Seahawks 2023 Mock: Trade Edition

By Jared Stanger

It hasn’t been very long since my last mock draft, but after seeing the Denver Broncos lose pretty embarrassingly to the lowly Carolina Panthers on Sunday; the Seahawks now hold the #4 overall pick in the 2023 draft. And looking at the schedule for the rest of the Broncos’ season; there’s a pretty good chance that pick ends up higher. Then, as losers of their own game this week, the Seahawks fell out of a playoff spot, and their native draftslot moved up to the #16 overall. Two picks in the top half of the first round. With that in mind, and with knowing I haven’t really done much predicting of the Seahawks trading around their picks; I thought I would run through a mock filled with trades.

As it stands now as I move this article to published; the Seahawks’ full draft allotment goes:

1.4
1.16
2.34
2.49
3.80
4.117
5.141
5.154
6.192

For purpose of this exercise; I’m going to say that the Denver pick is at #1.3. If you haven’t glanced at any of the draft pick value charts recently; the difference in value between pick 3 and pick 4 is kinda crazy. So showing what you could get for the #3 is a whole lot of fun.

The next thing to think about when considering a trade of a super high pick like this is: who has the ammo to come up? As far as I can tell Houston has the most picks of anyone with 12, including the first picks in most rounds, plus a bonus 1st and 3rd from the Watson trade to Cleveland. So they’re an interesting trade partner basically at any point. The Giants have 11 picks, but their first isn’t until #24. The Patriots have 11 picks, and a history of not particularly caring for volume drafting. The problem with the Pats is: 5 of their 11 picks are in the 6th and 7th round. Philadelphia doesn’t have a ton of pick volume, but they own two 1st’s after receiving the Saints’ pick. As the team currently leading football in overall record; would they prefer to pick fewer times because they’re roster is already quite good? Unfortunately, it is very tough to project trades around playoff teams as their eventual native draftslot will be reseeded to coincide with when they exit the playoffs. Chicago has 9 picks, but their first rounder is currently at #2. So we can’t use them. The trade that I’m currently kinda liking is Carolina.

At the moment, the Panthers sit at #6 overall. They have two 2nd’s, two 4th’s, and 8 total picks. The team is run by former Seahawk personnel guy Scott Fitterer. And they have a glaring hole at QB. Sitting in front of them in the draft order are A) Houston…a team surely looking to take a QB, and B) Detroit (via Los Angeles)…a team with an ability to get out of the Jared Goff contract after this year; saving about $20million. If Seattle does in fact sit in front of Detroit, in that 3rd pick slot; the Panthers may be willing to cut a chunk from their higher draft capital in order to move up and snag their QBOTF.

What would it cost for Carolina to move up 3 picks? Per the chart, it could be done for picks 1.6, 2.40, 3.88 and Seattle throws in their 4th rounder at 4.117. So the Panthers would be left with 1.3, the 2nd rounder they received from San Francisco for McCaffrey at 2.58, three picks in the fourth round, a fifth, and a seventh. It doesn’t feel entirely implausible to me. So I’m making this deal.

The 16th overall pick is a weird place for me to think about the Seahawks drafting. They don’t need Offensive Tackles, they don’t need (nor have they ever drafted) Corners this early, this isn’t a year where Wide Receivers match this value, I don’t think you go Running Back, Tight End, Guard, or Center this early in any year. But if you trade back again…suddenly the value will match better.

Unlike when we were trading back from #3, the Pats and Giants now come in to play. The Pats sit at #18, the Giants at #24. The farther you’re willing to drop from #16; the better value you’ll get on the other picks coming back your way. So I’ll do the Giants trade which will also include pick 85 and 100.

The new draft board becomes:

1.6
1.24
2.34
2.40
2.49
3.80
3.85
3.88
3.100
5.141
5.154
6.192

12 picks is probably too many, but can you imagine FIVE picks top 50, and NINE in the top 100. Well, we’re about to.

#1.6 – Defensive End, Texas Tech, Tyree Wilson

Part of trading back is adding picks, but part of it should be that the guy (or guys) you really want will be available later. Tyree is a guy I just LIKE more than the “top 5” guys. He’s 6’6″/275lbs, and before he withdrew from the season with a broken foot; he was leading college football in pressures. His power will play so complimentary to Uchenna Nwosu’s speed. And if Seattle develops a nascar package for 3rd downs; Wilson will be perfect for the 3Tech piece of it.

#1.24 – Quarterback, Tennessee, Hendon Hooker

Since his injury, I’ve been thinking about using a later pick than this on Hendon, but as of today; I realize I want the 5th year option on our next QB to allow more time for development. Plus, he’ll need time to recover from ACL.

#2.34 – Safety, Penn State, Ji’Ayir Brown

Brown is a 5’11″/202lb safety with 4.4 speed and a well-rounded skillset. He can cover man, he can blitz, he can tackle. His season stats go: 5.58 tackles per game, 5.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 5 hurries, 3 INT, 3 PBU, 2 FF.

#2.40 – Cornerback, Mississippi State, Emmanuel Forbes

I like the strength of this corner class, and it feels like the best sub-section of corners are these skinny 6’0″/180lb guys. In previous mocks I’ve had Devon Witherspoon around this spot, but I’m starting to doubt he lasts this far. Forbes is the consolation prize, but he’s a great prospect in his own right. His 6 INT this year are tied for the national lead, plus he’s run 3 of those back for TD. He also has 9 PBU.

#2.49 – Linebacker, North Carolina, Cedric Gray

I’ve had Gray in previous mocks, but it looks like buzz is building on him. With the added ammo from the trade-backs; we’re able to accommodate this pretty easily. Gray is a 6’2″/230lb junior that is top 5 in the country in tackles, while also posting 2 INT, 5 PBU, 9.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 4 hurries, 3 FF. I don’t have a feel for his total athleticism…there are probably guys available that are freakier…but I like his versatility. I don’t know that UNC asks him to blitz as much as, say, a Drew Sanders or an Ivan Pace, but I like the ability I see in him when he does.

It occurs to me at this point that there’s a pretty big drop between the Hawks last pick in the 2nd until their first pick in the 3rd. And we have so much ammo right now…let’s package #85 and #100 to move up to #65.

#3.65 – Offensive Guard, Notre Dame, Jarrett Patterson

I recently switched from looking for Centers to draft, to guards. Patterson is the type that has played both. He started at center for a full year in 2019, but has more recently been playing left guard. Seahawks have two impending free agents at center, plus a free agent at guard in Phil Haynes. They should re-sign either Haynes or Blythe, perhaps cap-cut Gabe Jackson, and not be above moving Damien Lewis to a bench role.


#3.80 – Running Back, Zach Charbonnet

I’ve been worried that waiting until the 4th round would make me miss out on Charbonnet, but in this mock I’m able to fix that. Charbonnet has been my 1A target at RB for over a year; and even at this point he still feels like tremendous value.

#3.88 – Defensive Line, Bowling Green, Karl Brooks

As a 6’4″/300lb college defensive END; Brooks is an interesting player. He’s posted top 10 national numbers in TFL and sacks this year (18.0 and 10.0), plus 6 hurries, 3 PBU, 2 FF. He may continue to rise beyond this point as the draft cycle proceeds. He looks like a guy that will post crazy agility scores for a big man. This is my pick to hedge for Poona Ford hitting free agency.

#5.141 – Linebacker, Louisville, Yasir Abdullah

After drafting DL that weigh 300lbs and 275lbs; we need one that weighs 250lbs. It’s a cool year for the passrushing OLB type. There are quality versions of this profile that fall to day three, but become quality pro’s almost every year. You just need to whiddle down to the right one. It’s generally a guy that came from a small school…maybe a Jose Ramirez out of EMU, a David Perales out of Fresno State…or he’s well undersized. The latter is the case for Yasir Abdullah. Listed 6’1″/242lbs. Like most of the defensive players in this mock; Abdullah is well-rounded: 13.0 TFL, 8.0 sacks, 7 hurries, 2 INT, 4 PBU, and 4 FF. Good dude, too.

#5.154 – Wide Receiver, UTSA, Zakhari Franklin

I don’t know that the Seahawks NEED to draft a WR. They have quality 1 & 2 guys, they drafted two last year that they don’t know how to use, and you could probably find a vet in free agency to sign on a 1-year deal basically every year. But with this many picks it won’t hurt. Listed 6’1″/185lbs, Franklin is a recent teammate of Tariq Woolen, and he posts numbers. 81/1027/12 TD last year through 13 games, 76/956/11 TD through 12 games this year. Top 20 numbers in the country. Plus, the hands seem really sticky. He’d make a very cool complimentary piece to Lock and DK.

#6.192 – Safety, Oklahoma State, Jason Taylor II

The Seahawks have more issues at safety than I think is generally discussed. Adams is a constant injury concern, Ryan Neal is a free agent, so is rostered (terrible) backup Josh Jones. It will be good to take two shots at the position. Taylor is a great ball-hawking safety that can play centerfield or step up in the box. 87 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 6 INT, 7 PBU on the year. Great value here.

1.6 DE Tyree Wilson
1.24 QB Hendon Hooker
2.34 S Ji’Ayir Brown
2.40 CB Emmanuel Forbes
2.49 LB Cedric Gray
3.65 OL Jarrett Patterson
3.80 RB Zach Charbonnet
3.88 DL Karl Brooks
5.141 LB Yasir Abdullah
5.154 WR Zakhari Franklin
6.192 S Jason Taylor

Seahawks Mock Draft: November

By Jared Stanger

The Seahawks may be on bye, but draft scouting goes on. And the good news is, due to a loss by the Denver Broncos on Sunday; Seattle is now projecting to pick in the 5th overall draftslot as their pick acquired from Denver in the Russell Wilson trade. And the 2nd rounder from Denver this year would actually fall at #35 overall. The Seattle native picks are a little less concrete as playoff teams will be reseeded as they progress or get eliminated from the playoffs, but for now we call it pick #21. The overall draft board goes:

#1.5
#1.21
#2.35
#2.54
#3.85
#4.122
#5.145
#5.159
#6.197

To me, if you’re picking in the top 5, and you’ve already given Geno Smith a new contract of some sort, and you hit on two OT last year, and it’s not a good class for WR in general let alone top 5, you’re trying to find a defensive superstar of some kind. The three names that seem to come up the most are DE Will Anderson, DT Jalen Carter, and CB Kelee Ringo. If any two teams in the top four take QB’s; you’re guaranteed to get one of those three. It’s kind of like last year when it felt pretty likely you would get one of the top three OT’s on the board.

Ringo, even though it would be so fun to bring a Tacoma guy home to Washington, is probably the least needed as you’re doing very well with 2022 CB picks Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant, and 2021 pick Tre Brown may be back after the bye.

If he blows up the Combine the way he’s expected to; Carter may be the least likely to fall to #5. And then you’re hoping that somebody in the top 4 goes with an offensive tackle in there somewhere. This will actually leave you with a choice between 2 of your top 3 targets. In this scenario it’s between Ringo and Anderson.

