Will Levis & Tyler Van Dyke Week One notes

After breaking down Anthony Richardson and C.J. Stroud at the weekend, now it’s time for Will Levis and Tyler Van Dyke.

Along with Bryce Young, these five — at the moment — look like the 2023-eligible prospects with first round credentials.

Firstly, Will Levis.

I thought it was a perfectly solid start against Miami-Ohio.

His offensive line was an absolute disaster zone. I counted seven quarterback hits or sacks in the first half alone. It created an issue in the second quarter in particular and you see it impact Levis’ accuracy (which, if we’re being fair, is understandable given the barrage he faced).

Yet the things that make him a likely high pick were all on show once again.

Levis retains an excellent throwing base. His drop is rapid and consistent. He avoids the classic heel-click, plants his feet and delivers from a great foundation. The soles of his feet plant into the ground and he stays consistent in his technique.

He’s also a terrific athlete and can make the flashy little plays that just put a smile on your face. His first throw of the season was a play-action pass on the run. Off balance he just flicked his wrist, ala Aaron Rodgers, and the ball still came out with plenty of pop. It’s a small thing but for a draft geek like me — it gets you excited.

His best throw of the night came with 10:40 left in the fourth quarter. It’s a play-action pass where he dropped back to his own 30-yard line. Off-balance, without a proper base this time due to the looming pressure, he launched the ball across his body on a frozen rope to the Miami-Ohio 30-yard line, by the sideline, with perfect accuracy and velocity. The ball flew out of his hand and had the commentator declaring, ‘that’s a NFL arm right there‘. It’s that kind of play that NFL teams are going to salivate over. When you can arm-out a throw like that, off-platform, generating elite-level torque and placement — that’s what the NFL covets.

Levis showed off his arm again on his final touchdown — a rifle to the left corner of the end zone in really tight coverage. Without that arm strength, that play is defended. When he needs to drill one in, he can do it.

There are no physical limitations as a passer and he has the scrambling ability and improv to make things happen when the play breaks down.

The Senior Bowl’s Jim Nagy noted in a recent podcast that he was at the Manning Passing Academy this year and he delivered this verdict:

“To me, he (Levis) and Anthony Richardson from Florida — those two guys in terms of physical tools are probably head and shoulders above the rest of the group.”

He then made a favourable comparison to Josh Allen and Justin Herbert in terms of physical tools.

When he had time he was generally on the money. He had a superb 25-yard completion on his first drive — dropping and throwing down the seam, placing the ball away from the threatening safety and right on the chest of the receiver. He executed his first touchdown of the day shortly after, finding his tight end on a well designed play to the left corner of the end zone.

He capitalised on a great kick-return to start the second half by delivering a laser in the red zone to his receiver on a 1v1 in-cutting route. He made it look easy.

Right before half-time he side-stepped pressure in the pocket to launch a perfect pass 20-yards over the middle, hitting the receiver in stride. The throw was ideally timed, allowing the receiver to catch and run with ease, gaining an extra 25 YAC.

He looks like he’s really taken to the Shanahan-inspired offense of his new coordinator. You see all those play-action, inside slants that Kyle likes to run. He did a good job on those — and as we’ve seen with the Niners, they can be really tough to stop when you get going.

On a 4th and 2 in the first half he threw his interception in the red zone. I can’t be sure what exactly happened on this play but it looks like a major miscommunication or a botched throw. As soon as Levis delivers the ball he jumps up and down knowing something has gone wrong, anticipating the pick. The tight end throws his arms up in the air immediately, confused. It’s possible this was supposed to be a fade or a pass with a bit more loft to it and he just executed badly. It does come out of his hand a little funky. You don’t generally only show one read on a play like that and then throw it that way — it just came out clumsily. So it’s either a misunderstanding or a mistake, neither is good.

That said, I’m far less concerned by a pick like that compared to some others you see. Misreading a defender over the middle and throwing into a dangerous area (see: Bo Nix) is a lot more concerning, for example, than just something silly and avoidable like arseing up a 1v1 you like on the outside because you’re not on the same page in week one or you just F-d the throw up.

