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Seahawks 2023 draft: 152 college quarterbacks to start thinking about now
Seaside Joe 1192: A long list, a few thoughts, and a chance to start thinking about the players we want to see more of in the future
On May 20th, I wrote that Pete Carroll will probably be prepared to draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. If you want to know why I think that, check the post. As most of you know, I had also said from the day that the Seahawks traded Russell Wilson that Seattle would not draft a quarterback in 2022. The reason that I feel confident in my Carroll-related predictions is because they should hardly qualify as “predictions” at all…
The Seahawks have been run by the same guy since 2010 and he’s VERY consistent.
If you’re looking at that process as “Well, he’s never drafted a quarterback in the first two rounds before, so that’s inconsistent with his record” then I think you could be fooled. Seattle has never had a reasonable opportunity to draft a quarterback on day one under Carroll and one of the things he’s consistent with is keeping up with the times.
Yes, that’s what I said. “Mr. 1970’s offense” (according to Barnwell) has spent plenty of time ahead of the curve. He also hired Shane Waldron to run his offense and I think we can expect the Seahawks to be looking for their own Matthew Stafford, just as Sean McVay did, right around the time that Waldron flew to Seattle.
I may have time today and this weekend for some bonus Seaside Joe posts, so if you’re not signed up as a Regular Joe, consider supporting the newsletter for that extra content now. I want to do even more “Watch With Me” articles like the Ken Walker III and Grayson McCall series and the support of Seasiders is what makes those opportunities possible.
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I have followed Carroll closely from the very beginning and I stick to what he sticks to. Others try to impart their own desires of what they think the Seahawks should be according to them.
If I expected Pete to do what I wanted him to do, then maybe Grayson McCall would be in Seattle next year. (Grayson McCall post reminders: 1, 2, 3, and 4 examples) However, that’s not even something I can entertain until we know how the next season of NFL and college football plays out. McCall is one of more than 130 college quarterbacks about to take the field in 2022, and one of many dozens who will be considered for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Will he be the next Zach Wilson or the next Dustin Crum?
I’ve had this ESPN article written by David M. Hale opened up on a browser tab for more than a week, just because it is so darn good: Ranking all 131 college football quarterback situations in tiers.
It’s not just that he has McCall (correctly) ranked above Will Levis and Spencer Rattler, but it’s rare that fans get such bountiful gifts from ESPN. Shout out to David M. Hale, we see you.
Which of these quarterbacks do you want to read more about and see more of in future Seaside Joe newsletters?
David M Hale’s college QB tiers… I will asterisk QBs who aren’t eligible for the draft next year.
Tier 1 - OSU C.J. Stroud, USC Caleb Williams*, Alabama Bryce Young
Caleb Williams will not be draft eligible until 2024. He was Spencer Rattler’s backup at Oklahoma to start 2021, but unsurprisingly (to me, at least) took over midway through the season. Williams followed Lincoln Riley to USC because college football is the NFL now.
I have nothing against Stroud, but Young is on another level.
Many have compared Young to Russell Wilson. If Young had come out in 2012 and Wilson was coming out in 2023, we might see Russell Wilson be the first overall pick. It’s just the order of things, so I don’t know that Young if a “better” prospect or if he just had better timing.
I’m NOT saying that C.J. Stroud doesn’t have tons of examples of great throws, but oddly when you search for some, there’s only one case that gets shared over and over again. This dime through three defenders against Indiana:
But I think if you’re looking for great throws by Young, the examples are many. Stroud is the physical prototype that fans get excited about, but he has further to go than Young in his development before he’s an elite quarterback play after play.
Would you rather see more of Young or Stroud?
Tier 2 - NC State Devin Leary, Utah Cam Rising, Miami Tyler Van Dyke (Tier 2a: Georgia Stetson Bennett)
I’ve placed Van Dyke right below Stroud. He will get more hype than someone like Will Levis because he’s three years younger than Levis. He could get more hype than someone like McCall because he’s got more arm strength and was a top-ranked recruit. And unlike a lot of these players, Van Dyke has played well at the college level already, though he needs to get better and prove it over a full season.
I’m actually getting very into Devin Leary as time passes. Side by side with someone like Jake Haener, for example, Leary is a much better college quarterback. It could be Devin Leary sneaking in as the third quarterback in the top-10 next year.
I’m a little surprised to see Cam Rising here, but in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State: 17-of-22, 214 yards, 2 TD, 11 carries, 92 rushing yards, 1 TD
Stetson Bennett is good for Georgia, I can’t say that he’s looking like an NFL quarterback though.