#1.5 – Defensive End, Alabama, Will Anderson

This has been a down year for college passrushers. Basically across the board. Will Anderson is one of the few that was touted before the season and he’s still produced. Listed at 6’4″/243lbs, Anderson has posted 46 tackles, 14.0 TFL, 8.0 sacks, 10 hurries, 1 PBU, 1 INT, through 11 games. That production is top 25 in the country with a few games to go. And his numbers in 2021 were even better: 33.5 TFL, 17.5 sacks, 9 hurries. In the pass-rush study I did earlier this fall; it appeared to me that there are certain benchmarks that are hugely predictive of future success. But it also suggested that those numbers do not have to be accrued in any given player’s draft year…they can come in an underclass year.

The one thing I don’t love about the Anderson pick is that in my research it seems as though Seattle is looking harder at Edge rushers that are more in the 275lb range than the linebacker size. This could be a Myles Murphy, DJ Johnson, Isaiah Foskey, or the guy I was really high on until literally a couple hours ago when it came out that he was injured and would miss the rest of the year: Tyree Wilson. Tyree self-reported he had a broken bone in his foot. We’ve seen broken foot injuries become extremely hard to completely heal for other players in the past, so this is potentially a scary injury. But, in theory, I really like the player.

#2.21 – Center, Minnesota, John Michael Schmitz

In recent years I’ve been extremely frustrated at the times and values the Seahawks have passed on at the Center position. I really don’t want to do it again. Determining the correct time to strike on a Center is a bit challenging. Last year Tyler Linderbaum came off as the first Center drafted at #25 overall, with Cole Strange quickly following at #29. In 2021, it was more like #37 in the 2nd (depending on if you call Landon Dickerson a Center), and then Josh Myers and Creed Humphrey at #62-63.

I’d like to wait for him until the 2nd round, but it’s not worth the risk. This year isn’t as strong at Center as the previous two drafts. Gotta get your guy.

JMS is such a rock-solid player. Smart. Tough. Reliable. Former wrestler. I also like that he’s the anchor of the OL that has blocked for the 2nd-most productive running back, Mohamed Ibrahim, in the country. Minnesota has also allowed only 10 sacks, 8th-fewest in the country, through 11 games this year. Good combination of metrics, tape, and intangibles.

If he declares, another Center to really watch for is Georgia redshirt Soph Sedrick Van Pran. He has nasty in a way that the current OL doesn’t really have.

#3.35 – Quarterback, Tennessee, Hendon Hooker

After the heart-breaking news that Hendon tore his ACL in his game yesterday vs South Carolina, ending his season, you sort of go through a version of the stages of grief. When you get to bargaining; you start to realize that maybe this lowers Hendon’s draft stock. I mean, it will. It’s just a question of how much. I did some quick research and found 6-10 recent, similar examples and in almost every one the player didn’t fall beyond the 2nd round.

Again, it should already be in John Schneider’s mind to extend Geno Smith to an extension. Ideally, it’s two years with more guaranteed money, but maybe you have to go three years with a non-guaranteed 3rd year. This would give Hendon plenty of time to rehab, and then get his practice reps up. The interesting part might come to be what Seattle does for their QB2 as Drew Lock is also a free agent.

Being able to get Hendon in the 2nd round would be such a bonus. It would keep Geno’s mind more at ease. It would allow you to address some other needs first.

#2.54 – Cornerback, Illinois, Devon Witherspoon

Witherspoon is a quickly ascending player who you’d be thrilled to get in the late-2nd. He’s listed 6’0″/180lbs, but plays stronger than his weight might suggest. He’s very productive, posting 37 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, 14 PBU through 11 games this year.

#3.85 – DL, Pittsburgh, Calijah Kancey

Kancey is an interesting player. He’s undersized at 6’0″/280lbs, but has some of the best interior passrush tape in this class. If what he’s done at the college level translates to the NFL; he’d be a player type the Seahawks are sorely lacking. It would be an even bigger bonus if he shows capability to play DE on early downs.

#4.122 – RB, UCLA, Zach Charbonnet

It is stunning to me that I never see Charbonnet mocked higher. But Dameon Pierce fell to the 4th round, so who knows. At 6’1″/220lbs, I like the idea of Charbonnet as a counter-point to Ken Walker.

#5.145 – LB, North Carolina, Cedric Gray

Cody Barton will be a free agent after this year, so the Seahawks need a starting linebacker pretty bad. My hope is that they sign one in free agency, and then add another at their leisure in the draft. Gray is listed 6’2″/230lbs and should start climbing draft boards based on his performance this year. He’s 3rd in the country in tackles while also posting 9TFL, 1 sack, 4 hurries, 2 INT, 5 PBU, and 2 FF. Well-rounded backer that could play MIKE if needed, but we’ll be playing him at WILL.

#5.159 – DS, Oklahoma State, Jason Taylor II

Seattle has a ton of money tied up in the safety spot, but Jamal Adams is a current and constant injury problem. Quandre Diggs is having a down year, but he’s too important in the locker room. But we still need to augment that position group. Taylor is a 6’0″/215lbs safety that pulls high tackle numbers (7.55/gm) and this year has 5 INT, 7 PBU, and 2 TFL. A very solid player with upside.

#6.197 – LB, Louisville, Yasir Abdullah

While this Edge class is a little disappointing at the high end; it does have nice depth. I highly recommend drafting two. Abdullah is a bit of a tweener at 6’1″/242lbs, but he’s posted consecutive years of 8.0+ sacks, and before the year is over that could be back-to-back 10+ sacks. And he’s well-rounded enough that he could play off the ball if needed. He’s got 2 INT, 4 PBU, 4 FF, 13 TFL.

Recap:

DE Will Anderson
OC John Michael Schmitz
QB Hendon Hooker
CB Devon Witherspoon
DL Calijah Kancey
RB Zach Charbonnet
LB Cedric Gray
DS Jason Taylor
LB Yasir Abdullah

Seahawks Mock Draft 2023

By Jared Stanger

We’re almost through week 6 of the NFL season, and it’s been a full 7 weeks in the college game, so we’re starting to get a stronger idea of draft prospects. We also have a good idea of draft positions. The Seahawks (prior to Denver playing MNF) hold 9 picks including two 1’s, two 2’s, and two 5’s. The overall board (prior to compensatory picks) stands at: #1.12, #1.14, #2.44, #2.45, #3.82, #4.113, #5.138, #5.144, #6.175. Let’s see what kind of fun we can get into.

As I have been tracking the draft pick positions weekly, there has been a lot of time where the native Seattle pick and the 1st acquired from Denver in the Russell Wilson trade have fallen back-to-back. That isn’t the case as I write this after the Seahawks win to go to 3-3 on the year, and Denver has yet to play while sitting at 2-3. If they should eventually return to being neighboring picks; the order the two players come off is semantics, and could even be discussed as 12a and 12b, or whatever the number is.

#1.12 – DE, Kansas State, Felix Anudike Uzomah

There are two position groups that seem pretty obvious targets as I track where the Seattle scouting department is every week. The group that currently seems the most-heavily scouted is not quarterback. It’s defensive end. The team is due to lose LJ Collier and Darryl Johnson to free agency. The roster already holds roughly 3 other DE with similar profile to Collier: Shelby Harris at 6’2″/288lbs, Quinton Jefferson at 6’4″/291lbs, and Myles Adams at 6’2″/290lbs.

The Darryl Johnson profile is more 6’6″/255lbs. Similar on the roster include IR guys Alton Robinson 6’3″/259lbs, Tyreke Smith 6’3″/255lbs, PS player Bruce Irvin 6’3″/258lbs, and active roster Boye Mafe 6’4″/261lbs, Uchenna Nwosu 6’2″/251lbs, Darrell Taylor 6’4″/267lbs.

So it kind of resembles two pretty different groups, but it also lacks the kind of profile that splits the difference at around 6’4″/275lbs. This list in terms of college players could include Isaiah Foskey 6’5″/265lbs, Myles Murphy 6’5″/275lbs, Tyree Wilson 6’6″/275lbs, DJ Johnson 6’4″/270lbs, Yaya Diaby 6’4″/270lbs. I think that is actually the profile Seattle is targeting highest, but targeting and acquiring are not the same. If the profile, the talent, and the availability don’t align…you pivot. This is a mild pivot.

Felix Anudike Uzomah is really starting to make a name for himself in draft circles. He’s actually a pretty good marker for the quality of a mock draft. At 6’4″/255lbs and with 6.5 sacks in 6 games in 2022; FAU is the right mix of size, athleticism, intangibles and production to warrant a high first round pick.

#1.14 – QB, Tennessee, Hendon Hooker

I’ve had my eyes on Hendon Hooker for just over a year now, and not only has his on-field performance elevated this season, but his draft stock is finally catching up. At 6’4″/218lbs, Hendon is built like you want them to be. At 4.86ypc he can run like you want them to when needed. At 70% completion, 10.7 ypa, and 15 TD to 1 INT he’s efficient and disciplined as a passer like you want. And he’s as tough as they come. This is a no-brainer for me.

#2.44 – CB, Illinois, Devon Witherspoon

This might be the toughest pick to make this draft. Hawks could look to improve at linebacker, they could try to improve their run-stuffing or passrush from the interior DL, they could look to improve depth behind club controlled but injured or ineffective players at WR/DS/CB/RB. My pick goes to cornerback as there are no fewer than five CB on the roster that are gonna be free agents.

Devon Witherspoon is a 6’0″/180lb redshirt junior corner with 11 PBU and 1 INT through 7 games in 2022. In 2021 he also showed a ton of tackling skill when he averaged 5.2 tackles per game plus 8.0 TFL.

#2.45 – OC, Minnesota, John Michael Schmitz

I have no particular intel to think Seattle will finally make a move on a new center, after two years of passing on very good centers at very good value, but they do have two impending free agents in Austin Blythe and Kyle Fuller. They’re also due to lose guard Phil Haynes. None of these players would be expensive and could probably be retained if wanted. I’m going with the draftpick cause I just really like Schmitz’ tape and it would be cool to have LT-OC-RT locked up for the next 3.5 years.

Schmitz is listed 6’4″/320lbs. Smart player. Crazy consistent on tape. Not a nasty player per se, which sometimes you like in your OL, but I can pass on that at center in favor of nasty guards. Also worth noting that his Minnesota squad is a top 20 rushing attack in the country.

#3.82 – SS, Boise State, JL Skinner

JL Skinner is a huge box safety with great motor, ball skills, and a penchant for laying the wood. I love this guy’s intangibles, too. It’d be so fun to have a 6’4″/224lb safety again.

