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Seahawks 2023 draft: Top-4 worst and best case scenarios
Will Levis is sliding hard before we even get to draft night: Seaside Joe 1490
The idea of Kentucky QB Will Levis being an early draft pick lost (or never had) yet another supporter on Friday, as The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman posted a mock draft based on conversations he’s had with current college coaches and sources inside the NFL. As with any other mock draft, we know that some of these evaluations will be wildly inaccurate—but I will continue to pose this question to you: How many times in history has a quarterback who is a “top-5 lock” not had anything close to a top-5 consensus leading into the draft?
It was just two years ago that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson were locks to go 1-2, followed by a wide disparity of opinions on Trey Lance, Mac Jones, and Justin Fields. Only one of those three quarterbacks ended up going in the top-10.
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Now we’ve got Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud and a very similar vibe going with Levis, Anthony Richardson, and coming in late, Hendon Hooker. NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks just posted a mock draft with Richardson going to the Seahawks at #20, with Levis falling out of the first round. Feldman, best known for adoring the draft’s freak athletes, has Richardson going fourth overall and Levis dropping to #20—except he has the Tennessee Titans giving up picks #41, #72 to go up and get him from Seattle.
(I don’t think the Seahawks need two more day two picks as much as they need another first round talent.)
Feldman’s ‘intel’ on Levis had both sources saying that he struggles reading defenses and making good decisions, especially under duress. As everyone else mentions, they admire the arm strength and the toughness, but Levis was once the hot name to put in the top-four and now he’s falling all over the place: 8th by Cynthia Frelund, 11th at ProspectEncyclopedia, 14th by Chris Trapasso, 15th at 247Sports, and 16th by Joe Serpico, plus 20th by Feldman. All of those were posted in the last 24 hours.
I point this out not to say, “Well, now we know what’s going to happen.” I say this because people who were once buying into the noise that they heard about Levis as a “consensus” top-4 pick are starting to pull back and practically in unison.
It feels almost like when you’re a little drunk and you decide to go online shopping. Then when the packages arrive a week later and you see what you bought, you’re like “Wait, why did I think this was a good idea?” That’s how it feels to look back on that month when people were echoing everyone else’s mock drafts with Levis as a top-five pick because they heard he had a strong arm and could be Josh Allen.
And now that we’re in that stage of the pre-draft process when people start to pick apart and attack prospect narratives and ask “Okay, who’s the overrated one here?” the answer is resoundly: Will Levis. Whether it’s Joel Klatt in this clip from Colin Cowherd or Feldman’s mock or Brooks’ mock or Chris Simms on PFF’s podcast, it’s now at least as popular to pick apart Levis for his negatives as it was to solely focus on his physical advantages two months ago.
I mean at this rate, we’ll get to the NFL Draft on April 27th and Will Levis’s stock will be so low that analysts will be back around to “Hmm, I think this day two pick might actually be underrated a little bit” again.
If you’re not paying attention, and we’ve seen plenty in the Seahawks media aren’t, then I think it reveals how tone deaf you have to be to continue to push this narrative that the top-four picks will be QB-QB-QB-QB. But if Rob Staton and two fans he found on /r/Seahawks are going to casually talk about a board falling QB-QB-QB-QB, at least acknowledge that you believe this is…THE GREATEST QB CLASS OF ALL-TIME???
We’ve only seen three QBs in the top-four happen three times in NFL history, we’ve never seen four-out-of-four. I know, teams are salivating over the idea of landing a rookie contract QB who can lead them to Super Bowl after Super Bowl for the next 15 years. And we’ll just ignore what we’ve learned from the last 15 QB drafts, what it could tell us about value between QB1-QB9 in a given class.
We’ll set aside the number of GMs who have been fired after using first round picks on quarterbacks (recently, the ones who took Justin Fields, Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Paxton Lynch…).
I can’t ignore that historically speaking, there has always been a steep drop between QB1 and QB4 in any given class. It doesn’t mean that QB4 is doomed (Derek Carr was QB4, Russell Wilson was QB6, Dak Prescott is QB8). It just means that you have to have a GM and regime that strongly believes that either this is the greatest QB class of all-time or that teams ahead of them really screwed up in order to let this guy be available to them.
So that’s where I look at Will Levis and think to myself, “How could a prospect who has this many critics possibly be a general manager’s dream selection at #3 or #4 or the Seahawks at #5?”
