4 reasons the Seahawks would draft D over QB in 2023
Seaside Bo-nus: We all want to see the new quarterback, but that's never been Pete and John's M.O.
If it slipped past your inbox this morning, check out Friday’s Seaside Joe on which draft picks remain in each of Pete and John’s classes over the past 13 years. There are some telling findings in that discomforting but necessary review.
The good news is that Charles Cross represents that closest thing to a blue chip Seahawks prospect since Bruce Irvin, if not Russell Okung and Earl Thomas, while Boye Mafe and Kenneth Murray III should be as exciting for fans as any second round pick that Seattle has made under Pete and John’s regime.
The end result though leads me to a Friday bonus post and I’m going to try something new at Seaside Joe. I believe that it’s called “a shorter article.”
Let’s see if I can manage.
Since the March 8 trade, Joe has had one clear stance on how Pete Carroll would reload the quarterback position: The 2023 NFL Draft.
That will likely remain my opinion until the day of the draft and there are ample reasons to expect Carroll to take a quarterback early for the first time in his career. The Seahawks have survived free agency and trade season, passed on the 2022 draft class, and we know that the odds are low for Geno Smith or Drew Lock to remain in place past this year.
Related reading: Seahawks fans say that Pete Carroll has made the exact right approach at QB; Which veteran QBs could be available in 2023?; Besides QB, which position will Seahawks prioritize in 2023 draft?; Top 5 QB rankings for 2023 NFL Draft
However, my best guess as to what the Seahawks will do at quarterback is still only a guess. It could also be argued that because Pete and John have never prioritized the quarterback position at times of need (see: 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2022) that they will trust that process again in 2023. As I’ve been trying to make as the motto for the 2022 Seattle Seahawks: Team-First.
It is also fair to say that perhaps the Seahawks won’t draft a quarterback with their first pick. I can think of at least four reasons why Pete Carroll might go DEFENSE over OFFENSE to start the 2023 draft.
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#1 - The Defensive Cupboard is Bare
As I wrote in Friday morning’s newsletter, here are the draft picks on DEFENSE from 2010-2019 who remain on the Seahawks roster in 2022: L.J. Collier, Marquise Blair, Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven, and Ugo Amadi.
All five of those players were in the 2019 draft and all five of those players could be off of the team by next March.
The situation does improve with the 2020 class featuring Jordyn Brooks, Darrell Taylor, and Alton Robinson, plus Seattle signed Bryan Mone in 2019 and gave him an extension in 2022. But the roster’s gold doesn’t run much deeper than that and Carroll has only added Tre Brown, Boye Mafe, Coby Bryant, Tariq Woolen, and Tyreke Smith in the draft over the past two years.
We can’t say yet how any of those players will do and you won’t be shamed for hesitating to feel confident given the seven draft classes prior to 2020.
This is only a snapshot of the defense and doesn’t include everybody but consider what it could look like only a year from now:
The players who we can confidently say remain in place in 2023 are Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, Brooks, Taylor, Mone, Robinson, Mafe, Brown, and Bryant.
Uchenna Nwosu, Shelby Harris could be cap casualties, the corners are on one-year contracts, Barton, Collier, Amadi, and Poona Ford are set to be free agents.
Therefore, it’s probable that the Seahawks needs in the 2023 draft will highly prioritize edge rusher (again), nose tackle, and cornerback, but also probably inside linebacker and defensive end, even if they are considered “less valuable” than the other positions.
The Seahawks not only need defensive help, they need good, young, cheap prospects to develop on defense. They do not have many of those in place yet.
#2 - There are Some GREAT Defensive Prospects in 2023
We may see the Seahawks in a situation similar to that of the Washington Commanders in 2020. Though Ron Rivera didn’t have a franchise quarterback in place, the Commanders took Chase Young over Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert because he was considered that generational as an edge rusher. The Lions also picked Jeff Okudah over Tua and Herbert. In 2019, the 49ers picked Nick Bosa over Daniel Jones. In 2018, the Broncos picked Bradley Chubb over Josh Allen and Josh Rosen.
Alabama’s Will Anderson might go down as a better pass rushing prospect than either Young or Bosa.
If Seattle does find themselves holding a top-three pick in 2023, it may take a great quarterback prospect to convince Carroll (if he’s still the coach after a season that may result in a top-three pick) to pass on Anderson.
Other defensive prospects getting top-10 buzz right now include defensive tackle Jalen Carter at Georgia (mentioned him in the Charles Cross write-up), Clemson defensive linemen Bryan Bresee and Myles Murphy, Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo, and Alabama cornerback Eli Ricks.
