid again because all they care about is making sure Jamal Adams is put in the best position to succeed (3-4)… and anyone drafted for the “old” defense can screw off because, again, Jamal is all that matters. Let’s celebrate and drive drunk in Seattle at almost 100 mph. Nobody in the media will criticize you for doing it, so who cares?

          • Big Mike

            For those of you ignoring this as hyperbolic, I suggest it’s closer to the truth than most want to admit.

        • Seattle Person

          Honestly, Robinson seems destined to be released. It’s his last year on his rookie deal. Who would trade for a dude that is coming off of an IR year? It’s not like he has a track record?

    • Seattle Person

      Pete Carroll provided a little update on Robinson towards the end of the season. It’s not good…Said he had setbacks and he doesn’t really know the timeline of when he’s coming back.

  8. Denver Hawker

    I think the SB winning team in 2013 offers a good counter here though- that team had tons of character concerns, but it was all held together and achieved insane heights.

    Suspect there’s a healthy formula here to balance these types of dudes, like a strong veteran locker room to hold them accountable.

    • DC1234

      Thats true. But 2013 had a bunch of leaders on defense like Kam, Sherman, KJ, Red Bryant, Clemons, and more. They breed competition with their insane practices.

      The current seahawks Defense dont have the leaders to hold Carter accountable. I dont see any true leader on the defense besides maybe Al Woods and Diggs. And both might not be here next year. I dont want a seahawks team with Carter and Jamal Adams as the leader of the defense.

      If Carter slides pass #5, the Eagles should trade up to get him.

      • Cheese22

        That’s why I hope if they go out and sign a Hargrave, Buckner, Payne, etc I hope they get a strong personality that will make Carter learn.

        • Rob Staton

          You shouldn’t be taking someone at #5 who has to learn how to be a pro

          They need a base level of self motivation and pride

          • cha

            Other than Alabama, Carter came from the most successful CFB program in existence. If those guys couldn’t get him motivated enough to be in shape…

            • Sea Mode

              Agree. He certainly didn’t lack any means, coaches, trainers, facilities, etc.

              • Peter

                That time when three big boys from Georgia all go to the combine and play a game of “which one if us is going to drive our draft stock highest.”

                Meanwhile Carter very much plays like his post game interview Rob talks about where he is keenly aware he’s a top ten lock ipso facto who cares about pushing yourself.

    • Group Captain Mandrake

      The 2013 team had plenty of character issues to be sure, and we saw many of those come out after they lost the Super Bowl. But effort and desire were not among them.

  9. Peter

    The only slight pushback here for me is those guys were all football. Stories of LOB out studying every game. Russ was all about it. Lynch had a new fire and passion after busting out of Buffalo.

    Fiery personalities some for sure but you never had to wonder if being the best was top priority.

    • Denver Hawker

      That’s true- they were aligned on mission and understood the assignment. They still played in a mostly selfless way. I also didn’t consider their character concerns as high when they entered the league as it was when they left the team. Harvin being an exception.

      • Peter

        It doesn’t matter now history and all but man it would have been fun if Harvin the player was wired with lynch/baldwin’s passion to be great.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not sure Marshawn had that so much as he’s just the most violent player to ever play the game

      • Peter

        Maybe. I mean he did goof around a bit in Buffalo.
        I just think fondly of him feeding off Sherman’s energy.

    • Chris

      It’s okay to be a psycho, as long as you’re a psycho that loves football. That’s what a lot of those guys had. They weren’t right in the head, and would occasionally make horrible off field decisions (you in jail yet for that little thing you did Sherman? Should be …), but they did love the game. I don’t know if Carter is missing that, but it seems probable.

      • Rob Staton

        I’d say he’s definitely missing it

  10. Peter

    Awesome stuff Rob.

    If you truly don’t rate Richardson and Anderson is sitting there you’ve got to make that pick.

    Heck. If Richardson drops a little and say Carolina is no longer at nine maybe wheel and deal to get up from 20 for him. Football is great because simple things matter like the trenches. On the other hand special players can change your fortunes.

  11. PJ in Seattle

    Character matters. So you do your due diligence and trust your gut. We’ve gambled in this regard and have won some (Irvin, Clark) and lost some (McDowell, C. Michael). Hopefully by now, Pete and JS know how to suss out those character concerns better than most.

