Is Dre'Mont Jones as good as adding a 1st round pick? Seahawks free agent-draft values
Assessing how free agency has impacted Seattle's draft plans so far, 3/20/2023: Seaside Joe 1479
Understanding that he inherited one of the worst rosters in the NFL, Pete Carroll had an immense amount of success over his first six seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. After surviving two 7-9 campaigns, Carroll turned over almost the entire roster from 2010 to 2012 and the Seahawks went from a -110 point differential in 2009 to -97 in 2010, +6 in 2011, and +167 in 2012.
From 2012 to 2015, the Seahawks went 46-18 in the regular season, outscored opponents by at least 140 points in each campign, finished first in points allowed in each of those campaigns, and went 7-3 in the playoffs with a lopsided Super Bowl victory over Peyton Manning.
Perhaps that context of being the best team in the NFL for nearly half-a-decade can help explain why the Seahawks may have gotten too comfortable with Pete’s plans and turned into a franchise that is often good and rarely good enough.
Though Seattle did win the division in 2016 and 2020, it has been eight years since they’ve gotten past the divisional round of the playoffs, seven years since they outscored opponents by at least +90, and six years since they had a top-10 defense by any significant measure.
That’s probably why these last two Seahawks offseasons have felt so out of character for Pete and John Schneider than the previous 12.
From trading Russell Wilson in 2022 to making an out of character free agency splash in the first week of negotiations, Pete and John have subtly admitted that “their way” wasn’t working anymore. Though it had led to the most successful run in franchise history in the first half of the 2010s, Seattle clearly got tired of being “too good to call ‘bad’, but not good enough to call ‘great’” and they’re changing how they do football business.
The Wilson trade kicked off the reset, but it’s the resulting draft picks that push “the new plan” forward at lightspeed without having to tank first.
A question I’ve been thinking about in the last few days since finding out that Pete and John actually aren’t afraid to risk cap space on outside free agents: How do additions like Dre’Mont Jones, Julian Love, and Evan Brown impact how the Seahawks will utilize top-three draft capital?
This is an estimation on part and I’m asking for the Seaside Community to add their opinions in the comments too because I know I don’t have ‘the right’ answers. I do think that there is some sort of answer, however, because without these signings we know that the Seahawks would have to address certain problems on a 26th-ranked defense and troubled interior offensive line.
Speaking of the Seaside Community:
(jump down to “Dre’Mont Jones” if you want to skip this part)
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DE Dre’Mont Jones
Pick estimation: Somewhere between 20-37
If the Seahawks wanted to get somebody like Dre’Mont Jones in the 2023 draft, which of their selections would they need to use? Seattle reportedly wanted both Jones and Zach Allen, so the signing doesn’t rule out the Seahawks using a first or second round pick on another defensive lineman of similar size, skill, and position, including Jalen Carter. I don’t think that the Jones signing does anything to affect Seattle’s interest in Carter—they might not have any interest, but I don’t think that’s because they signed Jones.
I also wouldn’t say that Carter and Jones will have similar roles, if the Seahawks went in that direction. It seems clear that teams will want to utilize Carter as an interior pass rusher, Jones as a defensive end.
With that in mind, I think a more accurate depiction of a “Dre’Mont Jones” could be someone like USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu, a prospect expected to be in more of the mid-second to early-third round type of range. The upside to knowing Jones as an NFL player is simply that—he’s proven himself against pros—so I think that’s the type of value you could really place somewhere between a late first or an early second round pick.
Lucky for Pete and John, they have both of those!
I do think that signing Jones does take the pressure off of the Seahawks to have to draft 3-4 defensive end with one of their day two picks, but it doesn’t necessarily preclude them from taking the best player available if he does play 3-4 DE. We should expect Jones to be on the Seahawks for at least two years but ideally he’s in Seattle for much longer than that. There would be plenty enough room though for another player like Jones, I just think that signing him is sort of like using money to get an extra early second round pick.
I don’t quite see Dre’Mont Jones at maybe the level of a DeForest Buckner or a Jonathan Allen (though he could improve), but he’s a player who could cost a late first round pick if a team wanted to draft someone like him to fit that role.
DB Julian Love
Pick estimation: 3rd round (but does it take Brian Branch off board at 20?)
“Positionless football” has been making the rounds a little bit more each year and seems to be at a fever pitch in 2023. It definitely fits the Pete model we’ve come to know over the years and Love, a “positionless DB” for Wink Martindale on the 2022 Giants, also has a lot of Carroll-like qualities.
A two-year, $12 million deal is not enough to say that the Seahawks will build the defense around Love, but it’s not terribly far off from the type of commitment that the team made to Uchenna Nwosu a year ago. It’s especially notable for a team that already has two of the highest-paid safeties in the NFL AND Ryan Neal.
