2023 NFL Draft: What the top-10 looks like if there's only one QB picked
The Seahawks have needs, but this draft class doesn't seem to fit them: Seaside Bonus 2/21/2023
My apologies for not giving you a boring mock draft that adds no value to your life, doesn’t expand how you will think about the 2023 class and potential moves for various NFL teams, and is merely another copy/paste from everyone else who is doing the same thing out of fear that they’ll be ostracized for not towing the line.
Seaside Joe has already been ostracized beyond the point of fear of further excommunication. There is no ostra left for them to size out of me! So let me start by saying what others seem most afraid to say right now: This is not the great quarterback class we were sold on it being a year ago.
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When the Seattle Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for a package that included a 2022 first round pick, my immediate response was a plea for the team to not draft a quarterback. This was contrary to the vast majority of reactions from the media, which was that the Seahawks must either be lining up for another trade or picking one of the prospects in the top-10. But at Seaside Joe, the reaction was that Seattle lined themselves up perfectly to punt the quarterback position in 2022—they said that Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder were early first round picks, Joe said that they had third round grades—and to give a go in 2023.
That was partly predicated on a belief that the 2023 class would have several other quarterbacks besides Bryce Young step up to the plate and deliver on their potential, but I don’t see how that was the case:
Even the people who like C.J. Stroud add the caveat that without the Georgia game, his junior season was a disappointment.
Even the people who like Will Levis add the caveat that he was a lot better the season before and imply that he will need a ton of help at the next level to become a starter.
Even the people who like Anthony Richardson admit that he’s one of the rawest projects to ever be considered as an early first round pick and a must-sit for at least a year, if not two.
And yes, even the people who like Young, including me, have to admit that he’s built different than any other quarterback who has had success at the NFL level. Personally, I don’t have a problem with Young as the number one overall pick but in the other three cases—and potentially with Young as well depending on your stance—this has never been how we talk about elite quarterback prospects who go in the top-five of the draft.
At this point, I am not sure what would drive any team to any QB prospect besides Young other than a) desperation and b) a weak overall draft class. I believe we could have b) and I can’t rule out a), but we’ve also seen that busts at the position can lead to both GMs and coaches getting fired within a year.
Maybe those GMs are more hesitant to take these risks than what we’re being told by the media.
I’m not here to tell you that Stroud and Levis definitely won’t go in the top-10. I have only ever written from the perspective of what has happened in the past, what could happen in the future, and when I do give my personal opinions on football matters I make it abundantly clear that is it only an opinion. I’ve written that I’m skeptical of all the hype surrouding Levis and what could be wrong with skepticism? I’ve written that it’s possible that the NFL doesn’t value the 2023 QB class as highly as the media does, what could be wrong with questioning the media?
They bullshit us every year and never come back around to apologize for it, so why should 2023 be any different? They bullshitted us on Willis and the 2022 quarterbacks, they bullshitted us on Seattle’s “interest in Baker Mayfield”, and they place more value on their own social media virality and personal growth than ultimately sharing the truth.
Seaside Joe strives to consistently deliver content that embraces being on the outside of media after more than a decade of being on the inside of it, and like many of you I am well past being tired of all the bullshit. Not just because it is in the content that we read, watch, and listen to, but also because bullshit permeates our conversations with friends (“Well, I heard that…” and “No, that team would never do that because I read that…”) and invades our personal space every time we are engaged in NFL discourse.
This trickle down bullshit effect is extremely prevelant in NFL mock drafts.
Mock Drafter A says a thing with no need to validate → Mock Draft B repeats the thing as if it is validated → Mock Drafts C-Y proceed accordingly
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But there is that element to mock drafts and all of the draft related content that will come out between now and April 27th that makes certain talking points unavoidable. The Seahawks have picks 5 and 20 on day one and that’s REALLY IMPORTANT! It IS a big deal! I’m not going to ever say that it is not a big deal and I love the draft!
We want to know, speculate, and discuss what the Seahawks could do at pick five especially, it will be their highest draft pick since 2009 if they don’t move down, and that player will immediately be one of the highest-paid on the roster. I’ve done a lot of writing on the first round already and that’s not going to slow down over the next two months—sign up for Seaside Joe!—just because I think that mock drafts are mostly the NFL Internet version of TV static.