    Anderson is a no-brainer as a leader and character guy. His tweener size is the only thing that makes him not a slam dunk #1 pick. He will improve whatever locker room he ends up in, I have ZERO doubts. Carter now has this conditioning and ‘maturity’ stink on him, but if he reaches his potential, there wouldn’t be regrets. I highly doubt he falls to 5 anyway, buy you can bet the Hawks will dig as deep as they can into that conditioning question before they take him.

    No matter what, I can’t see us passing on one of the top 4 QBs unless they are all gone by #5 (in which case, you now have to choose between Anderson, Carter, and Wilson). That’d be a hell of a pickle. This is just too rare a spot to be in, where we have top 5 pick without having to give up a slew of future draft capital or suffer through a 4-5 win season. It’s almost like being given a mulligan. I have my preferences, but take Levis, Stroud, Young or Richardson and don’t look back. There’s plenty of D-Line talent to mine later in this draft.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s not a ‘stink’ on Carter

      It’s a serious concern that deserves proper consideration

    • 509 Chris

      I do think its likely Carter falls. There’s so many qb needy teams that will trade into those spots for the 4 qbs that actually make sense to get drafted that early. If the qbs weren’t that good and no one was willing to give up a lot to trade into the top few spots, I’d say teams might take him with their native pick. Because Carter isn’t a slam dunk, Anderson is the only guy a team that isn’t qb needy might say let’s use the pick and not trade it. Maybe the combine pushes another name or 2 up there we can only hope. Robs been dead right that these qbs will go fast this year.

  12. Peter

    Rob you’ve probably seen it but the February 13th mock on nfl.com by Chad Reuter.

    It’s like a bizarro world pfn mock. Where it’s all bad picks for Seattle.

    Trade out of five for a conference rival to get Levis….sounds good.

    Forget missing on Richardson. In the mock we miss on every one and trade down to 27-ish for ocyrus “puddin'” torrence.

    Corner back in round two at #37. Heck yeah.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not surprised. Some of the big websites have some hideous mock drafts on them. No idea how you get a gig producing mocks for NFL.com but I’ll do it for free if they want some where actual thought has gone into them

      • Canadian Hawk

        I’d 2nd that.

      • Sea Mode

        Wonder if Lance might put in a good word for you next time there’s an opening writing draft content for NFL.com. You already have the press qualifications and a whole body of work they can refer to…

        • Rob Staton

          I would happily do it for free

          • SeaTim

            It’s not the price, it’s the independence created by the actual thought thing that scares them away.

      • GrittyHawk

        The Internet makes a lot more sense once you realize the purpose of nearly every piece of content is to drive clicks and engagement, not to actually convey insightful or meaningful information.

  13. Nick

    I wonder if JS/PC’s strategy is that they take either Will Levis or Anthony Richardson at 5. They know almost certainly one will be there. And even in the unlikely event that doesn’t happen, there’s Hendon Hooker to fall back on.

    Trimming the board down to 2 QBs at #5 has a couple of obvious benefits strategically. It simplifies the amount of ways the draft can go for Seattle, therefore making it easier to “plan” for the rest of the draft. And zeroing in on Levis and Richardson can be hidden by re-signing Geno to a solid deal for both parties.

  14. Cheese22

    That’s why I hope if they go out and sign a Hargrave, Buckner, Payne, etc I hope they get a strong personality that will make Carter learn.

  15. Canadian Hawk


    Great piece.

    My sense is the Seahawks have less patience for questionable character than what we’ve seen in years past. This was John in 2018 right after the Malik McDowell disaster….

    “You evaluate your drafts all the time. You’re constantly evaluating what you think you did well, what you need to improve on. I think one of the things we’ve done is it’s really cleaned up. We don’t have quite as many names on our board,” Schneider said. “You have to have certain criteria to be on our board and we’re making less excuses for players, I would say.”

    One of AR, WL, CJS, BY or WL will be available to Seattle.

    I hope they don’t overthink it.

    • Sea Mode

      I will say this though: Malik was a huge character gamble, yes. But at the top of R2 is a whole lot different than gambling with a top 5 pick, especially in a year where you just traded away your franchise QB and several enticing QB prospects are out there.

      • Big Mike

        Good point

  16. Roy Batty

    Two weeks to the combine.

    Two. Weeks.

