By Jared Stanger
Happy 12th Man Day! We’ve got a new mock draft for you. After this weekend’s games, including the Broncos loss to the Chiefs and the Seahawks falling out of the playoffs with their loss to the Panthers, Seattle now sits with the #2 overall pick in the 2023 draft. Crazy. And then their own pick is currently #17.
Personally, that’s too rich for my blood. I’m going to try to find a team that wants to draft a QB that I can trade down with. The best fit looks to be Detroit, who own the #4 pick they acquired from the Rams, and then they own their own pick at #15. To actually make the math work we have to include multiple picks each. Total swap = Seahawks’ #1.2, #2.49, #5.144 for Detroit’s #1.4, #1.15, #3.78.
After that trade, Seahawks own both the #15 and #17 overall picks. I will trade down one of those to get back my lost second-rounder. I went with Cincinnati (for no real reason) who give up pick #1.26 and #2.57 to get Seahawks’ #15.
These two deals give Seattle 10 total picks, including SEVEN in the top 100.
This first pick is really tough. I’m not comfortable with either of the two consensus top QB. I am VERY spooked by Georgia DT Jalen Carter and his maturity level. I like Will Anderson, but that knee brace he always wears bothers me a bit. So I am, in theory, over-drafting here. Unless I’m right.
#1.4 – Defensive End, Texas Tech, Tyree Wilson
I feel very strongly that Seattle drafts a defensive end this draft that is 275lbs. Someone that they can trust to set an edge, play run defense, but is also a passrushing threat, and bonus if he can slide inside on third downs. The general list would include Tyree Wilson (6’6″/275), Myles Murphy (6’5″/275), Zach Harrison (6’6″/272), DJ Johnson (6’4″/270), Isaiah Mcguire (6’4″/274), Yaya Diaby (6’4″/270), and there are a bunch more that are currently listed more 265-ish.
Myles Murphy has the highest profile and might be the less-shocking pick at #4. Zach Harrison might destroy the combine, and is a really interesting idea later in the draft, but this might be a stretch. Tyree is a guy that is pretty consistently getting top 10 love right now, so it’s not totally crazy to pick him here. If I thought I could make a trade work closer to the 6-7 slot, I would do it. But I really like the Detroit deal, and it’s better to get your guy and be shunned by media on draft day, than to draft a media darling who is a bust four year later. Plus, you have added value by creating a third 1st round pick.
#1.17 – Defensive Back, Alabama, Brian Branch
This was a tough pick. Part of me wanted to get a jump on the linebacker class to help solidify the Seattle run-defense, but I’m not totally sold on the man. I think I will feel more comfortable after the combine, as this pick should be a top end athlete. For now, I’m sort of blending consensus draft position, player performance, and stealing from the “Freaks List”.
Branch is a 6’0″/193lbs defensive back that is one of the new generation of position-less DB’s. Is he a corner? Is he a safety? Is he a nickel? What he is, is one of the best tackling DB’s in the country.
#1.26 – Quarterback, Tennessee, Hendon Hooker
I’m not going to let the unexpected, pro bowl performance by Geno Smith to prevent me from drafting a QB of the future. Most recent high-end QB draftpicks have still required minimum two years to really develop into a quality starter.
Hendon has been my guy for better part of two draft cycles. I’ll be elated to have him in the QB room, and let him work into the lineup when he’s ready. And, perhaps most importantly, drafting him here will give us the 5th year option on his contract. Which helps mitigate the development time.
#2.34 – Nose Tackle, Michigan, Mazi Smith
The Seahawks HAVE to improve their run-defense. The Michigan Wolverines had the 4th-best run-defense by YPC in the FBS, and Mazi was at the very center of that. This year’s freakiest athlete is listed 6’3’/337lbs and reportedly has a 33″ vert and a 6.95 cone. Explosion and agility. Plus he just looks jacked like Vince Wilfork.
#2.57 – Linebacker, North Carolina, Cedric Gray
I’m really not going to feel totally comfortable with a linebacker pick until I’ve seen their performance at the Combine. I think athleticism will matter here. I’m looking for a great athlete, and ideally a guy that has a bit of passrush to him. A guy like Trenton Simpson is probably the athlete, but we haven’t seen enough of the passrush. Drew Sanders is interesting on tape, but I don’t trust the person. Ivan Pace has a bunch of great tape, but I wonder about the athleticism.
So, for now, I’m slotting Cedric Gray in to the role until some other questions are answered on all of them. Gray is 6’2″/230lbs, 138 tackles, 10.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 4 hurries, 2 INT, 5 PBU, 3 FF. A well-rounded player.
#3.78 – Center, Michigan, Olusegun Oluwatimi
Seattle HAS to get better in the middle of their OL. I don’t necessarily care if it comes as a Guard or a Center. Oluwatimi recently won two national awards for linemen, and Michigan as a unit is a finalist for the Joe Moore Award. Really, I’m just hunting value, and I like getting Olu in the 3rd. Much like Mazi is to Michigan’s #4 overall run defense, Olu is to Michigan’s #5 rush offense.
#3.80 – Running Back, UCLA, Zach Charbonnet
The loss to the Panthers not only showed the problems the Seahawks continue to have in run defense, but it also shows the problem the offense has when not equipped with a competent RB. Penny is a free agent, Homer is not a guy you give 20 touches to, Dallas is still a bit of a mystery. We’ve got to get another RB. Fortunately, RB is not valued highly (again) this year. We should be able to find a quality back in the 3rd or 4th. Until I see anyone value Charbonnet more; I will continue targeting him at this price.
#4.119 – Defensive Tackle, Clemson, Tyler Davis
Another DT from a top 15 run-defense, Davis also gives a bit of passrush. He’d be a great hedge for the free agent Poona Ford.
#5.152 – Tight End, Minnesota, Brevyn Spann-Ford
This late in the draft you can do things that aren’t necessarily need-based. I’m taking BSF because I like his tape. I think he fits what the Seahawks like to do really well.
#6.193 – Safety, Kansas, Kenny Logan Jr
This is a lowkey nice safety class, but no one seems to be talking about it. Probably because the position is undervalued across the league. There are a number of safeties I like at a number of values. I’ve pushed my safety pick down in this mock a) because Brian Branch COULD be a safety, b) because in theory Seattle has a LOT of salary cap already tied up at the safety spots, and it will complicate things to spend an early, obvious pick on one.
Logan became my pick based on the way he can play centerfield while also racking up 8.0 tackles per game.
With the draft capital they have, the ability to move that capital around to add value, and the needs (and non-needs) they enter this draft with; the Seattle Seahawks have the opportunity to have another strong draft in 2023.