#4.113 – RB, UCLA, Zach Charbonnet

This is probably the easiest pick of this mock. I simply love Charbonnet’s game. He’s a 6’1″/220lb sledgehammer of a runner that is also one of the more explosive backs in this class at 7.07ypc. With Rashaad Penny a free agent who has been frequently injured; I’m just not coming out of this draft without another back. The Oklahoma lead runner Eric Gray would be another intriguing option here.

#5.138 – DE, Oregon, Brandon Dorlus

These last few picks are more about filling in some gaps that you missed on earlier. Preferably with good athlete upside. Dorlus is a 6’3″/290lb DL with inside/outside versatility.

#5.144 – DT, Penn State, PJ Mustipher

Mustipher is a 6’4″/318lb run-stuffer I’m bringing in to help replace the free agent Poona Ford.

#6. 175 – LB, Arkansas, Drew Sanders

I very much doubt Drew Sanders is still available this late, but in the reference mock I used to ground all of these pick values he was. At 6’5″/233lbs Sanders has a big frame that could probably even carry 15 more lbs. He can passrush (6.5 sacks, 6 hurries), he can cover a little bit (3 PBU), and he can turn the ball over (3 FF).

Mariner draft redux

By Jared Stanger

We’re almost two weeks out from the 2022 MLB Draft, and this Mariner’s draft class is still sitting weird with me. Like, it seems very bipolar. I think they did something really interesting with the evals they did for hitting prospects, but I’m simultaneously very spooked by the way they drafted for pitching.

So I became obsessed with the idea of an instant redrafting of this class. For this, I created a set of rules with which the picks had to follow to be allowable.

  1. All picks must be players that were drafted or signed as free agents.
  2. All picks in the top 10 rounds must have signed their real contracts for a combined amount equal to (or under) what the Mariners spent on their top 10 picks.
  3. All picks in rounds 11-20 must have signed their real contracts for less than $125,000, or an overslot amount that fits under top 10 bonus pool.
  4. All picks must be made before (or equal) to where their real draft position was.
  5. Players that signed as undrafted free agents may be drafted at any point, for any bonus amount.

The Mariners spent a total of $7,591,500 on their top 10 picks, but I believe their available pool after the 5% bump from the new CBA was closer to $7,621,110. The latter will be the hardline figure I can’t pass, but I’ll try to keep it closer to the former.

#1.21 pick, (#21 real) – SS, Cole Young, $3,300,000 bonus

In hindsight, I think the Cole Young pick was a bit of a forced preemptive move to get some more shortstop talent in the system as the M’s were well into trade-talks where Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo were being highly sought after. It was also good to take left-hand bats where you can, as this draft wasn’t deep in that area.

#2.58 pick, (#58 real) – 3B, Tyler Locklear, $1,276,500 bonus

Tyler Locklear was the single-best hitter I found when I did my analysis, so I had him in my pre-draft mocks. Then the M’s drafted him. So we’ll keep him right where he is.

#2.74 pick, (#80 real) – RHP, Andrew Taylor, $807,200 bonus

I had Taylor in my mock drafts…I even tended to “reach” for him…but, apparently, I wasn’t reaching enough for him. As one of the younger true Junior pitchers in this class, I just really want the mix of college experience with some projection remaining.

#4.126 pick, (#145 real) – LHP, Hunter Patteson, $394,500 bonus

Patteson was another guy I had in my mocks, but just not high enough. He’s gonna be a longer project as he has had recent Tommy John surgery, but I really like the tools from the lefthand side.

#5.156 pick, (#328 real) – RHP, Caden Dana, $1,500,000 bonus

The Angels drafted Dana in the 11th round, but then signed him for $1.5mill, so he was available in the 5th, and only cost $250k more than the overslot deal Seattle gave to Walter Ford, and then you save more than enough to cover the difference by going Patteson instead of Ashton Izzi in the 4th.

#6.186 pick, (#253 real) – RHP, Tyler Guilfoil, $122,500 bonus

Guilfoil could be had anywhere in the next three picks. I’m just putting him here as this slot was open, and the bonus is higher than the next couple guys. Tyler has nice present tools as a quick-to-the-show reliever, but I’m not completely sure he couldn’t start. Might be a Matt Brash type guy. Start him until you can’t.

#7.216 pick, (#216 real) – 2B, Hogan Windish, $20,000 bonus

The M’s did some of their best work this draft identifying Senior college hitters with intriguing hit tools, plus power, that would sign for underslot. I love the value of Windish here. Not only was he the first 2022 pick to play in the minors, he has also already been promoted to Modesto as of Saturday afternoon.

#8.246 pick, (#246 real) – C, Tatem Levins, $50,000 bonus

Levins is a similar story to Windish. Very nice hit tool, power took big step this year, signing for underslot, AND he’s a lefty hitting catcher. I don’t necessarily trust that Levins has the arm to stick behind the plate, but I like seeing how far the bat carries him.

#9.276 pick, (#283 real) – RHP, Brett Gillis, $97,500 bonus

Gillis, the former Everett product, was tough to figure out slotting. Sometimes, historically, the guys drafted top 10 rounds aren’t as good talent-wise as guys drafted in rounds, say, 11-13. They get overdrafted so that they can get underslotted. Astros took him in the 9th, which I think is pretty talent/value appropriate.

#10.306 pick, (UDFA) – SS, Brad Malm, $20,000 bonus

As I started writing this piece, the 10th round was the last one left open. I wanted to draft catcher Andrew Cossetti here because the Twins drafted him in the 11th round at #324, and they have signed him, but I don’t know what the actual bonus was. Under the rules of this process, I can’t use Cossetti. He might cost more than I have remaining in bonus pool. And I don’t have much bonus pool left.

The M’s used two of their first 6 picks, and 47% of their bonus pool, on two shortstops. In hindsight, I think it was clearly strategized. I didn’t love Josh Hood’s hitting metrics outside of his exit velocity, and I couldn’t really afford him in this construction.

Brad Malm was my compromise. He hit .340/.403/1.058 with 15 HR in 47 games for Albany. He signed as a free agent after the draft, so I can basically determine his bonus as a “drafted” player. $20,000 is just under my remaining budget, while saving enough to go overslot on the 11th round.

At this point, after drafting and budgeting all of my top 10 picks, I have approximately $32,910 of bonus pool remaining to go overslot in rounds 11-20.

#11.336 pick, (#405 real) – OF, Chris Newell, $147,500

I like Newell’s defense, he’s got really nice base-running, and he has a pretty intriguing power swing from the left side. Going overslot by $22,500 will still keep me ~$10,000 in the black.

#12.366 pick, (#371 real) – UT, Brooks Baldwin, $125,000

Baldwin is a pretty interesting player. He’s a 6’2″/175lb athlete that hit .347/.406/1.021 with 11 HR, 16 SB for UNC Wilmington primarily as a 2B. But then this summer he was hitting .361 with the wood bats in the Cape league where he’s played 4 games at 1B, 2 games at 2B, 5 games at 3B, 2 games at SS, 2 games in CF, 1 game in LF, and 15 games in RF. Plus, he can switch-hit.

#13.396 pick, (#415 real) – RHP, Ben Sears, $125,000 bonus

There were a few closer types that I had my eye on throughout the process. Sears was one that A) I liked more predraft due to his stuff, B) I’ve seen his signing bonus reported. I can’t use the guys that I don’t know if they are under the $125k mark.

#14.426 pick, (#508 real) – LHP, Sammy Natera, $125,000 bonus

The M’s found one wild but hard-throwing lefty reliever for real in UDFA in Drake Batcho, but I’m plugging in Natera here as a second shot. Big strikeout numbers as a starter, but I’m definitely moving him to the pen to see if he can focus better there.

#15.456 pick, (#483 real) – RHP, Trey Braithwaite, $100,000 bonus

Braithwaite is a very over-aged player, but he’s throwing 99mph with sub-2.00 ERA in both the Big12 and the MLB Draft League, so there may be a chance he moves quickly through the minors.

#16.486 pick, (#568 real) – 1B, Luke Franzoni, $75,000 bonus

I had a couple of first basemen I was considering here. One a righty, one a lefty. One ranked very high in my hitting metrics, the other won the Division II college Gold Glove. I’m going with the more bat-forward guy. Franzoni hit 29 homers over 58 games this year. Enough said.

#17.516 pick, (#516 real) – RHP, Stefan Raeth, unknown

Raeth is the only guy that I broke the rules for, but he was a guy Seattle drafted here anyways, so I’m guessing he fits under the $125,000 mark. Raeth is a local/UW reliever that has spent time at Driveline. He was off to a very impressive start this year, leading the country in K rate, before cooling off towards the end. He still finished with 1.146 WHIP, 12.1 SO/9, and 4.68 SO/BB primarily out of the pen.

#18.546 pick, (#554 real) – RHP, Duncan Davitt, $25,000 bonus

Davitt was a guy that popped up on my radar after the MLB Draft League. He posted identical 3.38 ERA’s between MLBDL and Big Ten. Both leagues he posted WHIP under 1.200, SO/9 over 12.0, and SO/BB over 3.00. Very intriguing profile.

#19.576 pick, (UDFA) – OF, Bryson Worrell, $20,000 bonus

Worrell fell all the way out of the draft for some unknown reason, so I’m just gonna swoop in and grab him here. He’s 6’2″/226lbs, and hit .335/.401/1.032 with 20 HR, 10×10 SB, and played some nice OF for East Carolina, including some very clutch play in the CWS.

#20.606 pick, (UDFA) – 2B, Josh Zamora, $20,000 bonus

Zamora was another guy that fell to UDFA, but I liked his bat enough in my analytics that I’d like to draft him before he gets to pick his landing spot. 5th year Senior hit .362/.470/1.145 with 16 HR, and 40 to 27 BB to SO rate for Nevada.

UDFA

The M’s have also signed three players as undrafted guys to this point: C Connor Charping, LHP Drake Batcho, and RHP Austin Marozos. I didn’t spend a pick on any of those because even in this hypothetical they would still end up with Seattle.

Overall Haul:

SS Cole Young
3B Tyler Locklear
RHP Andrew Taylor
LHP Hunter Patteson
RHP Caden Dana
RHP Tyler Guilfoil
2B Hogan Windish
C Tatem Levins
RHP Brett Gillis
SS Brad Malm
OF Chris Newell
UT Brooks Baldwin
RHP Ben Sears
LHP Sammy Natera
RHP Trey Braithwaite
1B Luke Franzoni
RHP Stefan Raeth
RHP Duncan Davitt
OF Bryson Worrell
2B Josh Zamora

UDFA
C Connor Charping
LHP Drake Batcho
RHP Austin Marozas

Final Mariner Mock

By Jared Stanger

The 2023 MLB Draft starts tomorrow, and in light of new comments coming out from Mariner Director of Amateur Scouting, Scott Hunter, I think I need to make another attempt at predicting the M’s haul. Actually, this might be my first attempt at predicting what they do, after previously primarily focusing on what I would, personally, do.