Even so, he has to get his interceptions down from last year to max out his potential. It will be something to monitor throughout the season. As erratic as Josh Allen was at Wyoming, for example, he went from 15 interceptions in 14 games in 2016 to six interceptions in 11 games in 2017. He also dropped his touchdowns down from 28 to 16 — Levis could do with finding a happier medium. I do think he can be a lesser version of Allen in the NFL. He’s a great athlete with similar traits, just on a lesser scale (Allen is a once in a generation athlete at his position, after all).

Overall, we have seen Levis play sharper and better than this. Yet I haven’t seen him play behind an O-line as bad as this and he still played fairly well. It is concerning, especially against SEC opponents, that his protection was virtually non-existent in this game. It might do more to harm his stock than anything. Yet on a technical and physical level there’s so much to like. If his protection improves he can excel and continue to elevate Kentucky and his draft stock.

His game against Anthony Richardson’s Florida next weekend will be box-office viewing for Seahawks fans, wanting a good look at the quarterback class.

Tyler Van Dyke had an extremely comfortable afternoon, unsurprisingly, against Bethune-Cookman. I think people are underestimating Miami in the ACC. They were ranked 16th nationally but it’s easy to forget how they finished last season — largely due to Van Dyke’s play. They beat Kenny Pickett and Pittsburgh in their own backyard (the eventual ACC Champions) and they could be the team to beat in the conference.

Van Dyke is such an incredibly impressive talent and it’s surprising he isn’t getting more national attention apart from the occasional placement at the end of a few first round mocks.

As with Levis, I really like his throwing base. His release is a bit more elongated than Levis’ but when he lets it rip it comes out with ideal velocity. He’s a powerhouse of a quarterback but he also shows the ability to throw with touch and precision when necessary.

His best throw was an absolute ‘wow’ moment with 13:29 left in the first half. It’s a shotgun snap and he takes a somewhat unnecessary five step drop to end up 10-yards behind the line of scrimmage. Then from a perfect throwing base he lofts a pass from the left hashmark on his own 20-yard line to the right sideline 30-yards downfield, hitting his receiver perfectly in stride while throwing over two defenders. The receiver runs it up to the 10-yard line because the throw is so ideally placed. Good route, great throw, textbook execution.

It just shows off his ability to make a difficult throw look easy, execute a big play and prove he’s not just a big arm.

If you also look at his drop — and maybe it is unnecessary — he’s a sprightly presence in the pocket. He’s very agile to manipulate a pocket or buy time. He can run for first downs when he needs to. He is not a statue. He might not be Anthony Richardson but he’s not Ryan Mallett either.

His first touchdown highlighted the advantage Miami had. Van Dyke had the fortune of being able to use an unnecessary pump fake when the Bethune-Cookman safety didn’t read the delayed wheel-route. Even so, his throw is high, safe, perfectly placed and timed. Lovely execution.

Van Dyke throws well on the run in play-action, he’s very adept at taking what’s on offer.

His touchdown with 7:32 left in the third quarter was another ‘wow’ moment. He dissects three defenders, all bunched around the receiver, and places the football in the one area he needed to for his receiver to make a catch on a seam-route to his slot-receiver. Even against an overmatched opponent, that is a wonderful looking throw.

I can’t praise him highly enough and ever since he took over the starting job a year ago, Miami have just looked like a completely different team. On his current trajectory I’d be surprised if he’s not getting serious consideration for the top-10 next year. He might be the most naturally talented passer of the ‘big five’ quarterbacks. Van Dyke’s at least in the conversation with Bryce Young for that title. He’s not the most athletic and his release might not be quite as pretty — but there is just so much to like.

There’s a bit of Carson Palmer to his game.

The great thing is there’s so much to like already about the 2023 quarterback class. With five potential first round targets already very evidently emerging — I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Seattle made the move they did this year. And it’s a reminder that short-term pain in 2022 could lead to long term gains by next April.

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  1. Stuart

    Great read Rob and thank you for putting this up for us to read. How cool is it that our likely future QB will be on display next Saturday.

