April Mock Draft

By Jared Stanger

We’re less than three weeks out from the opening of the 2022 NFL Draft and I’ve got an update to the Seahawks 7-round mock draft. We’re still opening with eight picks, and I’m going to look to get up to 10 or 11. I’m going to break down all of the picks at the front of this story; though in reality they would happen during the draft in between actually making some of the picks, and knowing where the big board is at, and who you’ve already added.

The Eagles recently made a trade with the Saints which moved one of Philly’s three 1st round picks to New Orleans. This makes for a good news/bad news situation. The bad news: I was targeting a trade back using the Eagles, but I’m not sure they are as likely now to make that deal. The good news: there are now three teams with multiple 1st round picks that Seattle could use to trade back: Philly, New Orleans, Green Bay. I’m going to use Green Bay because John Schneider has a long history of trading back with Green Bay, and I like the idea of using a midround pick rather than a 2nd to balance out the deal. Also, the Packers have 11 picks to start with, a pretty well-rounded roster…maybe they move up for a specific position or player.

So the first trade becomes Seahawks’ #9 + #109 to GB for their picks #22 + #28. I’m almost immediately flipping #28 to Detroit for their picks #2.34 + #3.97. I don’t really have reason for using Detroit other than those pick values balance based on the trade chart. I will also move back from one of the back-to-back picks at #40/#41 to create some better spacing. Using #2.41 I will trade with Dallas for their picks at #2.56 + #3.88. Then I flip #88 to Philly for picks #3.101 + #4.124. I may be tempted to move back again from one of our 5th round spots, but for now this is what the capital looks like:

#1.22 (from GB via LV)
#2.34 (from DET)
#2.40 (from DEN)
#2.56 (from DAL)
#3.72 (SEA)
#3.97 (from DET)
#3.101 (from PHI via NO)
#4.124 (from PHI)
#5.145 (from DEN via DET)
#5.153 (SEA)
#7.229 (SEA)

We have now stacked our draft to day two where we will have six picks to make. I think that’s the strength of the draft. On to the picks!

#1.22 – OT, Tulsa, Tyler Smith

My strongest hunch is that Seattle will draft a DL (either inside or outside) with their first pick, but in my world I’m taking my shot at the glaring hole at LT while there are still some on the board. Tyler Smith is a young, raw, but tooled-up player that I’m trusting to become the LT1 of the (near) future. He’s got great size, ideal length, plenty of anchor, a good amount of speed, and an ill-tempered on-field demeanor.

If it’s not OT, I hope they go DT…either of the Georgia guys, or Travis Jones from UConn.

#2.34 – DE/OLB, Penn State, Arnold Ebiketie

There are a LOT of DE/OLB that weigh in roughly 250-265lbs with above average athleticism in this overall class: Jermaine Johnson, George Karlaftis, Boye Mafe, David Ojabo, Sam Williams, Nik Bonitto, Dominique Robinson, Kingsley Enagbare, Jeffrey Gunter, Cameron Thomas, Drake Jackson, Amare Barno, Michael Clemons. There are going to be some that fall to day two, maybe even day three, that end up becoming great pro players. I’m sort of putting it on Ebiketie to be that kind of upside talent, but that doesn’t quite make it into the first round.

#2.40 – DS, Cincinnati, Bryan Cook

This was the hardest pick for me to make the entire draft. I think there will be freakish athletes at off-the-ball LB here, there will be freakish safety here, there will be very high-floor corners, it might be the best spot to find a TE, and it might be the LAST spot that you’ll be able to find a DT. Perrion Winfrey would be a very logical need pick here. Trey McBride would potentially be the best player available here when we look back five years from now. Jalen Pitre might be the Budda Baker pick here that PCJS should have made 5 years ago.

I narrowed the decision down to the safety position. And then narrowed that further to Maryland’s Nick Cross or Cincinnati’s Bryan Cook. Cross is the workout warrior that I’d feel very comfortable with playing single-high, but who can also play in the box at 210lbs. Cook is the intangibles guy…high football IQ, great technique, good leadership…but we never got athletic testing marks for him. I don’t really have a problem with either guy.

It seems, from what we know about the Seahawks this cycle, that the more likely pick may be Cross, but I went with Cooks because I just think it’s the better scouting practice. Kam Chancellor wasn’t a workout warrior, and while his primary reputation is based off of his enforcer hits, they true key to Chancellor was the stuff between his ears. That’s more of what Cook is, to me.

#2.56 – DL, Kentucky, Josh Paschal

I’m choosing to put the more general ‘DL’ label on Paschal as, even though he combine’d at 268 lbs; I think I’d prefer to see him play closer to his listed weight from Kentucky last year of 278 lbs. I don’t have plans or expectations of Josh to be a fast, really bendy outside rusher. I think he can be a strong outside power-rusher, with enough quickness to beat interior OL on passing down.

I’m confident that Paschal can play the run really well…I’m going to be okay with him not being a high-volume sacks guy because I think he’ll be disruptive enough with pressures that teams will have to account for him and open up other guys for sacks.

#3.72 – CB, Sam Houston, Zyon McCollum

I feel pretty strongly that you don’t want to leave the 3rd round without a Corner already in your added players. It’s mostly just a question of which Corner. Depending on who is still available; I’m strongly considering Coby Bryant, Josh Jobe, Jalyn Armour Davis, and Zyon McCollum.

In a weird phenomenon of this year’s Combine; that list of CB go 6’1″, 6’0″, 6’1″, 6’2″ but somehow their arm length’s went 30 5/8″, 32 5/8″, 30 7/8″, 30 6/8″. Seems sketchy. But regardless, Seattle broke from their 32″ requirement last year when they drafted the 5’10”, 30 3/8″ Tre Brown.