The first thing that became clear from Hunter’s comments, I think, after going high school players with three consecutive picks to start the 2021 Draft, this year Seattle goes back to their bread and butter, and best successes, in drafting a college player, who will most likely be a pitcher.

Another point that I talked about before, and which became more solidified from Hunter, there is a high likelihood the player Seattle drafts will be the one that falls in the draft. Now, it’s a fair, and important, question to determine what big board from what TIME in this draft cycle you use as determining a player’s point in ranking that could then determine if he’s falling vs fallen. A player considered top 10 in February, at the beginning of the college season, may today be considered in the 25-30 range in the most up-to-date, last-minute rankings. Especially because of the next point.

I’m really coming around to the idea that Seattle’s first pick may, in fact, be one of the many pitchers that is coming back from an injury. If the thinking is that modern medical science is that a pitcher can not only fully recover from, say, Tommy John surgery, but in many cases they come back stronger than before it…and if your timeline says you have enough young, talented pitching on the roster and in the high minors to bide you over…maybe you create value by drafting a high-upside pitcher that in time will return to a top-10 talent, while getting him at #21 due to present injury.

So who fits the profile of 1) college player, 2) falling in the draft, 3) missed time and coming back from injury? I think the #1 target will be:

#1.21 – LHP, Alabama, Connor Prielipp

The backstory on Prielipp is that he had an insane, albeit brief, debut as a college freshman. He started 4 games, pitched only 21.0 innings, gave up ZERO earned runs (5 unearned), only 5 hits, 6 walks, and struck out 35 before Covid shut everything down. That’s a 0.00 ERA, 0.524 WHIP, 15.0 SO/9, 5.83 SO/BB. All incredible numbers. And that’s a point in a career when a guy is usually not great and having struggles adapting to the bump in play after leaving high school.

Then, in 2021, he pitched 5.0 shutout innings versus McNeese State with 8 strikeouts to open the year on February 19, then he was shutdown for two months. He came back on April 17th and pitched one inning, and shutdown again for another month. His last appearance was May 16th…another one inning start. Shortly after that he underwent Tommy John surgery.

Connor missed the entire 2022 college season, but has re-habbed to the point where he’s been able to throw a couple of “bullpen” sessions for scouts at two different events over the last month or two. At those events his fastball was already back up into the 94-95mph range, and it’s probably a fair assumption he will be able to pitch some innings this summer in the minors for his drafting team. In terms of the injured pitchers, Prielipp might be the best-case-scenario as far as timeline. (*You could also argue Kumar Rocker who had a shoulder surgery in late 2021, but threw 20 innings over 5 starts for an independent league team this Spring.)

Speaking of Rocker…I could totally see the M’s go there. They seem to sorta love a buzz or media guy. I have my apprehensions about him personally, but we digress. To his credit, Rocker in the indy league this year posted 1.00 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 14.4 SO/9, and, my favorite note, only 1.8 BB/9. In his three years at Vandy Rocker averaged 2.6 BB/9, including a 2.9 BB/9 for 2021. So I definitely like him more if he’s throwing more strikes.

The other guys I think come in to play here: RHP Cade Horton (who missed his TJ year in 2021), RHP Blade Tidwell (missed the first month of the season with milder injury), maybe LHP Carson Whisenhunt (missed the year on suspension).

I still love Cooper Hjerpe but I tend to think he’s not considered to have enough “upside” for the M’s. I still like Jackson Ferris but tend to think high school is off the board.

#2.58 – RHP, Don Bosco, Caden Dana

There are a ton of sort of low-ceiling college pitchers ranked near this range (Adam Mazur, Jonathan Cannon, Drew Thorpe, Jake Bennett, Brycen Mautz) but the upside comes more from high school or the JUCO guy, Jacob Misiorowski. High school righty Cole Phillips was up to 100mph before needing TJ surgery in April, and I really like the high-pitchability prep lefty Bradley Loftin. But already having one lefty in the bank from the first round, I’m going for HS RHP Caden Dana. He’s 6’5″/215lbs and the fastball is already at 95mph.

#2.74 – SS, Virginia Tech, Tanner Schobel

It’s always important to find up-the-middle guys. I don’t hardcore love any of this crop of college shortstops for sticking at the position and hitting, but I think there are a few that are capable enough to play another position fulltime and do spot-duty at short. Schobel is one of those. He hit .362/.445/1.134 with 19 homers, 74 RBI’s, and 35 to 40 BB to SO. I love the bat-speed.

#4.126 – RHP, Central Michigan, Andrew Taylor

Taylor is one of the younger true Juniors in this draft class. He ticks a lot of boxes for me…6’5″/218lbs, 3.21 ERA, 1.048 WHIP, 13.5 SO/9, 4.67 SO/BB. Fastball in the 93-94 range at present, but I think there’s easily room for more. I love the easy delivery. I hope you can get him at this point. May need to go overslot with eligibility remaining.

#5.156 – C, St Joseph’s, Andrew Cossetti

Cossetti is ranked nowhere near this spot. I’m putting him here as a Senior signing. But I think he’s a legit player. He hit .327/.454/1.167 with 19 HR, 65 RBI and 34 to 30 BB to SO in the college regular season. He’s also taking part in the currently running MLB Draft League where he’s hitting .403/.478/1.088 over 27 games. M’s have had pretty good early returns drafting a 5th round catcher last year in Andy Thomas, and then they pulled RHP Andrew Moore out of the 2021 MLB Draft League in the 14th round. Good precedents and holy crap they’re all named Andrew.

#6.186 – IF/RHP, East Carolina, Zach Agnos

The most interesting comment from Scott Hunter’s presser was his, seemingly, random discussion of two-way players. The quest for Ohtani. Now, an actual Ohtani…a guy that is throwing many elite innings as a starter every fifth day, and then DH’ing or playing a position all the other days…is kind of an impossible seek. But a guy that plays a position every day and then throws out of the bullpen every few days…that I can find.

You can find more two-way candidates in the high school ranks, but I kind of don’t like the double projection game of doing that. But one guy I did consider taking at an earlier round was SS/RHP Nazier Mule. He’s a solid fielder and up to 99mph on the mound, but only 17 years old. I just don’t fully trust the bat on him.

From the college ranks this year, you could find two-way talent in Campbell SS Zach Neto, OkState 3B Nolan Mclean, the aforementioned Cade Horton, and East Carolina IF Zach Agnos. Agnos played 55 games at shortstop, 20 games at second, 6 games at third, and also pitched in 19. He hit .330/.405/.884 with 7 homeruns, and he pitched to a 2.31 ERA, 0.771 WHIP over 23.1 innings.

#7.216 – LHP, Central Florida, Hunter Patteson

Patteson is sort of my pet project. He’s another from the list of injured college pitchers, so he may not pitch in the minors until 2024. But I think, once healthy, he will move fast. He’s 6’5″/200lbs, threw to a 1.82 ERA, 0.910 WHIP, 12.4 SO/9 over 30 innings this year before the injury.

#8.246 – IF, Florida, Colby Halter

Halter had a bit of a down year in 2022 in the SEC. He hit .240/.338/.718 with 8 HR over 65 games. But more recently in the Cape Cod League he’s hitting .322/.438/.978 with 5 HR in 26 games with the wood bats. Another very versatile defender, Halter split time about 61% second base, 31% third base, 7% shortstop in 2022.

#9.276 – RHP, Kentucky, Tyler Guilfoil

This is my pick to take a reliever. There’s a handful I’ve got my eye on, but I’m taking Guilfoil if he’s still there. He’s 6’4″/215lbs and posted season numbers of 1.59 ERA, 0.863 WHIP, 14.1 SO/9, and 4.71 SO/BB. I really like the repertoire. He might, actually, be able to start, or he might be a new Matt Brash.

#10.306 – 1B, Xavier, Luke Franzoni

Part of me wanted to go with a more athletic 1B here, like Josh Hatcher who played 1st in 2021 for Mississippi State before transferring to Kennesaw State where he played CF this year, but ultimately I went with the elite power of Franzoni. He hit .354/.485/1.306 with 29 homeruns, 78 RBI’s, and 53 BB to 64 SO. Franzoni is listed 6’2″/220lbs and, to his credit, he has played some RF in the past.

#11.336 – OF, Tulane, Ethan Groff

Groff is a nice well-rounded OF listed 6’0″/200lbs that hit .404/.503/1.211 with 9 HR, 35 RBI, 24 BB to 26 SO in 41 games before an injury ended his season a little early. Groff plays a solid outfield…probably better served on a corner spot, but he could definitely give you the occasional game in center. He’s got a very good throwing arm, as well.

#12.366 – RHP, Iowa, Duncan Davitt

Davitt is a 6’3″/235lb righty that I only discovered late in the process when I noticed his work in the Draft League. He was a guy that started 4 games, and relieved in 15 for the Hawkeyes this year. That only gave him 40.0 innings which means he doesn’t really qualify for end of the year statistical sites. But in his 40 innings Duncan averaged 3.38 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 13.7 SO/9, and 4.07 SO/BB. I think you give him a shot at starting and see what happens.

#13.396 – RHP, Portland State, Brett Gillis

Gillis is a guy I found pretty early in this process, and I keep sticking with him. He’s originally from Everett, and this year at Portland State he really took off as a pitcher-only, after spending his first three years in college playing two ways. He had a 2.24 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 12.3 SO/9 over 14 starts this year.

#14.426 – 2B, Nevada, Josh Zamora

Zamora first popped up in my analytics study of hitters. As a 23 year old fifth year senior you may be able to get him even later than this. There’s a lot of this sort of player profile this year: over-aged but showing advanced approach at the plate. Zamora hit .362/.470/1.145 with 16 HR, 69 RBI and way more walks than strikeouts (40 to 27).

#15.456 – RHP, West Virginia, Trey Braithwaite

Braithwaite is one of the older guys in this draft. He got a late start in college ball, then pitched 4 years at the Naval Academy, before finishing up this year at West Virginia and the Draft League. He’s listed 6’3″/220lbs, and the fastball has been clocked at MLBDL as fast as 100mph. In the Draft League he currently has 1.29 ERA, 1.214 WHIP, and 16.7 SO/9. You only make this pick if you think he can move fast through the organization.

#16. 486 – IF, LaTech, Taylor Young

Young is ironically not that young, but he has one of the most interesting profiles in the class. He was a college Gold Glove winner at 2B in 2021 before moving to SS this year where he still played some very good D. He hit .364/.506/1.151 with a respectable 12 HR, 51 RBI, 28 SB in 30 tries, and 58 BB to 45 SO. I’d move Noelvi Marte to either 3B or promote him to AA, and let Young go straight to Everett after signing.

#17. 516 – LHP, New Mexico State, Sammy Natera

At this point in the draft you don’t need to be looking for perfect profiles. You can look for traits. Natera is a 6’4″/195lb lefty that struggled as a starter to the tune of a 6.92 ERA in 7 starts, but he struck out 15.2 batters per nine while throwing in the high-90’s as a southpaw. If you can move him to the pen and let him focus on his two best pitches, and simply getting three outs; maybe you get an MLB piece out of him.