If this was a class without better QB prospects then maybe that is when a player gets lucky to go earlier than he would in a normal year. But it is a class that has at least two QB prospects who are clearly better than Levis and some analysts even think that there are four or five who are better than him. That’s fairly damning evidence against the idea that we can casually be talking about this as a top-four that might leave Seattle without their option of either Richardson or Levis because “they’ll both be gone and maybe the Seahawks would even need to trade up”.
Hey, if this draft goes QB-QB-QB-QB, I personally believe that’s an ideal situation for Pete Carroll and John Schneider. I don’t think that’s going to happen and I don’t think it has to happen for the Seahawks to have their best case scenario at #5.
I think the ideal is that three of the top-four picks are quarterbacks and the worst case is that only two of the top-four are quarterbacks. But when you’re picking fifth overall, the “worst case” isn’t all that bad of a situation so that’s important to remember, too.
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Best Case Scenario - (Seaside Joe’s Opinion Only)
I continue to hold the wildly unpopuar opinion that the Houston Texans do not need to feel forced to pick QB2 out of this draft when we ALL know that the Houston Texans have a great chance to draft Caleb Williams (or another highly-rated QB prospect) in 2024. The roster absolutely sucks and so for me, it really just depends on whether or not the Texans feel like both C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young are both worthy of the number one pick OR that they would be their QB1 after the Carolina Panthers make a selection.
Basically it all comes down to this: The last thing that the Texans should do this year is draft a QB at 2 because they need a QB. That’s idiotic. They should draft the best player available and there’s a chance that player is a QB, but I don’t see it being a forced issue.
My feelings on the Indianapolis Colts are almost exactly the same. Not only could both of these teams have opportunities to draft decent QB prospects on Day 2 (meaning they could draft blue chip talents at other positions on Day 1) as their dice rolls, I think the Colts will be in the market for a veteran QB after the draft. There will be more post-draft trades than ever before and that’s just “good business” for the NFL as they continue to expand into more days as a “league that doesn’t have an offseason” for the news cycle.
Well, if there’s even a 1% chance that the draft goes QB-OLB-DT-EDGE and either C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young are still miraculously on the board at #5, then that could be the best case scenario. It could be!
However, I think that chance is so small that I’m not even going to utilize it today.
If there’s any chance that the Texans would shop the pick, then I believe you could get a team to move up whether that’s the Seahawks, Lions, Raiders, or Falcons. But let’s just say that Houston loves both QBs and won’t move down and the draft goes QB-QB. I think that’s what’s going to happen.
What’s really interesting though is the buzz that’s developing between the Raiders and Anthony Richardson, so that’s what I’m beginning to hope happens for Seattle’s sake. Joel Klatt mentioned Las Vegas as an ideal landing spot for Richardson and noted what we all know, which is that for as long as that team has been owned by a ‘Davis’ they have loved athletic traits above all other qualities.
Then you start going, “Wow, Raiders GM Dave Ziegler was with the Patriots from 2013-2021…Texans GM Nick Caserio was with the Patriots from 2001-2020…Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort was with the Patriots from 2006 to 2019….”
Ziegler and Josh McDaniels have a direct line and long relationship with the GMs who sit at #2 and #3. The Raiders added a third round pick in the Darren Waller trade, they have three picks in the fifth, two in the sixth, two in the seventh. If Vegas sees Richardson as worthy (and drafting him would also help McDaniels and Ziegler signal to Mark Davis, “Don’t fire us no matter what happens in 2023, this is a move that is made for 2025 and beyond”) then yes, maybe the Raiders go from #7 to #3 by giving the Cardinals their second, their other third, and a pick in 2024.
It shouldn’t matter to Arizona to move down from #3 to #7, they have so many needs and a long enough list to get a player who they covet a few spots later.
This is the best case scenario for what I think the Seahawks would like to see happen, knowing that they aren’t going to have realistic shots at Young or Stroud and maybe not even for Richardson, if that’s your thing: Panthers select Stroud, Texans select Young, Raiders trade up for Richardson.
(I switched Stroud and Young because as long as we’re going with my opinions, get Bryce Young to the AFC instead of the NFC)
Now you’re going, “Okay, but don’t you care about what happens at #4?”
Any combination of the top-four picks having three quarterbacks leaves the Seahawks with either Will Anderson, Jalen Carter, or both. But I don’t think that the “Best Case Scenario” has any advantage to having both on the table—Seattle can only select one player anyway—so just as long as somehow Richardson goes in the top-four, then I think the Seahawks end up with one of the two defensive players who they covet.