    Van Dyke-comps to Carson Palmer
    Levis-comps to poor mans Josh Allen

    The comps you do really help! Lets say the Hawks feel like i do, Richardson and or Levis.

    If this is how JS sees it too, Richardson i believe is several years younger than Levis

  2. Stuart

    and assuming he plays the same way all season, he could move up to 1A becuse of age and upside.

    JS cant get cute, just take your 1A!

  3. Starhawk29

    Another good breakdown Rob, I didn’t watch either of these games so it’s nice to get an update. Very excited to see these guys play against more talented opponents, especially the Levis v Richardson heavyweight bout this week. Re Richardson, he easily is the most impressive QB I’ve seen so far this year. I’m beyond excited to see how he develops and plays against teams like Georgia. Yet, I’ll admit I saw a little Trey Lance/Kaepernick in his game just in the way he seems to throw every ball like it needs to punch through a wall. I really want this guy to develop, but I worry he’s not a natural enough thrower of the football. Can’t wait to find out if I’m wrong!

  4. Rob Staton

    Damn, no Kentucky @ Florida on British TV this week.

    A pretty pathetic offering. Ohio vs Penn State (not Ohio State), Pittsburgh vs Tennessee and USC vs Stanford. Yuck.

    • Jabroni-DC

      I thought you were going to the game in the Swamp. Plans changed?

      • Rob Staton

        Yes, I was hoping to but it’s a massive commitment travelling to the other side of the world for a football game

        • Rob Staton

          Looks like if I subscribe to ESPN player I can watch it. So I will purchase a month’s subscription

          • Big Mike

            Nice. Glad you’re able to see it. Looking forward to your breakdown next week

            • Rob Staton

              Now all I’ve got to do is get from Plymouth to Rotherham before midnight after the game I’m covering 🙂

          • Gary

            ESPN Player only available in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Anyone know the best way to watch this game in Canada?

  5. Palatypus

    Surprised no mention of the drops by Levis’s receivers. He’s got quite a bit of zip on his throws. Some of those looks like good old-fashioned John Elway finger breakers. He hit his targets in the hands a lot. And I think once in the face.

  6. Seahawk_Dan

    Scenario for you Rob,

    It’s the 2023 draft, Seattle has a top 5 pick. Levis and Van Dyke are on the board, and Pete is still head coach.

    Does he take one of them? Take another QB or trade down and let these two slip away for another position he deems the bigger need?

    • Rob Staton

      It’s too early to say, Dan

      But no position will be seen as a bigger need than QB

      • Seahawk_Dan

        Fair answer.

        I think personally I’m just worried that Pete would settle for a free agent QB or worse (and least likely) keeps Geno.

        • Rob Staton

          I highly doubt it to be honest

  7. Seattle Person

    Really exciting to see TVD, Levis, and Richardson excelling last week. Richardson, I think has the highest upside. That speed/arm combo is very enticing. TVD and Levis have great arms as well.

    I like Bryce Young but to me it feels like he’s a high floor type of player. Nothing wrong with that but he doesn’t oozes potential like the other QBs in class. He has good speed. He has a good arm. He’s talented for sure but it does feel like he’ll be capped. Am I wrong?

  8. pdway

    great read. I guess I’m most curious about how many blue chip QB prospects you end up thinking there are at season’s end, and then how many NFL teams at the top of the draft we believe are going to be going QB w that pick. Feels like we’ll be in the mix for one of them, and so it also feels like we have a reasonable plan – of course, who knows how things will play out in terms of draft position, injury and other variables.

    I’ll quickly share an unrelated observation. Dropped off my youngest kid at college this past week at U of Wisconsin — and went to the football game on Saturday – they were playing Northern Illinois. So it’s an obvious mismatch of course, and the game went how you thought it would go – but man, the lower on the food chain team in these games sure takes a beating. And not a metaphorical beating, a literal one – – there were so many injuries – nearly all of them to the big guys (i.e. lineman) and 100% of them to the N. Illinois players, who I assume were just getting manhandled all the way to the point of injury by bigger, stronger players. Had a bit of lambs to the slaughter feel to it, and while I guess I always knew that’s how these college games went – it was kind of rough to observe in person.