I think if the Seahawks really want to draft a player like Love, it wouldn’t be that hard to find him in the late-second or third round range. Love, New York’s leading tackler in 2022, was a fourth round pick in 2019 out of Notre Dame. I wouldn’t rule out Seattle drafting a similar player on day three, but Love should alleviate any pressure to look at safety (or “positionless guy who is basically a safety”) earlier than that.
There was speculation that Love’s addition impacts Jamal Adams, but I do not see it that way. HOWEVER, if the Seahawks have Alabama’s Brian Branch on their board with the 20th overall pick, I do think that’s the end for Jamal Adams.
Branch has similar skills to Adams, he could even rush the passer if asked, and the signing of Love prior to picking Branch could be the signal that Seattle has already moved on. Those two players, plus Quandre Diggs and Neal, is more than enough.
That’s far from having happened, but it’s worth bringing up and Branch’s film is worth watching too.
C Evan Brown
Pick estimation: 4th-5th round
In your votes so far, 79% of you say that the Seahawks still need to draft a center after signing Evan Brown to a one-year deal. That rings true to me. Seattle didn’t sign a “late first/second round” type center by adding Brown. They’re taking a chance on a player who was blocked on the Lions and is looking to prove himself as a full-time starter. For my tastes, taking a shot in the dark at center comes somewhere on day three.
I try to never say that things “will not happen!” or “will happen!” until we know for sure that they will or will not…instead I try to lean towards language like “I’ll be surprised…”
So I’ll be surprised if the Seahawks draft a center with picks 20 or 37. It could happen at 52, it could be much more feasible at 83, but Pete and John trading down at some point to add a sixth that they use on a center to compete…that’s also a possibility. Pete seems to like a combination of bad centers who compete rather than one really good center.
What do you think of my estimations so far? Use the community to add your thoughts! The Seaside Joe community is by far one of the most active and engaged on this entire Substack network, most “bigger” substacks get like 0-3 comments per post. What’s wrong with them???
LB Devin Bush
Pick estimation: 5th round
Though he was the 10th overall pick in 2019, I’d put Devin Bush closer to the “Ben Burr-Kirven” value than even to the “Cody Barton” value. He’s in Seattle to compete to win, but the Seahawks haven’t stopped adding linebackers. To fill this role, Pete might consider using picks 20 or 37. Bush only amounts to a day three pick.
DL Jarran Reed
Pick estimation: 4th round
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Once a second round pick, I think Reed’s value in 2023 has dipped to more of the fourth round range. He’s capable of playing over 700 snaps (he’s done it in the last three years, for three different teams) but I might see him closer to the 50% (500 or so snaps) range in 2023. The Seahawks must be considering Jalen Carter at #5, and definitely the tier II DT types at #20, #37, and #52.
When I look at all the teams picking from 3-10 (AZ, IND, SEA, DET, LV, ATL, CHI, PHI), I don’t see Carter’s misdemeanor ‘no contest’ or pro day keeping him from being a top-10 selection. I would even say that for my useless opinion, Carter’s floor is the Lions at #6.
K Jason Myers
Pick estimation: 6th-7th round
I want to look at two players who the Seahawks were able to retain. Though Myers has been an excellent kicker, there’s literally no way to “draft a good kicker” apparently. Want to use a day two pick? Idiotic. Want to draft the first kicker off the board? It never seems to work!
By keeping Myers, Seattle won’t have to test the waters in the draft and that should open a sixth round pick (the Seahawks don’t have a seventh yet, but I’ll be surprised if they don’t try to add one) to take a shot on a player at a different position.
G Phil Haynes
Pick estimation: 6th round
I don’t see Haynes as a starting guard yet. If he was better, maybe we could up this all the way to the second round. But since he’s not, what else am I to do? The Seahawks could still choose to take a starting caliber guard on day two and one name that’s come to my attention the most would be North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch. He has some of those Pete Carroll qualitities too and is expected to move inside from tackle. A player like Mauch might go between picks #52-#83.
As for keeping Drew Lock, I’m not saying yet how that impacts Seattle’s draft plans other than to say that the Seahawks are in no rush to add a quarterback. I think they will add one if they feel one is a perfect fit for them at the perfect spot in the draft, there’s no obligation for that player to go 5th overall. Seattle may fall in love with Hendon Hooker or Dorian Thompson-Robinson or Jaren Hall and just decide that’s how they want to approach it.
Lock may be the same day 2 caliber QB prospect now that he was in 2019.
Roles maybe not filled on Seahawks yet: ILB, EDGE, RB2, iOL, DT, LS
Surely there are more “needs” but getting an ILB, an Edge, and an RB2 would be higher on the list. There is no longsnapper yet.
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I voted that Love would play more than Adams, but honestly it was only because I am still a little gun-shy about Adams possibly not being ready or getting hurt again. I don't claim to know or want to guess the future, so my vote was one out of concern/fear for Jamal's health.
As a Bronco and Drew Lock fan, I love reading your thoughts. Thanks for letting me read for free