2022 NFL Draft: TRADE! What it means for Seahawks
There was news on Monday... what does it mean?
Teams trade draft picks for a variety of reasons and it is commonplace to see movement happen weeks before the actual event. That was the case on Monday, as two teams situated behind the Seattle Seahawks in the first round have swapped picks and all of a sudden the QB-hungry New Orleans Saints have a little more ammunition for day one.
The Saints have traded their 2022 first, 2023 first, and 2024 second round picks to the Philadelphia Eagles, acquiring picks 16, 19, and 194 this year. New Orleans is also shipping off picks 101 and 237 to the Eagles. That’s a lot of numbers to not wind up in the top-five of a draft, so did the Saints really do this in order to acquire a rookie quarterback?
Will the Saints make another trade to move up ahead of the Seahawks?
Why the Saints did this:
New Orleans feels that they remain in position to make the NFC playoffs, if not win the NFC South, and I would tend to agree with that belief. The Saints went 9-8 last season despite Jameis Winston starting seven times, Taysom Hill starting five times, Trevor Siemian starting four times, and Ian Book starting once. If not for Siemian and Book going 0-5, New Orleans is a 2021 playoff team that ranked first in Red Zone defense and eighth in third down defense.
By re-signing Winston (after losing out on Deshaun Watson) and adding Andy Dalton, Blake Bortles, the Saints may feel that they could have a QB who ranks ~22nd in the NFL, behind an offensive line that ranks in the top-five, two premium weapons in Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and a defense that was third overall in DVOA in 2021. In a division with 45-year-old Tom Brady, as well as Marcus Mariota and Sam Darnold set to start for their respective teams, why couldn’t the Saints win 10 or more games in a conference that lacks very many QBs who are considerably better than Winston?
I do NOT think that the Saints did this to draft Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett, but Pickett would fit Pete Carmichael Jr’s offense better than Willis or most other prospects in this draft.
If they don’t make any other draft moves, the Saints could draft a wide receiver (Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, Chris Olave, Drake London…) to pair with Thomas or a cornerback to put opposite of Marshon Lattimore (Sauce Gardner, Derek Stingley, Andrew Booth, Trent McDuffie…) or perhaps they see Kyle Hamilton slipping out of the top-15, as recent reports have suggested.
Players like Wilson, Olave, and Hamilton could be Week 1 starters for New Orleans, and that may help Dennis Allen make the playoffs in his first season back as a head coach.
After signing Winston, Dalton, and Bortles in one offseason, I don’t see why the Saints would turn around and lose out on their first round pick next year just to take a 25-percent shot at a quarterback, something that feels as unfitting for Mickey Loomis as it would be for Pete Carroll.
Sidenote: I was at the Oscars the other night and Denzel Washington pulled me aside… he said, “Son, it’s at your highest moment when the devil comes for you.” And I said, “Wow! Denzel Washington!” When Denzel put his arm around me to shield me from whatever Bradley Cooper was going to say, he said, “Be vigilant, young warrior. It’s a lot of pressure to have 500 subscribers and you don’t want to SNAP!” I stopped him short there… “Mr. Washington, I don’t have 500 subscribers. I was hoping to get there by the draf—” and then Denzel Washington walked away. I was stuck talking to Coop-dog for the rest of the night and by the Vanity Fair party I was cornered for three hours by Colin Jost and Scarlett Johannsen. Ugh. Please don’t let that happen to me again:
Why the Eagles did this:
Of course, Philadelphia has similar confidence that they can reach the postseason next season too: The Eagles also went 9-8 in 2021, but they got into the playoffs, losing in the wild card to Brady. I’m sure Nick Sirianni sees Philly as the next winners of the NFC East—and I tend to see that side of it, the Cowboys don’t intimidate anyone—but here’s one big reason teams rarely make three first round picks:
You have to pay three first round players.
Though mid-first round picks cost much less than high first round picks, that’s a lot of salary capital to invest in three players from 2022 to 2025, and into 2026 if they get their fifth-year options or an extension. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rookie or a veteran, all the money comes from and goes to the same place. It’ll all count against the salary cap the same. A good value first round pick is a great thing, but many first round picks actually perform BELOW their guaranteed contracts.
That’s why we have “busts” and we know that more than 50-percent of first round picks will end up feeling like busts.
The Eagles haven’t made any quarterback additions of note, hanging onto Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew for now. Philadelphia offensive coordinator Shane Steichen was with the Chargers when L.A. drafted Justin Herbert in 2020 and we saw how that paid off in the AFC West. Will he give a similar endorsement to Pickett or Matt Corral?
(I see zero fit between the Eagles and Malik Willis.)
I think Philadelphia might favor a linebacker like Devin Lloyd for the defense, maybe a cornerback like Trent McDuffie in the secondary, possibly more edge rushers, of which there will be a plethora of options; no Eagles player had more than 7.5 sacks last season, and only one edge rusher had more than two sacks.
I think the Eagles want to go defense-defense with their first round picks, while the additional first round pick in 2023 gives Philadelphia more ammunition to potentially land one of the premium quarterbacks in next year’s draft. That’s really where this would come in to impact Seattle’s plans the most…
What this means for the Seahawks:
Teams with two 2023 first round picks: Seahawks, Texans, Dolphins, Lions, and now the Eagles.
Teams that need a true franchise quarterback: Seahawks, Texans, Dolphins, Lions, and the Eagles.
There are more than those five teams, but those five teams have the most potential to draft Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, or one of the sure-to-be-Zach-Wilson prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. THAT is where the real quarterback prizes are going to be found and I believe that no less than Seattle, Houston, Detroit, and Philadelphia are preparing to make their move — one year from now.
And the only one of those five teams that has two 2023 first round picks also has two 2023 second round picks: The Seattle Seahawks.
This trade today doesn’t really do much to impact the Seahawks draft plans in 2022, but it could have some impact on where they stand in the draft in 2023. The Eagles just parlayed one of their upcoming three first round picks into two first round picks in each of the next two drafts; but Seattle has even more ammo than that, holding three of the top-41 picks in 2022 and four picks in the first two rounds in 2023.
You want the Seahawks to draft a quarterback. Yes, you do. In one year.
DK should be traded if the trade includes a 2023 first-round pick and the trading partner is among the five teams projected to have the worst records in the NFL in the coming season. Houston, New York Jets, Detroit, Jacksonville, and New York Giants are those non-contenders. Houston has two first-round picks in 2023.
Detroit has two.
The Jets have one.
Jacksonville has one.
The Giants have one.
All of these teams are looking for wide receiver help. A top-five pick in the 2023 QB draft would be far more valuable to the Seahawks than DK's current contribution.