  9. Jabroni-DC

    Between Richardson, Van Dyke & Levis I am really hoping for a top 3 pick so that we don’t have to mess around come draft day. Granted there are no guarantees but that’s the case whether we have to trade up or not. I hope we get to look back at the 2023 draft amazed at how it all panned out.

    • Seattle Person

      If Will Anderson is there, what do you do? I’ll probably take Anderson who is probably the best player in this whole draft. Really early in the process though.

      • Jabroni-DC

        If it’s a choice between a franchise QB & a franchise pass rusher I’m taking the QB for Seattle.

        Now if Russ gets hurt in week one and you end up with 2 very high picks maybe you’d be tempted to try for both.

        • Peter

          Jabroni banking on Wilson getting hurt on multiple threads to build this team.

    • Sean-O

      Agreed. A fear of mine is SEA will be just outside of the top QBs & will have to use too much of their ammo (draft picks) to move up a handful of spots. Ideally use the first #1 on a QB & then the other 1st/2nds to keep re-stocking the roster with young talent.

  10. Rob Staton

    I have added a video to the top of this article — detailing my thoughts on Levis & Van Dyke (and the QB class after one week). it’s also available via ‘The Rebuild’ podcast feeds

  11. Denver Hawker

    Nothing new to blog readers here thanks to Rob’s coverage and insight these last few years, but nice summary by Brady on the Wilson saga: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34531802/inside-russell-wilson-seattle-seahawks-drama-led-denver-broncos-trade

    I genuinely hope both sides are successful with this trade and look forward to watching him play as well as rooting for the Hawks to draft another HOF QB.

    • Rob Staton

      I can also remember the 12 months of abuse for daring to talk about this

      I also remember the media in Seattle constantly downplaying the Wilson trade stuff as a complete and total non-story

      What a fun period of time that was

      • Big Boi

        Lots of smoke around the idea that JS wanted to trade Russ to CLE for the #1 overall pick in 2018. Be honest, Rob- do you think JS was after Baker/Darnold, or do you think his interest in Josh Allen was real? No one was talking about Allen as the #1 overall back then. So either JS was a genius or his Josh Allen interest was a smokescreen.

        • Rob Staton

          Josh Allen

          • Big Boi

            Then why not try to trade for picks 2-6 instead? Josh Allen would have been considered an overreach by the media and it wouldn’t have cost nearly as much to trade with, say, the Broncos at pick 5.

            • Rob Staton

              So you trade for #3 and Cleveland takes Josh Allen

              Then what?

            • Luis

              If you’re trading for a high pick for a QB, your current star QB must be part of the trade. There’s no way he would be happy any other way. And they wouldn’t trade Russ for less than #1 overall. And if they traded for a lower 1st round pick they would tip their hand they were not after the 2 most coveted QBs in Darnold and Mayfield.

          • Luis

            JS would probably traded with the Jets just like the Colts ended up doing, or trading the 1st overall back to the Browns for the 4th pick and a few more. But there were only 2 QBs he has shown interest since drafting Russ: Mahomes and Allen.

      • Starhawk29

        I know the abuse was rough, but I think the credibility might have been worth it? I know that after arguing for almost 2 years with my dad that we were likely to trade Russ, when they finally did, my dad started reading this blog. We didn’t forget who was on this from the beginning, you’re always well ahead of the curve Rob.

        • Rob Staton

          Thank you 👍🏻👏🏻

    • TomLPDX

      Thanks for posting this Denver. Brady wrote a good article there and worth the read.

      • Denver Hawker

        I suppose my only grievance with the article is that much was made about the likelihood of a “Qb in decline” and an equal amount of attention should have been placed on a “coach in decline”. Could have been very simple to highlight the success of teams with offensive head coaches and creative passing schemes in recent years.

        • Big Boi

          I thought the bit about Robert Quinn was interesting, as there aren’t a lot of QBs that can escape Robert Quinn when he has a full head of steam. I’m sure Russ’ response would have been “Robert Quinn shouldn’t have been back there in the first place”. Hopefully Charles Cross is paying attention.