But like with Travon Walker in 2022, we can’t rule out that an edge rusher or other defensive player can’t rise up to the top of draft boards over the next nine months.
There’s no question that Carroll values what Russell Wilson brought to the team over the past ten years. But he’s also Pete Carroll and the best edge rushing prospect he’s ever had in Seattle is Irvin, followed by Frank Clark. A top-five pick on an edge could be hard for him to pass on.
#3 - The Seahawks have Never Panicked at QB. Never.
Pete and John inherited Matt Hasselbeck in 2010 and all that changed was a trade for Charlie Whitehurst. Then they signed Tarvaris Jackson in 2011. Then they signed Matt Flynn in 2012 and used a third round pick on Wilson. When Wilson was coming up on his most recent request for a new contract, rather than give in to any of his demands, the Seahawks traded him to the Broncos. After trading Wilson, Pete and John ignored all the noise about who they should sign, trade for, or draft and instead are going with Smith and Lock.
There’s no panic here at quarterback, especially not compared to the panic you’ve probably seen on social media over the fact that Seattle is indeed going with Smith and Lock.
If the Seahawks do draft a quarterback in 2023 (again, that’s what I expect), it won’t be because “the Seahawks need a quarterback.” It will be because the Seahawks are enamored with a quarterback. We’ve reason to believe that Pete and John were enamored with Patrick Mahomes in 2017. They didn’t pull the trigger on it like Andy Reid did because Seattle had Wilson in place, which is more comforting than having Alex Smith in place.
Because there are so many intriguing quarterback prospects in the 2023 draft (I did a write-up on 152 names to follow), there’s good reason to think that the Seahawks will be enamored with at least one of them in the first round. But it is also possible that they are enamored with a day two prospect, just as they were in 2012 with Wilson, and just as I am today with Grayson McCall.
In 2012, a lot of fans (probably including myself) were hopeful that the Seahawks would come away with a day one quarterback. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III seemed out of reach, but Ryan Tannehill was a more feasible option if the team traded up. It’s such a good thing that they did not. I suspect Seattle will draft a quarterback early in 2023, but if they don’t …
No need to panic.
#4 - All the Extra Picks
The Seahawks hold their own first and second round picks in 2023, but also the Broncos first and second round picks in 2023. With four picks in the top-64, Seattle is in the best position as of today to come away with a draft haul in 2023.
I admit that it would be kind of weird to draft a different position right before you draft a quarterback. There’s this strange message that NFL teams have to send that says, “We have more confidence in the QB than any other position on the team.” Pretend that Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase were in the same draft and the Bengals had two top-five picks…it would seem wrong to pick Chase before Burrow.
But Seattle can’t worry about appearances and they never really have seemed to care about that stuff under Pete and John. If they have a chance to take an elite player at a different position and then decide to shore up the quarterback position with their second of two first round picks, that’s not something we can put past this front office. By not panicking at QB in 2012, the Seahawks were able to get Bobby Wagner and Irvin prior to finding the franchise quarterback.
And as said in point number one, the Seahawks need elite players at premium positions. Not just at quarterback.
Okay, is this “short”?
I really appreciate your ability to see the seahawks for what they are and to recognize their behavior. So many people, even in the Seattle media, seem to ignore what they've done and go with whatever idea they like best. Writing an article about how your assumptions might be wrong based on the past actions of the team is A+ journalism stuff and why I'm here. Keep up the good work, glad there are at least a few places on the web where long form, well-researched articles that challenge bias are a regular occurance.
Just Say No! - Not to Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll as former First Lady Nancy Reagan advised some of us older readers in our youth...No, I am saying NO to trading Up for a QB in 2023. The Seahawks will suck enough to select from a number of worthy arms in the next draft.
Quick reminder, None of the following were a high draft pick: Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Deshawn Watson, Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert, Derek Carr, Aaron Rogers or even the GOAT Tom Brady. Drafting Well is SO much more important than drafting early.
Defensive studs are needed too. Often times DPOY candidates are not early picks. They really Never were day 3 draft steals, either. If we want more primo talent, spend what we have when we have it and do not over spend for a QB. Lazy or anxious franchises do that and they tend to remain early in the draft each and every year.
I submit the Hawks will get the Most out of the 2023 off-season by developing Drew Lock this year. If he indeed turns out to be an eternal back-up, draft a QB where they should be taken. Regardless, draft as many high value picks in each of the places we have the opportunity to do so.
Make the Most of the two firsts, two seconds, and fill out the rest of the draft as best we can. We also need to make the most out of our off-season shopping. Then hit a home run in next April's draft. Then coach 'em up to the point where the Lombardi trophy makes a return trip to the Pacific NW!