2022 NFL Mock Draft: Seahawks upgrade offensive line, defense in 2-round mock
By avoiding a QB prospect who isn't ready for a team who isn't ready, Seattle re-sets the future of the roster by drafting locally and finding two combine stars
Well, it turns out that all that preparation for the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft was for good reason after all.
I started Seaside Joe in February of 2021 with a tilt towards preparing hard for a draft class than I ever had before; despite the fact that the team that is featured on Seaside Joe—the Seattle Seahawks—wouldn’t have a first round pick unless they somehow traded for one. On Tuesday, the Seahawks went from picking 41st in the 2022 NFL Draft, to picking 9th, 40th, and 41st.
For those of you who have stuck with this newsletter, from the discovery of Grayson McCall as “the next Zach Wilson”, through a college season in which I ranked the top-10 or top-30 quarterback prospects every week, all the way to making more Grayson predictions for 2022, I hope you’ll find the journey more satisfying even though Seattle has gone from having a franchise quarterback to having a lot more draft capital.
It’s time to make use of that draft capital, as well as the research we’ve done here at Seaside Joe already on the 2022 NFL Draft, and much more to come! Don’t be a fool, hit this button if you haven’t already because this will be a haven for Seahawks draft content:
I’m so excited to debut the initial offerings of a 2022 Seahawks two-round mock draft.
2022 Seahawks NFL Mock Draft (No Trades)
9. OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
As many of you know already, I believe drafting a quarterback early will be team suicide. It will be destructive both for the Seahawks and the quarterback who would be thrust onto a roster that needs immense help before it can think to be competitive in 2-3 years, knowing the QB will not be ready from Week 1.
I will still give you a taste of what drafting a QB early will look like-but not yet.
For now, it’s time to start considering the possibilities of a tackle like Charles Cross manning the left or right side for Seattle’s offensive line for at least eight or nine years. The 6’5, 307 lbs tackle out of Mississippi State—same home as former Seahawks picks Floyd Womack and Justin Senior, as well as Seattle right guard Gabe Jackson—measured up like an elite offensive line prospect at the combine:
34.5” arms, nearly 11-inch hands, and a 4.95 40-yard dash that puts him in rare company for players of his size. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compares Cross to a cross between Taylor Moton and Tristan Wirfs in terms of size and playing style.
Two-year starter who plays with a high level of consistency from game to game, no matter the opponent. Cross is an average athlete but he's strong, plays to his length and has sticky, strong hands. Despite limited starting experience, he's well-schooled and knows how to play. He has average slide range, so edge rockets are going to beat him to the top of the rush at times, but he does a nice job of utilizing length and footwork to recover when beaten. He plays with strong, inside hands and a broad, powerful core. He's an ace at neutralizing power rushers and is above average in sustain and finish modes as a drive blocker. Cross' play strength, hand placement and body control should allow for a relatively smooth transition into the league, where he can become a good, long-time starter at either tackle position.
Take a look around the NFL, specifically at the offensive tackles—it’s easy, go to OurLads.com and search by tackle—and tell me what you see:
Ronnie Stanley, Laremy Tunsil, Tyron Smith, Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas, Jonah Williams, Garrett Bolles, Kolton Miller, Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, Taylor Decker, Ryan Ramczyk, D.J. Humphries… Not only a stable of first round picks (most in the top-15) but then there’s the tackles who cost a first in trade like Orlando Brown and Trent Williams. This now includes both left and right tackles.
Pete Carroll drafted Russell Okung with his first pick as coach of the Seahawks. I put the odds at over 50-percent that he will re-set the organization with a new offensive tackle again. If Seattle doesn’t trade up, Cross might be the best tackle who could fall out of the top-eight.
Disagree? I NEED Seasiders to tell me in the COMMENTS—WHAT YOU THINK?
40. CB Kyler Gordon, Washington
I believe that the Seahawks can now be major players in free agency and that should include John Schneider and the front office at least attempting to enter negotiations with Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson. But fortifying the secondary wouldn’t stop there and it wouldn’t even necessarily stop if Seattle signed both Jackson and D.J. Reed or Carlton Davis and Reed.
In the modern NFL, you can never have too many offensive weapons—so that means you can never have too many answers for them.