#18.546 – C, Western Michigan, Connor Charping

Although they don’t really seem to get much love outside of Harry Ford; I kinda like the catching depth in the M’s farm system. Jose Caguana hitting .333 in rookie ball, Andy Thomas is at .270/.404/.864 in A+, Ty Duvall at .261/.407/.820 across multiple levels, Charlie Welch had 7 HR in 35 games for A+ before injury, Matt Scheffler is hitting .260 at AA after a pretty aggressive assignment since signing as undrafted player in 2020 (*covid year with no minor league season). But you still want to try to find multiple catchers in each draft class.

Charping is a 6’0″/215lb catcher that can also play oufield. He hit .348/.440/.923 for WMU with only 3 HR, 23 RBI, but interestingly he stole 26 bases in 53 games, plus he walked 22 times to 20 strikeouts. He also was very solid throwing out basestealers.

#19.576 – OF, Louisville, Levi Usher

Usher has been a bit of a disappointment at the plate in his college career, but he’s this year’s Gold Glove winner in CF, and he stole 36 bases in 39 tries. Draft the glove and see if the bat evolves.

#20.606 – RHP, Houston, Ben Sears

There’s something missing from Sears’ performance to this point. He’s a 6’5″/208lb closer with a 95mph fastball and very good slider, but he’s only striking out 6.5 per 9. But if you can get him this late there’s no pressure to make much out of him, but there are elements there that say you might be able to.

My mock is probably light on outfielders, but I’m sort of counting on the fact that there will be OF talent still available in undrafted free agency. I prefer locking up the infielders in the actual draft. I think I’m missing a true, future shortstop. But if JP Crawford bridges to Noelvi Marte and/or Edwin Arroyo…we’re probably fine. This class is stronger at 3B and 2B, which is probably where the big club needs reinforcements more urgently.

I’m pretty happy with the balance of pitchers righty/lefty and starter/reliever. Could be 2-3 shots at ace material, and a few guys that could make the backend of the rotation. Bullpen would be pure octane adding this group.

Week away Mariner mock

By Jared Stanger

We’re finally rounding the final turn onto the homestretch of the 2022 MLB Draft season. Day 1 of the draft comes next Sunday, July 17th, with the first two rounds, rounds 3-10 on Monday, and rounds 10-20 on Tuesday the 19th. M’s have their first selection at #21 overall, 2nd round at #58, and a 2nd round competitive balance pick at #74 on day one. Day two the miss their 3rd rounder for signing Robbie Ray, followed by 4th round pick at #126. Then just add 30 to 126 for every round through the 20th.

The highest of the high end picks this year look to come from the high school hitter ranks, followed by college hitters, then possibly prep pitchers, and finally college pitching where this class has been decimated by injuries. It’s very tough to predict what will be on the board and targeted by Seattle at #21.

They finally broke the seal on drafting high school players early when they went to the prep ranks for three consecutive picks to start the 2021 Draft; so you can’t rule that out. They’ve frequently gone college pitching in the 1st round, and though this year is not strong there, picking at #21 might put them in the right range to get the first college pitcher off the board. Three of the Mariners’ top five prospects are currently teenage position players; so there is some potential “need” for quick to the show college bats. And, personally, I like the chances there will be some very good high school pitchers available when Seattle is on the clock…although, I feel like this personnel group has struggled most at evaluating teenage arms.

People often talk about the baseball draft being the draft that should be the least about team needs because of the prolonged timeline of developing draftees up through the minors, but it still has to creep in to a degree. The MLB Draft also differs in the way that draft bonuses are slotted (by each pick), but then grouped (each team’s top 10 rounds), and then given back to the teams to be anarchonistic within the assigned top 10 rounds. And there’s a degree of recruiting, a degree of intelligence-gathering, a very large degree of budgeting, that all decrease the frequency of truly drafting straight “best player available”. Then, multiply all of those factors by the number of teams that are doing the same geometry while drafting ahead of you. Bottom line: I have no idea what they’re gonna do. I’ll just write what I’d like them to do

#1.21 – LHP, IMG Academy, Jackson Ferris

I’ve noticed multiple times in the Dipoto era that the eventual first round pick is a guy that fell from projection to Seattle’s pick. It happened with Kyle Lewis, with Emerson Hancock, to a slight degree with Harry Ford. It’s tough to predict the guy that will fall, but Jackson Ferris is one that consistently ranks higher on draft big boards than he does in mock drafts. MLB ranks him #19 on their board, but don’t have him picked until #39 overall. And it’s like that on most mock drafts. Why?? I have no clue.

Jackson stands about 6’4″/195lbs and has a fastball that already touches 97mph, and at least one plus secondary in his curve, and a little-used changeup for his third offering. My biggest concern for Ferris is that he’s committed to college ball at Ole Miss, and the Rebels JUST won this year’s college world series. And that could be incredibly enticing for a guy coming out of high school. The counter to that is: pick #21 has bonus slot of $3,291,200, and you could tinker with your other picks to bump that up to $4 million pretty easily. There’s kind of only two reasons you turn that down: 1) you genuinely want the college experience (which now includes possible NIL money), 2) you genuinely think you could end up a top 10 pick in 2025.

#2.58 – RHP, Don Bosco Prep, Caden Dana

I don’t really love any player that is projected near the #58 range. It kinda feels like a spot you reach on someone. The M’s kind of did that in 2021 when they drafted Edwin Arroyo, projected at #83, in the 2nd round, #48 pick. Or maybe it’s a guy you can underslot to help cover an overlsot at #21. Caden Dana is more to the “reach” side of the spectrum.

I kind of like the symmetry of drafting two high school pitchers to start this draft after drafting two high school bats to start the 2021 draft. Dana is another big guy currently listed between 6’4″-6’5″ and already 215lbs. He’s already touching 95mph with the fastball, and I really like the tight curve.

#2.74c – 3B, VCU, Tyler Locklear

A few weeks back I did a very analytics driven deep dive on the hitters coming out of this college class, and Tyler Locklear was one of the best bats to emerge from it. Obviously, you can question the competition level, but the results are still pretty compelling. Lock has put up consecutive seasons at VCU hitting over .345 with over .500 OBP, 16+ homeruns, 65+ RBI, and more walks than strikeouts. Plus, another 9 homeruns in 34 games with the wood bats in the Cape Cod league in 2021.

At 6’3″/230lbs, Tyler isn’t quite as big as Giancarlo Stanton, but his swing reminds me a bit of Stanton’s. It’s a very muscular swing, but it’s not sacrificing much in pitch selection.

#4.126 – RHP, Central Michigan, Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor is one of the younger true Juniors available in this draft class, as he won’t turn 21 until September 23rd. Normally, a college player has to be 21 within 45 days of the draft to be eligible, but Taylor graduated high school at 17. He’s now a 6’5″/218lb righty, with fastball up around 94mph, and three secondary pitches. He posted a 3.21 ERA, 1.048 WHIP, and 13.5 SO/9 this year. I like the frame, I like the clean mechanics, and I like that there’s still some projection left.

#5.156 – C, St. Joseph’s, Andrew Cossetti

Cribbing a bit of the format of the M’s 2021 draft, Cossetti marks the 5th round, senior-signing catcher that you try to get for underslot, a la the Andy Thomas pick from last year. Cossetti is a 6’0″/215lb backstop that hit .327/.454/1.167 with 19 HR, 65 RBI, 34 walks, 30 strikeouts in 54 games. He also posted very solid caught stealing rate. Additionally, he is hitting .406/.487/1.143 in the auxiliary MLB Draft league currently underway.

#6.186 – LHP, Central Florida, Hunter Patteson

I figure this is the safest place to mock taking a pitcher that is injured. Patteson walked off the mound mid-inning back in April and hasn’t pitched since. There is little information or update I can find on what the injury is/was, but let’s assume it’s the worst.

Patteson is a 6’5″/200lb lefty that was touching 97mph before the injury, with ERA of 1.82, WHIP of 0.910, and 12.4 SO/9 over his first 30 innings of 2022.

#7.216 – SS/2B, LaTech, Taylor Young

Taylor Young is a 5’8″/165lb Senior infielder that played shortstop this year after winning the college Gold Glove playing secondbase for the Bulldogs in 2021. The bat is also legit, with Young hitting .364/.506/1.151 with 12 HR, 58 BB, 45 SO, and 28 stolen bases this year. I’d keep him at shortstop initially, with the knowledge he can play a great 2B eventually if Noelvi Marte or Edwin Arroyo blocks him at short.

#8.246 – RHP, Kentucky, Tyler Guilfoil

I sort of have this round set aside for the best relief pitcher still on the board. Names like Cameron Foster, Tristan Stivors, Ben Sears, and Guilfoil. All of those guys check a lot of boxes, but I go with Guilfoil for the repertoire, and the results: 1.59 ERA, 0.863 WHIP, 14.1 SO/9 over 51.0 innings.

#9.276 – 2B, Nevada, Josh Zamora

Second base is a spot that people seem to undervalue, but it’s so hard to find good ones. Zamora is a 5’11″/190lb keystone that hit .362/.470/1.145 with 16 HR, 69 RBI, 40 BB, and 27 SO.

#10.306 – RHP, Portland State, Bret Gillis

Gillis is a local product from Everett that played his college ball down the road at Portland. He’s a 6’2″/215lb righty that posted 2.24 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 12.3 SO/9 this year, his first focusing solely on pitching.

#11.336 – OF, Tulane, Ethan Groff

Groff is one of the better value outfielders in this class. He’s 6’0″/200lbs, hit .404/.503/1.211 with 9 HR, 35 RBI, 24 BB, 26 SO over 41 games this year. I also like the arm from the outfield. He’s played some center, but is probably a better fit at the corners.

#12.366 – 1B, Coastal Carolina, Tyler Johnson

There are a couple first baseman to consider here: Luke Franzoni, Griffin Doersching, Matt Coutney. I’m going with Tyler Johnson because he provides something that is lowkey hard to find in this draft: a lefthanded bat. Johnson hit .357/.467/1.221 with 19 HR, 61 RBI, 31 BB, and 48 SO. He’s also off to a .365 clip in the Cape Cod League with 6 HR in 17 games.

#13.396 – LHP, Ball State, Tyler Schweitzer

Schweitzer is a 6’1″/178lb lefty starter who posted a 2.65 ERA, 1.080 WHIP, 11.0 SO/9 in 16 starts.

#14.426 – 2B, Florida, Colby Halter

Halter had a down year in 2022 for the Gators, hitting .240/.338/.718 after hitting .302/.379/.832 in 2021. But he’s picked it up a bit in the current Cape League where he’s at .306/.425/.925 over 22 games. He’s also got experience at SS and 3B.