Here’s what Bruce Feldman’s ‘intel’ said about Jalen Carter, for those of you still skeptical, and yes it’s still PERFECTLY OKAY to be skeptical or to not want Seattle to draft Carter, I’m just sharing what I think the most commonly-held pro opinions continue to be on Carter and not what you’ve heard from people saying that he could drop on April 27:
The Coaching Intel
“He’s unblockable when he wants to be. He is unbelievably explosive. I think he’s probably similar to Ndamukong Suh when he was in college. He wasn’t as productive, but Nebraska also didn’t have the D-line rotation Georgia had. I think he has first-pick-of-the-draft talent.”
“Holy s—! (He) jumps off the tape. He is so big but so quick-twitch. He has an uncanny ability to redirect and (he has) really good balance.”
“You could play him all over the line. Someone that gigantic should not be able to move like that.”
“He was the guy that you always noticed on crossover film. People that big should not be that athletic. Twitchy. Violent. Strong. He was the best player (on that 2021 defense). He’s on a different level. All those guys are really, really talented — and then there’s him.”
I think that last line is what jumped out to me more than anything else…
“All those guys (on Georgia’s 2021 defense with five first round picks last year plus Nolan Smith, Kelee Ringo) are really, really talented — and then there’s him.”
What else is interesting about that quote: “Crossover film”
If you watched Bryce Young, Levis, Richardson, and Hooker’s film in 2021, then you would have seen Jalen Carter FIVE TIMES: He played all four of them, plus Young twice. He also played against Clemson, Arkansas, and Michigan, so that’s a lot of NFL prospects and Carter’s someone you have to watch over and over again even when you’re not watching Carter.
Then you watch 2022 film: Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio State (so Richardson, Hooker, Levis, Stroud) plus Oregon, LSU, and TCU.
If you just watched the potential first round QBs over and over again then guess what? You’ve seen Jalen Carter NINE TIMES in the last two years.
There’s no question then that if you’re a scout, a GM, a coach who loves to digest college film, you either love Carter or you think he’s overrated, but what we’ve heard over and over and over again is that football people think he’s one-of-a-kind.
In my opinion then, the Seahawks would have Anderson atop their board but Carter as a fallback plan who teams rarely get the opportunity for with the #5 pick in the draft. If Carter didn’t have the character concerns OR if he was in the 2022 draft with a weak QB class, then he would be a top-three pick 99 times out of 100. I think teams are already content with character concerns at his level in the NFL, so really it’s just this chance that a team trades up for Richardson (because I just don’t see him as a fit for the Colts) that could make him or Anderson available much later than usual.
That is the best case scenario—Unless you dream of a QB at #5, which could definitely be YOUR best case scenario and that’s perfectly okay to have around here at Seaside Joe. If the Seahawks draft Anthony Richardson, I’ll be strapped in and ready for entertainment.
Worst Case Scenario - (According to Joe)
Well, you’ve probably figured this out by now: I think that all roads lead to Young and Stroud being gone in the top-two picks. Therefore, if the Cardinals pick Anderson and the Colts pick Carter—which I think is a lot more probable than what others say—then the Seahawks will be left with their choice of Richardson (maybe that’s good, maybe it’s not), Tyree Wilson, or some very left field choice.
The reasons I don’t even list Will Levis here are all up there in the lede of the article or here.
Sometimes the choice you’re stuck with ends up as having the best end result, so this “worst case scenario” is FAR from doom and gloom. I just believe that Seattle wants to choose from all of the defensive prospects and that there are two above the rest. Any scenario that removes those top-two and the top-two QBs are ones that I think Pete and John would like to eliminate. That could be the reason for the QB tour, as we’ve discussed. I’m also supportive of a franchise-changing move at QB.
If the board does go Young-Stroud-Anderson-Carter, then the phones are officially on. As much as I don’t think the Seahawks need anymore draft capital, this becomes a “might as well” situation unless Pete and John are truly that attracted to a long-term outlook with Richardson and believe that Greg Olson—who hasn’t typically worked with developments like him—could fix all that needs fixing.
However, I could see Pete and John being just as attracted, if not more attracted, to Hooker, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, or someone else. It is long in Pete’s history that he believes certain positions need a lot of capital invested and certain ones don’t. QB has always fallen on “don’t” but we also haven’t seen the Seahawks in a situation quite like this one before.
I’m open to whatever happens—I think that what the Seahawks want to happen is to get a defensive player who would go #1 or #2 in most years falling to them in the draft. That’s also a situation that Pete’s never been in before.
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