  17. DK

    The more time that passes, I am leaning towards preferring the Hawks taking a QB at 5. I think at least two of the four will be there. I am not sold on some team overlooking the concerns with Carter thinking they can turn it around with him. Sign Lock and Draft Levis or Richardson, as I think Steoud and Young being from blue blood programs will entice some teams.

    If Defense ends up being the pick at 5 and let’s say Carter and Anderson are off the board, I am thinking I’d rather get Keion White over Tyree Wilson. White seems to be the kind of inside out guy Carroll loves, vs Wilson who played in the pass happy Big-12 and had more chances to create pass rush opportunities, but I am also a little shell shocked when it comes to Big-12 especially Texas Tech defensive players.

    Having watched almost as many Wisconsin games as Husky games and having seen Keeanu Benton play, I’d be much happier landing him in round 2 instead of takinf Carter at 5 and hoping he can mature and reach his full potential. If this was the old locker room with Bennett, Avril, Sherm, Kam, and Bobby W a guy like Carter wouldn’t be able to slack off, but this is a different team and I’m not sure anyone would hold him to that high standard.

  18. DK

    The more time that passes, I am leaning towards preferring the Hawks taking a QB at 5. I think at least two of the four will be there. I am not sold on some team overlooking the concerns with Carter thinking they can turn it around with him. Sign Lock and Draft Levis or Richardson, as I think Steoud and Young being from blue blood programs will entice some teams.

    If Defense ends up being the pick at 5 and let’s say Carter and Anderson are off the board, I am thinking I’d rather get Keion White over Tyree Wilson. White seems to be the kind of inside out guy Carroll loves, vs Wilson who played in the pass happy Big-12 and had more chances to create pass rush opportunities, but I am also a little shell shocked when it comes to Big-12 especially Texas Tech defensive players.

    Having watched almost as many Wisconsin games as Husky games and having seen Keeanu Benton play, I’d be much happier landing him in round 2 instead of tag arter at 5 and hoping he can mature and reach his full potential. If this was the old locker room with Bennett, Avril, Sherm, Kam, and Bobby W a guy like Carter wouldn’t be able to slack off, but this is a different team and I’m not sure anyone would hold him to that high standard.

  19. Joe Strummer

    Barely off topic, but PFF has radically revamped their player rankings this week. Steve Avila, Dayan Henley, Mazi Smith are way up.

    • Simon

      I wonder if Mazi passes the Seahawks’ character test. If so, I’d love to get him at 20.

      • Rob Staton

        Mazi Smith has outstanding character

        It’s whether his arms are long enough for Seattle

  20. Gross MaToast

    The idea that the 4 QBs go 1-2-3-4 is a realistic possibility. The Colts and Panthers, bot starved for QBs, likely have eyes on 1 & 3. Put the QBs in whatever your favorite order may be and it doesn’t matter – the ugly truth is that the Seahawks could be left at the altar by staying pat at 5. Congratulations, you’ve just doomed yourself to years and years of shuffling the sad melange of mediocrity in and out trying to find a workable solution.

    I think they’ve got to go up, whatever the cost. Trading away a franchise QB, lucking into the 5th overall and then failing to capitalize on that by bringing in the next guy – the dude who can play on a rookie contract for the next five seasons while you stockpile talent around him – that’s a recipe for disaster if your interests include future Super Bowls.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass about getting Carter or Anderson. “But it’ll make the defense better immediately!!!” Really? With Clint Hurtt and Pete Carroll calling the shots??? Really? The Seattle defense, regardless of who’s out there, has looked pretty close to rubbish for many, many years running. Anderson or LazyBoy Carter aren’t going to change that.

    There’s no way that the Seattle braintrust, such as it is, could have anticipated the collapse of Denver in ’22 and the 1st rounder being #5 overall. Who knows what their thinking was a year ago? Now, you’ve been given a shot at the most valuable resource in sports – a QB on a rookie contract – and to spend it on a DT who may be more Malik McDowell than Aaron Donald, or on a DE who may be fine, but not the difference maker you hoped for, would be an incredible waste of resources. Unfortunately, wasting resources is a common theme for this franchise, so it’s not out of the question.

    I think they’ve got to get to the 1/1, whatever the cost, if they want a QB that’s not 25 and coming off a knee injury. Get your guy and go.

