Seahawks 2023 NFL Mock Draft: 3 hypothetical first round scenarios
How different top-5 picks could go for Pete Carroll: Seaside Joe 1373
The Seattle Seahawks are set to have more draft capital in 2023 than they’ve ever had before, and that’s even more tantalizing when you consider the quality of Pete Carroll’s current rookie class.
But with a shameful performance in run defense this season and the neverending reality that the NFL landscape can change dramatically year over year (remember how hyped some media members were over recent draft classes by the Colts or Saints? I’m waiting to be “blown away” by those franchises), the Seahawks are in no position to rest on their laurels or to assume the best.
Assume the best, but prepare for the worst.
To continue our preparation of the 2023 NFL Draft, I’ve run through three hypothetical scenarios and how Pete and John could approach each situation. If anything, I hope these posts keep us informed and prepared for a historic Seattle draft opportunity. At best, I’ll be 100% right and running the Seahawks draft room in 2024.
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Scenario #1 - The Seahawks get the number one pick from the Broncos
What I’d want to do: Draft QB Bryce Young
What I’d do if I didn’t want a thousand angry Geno fans jumping down my throat for suggesting that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add an extraordinarily valuable option to the roster with the miraculously high draft pick of another team could still make sense, even in tandem with re-signing Geno: Trade down
There’s no tanking these last five games for the Texans. In Lovie Smith’s three most recent seasons as a head coach, he has gone 2-14, 6-10, and he’s currently 1-10-1. And the players have nothing to gain by losing. So even if GM Nick Caserio wants to be guaranteed the number one pick, the next five games are mostly out of his control.
I believe the Texans could upset the Titans, Jaguars, and/or Colts in their final three games. Is there a scenario in which Houston finishes 3-13-1 and the Broncos finish 3-14? Yes!
One thing I never intend to do is write newsletters with the intention of changing your mind to agree with me. I present a case based on the research that I’ve done and then you should just make up your mind if you agree or disagree, and I don’t treat any reader differently based on agreeing or disagreeing with me. Disagreement is good!
A lot of people I trust believe that Bryce Young is several layers of heaven above every other quarterback prospect in this class, and probably most quarterback classes of the last 10 years.
A lot of people who I don’t even know are telling me to believe that Bryce Young’s career is basically over before it starts because he isn’t as big as Andrew Luck or Carson Wentz or Trey Lance or Sam Bradford…
You know, those QBs who have never had any problems with injuries whatsoever.
I hope that Jalen Carter and Will Anderson never suffer any injuries ever, but we can’t rule out ANY player in the draft getting seriously hurt. Aaron Donald just missed the first game in his career due to injury and he’s taken a ton of hits since 2013, but Chase Young has barely seen the field in three years—examples of injury prone players happen at every position. Joe Burrow tore his ACL as a rookie and nobody even seems to remember that happening.
But let’s say that Seattle has no intentions of putting an heir apparent behind Geno Smith. Then what? I think it is better for the Seahawks to trade down than to pick Carter or Anderson, even if it means falling out of range for either of those two prospects.
Pete and John would have at least Houston, Detroit, Carolina, Indianapolis, and Atlanta bidding to move up from the top of the first round. The Texans and Lions each have two first round picks in the first half of day one. The number one pick in the 2023 draft will almost certainly be a quarterback, so if the Seahawks don’t want him, they could probably get another trade ransom in return for the number one pick.
Seahawks trade: 1st overall pick
Lions trade: 4th overall pick, two 2023 second round picks (one from MIN), 2024 first round pick
Detroit still has their own 2023 first round pick, plus a second from the T.J. Hockenson trade, so they could move up for a QB and still draft defensive help in the middle of the first round.
The Seahawks could stay high enough to draft a top-ranked defensive prospect and they’d be able to keep adding capital in the future, potentially enough to take a quarterback of the future in 2024.
Hypothetical mock picks:
#4 (from DET via LAR) - OLB Will Anderson, Alabama
#22 - RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
#32 (from DEN) - OLB Drew Sanders, Arkansas
#45 (from DET) - WR Josh Downs, UNC
#53 - CB Clark Phillips III, Utah
#59 (from DET via MIN) - OL Andrew Vorhees, USC
How crazy this would be! Seattle addresses three offensive needs but also adds three defensive prospects, all of whom could contribute immediately. Anderson and Sanders were once Alabama teammates, but Sanders took off in his own right after transferring to Arkansas (103 tackles, 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, five batted passes) and he’s actually had a better season than Anderson. I see no downside to packing the edge rusher room with as many options as possible.
Scenario #2 - The Seahawks get the second overall pick from the Broncos
What I’d want to do: Take the best player available
If the Rams beat the Raiders on Thursday and the Chiefs beat the Broncos on Sunday, then it’s all but guaranteed that Denver will have the number two pick with four weeks to go. Then it’s just about keeping the status quo!
Realistically, if the Seahawks would trade out of the number one pick, they should be open to trading out of the number two pick. There are at least two quarterback prospects good enough to go in the top-two and at least a half-dozen desperate teams who’ve shown a willingness to trade up.
What I think most people want to do: Draft DT Jalen Carter
There’s just more consistent hype for Carter than there is for Anderson. He could come out of draft season as the consensus best prospect and the match couldn’t be any more perfect for Pete Carroll.
Seattle may just feel that they can’t wait to turn in the card for Carter and if the Seahawks end up with the number two pick, they will get their opportunity because a QB is going first.