Today’s article is in some ways a mock draft: There are trades, there is speculation of who could be picked in the top-10 and to which teams they will go, and there’s fan fiction. I’m a fan. This is fiction.
But what you won’t see is the same tired live/die/repeat of every other mock draft you’ve read in the last month and will read in the next two: Have you read another NFL writer who is willing to speculate that the Bears trade Justin Fields and draft a quarterback? Have you read a mock that’s willing to say that there’s a version of the future in which teams aren’t as hyped on the QB class as the writers who keep copying each other? Have you come across draftniks that have said what so many of them should be thinking, which is that the 2023 class has the potential to be as weak as the 2013 class?
Instead of calling this a mock draft, what I’m actually attempting to do is run a thought experiment that asks a very relevant question to the Seahawks and most of the league: What if there is only QB picked in the top-10?
Where would that leave the Seahawks? How would it impact QB-needy teams in March? What would it mean for necessary trades before and on the day of the draft?
Anyone who says this is an impossibility not worthy of further thought is not someone who I need to have NFL Draft talks with, a) because I don’t think we should ever commit to believing we know the future, b) because thought experiments of all kinds help expand the way we think about things we care about, and c) because as laid out earlier this class is deserving of skepticism.
This is a rundown of the top-10 IF teams do not see anyone other than Young as a top-10 quarterback prospect. I would caution people against commenting how upset they are that, “Wow, you didn’t have (TEAM B) picking (QB B)! This is SO WRONG!” because that’s another mock draft. That’s all the other mock drafts you read. That’s not the premise of this mock draft! (I also realize that when you write an intro that is this long, many people will have skipped it to go straight to the picks and then immediately comment and will not read this paragraph; I’m not even mad at you, I skim too, but just know that I’ve now officially written this warning.)
What I believe we need more of is not copy/paste/repeating of the same scenarios, but to expand our discussions beyond the same stale bread you’re getting from 99% of NFL media. And because the Seahawks are in such a rare draft position this year with so much of that speculation centered on what Seattle will do at pick five if Will Anderson and Jalen Carter are gone (Levis? Stroud? Richardson? Tyree Wilson? You keep reading all the same answers), then it is actually important for Seaside Joe to cover it.
I’ll write this again when we hit the paywall but this article is so good that I decided it had to be for premium REGULAR JOES subscribers. Unlike my competitors though, I’m giving you an incredible amount of free content before the paywall as well as a daily free Seahawks newsletter for the last 1,450 days in a row, so I hope you either have enjoyed what you’ve read already, sign up for FREE, or join us at only $5/month to get the best content in this arena! Just yesterday was a really interesting premium article on Geno Smith’s agent!
Now, let’s talk about the 2023 NFL Draft in a way that so many others are afraid to…
1 - Bears, QB Bryce Young
Trade: Titans get Justin Fields, third rounder / Bears get pick 11
This is what I would do. To me, it’s a lot easier to protect “small” than it is to teach a young quarterback how to accurately throw the football and beat NFL defenses with fast processing speed and high-level decisionmaking and that includes Justin Fields. Folks talk a lot about “Well, this team should trade two first round picks to move up for C.J. Stroud or Will Levis” but if Fields is half as good as “people” say, then a team could trade less than that to Chicago for him.
If they’re desperate enough to trade up, why shouldn’t the Raiders, Panthers, Titans, Texans, Moons, Bucs, Saints be inquiring on Fields instead?
As I would exclude Seattle and the other NFC North teams from that list, so too would I scratch off a few others. What if the Bears traded Fields and a third to the Titans for pick 11? New Tennessee GM Ron Carthon was Director of Player Personnel when the Rams traded up for Jared Goff, Director of Pro Personnel when the 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, and Director of Player Personnel when the Niners traded up for Trey Lance.
He’s experienced in this kind of deal. It could be a trade up or it could be a deal for a veteran. The Titans have overhauled their offensive coaching staff recently and it could point towards a change at quarterback and they could still flip Ryan Tannehill for a second round pick to recoup draft capital. Three years ago, Fields was the 11th overall pick. Could a team still see him with that kind of draft value?