The Seahawks drafted Ben Burr-Kirven in 2019 and Will Dissly in 2018, so Carroll doesn’t shy away from local prospects. Of course, the team also got plenty of value out of undrafted free agents like Jermaine Kearse and they added Sidney Jones to the secondary in 2021. Gordon would represent the first primo Huskies NFL draft prospect for Seattle since Jerramy Stevens in 2002.
The 5’11, 194 lb cornerback ran a 4.52 at the combine and he has the physical mentality that Carroll loves in a defensive back. Says Zierlein:
Cornerback who comes with an elite, high-performance engine but a GPS still in the process of loading. Gordon's dynamic athletic qualities will show up in testing, but more importantly, they are all over his tape. His blend of play strength and explosive burst affects the passing game from press, off-man and zone coverages. He plays with an alpha demeanor and hitting is definitely part of his overall package. Gordon lacks polish and needs to play with better route recognition and anticipation, but if those elements click, his ball production could be near the top of the league as one of the top playmakers in the game.
It could be teammate Trent McDuffie projected to Seattle in the first round, or Gordon in the second round, or the Seahawks trading around and shifting places before landing a cornerback somewhere—but for a roster that currently only has Tre Brown and Bless Austin and John Reid essentially signed for next season, the fortification of a strong cornerbacks room could be a top priority over the next six weeks.
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41. ILB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
If the Seahawks pull the trigger on this immaculate athlete of a linebacker and an immediate replacement (in position only) of Bobby Wagner.
Chenal didn’t draw hardly any first round buzz and was hardly even a lock to leave college football after his junior season with the Badgers, but his combine performance solidified him as a true day one prospect—with maybe a day two future because the non-quarterbacks in the 2022 draft are so deep. At 6’2, 250 lbs, Chenal ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash and posted a 40” vertical with a 128” broad—both scores landing him in the top-five for his position group.
Kent Lee Platte input the numbers in his Relative Athletic Score and came out with an ELITE measurement on Leo Chenal in both speed and explosion for a linebacker, ranking him as the fourth-most athletic linebacker since 1987:
Zierlein compared him to former USC and Bengals linebacker Ray Maualuga, who once played for Pete Carroll in college:
Inside linebacker with a densely muscled frame for full-contact fighting between the tackles. Chenal is like a cinder block. His limbs absorb contact without losing balance or positioning. The power and toughness are outstanding but his technique, play recognition and discipline need more work. He's tightly bound, lacking the fluidity and lateral agility for consistent success as an open-field tackler. He won't offer much in coverage but has success as a power blitzer. Chenal has rare point-of-attack power and will be a handful inside the box, but will be limited by athletic deficiencies. He might never be more than a good backup or low-end starter but he should be able to make a living in the league.
And Mason Thompson of Prime Time Sports Talk gave Chenal exceptional scores for Instincts, Tackling, Block Shedding, Run Defense, Pass Rush Skills, Versatility, comparing him to Jamie Collins:
Chenal is an intriguing study at the linebacker position. He is an old-school thumper that relies on his instincts more than anything. He is a team leader and was the voice of the defense at Wisconsin. His limitations come primarily due to his limited athleticism. A team that can deploy him in multiple positions and spread him around the defense primarily in blitz and early-down situations will be beneficial to his development. A few teams like the Giants, Patriots, and Dolphins are likely primary fits due to their success with using similar players under Bill Belichick and Flores during his time in Miami.
If this was Seattle’s first two rounds of the draft, they’d enter the next four seasons with an offensive tackle prospect who could protect a franchise quarterback that the Seahawks draft in 2023; a cornerback who could develop into a premier outside starter within three years; and a linebacker who could immediately slot next to Jordyn Brooks at linebacker and give Seattle their next version of Wagner/K.J. Wright, or at least an attempt to do that.
Don’t like this scenario? I’ll draw up another one SOON so you better hit subscribe and then get down there in the comments and tell me what I need to do differently next time!
Particularly like Cross and Gordon. Also like your Washington state RT pick. Given the dynamics of yesterday, I feel John will be out to prove his ability in this draft and FA.
Please get Jordan Davis into this equation, possibly with a trade down with Minnesota Cle or Balt to garner more draft picks.