#15.456 – RHP, West Virginia, Trey Braithwaite

Braithwaite is an overaged closer (almost 25 years old), after spending four years at Navy and last year at WVU, but he’s touching 99mph in the MLB Draft League right now, and could be a fast mover through the minors.

#16.486 – C, Western Michigan, Connor Charping

Charping is an interesting cat. He’s primarily a catcher (42 games), but he’s so athletic he’s also played 1B, CF, LF, RF this year, and stole 26 bases while hitting .348/.440/.923. Not much power…only 3 HR in 53 games, but he caught 26% of would-be basestealers.

#17.516 – LHP, New Mexico State, Sammy Natera

Natera is a 6’4″/195lb lefty starter for the Aggies, but I want to flip him to the bullpen. In 26.0 innings this year (7 starts), he allowed 6.92 runs per 9, 8.3 hits per 9, 6.9 walks per 9, but he also struck out 15.2 per 9. He’s originally from Mexico, and kind of reads like a lefty version of Andres Munoz. If you can coach him up…could you have a Josh Hader or Aroldis Chapman?

#18.546 – OF, Louisville, Levi Usher

Usher is a 6’1″/210lb centerfielder that hit .285/.362/.818 with 7 HR, 49 RBI, 25 BB, 67 SO in 64 games this year. BUT…he stole 36 bases in 39 attempts, and won the college Gold Glove. Upside may only be a 4th outfielder, pinch-runner, defensive replacement, but you do need those guys, too.

#19.576 – SS, Albany, Brad Malm

Malm is a 6’1″/185lb shortstop that hit .340/.403/1.058 with 15 HR, 49 RBI, 18 BB, 35 SO over 47 games.

#20. 606 – RHP, Iowa, Duncan Davitt

Davitt is a 6’3″/235lb pitcher that started 4 games, plus 15 relief appearances, finishing with combined 3.38 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 13.7 SO/9.

Mariner Analytics Mock

By Jared Stanger

2022 MLB Draft starts exactly 4 weeks from tomorrow. It’s been just over a month since my last Mariner mock draft. Let’s go through another take on one, but this time I’m going to be incorporating a bit more statistical analysis. Now, one downside to going heavy on players’ actual season performance stats is that it all but eliminates the high school players, so you won’t be seeing any of those in this version. We’ll talk about some of them, but my eventual picks have all stood out via a combination of the stats that I’ve found to be most useful in predicting future success.

#1.21 – LHP, Oregon State, Cooper Hjerpe

Cooper Hjerpe is arguably the college Cy Young winner for this year. He’s #24 in the country in ERA (2.53), he’s #5 in WHIP (0.87), he’s #2 in wins (11-2), he’s #15 in SO-BB (7.00), and he’s #1 in strikeouts (161). Hjerpe made a huge leap forward this year in his performance, and a big part of that Cooper himself attributes to the time of his offseason that he spent at Driveline here in Washington.

In a year in which most of the preseason highly-ranked college pitchers lost some part (beginning, middle, end) of their seasons to arm injuries; Hjerpe came out healthy. And that good health may be a reason he doesn’t actually make it to #21 (I’ve seen him mocked higher, I’ve seen him mocked lower). The potential reason he does make it to #21: his mechanics.

Hjerpe is 6’3″ throws from a very sidearm slot with a release point that ends up at 3’9″ high. For reference, Hjerpe’s OSU teammate Jake Pfennigs is 6’7″, also trained at Driveline, and was measured to have a release point approaching 7′ high. Some people feel the arm slot limits Hjerpe’s ability to gain future velo (he currently sits probably 92mph). The armslot and the velo may scare some teams off of drafting Hjerpe early in the 1st. But there is recent precedent for similar armslots to Cooper’s working in MLB, with the ceiling being Chris Sale, and probably the floor being Alex Wood. Split the difference between those two and I think Hjerpe is worth the #21 pick.

If Hjerpe is off the board; I flip my sights to the high school arms. I keep seeing prep lefty Jackson Ferris dropping in media mocks. I don’t understand why that is happening. He’s a 6’4″ southpaw that throws present 97mph with at least one plus secondary. Only thing I can think of is people being wary of his college commitment being too serious to risk drafting (committed to Ole Miss). To me, Ferris would easily have the higher upside to Hjerpe if you can get him here.

The other one I like is local product (Bainbridge Island) Ian JR Ritchie. More in the 6’2″ range and a righty; it’s tougher to see teams taking him this early. Maybe he falls to the 2nd, or maybe his commitment to UCLA is strong enough teams just leave him undrafted altogether.

#2.58 – 1B/3B, VCU, Tyler Locklear

As part of the lead-up to this mock draft; I did unique and separate statistical studies of the college pitchers and college hitters. In my study of the hitters; Tyler Locklear emerged as perhaps the most underrated hitter in college ball this year.

For the year, Locklear (6’3″/230lbs) hit .402/.542/1.342 with 25 doubles, 2 triples, 20 homeruns, 78 RBI, and 6 stolen bases (also 23 hit-by-pitch). On defense, Tyler split time almost equally between 1B and 3B (29 games at 1st, 33 games at 3rd), but this version of a mock really doesn’t put much stock in defense. I’m going pretty aggressively after the best bats available.

In addition to the straight stat line, I believe Tyler finished top 10 in NCAA exit velocities. More good info in the embedded tweet.

I feel like Locklear’s floor is Todd Frazier, but there’s enough in his profile to think Tyler will have better plate discipline longterm than Frazier. Plus, Seattle sports has had good luck in the past with athlete’s named Tyler Lock-xxx.

In general, the 2nd round is a good spot to target a third-baseman. I like Tennessee’s Trey Lipscomb a ton with his 6’3″/200lb, athletic build, and sweet swing. Clemson’s Max Wagner (6’0″/215lbs) also finished very high in my statistical breakdown and would be appropriate here. There’s also some possibility a guy like Cade Doughty or Sterlin Thompson, who each played more college 2B, could fall to #58 and then be moved to 3rd (a la Kyle Seager 2009). Finally, I also like prep IF Jalin Flores’ bat here as a present shortstop that may end up at third in the future.

#2.74 – OF, Mercer, Colby Thomas

Seattle has had some luck drafting outfielders from Mercer University before. But they’ve also had some bad luck with injuries to Mercer outfielders. Both were Kyle Lewis.

Colby Thomas is a 6’1″/190lb OF that played primarily RF for Mercer in 2022 before injuring his shoulder labrum (has already had surgery). Prior to injury; Thomas was hitting .325/.451/1.184 with 14 doubles, 2 triples, 17 homerun, 45 RBI, 11 stolen bases in 11 tries. Pre-injury, he also had a hell of an arm from the outfield.

#4.126 – RHP, Central Michigan, Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor was a tall, skinny, lightly recruited high school righthander that got to CMU and proceeded to grow into his 6’5″/218lb frame. Currently a 20 year old, draft-eligible redshirt sophomore; Taylor’s 2022 season went 3.21 ERA, 1.048 WHIP, 13.5 SO/9, 4.67 SO/BB with present fastball up to 94mph. There’s some resemblance to dream on a George Kirby comparison. Kirby, in his age 20 season, was 2.89 ERA, 1.273 WHIP, 9.6 SO/9, 3.56 SO/BB.

#5.156 – RHP, Coastal Carolina, Michael Knorr

In 2021, Seattle drafted Baylor Senior catcher Andy Thomas in the 5th round, and later signed him for about $350k under his draft slot value. Arguably, Thomas’ talent was 5th round value, but his negotiating power was limited. Such is the life of the college senior in the MLB Draft. This year, a guy that has 5th round talent, but that might have to sign underslot is CCU senior starter Michael Knorr.

Knorr is a 6’6″/215lb righty that transferred to Coastal after three years at Cal State Fullerton. After the move, Knorr proceeded to post a 3.39 ERA, 1.058 WHIP, 11.2 SO/9, and 6.62 SO/BB. He’s a very consistent strike-thrower who also happens to top out presently at 97mph, and throws a pretty filthy breaking ball.

#6.186 – LHP, UCF, Hunter Patteson

Last year, the M’s drafted Cal Poly righty Bryan Woo in the 6th round, even though it was known he was having Tommy John surgery. This year, there are so many TJ guys coming out of the college season (and some from before the season started) that you can assume Seattle will go that route again at some point, when they feel the future value surpasses the development time lost. I’m going with UCF lefty Hunter Patteson.

Patteson is 6’5″/200lbs, managed to make 7 starts this year and post 1.82 ERA, 0.910 WHIP, 12.4 SO/9, and 8.20 SO/BB before the injury. To be clear, I haven’t seen report of what his injury was, I just know he walked off the mound injured on April 15th and never pitched again since. Just like Bryan Woo; Patteson was up to 97mph before the injury.

#7.216 – RHP, Kentucky, Tyler Guilfoil

This is a spot in the draft where it just sort of looks good to draft a relief pitcher. They can oftentimes be senior signings that save you some money towards your draft bonus pool. I’ve got three names penciled in to this range: Kentucky Senior Tyler Guilfoil, McNeese State Senior Cameron Foster, and Texas State Senior Tristan Stivors.

Stivors is 6’4″/220lbs, led the country in saves (18) while also posting 2.21 ERA, 1.082 WHIP, 12.7 SO/9. He is already 23 years old and soon to be 24.

Foster is 23 years old, posted 12 saves, 1.86 ERA, 0.873 WHIP, 12.0 SO/9 this year. Might be the most underrated of these three.

Guilfoil is 6’4″/215lbs and finished with 6 saves, 1.59 ERA, 0.863 WHIP, 14.1 SO/9.

I think all of these guys are legit, but if you can get your pick of all three; I’d go with Guilfoil with the present fastball up to 95mph, and that slider.

#8.246 – RHP, Portland State, Brett Gillis

Brett Gillis is a local product out of Everett, WA who played down the road at PSU where he went 9-2 this year in 14 starts with 2.24 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 12.3 SO/9, 3.59 SO/BB after switching from playing two ways as recently as 2021 to focusing on just pitching this year. Listed at 6’2″/190lbs, Gillis reminds me a little of M’s 2021 pick Jimmy Kingsbury.

One thing about the draft in general that I noticed doing this analytics study of this class: there are more value finds for position players towards the middle rounds than there are for pitchers. There’s actually a nice natural flow to draft pitchers in rounds 4-8 and then turn to bats rounds 9-12, or so.

#9.276 – C, St. Joseph’s, Andrew Cossetti

This is a good class of college catchers. Deep class, too. Starting all the way at the top with Kevin Parada and Daniel Susac who are probably gone before pick #21…I like Dalton Rushing in the 2nd, Cade Hunter in the 3rd, Drake Baldwin in the 4th…but the best value I found was Andrew Cossetti. Listed 6’0″/215lbs, he hit .327/.454/1.167 with 16 doubles, 2 triples, 19 homers, 65 RBI. Good arm behind the plate, too.