Tier 3: Virginia Brennan Armstrong, Louisville Malik Cunningham, Wake Forest Sam Hartman, Tennessee Hendon Hooker, Coastal Carolina Grayson McCall, Purdue Aidan O’Connell, Mississippi State Will Rogers, Arkansas KJ Jefferson
If I’m ranking them as NFL Draft prospects: Grayson McCall, then Sam Hartman, then Aidan O’Connell, then K.J. Jefferson. I wouldn’t take an overly long look at any of the others for the NFL.
Armstrong has numbers, he will need to sort of break the mold on lefties though and he’s entering year five. Cunningham and Hooker are also elders in the college football world. Rogers is in the same realm as other Mike Leach quarterbacks of the past, like Connor Halliday or Luke Falk.
People tend to take it personal if you don’t think that their favorite quarterback is going to be an NFL starter, but we have to remember that that is a VERY HARD JOB TO GET. It’s not the best of the best. It’s the best of the best of the best of the best of the best.
If you’re wondering how that relates to me and McCall: I’m not telling you that I can guarantee McCall will make it in the NFL. I’m only telling you that of every college quarterback right now, he’s my favorite to watch play football and I believe he will only get better.
Tier 4: UCLA Dorian Thompson-Robinson, S Carolina Spencer Rattler, Kentucky Will Levis, Oklahoma Dillon Gabriel
I think the majority of NFL media people tweeting about the draft in February, March, and April, do not follow college football and the prospects until the season is over. Therefore, they only get to hear “the buzz” about certain prospects, and that usually means that they only know about the guys who were hyped coming out of high school.
I have followed Rattler since he was in high school and I’ve never seen an NFL quarterback. But if you are only following these players on a shallow level, you might think “Cool name, goes to Oklahoma, five-star prospect, I’m gonna pound the table for him.”
That’s not good reasoning. Unfollow.
Rattler is entering his fourth college season and his first at South Carolina. I’m not rooting against him. I’M ROOTING FOR HIM! I LIKE GOOD FOOTBALL PLAYERS! However, the realistic view on Rattler is that he’s been bad.
I’ve made my stance on Levis well known. I root for him to be better too. Go be better! That’d be awesome!
My favorite prospect in this tier is Dillon Gabriel. He’s another lefty and he’s going into his first year at Oklahoma after an early season injury at UCF last season.
Tier 5: Texas Quinn Ewers* / Hudson Card, Baylor Blake Shapen, Florida Anthony Richardson, Ole Miss Jaxson Dart, WSU Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward is perhaps the biggest mystery in college football, at least among the notable starting quarterbacks. He’s never played anywhere near a level like Division-I, but he has the tools to dominate.
Jaxson Dart showed promise at USC last season but then tore his meniscus and then later transferred after Riley and Williams showed up to SoCal. It’s funny that Trojans quarterbacks have this presence about them, like it’s such a good thing to go to USC, but outside of Carson Palmer… what’s the appeal? Matt Barkley, Matt Leinart, Sam Darnold, Mark Sanchez, JT Daniels, Todd Marinovich, John David Booty, Cody Kessler all doing it for you?
People have been ranking Anthony Richardson like a top-3 pick. He has thrown 66 passes in two college seasons. In the two games when he had more than eight attempts, he went 22-of-39 for 249 yards, 3 TD, 4 INT. It’s style over substance. Imagination over reality. Projection over production. I hope we see it this year!
Tier 6: Pitt Kedon Slovis, West Virginia JT Daniels, Boise State Hank Bachmeier, Boston College Phil Jurkovec
Jurkovec was interesting for a while last season, then got injured. Slovis, like Daniels and Dart, is another former USC quarterback.
Tier 7: Michigan Cade McNamara / JJ McCarthy*, K State Adrian Martinez, Michigan State Payton Thorne, Maryland Taulia Tagovailoa
I think I might like Taulia as a prospect more than I did Tua, but I didn’t think Tua was much of an NFL prospect. Very overrated.
Tier 8: Houston Clayton Tune, Fresno Jake Haener, BYU Jaren Hall, UTSA Frank Harris
Jaren Hall was in the 2016(!!!) recruiting class. And he is not even a senior yet.
Tier 9: Penn State Sean Clifford, Stanford Tanner McKee, Minnesota Tanner Morgan, Oklahoma State Spencer Sanders, Florida State Jordan Travis, Oregon State Chance Nolan / Tristan Gebbia
Sean Clifford was a better quarterback for Penn State, for several years, than Will Levis. Take that in.