    • Mr drucker in hooterville

      If so, helllooooo Mr Anderson

    • swedenhawk

      Do you think 5, 20, and 2024 1st gets it done?

      • Sea Mode

        Yes. Who can offer more and still let you get one of the top two defenders at #5?

      • Peter

        I think 5 and 20 alone gets it done. If not gets it done with Houston for qb two whom may be the one they want regardless.

        For fans of the draft people should do a little thinking.

        Go back before the season. When vegas had us at 5.5 wins and Broncos at 8.5. Had Geno been the Geno of old and Seattle did the two qb shuffle vacillating between Geno and Lock. Or say Geno did better than Geno of old but not quite what he did this year….say: 3600 yards. 2:1 td. And tge broncos did in fact get a wildcard into the playoffs….regardless of scenario,

        What do fans suppose the process in any scenario was going to be to secure a qb?

        Now most outlets consider it a foregone conclusion that we go DL at five.

        Is that really:

        A. What the FO thought was going to happen?
        B. Really that hard for some to consider QB at #5 let alone spend picks to move up since that’s what was most likely the plan anyways?

    • DC1234

      I dont think qb going top 4 is gonna happen. Colts definitively taking a qb at 4 or trade up. Carolina might go for Carr. Maybe Arizona see Anderson as the best defensive player on the board and dont want to trade back. They just hired a defensive HC.

      Its never happened top 4 pick going to qb.

      • Peter

        It’s not just that it hasn’t happened which is a great reason.

        But there’s one QB I love the potential of (all of them really) whom is basically primed to join a team for success.

        And that is Richardson.

        All the others I could see in Seattle and everyone would make me happy to different degrees.

        The problem with teams outside of Seattle and maybe freaky dark horse like Detroit is those that need a QB are not going to see much improvement from drafting Richardson and might actually mess him up and them up.

        I see him at the raiders pick all the time. I really don’t like McDaniels for reasons. But I do think he’s a great coach at what he does. I’ve also never seen him take less than top tier talent and make them more amazing.

    • geoff u

      Agreed. When they traded away Russ, I believe it had to be with the intention of using those picks to grab a franchise QB in this draft, especially since at the time, this was considered to be one of the best top tier QB drafts in awhile. Why would you give up your franchise QB if it was not with the expectation to get a new one? How can you not move forward, wanting to win another Super Bowl, in this league, without a franchise QB? Had Denver done well and we had two middle/late round picks, they were thus presumably willing to package everything, and future picks, to move up and get that franchise QB (though I may be completely wrong on this assumption). Which would mean trading into the top 5. What’s changed again??? We completely lucked into #5! We’re here already, in one of the best QB classes in awhile. How does this not make perfect sense to get your franchise QB now? And if need be, packaging even less picks than you were willing to do from the start, to move up and get YOUR guy? This is an amazing opportunity and they’d better now blow it.

  21. Hawkdawg

    How does MacDonald differ physically from Taylor? Can he anchor and contain against the run? Drop into a zone? Or is he an underweight speed rusher with great get-off and bend when he’s on? If the last, don’t we already have that guy?

  22. Robert Las Vegas

    Rob have a quick question for you it involves Chase Young if the Washington commanders decline his 5th year option and perhaps be available for a trade would he someone the Seahawks should look into.health was a issue last year for chase.do you recall your thoughts on Chase Young when he was at Ohio State? On utube Chase Young said his goal for 2023 is be” strong as a Mug “

    • Rob Staton

      He’s too often injured to consider

    • Cambs

      Speaking of a cautionary tale for the current draft.

      Washington fairly “earned” the second overall pick in the 2020 draft. Burrow went first in that draft but they could have taken Tua or Herbert (… or of course, Hurts). They took Young instead because they were sorted for the time being with 36-year-old Alex Smith due to return from his horrible leg injury. Washington had a “successful” 2020 by winning a bad division with a 7-9 record (and Smith, Alex that is, winning comeback player of the year), which secured them the right to get bounced out of the wild card round by the Super Bowl-bound Bucs. Then Smith was released and retired at the end of that season and their playoff appearance situated Washington too late in the draft to tap into the QBs in that draft class; Mac Jones went four picks ahead of them.

