Seahawks 2-round mock draft: 4 picks, 3 trades, 1 Jalen Carter
How Seahawks trade up for Jalen Carter without losing draft capital: 4/19/2023
What I’ve learned from the 2023 NFL Draft season is that if you can block out the noise that happens between February and the first round, you don’t have to keep changing your opinions to fit the mainstream talking points du jour. Most of the draft world came out of the 2022 college season knowing that Bryce Young was the prize to go get and so that’s why I’ve never circled wagons around the idea that the Carolina Panthers moved up for C.J. Stroud or Anthony Richardson.
Barring what would now be a huge surprise to most, the Panthers will select Young with the first overall pick next Thursday.
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Similarly, Stroud, Richardson, and Will Levis haven’t moved much on my board. I’ve had to make adjustments, it would be irresponsible and unfair to do anything else, but I remain lower on the other three quarterbacks as compared to the narrative. I just can’t accept that Richardson and Levis will comprise half of what would be “the most historic QB class in NFL Draft history”.
And as difficult as it can be to push back against people who desperately want you to lower your grade on the highest-rated prospect in the draft because of impossible-to-argue-an-intangible “character concerns”, I have to believe that Jalen Carter is the next-closest elite player in the 2023 draft after Young because that’s what every analyst can agree on.
That’s why I have consistently said that Carter is the prospect who the Seattle Seahawks would most like to come out of this draft with — not saying “The Seahawks must only be having a visit with Carter because they must believe he’s going to be available on day two” one week and then “Sure, he’s a top-10 pick just not for Seattle” the next…If Carter is good enough to go ninth, he’s good enough to fifth. If he’s a steal at five, he’s good enough to go second.
I’m not saying that Carter’s red flags should be ignored, but what I can definitively guarantee is that USC quarterback Caleb Williams will go into the 2024 draft as an even better prospect than Young and the media will still hammer out “I don’t know about this dude…He paints his nails!” content day after day because there just has to be something.
On February 28, 2023, people knew about Todd McShay’s report on Carter, they knew about the car accident, they knew about concerns related to conditioning, and they still said that the Bears would draft him first overall if they didn’t trade down. What has verifiably changed about Carter’s status since he left the combine on March 1st? He pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor and received 12 months of probation and he showed up 9 lbs heavier at his pro day than at the combine and he didn’t even need to show up at all.
There’s a writer of another Seahawks blog, his name is Rob Staton, and he’s long done some very good work on the draft. I recommend his website, whether you agree or disagree with him, because it’s entertaining either way.(Maybe even moreso if you disagree.) But I think he made some misleading comments from the combine about how Bryce Young didn’t throw because he “didn’t want to look so bad compared to Richardson, Stroud, and Levis.”
In fact, Young didn’t throw because he didn’t have to throw and it’s long been the case that the presumed number one pick hasn’t thrown at the combine because he has nothing left to prove.
Jalen Carter could literally gain nine pounds if he eats a big meal. Everyone made a big deal about how “Bryce Young’s combine weigh-in doesn’t matter, he probably just didn’t go to the bathroom for a week.” And yet Carter could have weighed five pounds heavier instead of nine pounds heavier and would this even be a talking point?
This March noise is entertaining as long as you recognize that’s all that it is, but I imagine that it will make the actual draft confusing for people who couldn’t sift through a) what’s for the media, b) what’s for the fans, c) what’s actually real. I don’t think that C) is that confusing because it’s not based on what’s happened in the last few months but what’s been learned from the last few years.
I don’t yet feel vindicated and I can’t say that “I’m right” because we still have eight days until the draft, but keeping steady on Bryce Young and then seeing the media do a 360 (or a 180, depending on when you started paying attention to it) on him as the number one pick leads me to believe that we were right to stay the course and to focus our attention on who else the Seahawks could target.
Throughout this process I have pointed to prospects who are not Carter, including Will Anderson and Devon Witherspoon above all others, but that has mostly been attributed to a few key factors: Me not expecting Carter to be available at #5, Me not believing that a team would trade up for a non-QB, and Me not expecting Anderson to be available at #5.
I now do believe that Will Anderson could get out of the top-four. However, I’m less sure that he’s the player who Seattle is mostly after, should they get the opportunity to draft Carter. If they can’t draft Anderson or Carter, then maybe Tyree Wilson’s get-off and length from multiple defensive line positions will be attractive to them, but the way that Witherspoon plays the game is perhaps equally magnetic.
What if instead we said “Screw it! This IS the year that a team trades into the top-three for someone other than a quarterback!”
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It couldn’t hurt to try, at least for some football fan fiction, to try and assess what it would cost for the Seahawks to trade picks with the Houston Texans, a team that I think is 100% ready to deal but not interested in dropping too far down to target Anderson or Wilson. I think the Texans could just as easily hang at two and shock everyone by picking Carter themselves, but not only does Seattle have the ammunition to move up…they have leftover bullets to trade down and reload.
This is a 2-round mock draft in which the Seahawks make 3 trades and still make 4 picks
What you’ll read:
Why the Seahawks and Texans would swap picks at 2 and 5
Cooper Kupp and DeAndre Hopkins find new homes
A shocking team fit for Will Levis
The right trade partner for the Seahawks to move down at 20
Anthony Richardson’s ideal landing spot
Team trades back into Round 1 for Hendon Hooker
Seahawks find trade partner for Noah Fant, but replace him with rookie TE prospect
Seahawks add Carter, WR, TE, EDGE
An original two-round mock draft that didn’t go off of anyone else’s mock draft ideas and will be just as inaccurate as everyone else!
1. Panthers - QB Bryce Young, Alabama