#10.306 – SS/2B, Louisiana Tech, Taylor Young

I love using a consistent analytic method to dig into an entire class of athletes because of the surprises. If you follow it truthfully the numbers will point you towards players you had otherwise not looked at, or perhaps ever heard of. Many in this stretch of my mock draft fall into this category including Taylor Young. He’s listed 5’9″/170lbs and hit .364/.506/1.151 with 23 doubles, 2 triples, 12 homers, 51 RBI, and 28 stolen bases in 30 attempts while starting at SS for LaTech. Oh, and by the way, he also won the 2021 College Golden Glove award when he was playing 2B for the Bulldogs. So good defense, good basestealer, and a great on-base man. Only downside is that he’s almost 24 years old.

#11.336 – OF, Tulane, Ethan Groff

Ethan Groff is a personal favorite of mine. 6’0″/200lbs and he hit .404/.503/1.211 with 15 doubles, 2 triples, 9 homerun, 35 RBI in 41 games. Solid defender with a great arm. And maybe a bit of clutch gene, if you believe in that.

#12. 366 – 1B, Xavier, Luke Franzoni

Luke Franzoni is a 6’3″/215lb first baseman (and occasional right fielder) that hit .354/.485/1.306 with 12 doubles, 29 homeruns, 78 RBI in the 2022 college season, not to mention 2 HR in his first 4 games of the currently on-going Cape Cod Baseball League. The power is so legit and clearly the carrying tool, here.

#13.396 – 2B/3B, Nevada, Josh Zamora

Josh Zamora is a 5’11″/190lb infielder that played exclusively 2B in 2022 after playing mix of 2B and 3B across his Nevada Wolfpack career. This year he hit .362/.470/1.145 with 18 doubles, 1 triple, 16 homerun, 69 RBI, and 4 stolen bases.

#14.426 – RHP, Houston, Ben Sears

Ben Sears is a 6’5″/208lb righty reliever who posted 3.11 ERA, 1.005 WHIP, 6.5 SO/9, 1.1 BB/9 and 12 saves this year. He’s got a fastball that he throws 95mph, and has a solid slider. He clearly throws a ton of strikes, he has the frame to add even more velo, so it’s really just a question of if there is something in pitch design that could help bump up his strikeout rate.

#15.456 – RHP, Southern Illinois, Mike Hansell

We close on another pitcher that came out of the Pacific NW. Mike Hansell is a 6’4″/235lb pitcher with 4 starts and 5 relief appearances this year before he was shut down. Originally pitching at Eastlake HS in Seattle, before a stop at JUCO, Hansell has been at SIU the last couple years where he posted 3.60 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 11.1 SO/9, and 3.91 SO/BB in 2022.

Final draft:

1- LHP Cooper Hjerpe
2- 3B Tyler Locklear
2c- OF Colby Thomas
4- RHP Andrew Taylor
5- RHP Michael Knorr
6- LHP Hunter Patteson
7- RHP Tyler Guilfoil
8- RHP Brett Gillis
9- C Andrew Cossetti
10- SS Taylor Young
11- OF Ethan Groff
12- 1B Luke Franzoni
13- 2B Josh Zamora
14- RHP Ben Sears
15- RHP Mike Hansell

Mariner 2022 Mock Draft

By Jared Stanger

The 2022 MLB Draft begins exactly 9 weeks from today (edit: yesterday) with two rounds on night one, rounds 3-10 on night two, and closing with rounds 11-20 on the final night. The Mariners lost their third round pick as penalty for signing the qualifying offered Robbie Ray, but then they gained a late-second round pick in the second competitive balance section. Their draft board goes: #1.21, #2.58, #2.74, #4.126, and then every 30th pick after #126.

This will be the latest Seattle has made their first round pick since taking Taijuan Walker at #43 overall, in the compensatory section, of the 2010 draft. It will also come during a very unusual year in terms of draft prospects. In recent history, Jerry Dipoto and Scott Hunter have gone hard on college pitching with their first round pick in three of the last four drafts. But in 2022, a shocking number of the highest-regarded college pitchers are in some stage of recovery from injury, with most being Tommy John surgery.

This creates so much mystery at the top of the draft. Which teams will be willing to take the chance on TJ guys, and how early will they do so? Will it be teams further back in the process of rebuilding that can take more time with players, and therefore find extra value in getting a better player that happens to have a longer timeline to MLB arrival? If so, one would think Seattle will not be one of those teams. But, then again, 2021 marked the first time they drafted a high school player in the first round. Do they feel comfortable with the ETA on the next wave of their prospects, thereby striking TJ recovery from any list of disqualifying attributes? No one knows.

For my mock draft, I’ve decided to avoid the TJ guys until at least day 2 of the draft. I think there will come a point on their board where the M’s are okay with drafting a pitcher currently injured, but it will be closer to round 6-7. Maybe earlier if the pitcher otherwise would have had a 1st or 2nd round grade. Maybe look for a two-round discount if nobody else has made the move on them.

After the college pitching question, we have to consider the butterfly effect of how it effects the rest of this draft. Will teams reach on the next tier of college pitchers? Will they be more forgiving of the more-volatile high school pitching? Will they simply try to focus on bats from either HS or college early? My, personal, answer is simply to take the best player available regardless of category.

As I peruse the landscape of current national mock drafts; I find that most of the college bats available at #21 are outfielders; which doesn’t interest me terribly. The college arms might be down to a couple from around the Northwest: Gonzaga RHP Gabriel Hughes, or Oregon State LHP Cooper Hjerpe. Both rank amongst the top 10 in the country in strikeouts per nine, and check the box Seattle likes of guys that don’t walk many batters. But I’m not THAT excited about either. Moving to the prep ranks, there are three names that kind of pop for me: SS Mikey Romero, LHP Jackson Ferris, and RHP Ian Ritchie.

Romero is a very smooth player. He’s got smooth actions in the field, he’s got a smooth lefthanded stroke at the plate, and he’s smooth in interviews suggesting a good baseball IQ. The one negative I have here is that Seattle has never really seemed to draft players in the Dipoto era that one might label a “reach”. Romero would probably be a reach at #21. MLB.com have him as their #58 overall prospect at the moment (which, incidentally, is exactly where Seattle drafts next in the 2nd). I tend to think this isn’t a great year for prep shortstops, and Romero won’t last until #58, but I don’t know that Seattle would force the issue this early.

Ferris is, to my eye, one of the better high school arms in this class. He’s got a nice 6’4″ frame, a fastball that reaches 97mph and one of the best curveballs in the class. Plus, he’s a southpaw…which is inherently considered less risky than prep righthanders. All of these things suggest Ferris won’t be there at #21, but if we see teams forcing bats early maybe it happens. It’s not like we’re talking about a massive fall for Ferris. It’d be like a 5-6 pick drop. Not unheard of. Kyle Lewis “fell” that far. George Kirby “fell” about that far. It’s close enough to talk about.

Finally, we have the local product (Bainbridge HS) Ian JR Ritchie. Probably the most likely pitcher to still be on the board, but from the least desirable part of the pitching class: prep righties. Ritchie is more of an athletic 6’2″ body type, but like Ferris is already touching 97mph. He’s got a four-pitch mix, and I love on tape how all of his pitches have great movement. I love the armside run he gets on his fastball, and then his slider is really coming along quickly that he can bury inside to lefties.

For purpose of this exercise; I’m going to take Ferris, but keeping in the back of my mind that the more likely outcome will probably be Ritchie.

#1.21 – LHP, IMG Academy, Jackson Ferris

I’m sort of looking at this draft in terms of the pockets of talent from the same position groups that you tend to see form the more you study the overall class. In the 2nd round, I really like the pocket of college pitching that I could see available. There could also be a nice pocket of college outfielders at the end of the 2nd into the 3rd round: Michigan’s Clark Elliott, Oregon State’s Jacob Melton, Mercer’s Colby Thomas.

With two picks within 16 slots of one another; Seattle could really play it more by ear on draft day of whether one position group or the other becomes earlier priority.

I’ve decided to take an outfielder now, and the guy I’m taking is Melton. I like the potential in his game for 5 tools. He’s 6’3″/208lbs, he’s taken control of the centerfield spot for the Beavs, his batting line goes .383/.454/1.182, 13 HR, 20 doubles, 3 triples, 66 RBI, 19/20 in stolen bases in 48 games.

#2.58 – OF, Oregon State, Jacob Melton

I was originally planning to take a college pitcher with one of the 2nd round picks, but as I’m writing this; I don’t know that the guys I’d target in the 2nd have Ace upside. Are they theoretically significantly better than some of the select pitchers I’ve got targeted on my board for day 2? While this draft is short on aces due to all the injuries; it feels like there will be a lot of 2nd-4th starter types well into rounds 6-7, maybe 8.

Instead, I’m going to take the guy I had penciled in as my 4th rounder as my published 2nd-CB pick. This is Tennessee 3B Trey Lipscomb. He’s 6’3″/200lbs, hitting .347/.415/1.170 with 20 HR, 14 doubles, 3 triples, 70 RBI in 52 games, and I just don’t think he lasts as long in the draft as others in the media seem to.

#2.74 – 3B, Tennessee, Trey Lipscomb

Catcher is sort of one of those positions you really want to take one fairly early every year. To find someone I liked this year, I went through many draft big boards and college stats spreadsheets, then cross-checked through whatever tape I could find, to come up with a backstop with a good combination of bat and receiver skills. This year I came up with Penn State’s Matt Wood. Listed at 5’11″/195lbs, and having an impressive year at the plate going .416/.508/1.222, 10 HR, 12 doubles, 3 triples, 29 walks to 19 strikeouts in 45 games.

#4.126 – C, Penn State, Matt Wood

After intentionally steering into bats in the first four rounds; now is when I really like making a run on college pitchers. I’m starting with Texas LHP Pete Hansen. At 6’2″/205lbs, Hansen is 8-1 with a 3.08 ERA, 0.924 WHIP, 10.3 SO/9, and 1.5 BB/9. Super clean mechanics, with low 90’s fastball and a gorgeous curve.

#5.156 – LHP, Texas, Pete Hansen

Rolling right along and into Stanford RHP Alex Williams. Listed 6’3″/210lbs, he’s posted a 7-1 season with a 1.75 ERA, 0.944 WHIP, 8.8 SO/9, and 2.1 BB/9. I like the stuff more than what his strikeout numbers might suggest.

#6.186 – RHP, Stanford, Alex Williams

Up next I’m going to a smaller school, senior signing starter in Coastal Carolina RHP Michael Knorr. At 6’6″/215lbs and a paltry 1.4 BB/9 Knorr fits very in-line with the profile Dipoto has drafted the most. The Cal State Fullerton transfer has also posted 2.51 ERA, 0.959 WHIP, and 11.5 SO/9.