      A mere three years after passing on QBs for a stud pass rusher, they’re perhaps ready to move on from Young. They’ve already had to spend (waste) a third-round pick trying to fix QB with imminent cap casualty Carson Wentz, and that position currently figures to be some mix of hoping for the best from day three dart throw Sam Howell, running it back with Taylor Heinicke, spinning the veteran retread wheel, trying to do something in the draft from the awkward 1.16 spot, or accepting a lost season or two while looking longingly towards Caleb Williams or Drew Allar.

      • Rob Staton


      • Peanut

        My man you are speaking such truth.

      • Sea Mode


        Geno’s surprisingly good half season (with asterisks and all) changes nothing. Thank him for keeping the fans engaged in a rebuild year, see if he’s willing to sign a bridge QB contract after testing the market, and carry on with the plan for finding QBOF with #5 or even a trade up.

      • olyhawksfan

        GREAT example. Thanks foe the post.

      • Peter

        Wow. Absolutely amazing comment.

      • BobbyK


      • Big Mike

        Absolutely outstanding example. Awesome post man

      • MountainHawker

        Oh man. Fantastic post. I’m copying and pasting this every time somebody says Seattle shouldn’t take a QB.

        • 509 Chris

          I was thinking the same thing haha!

  23. MoBo

    Not my favorite solution but looking at Carrs old contract: Could the structure be something our FO is trying to copy?
    Good amount of chunks on paper (Three-Year, 121,5M) but in reality low first year cap (19,4M), low guarantees at signing (25M) and a possible out without much Dead Money (5,6M)?
    I wouldn’t pay Geno the same contract and a Three-Year, 90M (30M APY) contract would be way too much imo.
    But something like 20M guaranted at signing, (part of) salary becoming guaranted if still contracted 2024 and a 2023 cap hit of 15M and a possible out of 5M Dead Money in 2024.
    Geno doubles his Career Earnings in one year, Seahawks got a bridge QB, Seahawks Fanbase would be ecstatic that we resigned Geno for “peanuts” (of course he rejected higher offers to give Seattle something back). Seahawks Twitter could blame Rob how wrong he was and that Geno deserved his money and blablabla. When in reality it was just a one year contract with one void year for like 20M as Rob always suggested?

    I would still prefer Lock, Brissett or Minshew for 10M less in 2023 but doesn’t sound that bad for me.

  24. Peanut

    Saw this mock on twitter get labeled as “Superbowl winning”, and usually that means in the ´23 season, considering how “what have you done for me lately” NFL fanbases tend to be.

    Seattle trade with the Raiders. Seattle gets R1:7, R2:38, R1(2024)
    R1:7 Tyree Wilson ED
    R1: 20 Myles Murphy ED
    R2: 37 Daiyan Henley LB
    R2: 38 Steve Avila G
    R2: 51 John Micheal Schmitz C

    I mean I love a defensive balling team that has playmakers all over as much as the next guy, but does Geno win a SB next year? Does the team, even with this draft, beat San Fran? How about the Eagles?

    I loved watching Geno prove the haters wrong last year, but I did also dislike watching Seattle get a pick above 15 in a rebuild year. If Seattle goes for Geno, drafts full on defense this year and get to a championship game, i will print all my comments out and eat the paper with some chicken spice during the game.

    Give me a QB at #5, plan for 10 years, not hope for 1.

    • GrittyHawk

      LOL that’s a ridiculous mock. How exactly are we winning a super bowl by using our 2 first rounders on guys who will immediately slot in at #2 on the depth chart behind 2 players who each had 9.5 sacks this year? Not to mention that run defense was a 100x bigger problem than our pass rush.

    • Roy Batty

      I have seen this, over and over, where people select multiple EDGE guys and ignore the interior. No true 3-4 DE’s. No DT’s. They just grab the defensive lineman that’s available, without considering the actual needs of the team. Usually a really good interior prospect is available just a short jaunt down the BPA list, but they all ignore them and go with the national narrative, instead.

  25. Aaron Bostrom

    McShay with a new mock out.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s a disappointing mock from McShay

      One of the weaker ones I’ve read

  26. olyhawksfan

    I just can’t imagine JS passing on a QBOTF. Rob has talked about it several times. The plan post RW has to be roll with Geno or Lock, then get your guy. I’m hoping JS’s plan was to trade up to do it, whatever it takes. Now he has been gifted #5. I just don’t see how anything that has happened from last season changes that.