McKee, Morgan, and Nolan might be the long shot players of interest here. McKee was once a top-ranked recruit, but he needs to get a lot more consistent during his second season back in football. Give me Chance Nolan over the rest of these prospects, and I might have Chance Nolan over everybody in tier 6, 7, and 8 too, but like so many of these names, he is a little too old to be that excited about.
Tier 10: ND Tyler Buchner*/Drew Pyne, LSU Jayden Daniels/Myles Brennan, A&M Haynes King/Max Johnson/Conner Weigman*, UW Michael Penix/Dylan Morris/Sam Huard*, UNC Drake Maye*/Jacolby Criswell
Penix had some exciting moments at Indiana, but I would say that in the absolute best case scenario he’s a future Desmond Ridder. That’s not bad! But I would say that it is not very likely.
Lots of familiar transfer names here. Jayden Daniels from ASU, Max Johnson from LSU, Penix… The change of scenery doesn’t often result in a draft situation, but it happens sometimes.
Tier 11: Oregon Bo Nix, Wisconsin Graham Mertz, Georgia Tech Jeff Sims, Clemson DJ Uiagalelei/Cade Klubnik*
Nix, Mertz, and Uiagalelei have all disappointed from their recruiting status.
Tier 12: East Carolina Holton Ahlers, Utah State Logan Bonner, Miami (OH) Brett Gabbert, CMU Daniel Richardson, App State Chase Brice, SMU Tanner Mordecai/Preston Stone*, Air Force Haaziq Daniels, Cincinnati Evan Prater/Ben Bryant
Tier 13: Texas Tech Donovan Smith/Tyler Shough, Syracuse Garrett Shrader, ASU Emory Jones/Paul Tyson/Trenton Bourguet, Indiana Connor Bazelak/Jack Tuttle/Donoven McCulley*, USF Gerry Bohanon/Timmy McClain*/Katravis Marsh, TCU Max Duggan/Chandler Morris, Kansas Jalon Daniels, Toledo Dequan Finn/Tucker Gleason
We just need to zoom through these last remaining names. Some of them are familiar (Shough, Emory Jones, Mordecai, Bazelak) but they have lots to improve before needing further examination.
Tier 14: Iowa State Hunter Dekkers/Rocco Becht*, Auburn Zach Calzada/TJ Finley, Nebraska Casey Thompson/Logan Smothers/Chubba Purdy, V Tech Grant Wells/Jason Brown
Tier 15: Iowa Spencer Petras/Alex Padilla, UCF Mikey Keene*/John Rhys Plumlee/Joey Gatewood, SD State Braxton Burmeister, NIU Rocky Lombardi, UAB Dylan Hopkins
Tier 16: W Kentucky Jarret Doege, Georgia Southern Kyle Vantrease, Cal Jack Plummer/Zach Johnson/Kai Millner*, Marshall Henry Colombi, Texas State Layne Hatcher, Mizzou Jack Abraham/Brady Cook/Tyler Macon*/Sam Horn*
Tier 17: Liberty Charlie Brewer/Johnathan Bennett, Charlotte Chris Reynolds, Memphis Seth Henigan*, Army Tyhier Tyler, Tulsa Davis Brin
Tier 18: Northwestern Ryan Hilinski, Illinois Tommy DeVito/Artur Sitkowski, Rutgers Noah Vedral/Gavin Wimsatt*, Arizona Jayden De Laura
Tier 19: Colorado Brendon Lewis/JT Shrout, Duke Luca Diamont/Riley Leonard*, Vandy Ken Seals/Mike Wright
Tier 20: Louisiana Chandler Fields/Ben Wooldridge, ULM Rhett Rodriguez/Chandler Rogers, UNT Grant Gunnell/Jace Ruder/Austin Aune, San Jose State Chevan Cordeiro/Nick Nash
Aune was a recruit in the 2012(!) class. He spent six years in the Yankees farm system, then played at Arkansas last year and is now vying for a job at North Texas.
Tier 21: FAU N’Kosi Perry, FIU Gunnar Holmberg/Grayson James*/Haden Carlson, Arkansas State James Blackman, Hawai’i Joey Yellen/Brayden Schager*/Cammon Cooper
I’m going to stop here, but Hale lists FIFTY SIX more college quarterbacks after these. Wow. It’s a lot to go over and you already have a lot to take in as is, so let me know in the comments which names intrigue you the most.
As many of you know, I am employed full time at Vox Media, but our union is prepared to go on a strike beginning on Monday if Vox doesn’t raise the standard of employee compensation. I will have even more time for Seaside Joe if that happens, so at least there’s that. Again, if you want to support Seaside Joe during that time, hit the subscribe button and share this newsletter with a Seahawks fan! We can’t wait to grow this community!