  12. Ashish

    Rob, by the time draft 2023 comes I believe others will catch up.on Will Levis. I’m worried will need first overall pick to get Levis.

    • Robbie

      We have the ammunition to trade up if we really really wanted it.

      • Ashish

        Too early to predict or worry hopefully Young and CJ remains on the top so we can use our draft picks to improve our roster.

    • McZ

      As long as Will Levis will not improve his sloppyness and brings down his INT number, he will certainly not be drafted #1.

      Add to this the idea, that PC will never draft such a player, which might be a mistake, but that’s part of the dystopian reality we will live in for the next few years.

      The question, if a certain player then comes to Seattle to dial into the anti-football mantra opens a whole lot of other questions.

      • Rob Staton

        1. Will Levis is not ‘sloppy’. He needs to get his interception numbers down, many college QB’s do

        2. Russell Wilson had 25 interceptions in his first two years as a starter in college. Carroll liked him just fine.

        3. He also just named a QB his starter who has more career picks than TD’s

        We don’t need to go OTT here

  13. Ashish

    Something to celebrate Lucas is starting RT

  14. Palatypus

    just for the sake of humor.

    If we were to “let Geno cook”. what would be for dinner?

    The best answer wins!

    • Mike

      Sheppards pie it sounds like it would be good, but it just ends up being a bunch of sloppy boring crap.

    • Big Mike

      Brussel sprouts and beets

    • Gross MaToast

      ‘Let Geno Cook’ will advertise: a starter, a single Grand Velas Taco featuring Kobe Beef, Almas Beluga Caviar & Black Truffle Brie Cheese served on a gold flake-infused corn tortilla with an exotic salsa comprised of dried Morita chili peppers, Ley.925 ultra-premium añejo tequila and topped with civet coffee beans.

      Next, the entree, a Genoburger of Wagyu beef topped with foie gras and truffles. It comes with a few slabs of prime foie gras and duck fat in a freshly baked brioche bun and paired with a bottle of 1995 Petrus.

      Finally, dessert: a Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence featuring a stilt fisherman handmade from chocolate with an Italian Cassata base flavored with Bailey’s, served beautifully with a mango and pomegranate compote and a champagne sabayon sauce, adorned with more gold leaf.

      Service begins at 1 AM in a 2012 Rolls Royce traveling 95 mph on the 405 where diners will relax in luxury before eventually being flipped off an overpass into a nice, soft, swampy marsh area, likely before the service of any dish.

      Diners will then be pulled free and escorted to the ‘Let Drew Brew’ libations wagon for alcohol free beer alternatives on the ride home.

      • Palatypus


        Where do you eat?

    • Romeo A57

      Liver with Rice Cakes and Sugar-Free Kool-Aid

  15. 509 Chris

    So we’ve all probably heard the talk that Schneider was absolutely in love with mahomes and Josh Allen both during their respective draft processes. So much that it’s rumored Seattle offered Wilson to Cleveland in 2018 to go draft Allen. Both of these guys went late compared to the talent and careers they’ve had. Does this give us hope they’ll get the draft right in the next year or 2 as far as qb is concerned? Let’s remember, this is the front office that believed in Wilson in the first place.

    • 509 Chris

      Just saw this was discussed earlier on the thread. Now I feel like an ass.

    • Trevor

      It gives me hope along with 4-5 quality prospects this season.

    • Peter

      Not in the slightest.

      So they couldn’t get mahomes knowing the qb had a no trade clause so they pivoted to a 100% busted class? McDowell, three (!!) Safeties, etc.

      Then they couldn’t get allen so they nearly whiffed the draft another year in a row with penny, tre flowers, etc.

      Then in 2019 they try for the hat trick and nearly bone that whole draft.

      But they have a keen eye for talent?

      Got to think with the way they spend on FA’s mahomes/allen with three whiffed drafts would still be pretty crappy. Oh and both are getting paid so that rookie bump would be gone same as it is with wilson.

      I love this draft class. But I need at least another to prove to me they know what they are doing again.