If so, the Bears could be in a better position with draft capital than if they trade down, keeping the first pick and still getting an extra early first in 2023. Chicago wouldn’t get Will Anderson or Jalen Carter but would still get one of the top remaining position prospects. There’s really no wrong direction they could go with their next pick and if they did this, they could set back the QB rookie contract clock by two years and get an immediate upgrade in the passing game.
2 - Texans, OLB Will Anderson
It’s all too easy for people to use this opportunity to simply connect the next-best QB to Houston just because they’re there and he’s there, but remember the point of this experiment is to test “What if teams don’t see Stroud, Levis, and Richardson as top-10 prospects?” So let’s test that.
What would happen if Young goes first and the Texans end up really disliking the other three prospects? Or if they feel like with pick 13 in their back pockets, they can get one of them shortly later? In that case, Will Anderson seems like a PERFECT fit for DeMeco Ryans.
In one of my write-ups last week on Tyree Wilson, many of you commented that your biggest takeaway from the evaluation is that there’s nobody in this draft like Will Anderson. I agree.
So while 99% of mock drafts have the Texans picking quarterback—for understandable reasons—doesn’t the Will Anderson choice look great for Houston? It’s a much better outcome than picking Derek Stingley and Kenyon Green a year ago and GM Nick Caserio is desperately in need of a hit. Ryans goes from coaching Nick Bosa, one of the main reasons he’s been a hot name on the interview circuit, to coaching a player often comped to Von Miller.
Houston has no talent and could go in any direction, plus they have other opportunities to take swings at quarterbacks in the draft. You would think that having the Texans pass on a QB at 2 feels very “click-baity” because it’s not what literally everyone else is copying from each other, but actually the more I look at it, the better it seems for them.
3 - Cardinals, DT Jalen Carter
Yeah there’s not much to explain here. New head coach Jonathan Gannon would love the pick. Arizona could shop it but again, we’re moving forward as if there aren’t any superb QB prospects on the board so the only player it would seem to make sense to trade up for is Carter and it just benefits the Cardinals more to stick and pick.
4 - Packers, DE Myles Murphy
Trade: Colts get Aaron Rodgers, pick 15 / Packers get picks 4, 35
First let’s start with how underwhelmed some of you are to see Myles Murphy this high. But that goes to my point about how much I dislike the top of this draft class! I really do not know where to point to that would make any Seahawks fan happy besides the fans who want to draft a quarterback. If Anderson and Carter are off the board, and I could see the draft continuing to trend in that direction, who exactly is going to knock your socks off?
Now, the trade: I know, Jim Irsay blurted out publicly that he likes Bryce Young. And everyone is saying that the Colts will not go the veteran route again this time. Well, who gives a shit what Irsay or “everyone” says? It’s usually bullshit.
All that being said, this is merely a FICTIONAL FANTASY OF A THING THAT COULD HAPPEN. As all mock draft fantasies, it doesn’t mean anything of substance that you could use to prove that it will happen. But when we run thought experiments like this, the point is to exhaust possibilities that others aren’t even considering so that maybe we can find out something else about teams or players that others aren’t seeing because they didn’t even look.
Aaron Rodgers seems finished in Green Bay. The Colts are going to cut Matt Ryan. Indianapolis has enough money for Rodgers. Irsay went 11-5 with Philip Rivers in 2020, he surely knows that Rodgers is better than that move. Rodgers could be enough to get the Colts back atop the AFC South in 2023. While pick 4 might be an overpay, I think letting Green Bay move up nine spots and sacrificing a second rounder could get the deal done and Indy would still have a first round pick to get an offensive weapon.
The Packers biggest need is help and depth on the edges and so this move would guarantee them their top pick at the position, with Murphy described by some as the perfect fit in Green Bay’s defense.
Okay, as I said, the rest of the article is for Seaside Joe premium subscribers, starting with what the Seahawks might do if this as how the top-four fell. Join us, it’s only $55/year and that’s like .10 cents per article to support a mom and pop Seahawks business with extreme consistency.