Hypothetical mock picks:
#2 (from DEN) - DT Jalen Carter, Georgia
#22 - OL Paris Johnson, Ohio State
#33 (from DEN) - TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
#53 - LB Noah Sewell, Oregon
Johnson could play tackle or guard in the NFL and I think it is too early to etch Charles Cross and Abe Lucas as “10-year starters for the Seahawks” so not only would Seattle be getting a starting guard in 2023, but options for the future. Even more confusing to you is probably Mayer, as the Seahawks already have a three-tight end room for 2023. I’m just throwing in some other options here to see how they look and Mayer has more upside than any tight end currently on the Seahawks; plus we’ve seen in the cases of players like T.J. Hockenson and Hayden Hurst that even if tight ends disappoint, they can still be flipped for second round picks in the future.
Scenario #3 - The Seahawks get the fifth overall pick from the Broncos, Jalen Carter and Will Anderson are off of the board
The Broncos are 3-9, but they could still beat the Cardinals, Rams, and Chargers. And we should never say “never” about winning one of their games against Kansas City. It’s a little miraculous that Denver has been this unlucky: 0-3 in overtime games this season, two regulation losses by one point. If the Broncos had been the luckiest team in those five games, then the Broncos would be 8-4 right now! In this scenario, Denver wins a couple more games and Seattle ends up with the fifth overall pick.
Let’s say that the Texans choose Bryce Young, the Bears choose Jalen Carter, the Panthers choose C.J. Stroud, and the Eagles end up with the number four pick (thanks to the Saints) and select Will Anderson. What should the Seahawks do now?
What I’d want to do: Field every trade offer
What the Seahawks could do: CB Kelee Ringo
A native of Tacoma, Ringo’s family moved to Scottsdale, AZ before his sophmore season of high school and there he developed from a running back and wide receiver into a five-star cornerback recruit. Also a former track star, the 6’2 Ringo could be 2023’s “Sauce Gardner” and Seattle would have the best young cornerback duo in the NFL. A matchup nightmare for all those teams that have been stacking wide receivers.
Nothing in Pete’s history suggests that he values cornerbacks as highly as other executives and coaches do. Except for one thing. The Seahawks would have been tempted to pick Gardner over Cross, if given the chance. I know that Tariq Woolen is a standout and that should have NO impact on Seattle’s other two starting cornerback positions. Coby Bryant, Mike Jackson, and Tre Brown have yet to give Seahawks fans any reason to think that the team is set at cornerback for the next three years.
Ringo could be that sneaky pick that doesn’t seem to make sense but in a perfect world would change Seattle’s defensive makeup just as much as an edge rusher or defensive tackle.
Hypothetical mock picks:
#5 (from DEN) - CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
#22 - LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson
#35 (from DEN) - RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
#53 - DE Isaiah McGuire, Missouri
I follow a guy on YouTube who thinks that McGuire is the most underrated player in this class and a top-five prospect, even though the consensus seems to put him into more of a day three consideration. This is my dedication to that guy from YouTube! McGuire’s head coach calls him “the best defensive end in the country” and in the last two seasons he’s posted 28 tackles for a loss with 14.5 sacks.
Gibbs is a 5’11, 200 lb back who has been compared to Deebo Samuel, but faster. He’s not quite the complement to Kenneth Walker that Bijan Robinson would be, but Gibbs’ ceiling as a pass catcher could be higher than any back in football. I don’t think that it is smart for a team to load up all of their early draft picks on one side of the ball. Argue for a wide receiver or an offensive lineman, even a quarterback, but I don’t think a replacement for Rashaad Penny is out of the question.
I wonder which of these scenarios you think makes Seattle the most better? What I’ve learned is that yes, the higher the pick, the greater the Seahawks’ options.
And now a word from our Survivors…
The joy of doing the QB Survivor game at Seaside Joe had to take a backseat to the joy of covering the 2022 Seattle Seahawks and Geno Smith. But for those of you who have been as interested in next year’s quarterback class as much as I have, from the top-rated options in the beginning of the draft to the Grayson McCall dream on day three, I want to provide a few updates as to how much has changed since we last posted about QB Survivor.
The status of McCall’s 2023 decision is up in the air. McCall missed two games with a foot injury and returned for Coastal Carolina’s Sun Belt Championship game, finishing the season ranked in the top-five of passing efficiency for the third time in his three years: 197/285, 69% completions, 24 TD, 2 INT, 173.1 passer rating, five rushing touchdowns. But Coastal head coach Jamey Chadwell accepted the same position at Liberty and there are questions of whether McCall will enter the transfer portal and follow him there, go to a different school, return to Coastal, or enter the NFL Draft. It still seems like few people other than me believe in him as a future NFL starter, so his projection remains “UDFA” and that could compel him to follow Chadwell to Liberty.
The biggest name to confirm that he’s going to test the validity of his draft hype is Florida’s Anthony Richardson. He finished the season completing 54% of his pases with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Simply put, would the Texans or Lions convince themselves that given two or three years of development, Richardson could become the top dual threat in the league?
If there isn’t an official announcement already, it should still come as no surprise when Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, and Hendon Hooker enter the draft; Levis and Hooker are seniors, anyway.
D.J. Uigalalelei, Devin Leary, and Phil Jurkovec were all in QB Survivor at one time or another and all have entered the transfer portal; Jurkovec has already announced his intention to play at Pitt next year.
If McCall stays in school, I’d first mention Sam Hartman as a potential day three target for the Seahawks.