    Except…Pete. Defense was terrible. Especially the dline. Analogous to JS dreaming about Levis, Stroud, AR, Pete might be dreaming about Anderson or Carter. He might truly be sold on Geno. Makes me cringe.

    This might be over the top but if Pete insists on dline and we miss a QB, maybe John is done in Seattle. Maybe not right then and there, but done the road a couple years.

    • Rob Staton

      Something is changing though

      The Wilson trade (JS was ready to move on and seemingly won that battle)

      Better/different 2022 draft

      JS starting a weekly radio hit every Thursday on his buddies’ show

      To me it seems a lot like he has new power

      • geoff u

        Hopefully he’s realized all those short term trades he made to get Russ back to the Super Bowl really hurt the team long term and ended up doing the opposite. Giving up valuable draft picks and getting stuck with tons of dead cap space has really hurt the team, and not something I think John would’ve tolerated were he making the final decisions.

      • Aaron Bostrom

        That’s a great point and an exciting one at that.

  27. Mr drucker in hooterville

    The Athletic , M-SDugar, with some eye-rolling thoughts: no glaring need to draft a QB, Jalen Carter is a no-brainer at #5, Murphy or Weatherspoon or Bresse if they trade down a bit, O’Torrence at 20.
    Also some pretty good thoughts. But he seems to think that Seattle should sign Geno and chevk iff that box.

    • Peter

      My prediction for Bressee is he falls to the second round.

      Torrence? What’s he going to do for Seattle? It would be better in one of Robs more out there but future thinking thoughts to get a great RT and move Lucas with the superior athleticism inside.

      Torrence it’s not just getting dropped on his ass by pace….is just a big sloppy player.

    • Rob Staton

      Some awful draft thoughts there

      But it’s that time of year where people who haven’t watched any of these players play, or studied the draft class in any detail, start talking about what teams could do

    • Matt

      Dugar epitomizes Dunning-Kruger. He literally said Mahomes winning the SB invalidates the QB pay deal…nevermind we are talking about a top 5 QB of all time…who will be #1 all time when all is said and done.

      • DC1234

        Dugar had a twitter argument with ppl over that. Said you can win a SB with a qb taking up big cap money because Mahomes just won. He seems very hard headed and unwilling to listen to other’s opinion.

        Andrew Brandt had the same opinion on 710z. He thinks it’s nonsense the theory that you cant win a superbowl with a qb getting paid top dollars. He answer is just draft better, dont give out bad contracts. He makes its seem like its so easy. Very condescending.

        • Rob Staton

          Of course you can win a Super Bowl paying a quarterback big money

          If that quarterback is one of the greatest players to ever play the game

          That’s the point they need to make

      • Rob Staton

        He literally said Mahomes winning the SB invalidates the QB pay deal…nevermind we are talking about a top 5 QB of all time…who will be #1 all time when all is said and done.

        Are people seriously out there comparing paying a legendary player in Mahomes to paying a big contract to a mortal, normal QB?


        • DC1234

          Yeah, its crazy.

          There are a lot ppl that have an opinion, and they will never deviate from it. Its like ppl think its a flaw to be wrong once in a while.

          • Rob Staton

            And most of those opinions aren’t fleshed out

            I get accused of being stuck in my ways — but I often write 3-4000 word articles and I can’t tell you how often I’ve sat down to write something, then by the end of the piece have written something completely different because by doing the research or simply writing out a long-form article, it forced me to re-consider my opinion.

      • cha

        I watched 5 mins of the Rang-Corbin podcast where they talked about what the Seahawks could learn from the SB teams.

        Rang led off by saying they need to find players in the later rounds, and pointed to the Chiefs’ finding a RG in the 4th round.

        Yup. Because that’s what propelled KC to a SB win. Not having a generational talent at QB and TE, a loaded defensive line and a genius head coach willing to adapt to his talent.

        I cannot for the life of me watch the remaining playoff teams and NOT note how far the Seahawks are from them. Finding a RG in the 4th round won’t get them any further without massive, massive upgrades in other areas.

        • DC1234

          These ppl use the statement, “draft better.” Like that is the formula to win the superbowl.

          The Saints had a historically great draft in 2017. They didnt win a superbowl after that with Brees/Payton

        • GerryG

          Well I do agree that when you are spending top$$ at TE, QB, DT, DE etc you definitely need to hit on late round picks in order to have a complete roster.

