I think Will Anderson is Pete Carroll's dream prospect: Why pick no. 5 absolutely sucks
The most competitive player in the draft probably isn't going to make it to Seattle, so what should the Seahawks do instead?
I’m going to start with the bad news because while I hate to tangle with “never” scenarios, it’s hard to ignore what’s important about this story: Will Anderson is almost certainly not going to be drafted by the Seattle Seahawks.
Let’s talk about why that is so unlikely first and then talk about why Anderson is so good for Pete Carroll.
First of all, if the Seahawks stay at pick five, then Anderson needs to get past four other draft slots before Seattle has their chance. Wednesday’s news about Jalen Carter’s character concerns coming to light make it that much harder to rate anyone other than Anderson as the top non-QB prospect in the 2023 draft class. He may just be number one, period.
Okay, so then you go through the teams in front of the Seahawks: Bears, Texans, Cardinals, and Colts. You see that at least one of them doesn’t need a quarterback (Arizona) and Anderson would seemingly be a perfect fit for Jonathan Gannon’s re-loaded defense when there isn’t another prospect known to be valued that highly yet. If Chicago feels comfortable with Justin Fields at quarterback, then that makes two teams ahead of Seattle.
Anderson not being one of the first two non-QBs selected is extremely unlikely at this point, two months before the draft.
Even in a scenario in which the Lions, Raiders, Falcons, or Panthers trade up with the Bears to draft a quarterback, you’ve still got three picks between one and five, and even if two of those are quarterbacks—surely the odds are in favor of the other pick being Anderson. It could be to the Cardinals, it could be to the Bears if they only trade down with Houston or Indianapolis.
There’s also, in my opinion, still a chance that the Texans or Colts will feel like they don’t need to force a quarterback pick in the draft if Bryce Young goes first overall and out of their plans. Others say that the draft is “never” going to have fewer than two QBs in the top-four, but I don’t get tangled with “never”; Anderson is an ideal pick for Houston head coach DeMeco Ryans.
So then you say, “Okay Joe, but maybe the Seahawks trade up for Will Anderson.”
Setting aside Pete and John’s complete lack of history with trading up in the first round, it’s nearly unprecedented for teams to do that in the top-five without the move being for a quarterback. At least, in the modern draft era. If the Seahawks trade up with the Bears, which is unlikely and most Seasiders expressed disdain for such a move when I brought it up in January, it’s for Young.
A trade with the Texans at two seems irrational, Houston has no need for it. A trade with the Cardinals? No way. A trade from five to four doesn’t make any sense.
Therefore, we can eliminate the possibility of the Seahawks trading up for Anderson. We are getting very close to the point of impossible that Anderson wouldn’t be one of the first four picks in the draft.
Never say never but damn it, the Seahawks odds of getting Will Anderson bring back memories of the Seattle Mariners falling just short of Stephen Strasburg. And if you go way back to the first Seahawks draft, settling for Steve Niehaus when the other expansion team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, got the first overall pick and future Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon.
What I am not here to do is to tell you that just because Seattle won’t get Anderson, that they will end up with Niehaus or Dustin Ackley. Or that Anderson is guaranteed to have elite success at the NFL level. I know that there are those who believe he’s already peaked, similar to Jadeveon Clowney’s post-college experience in the pros. But I’m not here to argue that Anderson’s on a track to the Hall of Fame or that the second-best edge prospect, whether it’s Tyree Wilson, Lukas Van Ness, or other, is going to be worse.
My only point is this: Pete Carroll’s probably crushed by the fact that Anderson is likely out of the Seahawks reach.
He’s got Pete’s number one most favorite attribute—”competitiveness”—dripped all over him unlike 99.9% of draft prospects.
In this bonus post, I’ll go over the Wednesday interview with Anderson that showcases his personality, his effort, his history as a rare favorite of Nick Saban who will have a lifelong pass in Alabama, and where the Seahawks will be left once they are left without him. I’ve got my second, third, and fourth favorite scenarios to play out that don’t involve Anderson.
It doesn’t have to be worse. Never say always.