I could be wrong to discount the 32″ arm thing again this year, as the two CB we know Seattle has been connected to the most have arms that go 33 4/8″ and 31 6/8″. Maybe this year it’s a 31″ benchmark. I don’t know.

From my shortlist of CB; Coby has the best intangibles, and probably the highest floor, but from this group he has the worst tested 40 (still in the acceptable range), and a bad vertical, which doesn’t feel like a Pete guy.

Jobe might have the best press technique, but I worry a lot about his makeup speed. When he gets beat, it’s by a lot. And we have zero testing on him.

JAD has good speed, but the vertical wasn’t great, and the tape is probably the most inconsistent of the four.

McCollum is easily the best overall athlete, but the downside is honestly the lack of tape on him, and certainly the tape that is out there is lower LOC. I’m going with Zyon here because of the overall package and my personal intuition.

#3.97 – QB, Western Kentucky, Bailey Zappe

This is the biggest change from my previous mock drafts, as I don’t believe I’ve taken a QB in any of the prior versions. The primary reason I haven’t been taking a QB is that I don’t believe in this QB class, and certainly next year’s looks much better on paper.

Drafting a QB in the 3rd round, however, isn’t (to me) the kind of investment that is going to preclude you from taking one again, earlier, in the 2023 draft. If Zappe works out…great. If he doesn’t, maybe he’ll still be a serviceable backup, and in the meantime you added a LT and a DE with your early picks this year.

There are a couple reasons I don’t think Seattle would make this pick. 1) I don’t think they’ll go with a QB that is shorter than 6’2″ again. 2) I’m not sure they take a guy that can’t run faster than a 4.80s forty. Zappe is 6’1″ if you round up, and he ran 4.88s.

But studying Zappe on tape; I just think he’s being underrated for a guy that just had the passing year that he had (5,967 yards and 62 TD’s!). He’s extremely accurate (69.2% complete). I don’t have his air-yards numbers, but I do know that he led the country in 20+ yard completions, 30+ yards, and 70+ yards. In case there are questions about his arm strength, his longest throw by air on tape is about 60 yards. I’ll keep saying it…Zappe is at minimum Matt Hasselbeck.

#3.101 – OC, Kentucky, Luke Fortner

The picks at 97 and 101 are pretty interchangeable. I put the QB up first because of the positional value, and because I only really have one QB I like at this level, whereas there might end up being three Centers.

The three Centers I’m referring to: Cole Strange, Zach Tom, Luke Fortner. Two of them show exceptional athleticism. Two of them show exceptional football IQ. None are redflags athletically, none are redflagged intellectually. I feel confident that all three of these guys are improvements on Austin Blythe. It’s just kind of a transitional year for the OL between position coaches, and I don’t really know for sure what kind of priority the new guy will place on what.

I’m going with Fortner here because I feel the most confident in his leadership abilities over the other two. But I could easily see PCJS prefer either of the better athletes.

#4.124 – LB, Appalachian State, D’Marco Jackson

I passed on LB earlier when the draft was ripe with them because it’s not entirely clear how confident the team is in Cody Barton to replace Bobby Wagner. Or, maybe it’s me that isn’t confident in Cody, and I’d like to spend a high pick to hedge that, but just couldn’t pull the trigger this time.

Even if the team rolls with Barton at MIKE, at minimum you then need to replace Cody as the backup MIKE. Jackson seems good value in the 4th. Productive player, good size, decent testing.

#5.145 – RB, LSU, Tyrion Davis Price

We need another RB at some point in this draft. The team has most of the guys from the 2021 roster returning, but it’s less clear how many will be useful. TDP tested at 211 lbs after playing for LSU at 223. He ran a 4.48s forty at the lighter weight, but I tend to prefer him back up to the heavier weight even if it means sacrificing down to the 4.55s range. Ty feels like a Pete kind of back. Other options, for me, if they fall this far would be Hassan Haskins and Abram Smith.

#5.153 – OT, NDSU, Cordell Volson

I’ve had Volson in multiple previous mocks, and I’m pretty ride or die for him at this point. He’s not the most athletic guy…which is why he’ll be available this late…but he was an incredibly steadying force on the NDSU line where he won 4 National Championships in 5 years. Cordell finished his college career starting 41 consecutive games. At minimum he will deepen your bench as a swing OL, but I’m drafting him to start at RT.

#7.229 – DB, UCLA, Quentin Lake

Like Volson, Lake is another guy I’ve had in previous mocks. As long as the price doesn’t change on him; I’ll keep putting him in there for his intangibles. You’ll notice I’m listing him as a ‘DB’ as I’m not sure if he’ll end up a safety or, where I’d like to try him, at corner; but I think his floor will be pro bowl special teams player.

#1.22 OT Tyler Smith
#2.34 DE Arnold Ebiketie
#2.40 DS Bryan Cook
#2.56 DL Josh Paschal
#3.72 CB Zyon McCollum
#3.97 QB Bailey Zappe
#3.101 OC Luke Fortner
#4.124 LB D’Marco Jackson
#5.145 RB Ty Davis Price
#5.153 OT Cordell Volson
#7.229 DB Quentin Lake

My biggest regret is not getting a true DT represented. But that’s really a spot that you HAVE to take a guy in the top 40 picks, or else just punt on the position. If there’s a way Seattle pulls off a trade back with either Philly or New Orleans; I try to make the DT happen.