          However, leading with that as how to emulate the SB is just lazy and stupid. As you said, you need game changing stars (preferably at premier positions) with great coaching first. Then you fill the roster with support.

      • 509 Chris

        I read somewhere a while back that Steve Young is or was at the time the only qb to ever win a sb making 20% or more of the cap. Brady with all his success was never at 20. Payton got one on his rookie deal and one at the end of his career making less money. You could name a lot more examples if you wanted to. Right now I see Mahomes and Burrow as the only guys playing that are great enough to make that kind of money and cover up deficiencies around the team to still win. Allen might be close and Herbert might get there but that’s it. Rodgers has dipped a bit and obviously can’t carry lesser talent anymore.

        To say we’ll just copy Kansas City has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

        • GerryG

          Payton never won a SB on his rookie deal, I dont think he even won a playoff game on his rookie deal.

    • Jujus

      M-SDugar is my 2nd least favorite seahawks media person after Gregg Bell.

      Nothing of substance, no critical thoughts, only always coming back to Kapernick and r@cism.

  28. BobbyK

    If Pete Carroll is still in charge of the Seahawks, they will resign Smiff and draft defense, defense, defense (with maybe one offensive player sprinkled in somewhere).

    If John Schneider is the reason for the successful draft last year because it’s him with the big boy pants now, the team will give Smiff or Lock the keys on a manageable contract and definitely take a QB at five.

    I’m being greedy but I’d hope for a small trade down at 5 and still get Anthony Richardson. Or if Bryce Young is available, I’d take him. If ever a QB needs a fortress OL though, it’ll be him with that tiny body.

    If we do get Young, I actually hope our draft looks like this:

    1 QB
    1 defense
    2 WR
    2 C/G (or RB)
    3 RB (or C/G)
    4 defense

    We’re not winning the Super Bowl anyway so set the offense up for the rookie QB to make a Super Bowl run in ’24. They could go all defense in the early rounds next year.

    If the Seahawks are going to run the ball more and better than anyone/everyone else, we are going to need another good RB. Not bodies like Dallas, Homer, etc. Those guys just take up space and Penny is always hurt so it’s foolish to think he could be the guy.

    With a body like Young, he’s going to need to be a guy with a great running game because you want that little body of his to take minimal amount of hits. But he has such great intangibles, that he’s almost like Russell Wilson… you don’t see other guys like them in the NFL (at the time) but they can overcome it.

    • Zeke

      If Young can bulk up 10lbs of muscle, he’ll be the same height and weight as Drew Brees was in his prime.

      • Zeke

        * 10-15lbs

    • Rob Staton

      I am happy with a QB at #5 as my preference — but won’t complain if three QB’s are off the board by #5 and they prefer a defensive lineman over QB4

      After that though — just give me BPA. Every step of the way.

      Add talent.

    • 509 Chris

      Can I ask why you insist on calling him Smiff? Besides it being a different kind of disrespect to him, I think I detracts from the good points you make and makes you seem ignorant and biased. I’m not trying to start a fight or anything but I’ve been thinking this for a while.

  29. Big Mike

    Gross Ma Toast suggested above Seattle needs to move up to guarantee one of the 4 QBs. I’d love it and celebrate it if they did. However, I have believed all along and still do that Richardson will be there at 5. Here’s why: 2 teams in front of Seattle, Houston and now Arizona have hired defensive minded HCs. I believe at least one will likely want to build a superior defense and stay in their position to take Anderson. For Arizona, they would have to worry about Seattle grabbing him if he were available, a distinct possibility. Secondly, assuming Carolina trades up, they will need a QB that will be seen as ready to start from day one as will Indy regardless of whether they stay or trade up and Richardson is seen as not being ready yet. That is the biggest reason of all why I think he drops to Seattle. He will test very well, but he needs time to learn.
    If it does play out like that, we’re gonna see for sure who’s running personnel in Seattle now cuz I don’t believe for one second Carroll would go Richardson but do believe John would.

    • Peter

      Tiniest of tiny pushbacks. While I believe Pete thinks dline I do believe he will love Richardsons freaky upside.

      • Rob Staton

        I think Pete it going to be a lot more on-board with these QB’s than people think

        Only a year ago he talked about his ideal QB being big and strong with a good arm — citing Carson Palmer as the example

  30. Sean-O

    Tons of mocks out there but this is the first one I’ve seen with Anthony Richardson at #1.