#7.216 – RHP, Coastal Carolina, Michael Knorr

All of this next stretch of picks will be senior signings. Trying to find value at shortstop; I found Georgia State’s Griffin Cheney. He turns 23 next week, so he may be forced to take a lower signing bonus with little negotiating power to threaten going back to school. For the year; Cheney has hit .349/.444/1.101 with 15 HR, 8 doubles, 34 RBI, 11 SB in 15 attempts.

#8.246 – SS, Georgia State, Griffin Cheney

There’s almost always a senior signing bullpen arm (if not two) late on day 2. I’m going with Houston closer, RHP Ben Sears. At 6’5″/208lbs, Sears has a great build, and at 94mph fastball and 84mph slider, he’s got good stuff. I’m betting on elements of his profile playing up better at the next level as the 6.7 SO/9 is a bit out of character for a quality closer. The rest of his profile looks better with a 2.68 ERA, 0.969 WHIP, 1.2 BB/9, and 12 saves in 26 appearances.

#9.276 – RHP, Houston, Ben Sears

Portland State starter Brett Gillis is a senior originally out of Everett. He has been very good this year for PSU. At 6’2″/190lbs; he has gone 9-1 with a 1.52 ERA, 0.987 WHIP, 11.9 SO/9, 3.3 BB/9.

#10.306 – RHP, Portland State, Brett Gillis

Tulane outfielder Ethan Groff is a personal fave of mine. At 6’0″/200lbs, Groff is a senior currently dealing with an injury, but prior to that he was hitting .404/.503/1.211 with 9 HR, 15 doubles, 2 triples, and 35 RBI in 41 games. Tulane generally hit him leadoff due to his on-base skills more than his speed (7×12 in SB). His profile looks like a nice 4th OF’er with the ability to play all three spots, but could also start at a corner spot. Hell of an arm, too.

#11.336 – OF, Tulane, Ethan Groff

Finally, for this mock, I’m taking another catcher. Zach Morgan is more of a contact, on-base hitter than a power bat. He’s 6’0″/180lbs and has posted a slash of .372/.452/1.008 with 5 HR, 19 doubles, 1 triple, 25 BB to 16 SO.

#12.366 – C, Fresno State, Zach Morgan

There you have it. I was originally intending to stop at the 10th round, but I got there and still had a couple names I liked that had later rankings, so I added them in.

There were so many guys that I really liked but couldn’t quite make fit in with everyone else. I really like UCF lefty Hunter Patteson who was recently injured. I think it might be TJ, but I haven’t seen confirmation. I had his talent in the 5th round, but who knows with the injury. I like OkState 1B Griffin Doersching a lot with his best-in-class power, and he’d be an exciting pick anywhere after, say, round 4. I think UConn OF Erik Stock would make for a very nice senior-sign pick somewhere late on day 2. From the high school ranks; I think I like RHP Grayson Saunier more than most. And I’ve got quite a few relievers that could sprinkle in anywhere from late day 2 to anywhere on day 3: RHP Bennett Flynn, RHP Landon Harper, RHP Kyle Crigger.

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.

New era, new mock

By Jared Stanger

So this is what it’s like to need a QB. Haven’t done this in a minute. I don’t know what to do with my hands. Let’s see if we can figure something out.

After recent developments; we added Denver’s 1st, 2nd, and 5th this year, plus a couple picks next year. We gave up one of this year’s 4th’s, of which we had two. By best estimation, after comp picks are awarded, the Seahawks current draft allotment should look like this:

1.9, 2.40, 2.41, 3.72, 4.107, 5.151, 5.152, 7.227

Eight picks right now, so before any other developments arise and we trade away most of these picks; I’m doing this mock and in it I’m going to try to get to 11 picks and lay a solid foundation for a run at the playoffs in 2023. The first thing I will do is move down the #9 using Philadelphia, who owns picks #15, #16, #19. In order to make it work, we need to give #9 + #40 and we get #16 + #19. Then I will move #19 to Cincinnati for #31 and #63. I move #72 to Indianapolis for #82 and #120. And, finally, I move #152 to the Rams for #174 and #210. Final haul:

1.16, 1.31, 2.41, 2.63, 3.82, 4.107, 4.120, 5.151, 5.174, 6.210, 7.227

It’s pretty good balance with four picks in the first two rounds, and another four picks rounds 4-5, where the depth of this draft should still be holding up. I’m not really going to go into much justification for drafting anyone…more specifically the position they play, nor where I’m picking them. This is now a full re-build…we need everything. Find good football players. Period.

On to the picks!

#1.16 – DT, Georgia, Jordan Davis

There’s a strong possibility Jordan is gone before this spot. The dude was the #1 overall winner of the combine and is one of the freakiest players the league has ever seen. But his position is undervalued by many, so maybe it works. If he’s not there, you can still likely find one of: Jermaine Johnson, Travon Walker, David Ojabo, George Karlaftis, Devonte Wyatt. And if THAT group misses all, you flip to OL here and flip to Travis Jones later.

#1.31 – OL, Boston College, Zion Johnson

Maybe PCJS try to fill the hole at LT here if a guy with some upside like Bernhard Raimann or Tyler Smith is there. And, in a way, that might be the smarter way to go with a good class of Centers well into day 2. I feel a little safer that the interior player will be on the board at 31. Zion has experience at LT and LG, but I’m going to try to settle him in at Center. Love the player…get him in the building and figure out his position later. Zach Tom would be a guy with some LT/OC versatility to track as a backup plan in a later round if Zion is gone.

#2.41 – LB, Wisconsin, Leo Chenal

I’ve occasionally seen Chenal ranked a little higher than this, but not by much. Maybe up to like #2.34. I generally think he’s been underrated. His recent combine and pro day will change some of that, but on many boards it will change him from late 2nd/3rd to around this region. This is a big, athletic, productive player that should be able to play multiple spots at the second level. I tend to think he could play MIKE, SAM, or WILL. I mean, he’s 6’3″/250lbs and he ran a 4.53s forty. Find a spot for him.

2.63 – DE, Kentucky, Josh Paschal

There’s a reason I went interior DL with the first pick and not edge, and it is because the depth this year at DE is so much better. Paschal tested at the Combine at 268lbs after being listed at Kentucky as 278. I wouldn’t mind to see him settle in right between at around 273. His skillset lends itself to playing outside on early downs where he’s a tremendous run player, and then drop inside for 3rd downs where he has shown surprising power to bullrush IOL.

3.82 – FS, Maryland, Nick Cross

There are probably two players in this mock that I hadn’t watched AT ALL prior to the Combine. Nick was one. He ran a 4.34s forty at 212lbs though, which very much caught my attention. I went back to the tape and liked what I saw. This is a guy that has centerfield range, but that I also saw being a firm tackler, an electric blitzer, and a contributing special teams player. Let’s bring back the single-high safety.

4.107 – OL, Wake Forest, Zach Tom

Tom was a guy I had just started digging into a week or two before the Combine. He had put together some good tape at the Shrine Game, he was an extremely smart player, but I had some concerns about his size. At the Shrine he was listed 6’4″/297lbs with 33 2/8″ arms. “So, okay, he’s played Center before in college…that might be where he ends up.” But then at the Combine he came in at 304lbs, and then had great testing with a 4.94s forty, 33″ vert, and 9’10” broad. Maybe he IS a tackle. Maybe he’s Isaiah Wynn-esque. Wynn was only 6’3″ with 33 3/8″ arms and Belichick has started him at LT in multiple seasons when he’s been healthy. Or, if it doesn’t work at LT, maybe he ends up at RT, or maybe he does end up at Center. I just like the player. I’m open to competition at all OL spots except for wherever Damien Lewis ends up.

4.120 – CB, Sam Houston State, Zyon McCollum

Zyon was a guy I watched while preparing for the Senior Bowl week, and who I really liked. There were traits in him I thought could be shaped, molded, and enhanced to be a pretty interesting corner. Then he blew out the Combine and ruined the chance I thought there might be to snag him in the 5th round. I’m not entirely sure he’ll be there in the 4th round either, but with the small school and the short-ish arms (30 3/4″), there’s a chance.

5.151 – TE, Wisconsin, Jake Ferguson

After the 5th round, I don’t think you’re finding guys with solid tape that also tested really well athletically. Ferguson has very solid tape, but he ran a 4.81s forty at 250lbs with a 31.5″ vert. But with Noah Fant already acquired we can look for a solid depth guy.

5.174 – RB, Michigan, Hassan Haskins

With Chris Carson coming off a weird surgery, and Rashaad Penny technically not on the roster as of now; Seattle HAS to find another RB in this draft. I could see them draft one anywhere from the 3rd to, maybe, the 6th with the thought that he could end up a starter eventually. I’ve had Baylor’s Abram Smith in multiple mocks, and I still like him, but in this one; I decided to use some different inputs to look for value. I came up with Haskins.

Before the Combine, as I was noticing how many players seemed to be cutting weight in order to run a faster 40; I joked that my guy was gonna be whoever weighed in at 225lbs and ran a 4.55s. Hassan measured in at 6’2″/228lbs. While he didn’t actually run the 40, the only other guys that sort of matched the criteria (Brian Robinson, Ty Davis Price, Tyler Allgeier) were either too expensive, or simply not that appealing on tape. I like that Haskins doesn’t have much buzz, he is a very willing blocker and special teamer, and he was top 10 in the country in carries. Some people don’t like the mileage, but that was also the knock on Le’veon Bell and he turned out okay.

6.210 – DB, UCLA, Quentin Lake

Lake is sort of a pet project of mine. He has some very solid tape at safety and I think there’s a decent backup plan for him there. But I became even more interested in him when I saw him in multiple press-man 1-on-1 reps at the Shrine game and it was an enlightening moment. Quentin comes from great NFL bloodlines…his dad is Carnell Lake…and Carnell was drafted as a safety but later in his career had his best seasons after being moved to corner. With Quentin; I’d kinda like to make that change immediately and see what we have. There’s also some similarity between him and 2012 6th rounder Justin Bethel. Bethel was a 4.58s runner and Lake came in at 4.59s. Bethel became a pro bowl special teamer.

7.227 – RT, North Dakota State, Cordell Volson

Cordell had a pretty bad combine. His agility scores were pretty brutal. But I liked him on tape before the combine. I love him as a leader. And this is the 7th round. I’m going to give him a shot at right tackle, and understand that he might end up at guard. And understand that he might not be an NFL player. But I think he is one.

Obviously, this draft is overly optimistic. Guys I liked before the combine are now on more people’s radars, and guys that I noticed because of the combine I am now liking as much as people that liked them earlier. So everybody meets in the end at the same grades and those guys go earlier. But if you can pull 4-5 of them, it can still be an incredible draft.

Final:

1.16 DT Jordan Davis
1.31 OC Zion Johnson
2.41 MLB Leo Chenal
2.63 DE Josh Paschal
3.82 FS Nick Cross
4.107 LT Zach Tom
4.120 CB Zyon McCollum
5.151 TE Jake Ferguson
5.174 RB Hassan Haskins
6.210 CB Quentin Lake
7.227 RT Cordell Volson