      Oh and Mahomes/Allen got to play with offensive coaches. What would they have been with “ground pete,” at the helm and no one to bring the best out of them?

      • UkAlex6674

        Excellent point again Peter. Would they – especially Mahomes – be putting up KC numbers in Seattle? Nope. Allen I think would fit Peteball more than KC.

        But that said it does give me a little hope re next years QB selection.

        • Peter

          Agree. Allen could most likely be Allen that we know now on this team. But Mahomes? Not sure. Still think he would be good but maybe exactly Wilson if not lesser so.

          Reid helped Alex Smith look pretty solid. Made McNabb be a force for some years. And has often had a knack for getting his weapons to be optimized. Brian Westbrook and then tyreke hill.

      • Rob Staton

        John is doing a great job, by the way, letting his buddies in the media know that he loved Mahomes and Allen…

        Got to love who also dropped the line in that article that he was happy to deal with Denver because the QB he wanted was Drew Lock…

        • Romeo A57

          Important point by Rob here. If JS loved Allen and Mahomes so much, then why have they been drafting people like Collier instead of most of the wasted draft pick over the last several years Most consider Pass Rush to be the second most important position in football. Why have they not been able to draft a competent Pass Rusher? Why go along with the Jamal Adams trade if he wants yo be considered competent.
          The Front Office source in this article may be JS.

          • Rob Staton

            It doesn’t take much piecing together over the last year or so to realise Brady H has done a terrific job creating a contact out of John Schneider. And it’s good for us to get his side of things. So Brady deserves credit for that.

            But also, we shouldn’t over-estimate this Mahomes & Allen stuff. For what it’s worth, I can highly imagine JS being enamoured with both and I’m not for a second suggesting it’s a lie to make him look good. But this is also the GM who traded for Charlie Whitehurst, gave Matt Flynn a big contract, wanted Drew Lock out of the Wilson trade etc.

            I just hope the quarterback they draft next year is nearer Mahomes/Allen/Wilson than Whitehurst/Flynn/Lock

  16. ska

    As kids, my dad used to make us “Conglomerate” for dinner. Consisted of whatever leftovers were in the fridge, mixed together and baked.

  17. KD

    What is everyone’s opinion on Jahmyr Gibbs, the RB from Bama? I was just watching him vs. Utah State, and man there is a lot to like there. His agility and acceleration are off the charts. One thing that jumped out at me immediately is that he is a decent and willing blocker, on top of being a good receiving back. I could absolutely see him in tandem with Walker, the problem of course being that you’d have to use a pretty high pick to get him, so the opportunity cost just wouldn’t be worth it. 🙁

  18. seaspunj

    Hi Rob

    when’s your next 710AM segment with Bump and Stacy?

    I am thinking by week 3 or 4 we may start talking draft because Seahawks could be 1-3 or 0-4

    I think you can educate and bring insight to a larger audience of what you are evaluating on the NCAA QBs. I am hoping you will have a monthly segment on 710 with them, specificically how Levis TVD Richardson are progressing.

    each time you go on 710AM it is MUST listen!

    • Rob Staton

      when’s your next 710AM segment with Bump and Stacy?

      I’m not expecting to be invited on again. I think my appearances on 710 went to Denver with Jake Heaps. I haven’t had any contact from anyone at the station since Jake’s departure.

      I am hoping you will have a monthly segment on 710 with them, specificically how Levis TVD Richardson are progressing.

      I would love to do this and would appear any time they wanted to talk draft and quarterbacks. I think the segments I did previously were well received (at least that’s how it seemed) and were good (if I’m allowed to say that myself). But since Jake left the station there has been no contact.

      • BruceN

        In that case we need to send a few emails to the station suggesting they invite you back. Done.


        • Robbie

          Or we all do it. Let’s get a gang of blog followers to send an email requesting Rob back on the show! I’ll volunteer to go first. I’m going to draft my email now!

          • Rob Staton

            That might not have the desired affect though — it might just piss them off

            • BruceN

              Don’t worry. I sent a nice gentle message and at the end commented they should have you back on the show!

            • Robbie

              Solid point…I won’t email them. Just thought it might help

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