    FYI – this one has SEA moving down to #9 & taking DL Kancey. At #20, taking OL Schmitz.


    • PJ in Seattle

      I’ll give him credit for breaking with conventional wisdom. Branch, Sanders, or one of the high upside WRs would make a lot more sense at #20 than Schmitz.

      I think he’s 100% right tho that Richardson’s stock will shoot way up before April.

    • cha

      Jimmy G to the Titans. Intriguing. He would fit their offense very well.

    • Rob Staton

      At last, people in the media are waking up to Anthony Richardson

      Although this mock really went downhill from the fourth pick

    • Zeke

      I’d accept nothing less than what the 49ers gave up to get Trey Lance. 3 1sts or there’s no way I trade Stroud/Levis in this scenerio

    • Ben

      Interesting mock. Bijan Robinson is picked #30. No Dawand Jones. If it fell that way and we grabbed someone better than Schmitz, it’s be interesting… But passing on Levis to trade down?

  31. Peter

    Just read it.

    Boom goes the dynamite for Richardson.

    Kancey at nine!! Whoa. At least it’s some different thinking. And the mock referenced giving us two #2’s cause that’s the bear minimum I’d trade to a conference rival for a qb.

  32. Peter

    Just saw a video from where a very easy to follow breakdown about pros and cons of signing geno to 35 million or more.

    Nothing revelatory but just interesting to see others pick up to tge idea that maybe just maybe paying Geno a ton vs. Building the team is not the way to go.

    • 509 Chris

      I’ve noticed for the last week or so there have been more people questioning the logic of a big contract for Geno. It’s made the zealots scream even louder but there is a growing sensibility about the whole thing. SDB just shows up early to every party. A very punctual community indeed lol

  33. Happy Hawk

    Great article. The more I think this out the more I want Levis at #5 (if he isn’t picked earlier). However, i went back and looked at Richardson and wow what a highlight real! Rob said there were zero character concerns with Levis, Young, and Stroud does that mean the word on Richardson is still to be determined? Rob your interview last year with Levis struck home with me – perfect fit for Seattle.

    Keep up the great work Rob – best content on the Hawks anywhere. Thank you!

    • Rob Staton

      I have not heard of any character issues with Richardson

      And he comes across very well during interviews

      I just haven’t heard people talk about AR like I have the other three. By all accounts, everyone at Kentucky loves Levis. Plus Saban went above and beyond to hail Bryce Young throughout his time at Alabama. With Stroud, I’ve heard interviews and read articles on his standing within the team.

  34. DC1234

    There is already noise about teams at the top of this draft.

    Reports, Texans told HC candidate they will draft a qb at #2.

    Bears open to trading Fields.

    Colts saying they will have a young qb next year. Also Irsay said he like the Alabama qb.

    • GerryG

      Trading Fields, assuming you get a decent return, makes sense to me. Why not reset the rookie QB clock? Fields rookie season was a lost cause from a development standpoint, and he still needs time to develop as a passer, so he may only be slighty ahead of some of these rookies.

      • DC1234

        Fields with the Panthers will be great. Their run game will be even better with Fields than Darnold. Have a #1 receiver. A qb friendly coach. They have a good young defense too.

        I rather get him than Derek Carr. Also the trade compensation is prob lower to get Fields than to move up to top 3 picks.

    • cha


      Jason La Canfora
      More than one NFL general manager came away from the Senior Bowl fairly convinced that Justin Fields will be dealt
      8:06 AM · Feb 15, 2023

  35. DC1234

    Cowherd talked about Fields. And Levis’ name was brought up. Said he talked to two offensive coaches and they like Levis.

    Basically said what Rob was talking about all along. He was better last year because of the oline. This year his oline was bad. Need to have that context. He plays against SEC defeanse. Said Levis is big and smart. Also said he has 4.0 gpa.

    Once teams gets to see him at the combine and interview him, I dont think Levis is getting to #5

  36. Gomhawk

    While I was impressed with his athleticism in the ESPN Carter fluff piece, even there his maturity was wanting. It looked like he just plays a bunch of 7 on 7 intramural flag football to make one handed catches over lesser competition and then taunts them. Is that his off-season training program?

  37. Justaguy

    Superb insight

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