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Am I lying to you?
Seaside Joe 1278: The question has been raised
There was a really interesting comment in Saturday’s college football thread that I can’t help but address in today’s episode of Seaside Joe. First of all, I do not dislike the comment and hold no ill will-levis towards the commenter, Bill, but I do think that the question is the same as accusing Seaside Joe of potentially being a liar.
“PS. Love the college posts. You will lose me though if you focus on good Grayson McCall highlights and bad highlights (lowlights) from all other QBs because your mind is made up.”
I know that a lot of people would read that and think a) “that’s not being accused of lying” and b) “it’s true, you do seem to have a bias towards Grayson McCall being the best option for the Seattle Seahawks in the draft.”
I understand that perspective, so allow me the opportunity to address it.
Yes, I do think that people who cherry pick highlights and lowlights are lying to you. That’s what I’ve been saying for the last three years on Seaside Joe and that’s a lot of what I saw on Twitter on Saturday from people who were not actually watching specific games, they were just excited to see a single highlight from Anthony Richardson or Will Levis or C.J. Stroud and call that “ball game” on the 2023 NFL Draft.
I can’t even begin to express how funny the concept is that there’s a writer out there who is doing that for….Grayson McCall.
Of course, I was watching Coastal Carolina vs. Army on Saturday evening—but nobody else who does what I do was watching that game. NOBODY. Why not? Besides the fact that most people had no access to Coastal Carolina vs. Army, the game was also being played at the same time that Richardson, Levis, Stroud, and Bryce Young were all playing.
I will be able to go back and watch all the important games that I missed (for those of you who were here last season, you know that I did that every week and that I never shied away from criticism of McCall or praise for other prospects) but I happen to think that McCall is the most entertaining and most valuable quarterback in college football.
That’s somehow not allowed to be a perspective.
If instead of praising McCall, I was praising Stroud or Levis or Richardson, then I’d be able to fit in with the same crowds that are allowed to do that with no challengers. Why? I think it still stems from the fact that McCall wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school in Indian Trail, NC, where he was crosstown rivals with Sam Howell, the five-star prospect who drew all the attention of scouts from that town.
So much of fandom at this level seems to come from “Well, I heard about this guy” because maybe there’s not enough time in the day to watch everybody and judge for yourself. When players aren’t highly-recruited, like Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, or Justin Herbert, to think of a few of many NFL stars who had two or fewer stars, they do have to fight that skepticism off for a while. It may not be throughout their college careers, Herbert made it obvious early on at Oregon that he was a steal, but they don’t get the leg up that guys like Young or Justin Fields get after being national stories for years prior to even graduating high school.
But I’m not writing this to defend McCall. I’ve said plenty about McCall that’s done that already and his play, if people choose to watch it, speaks for itself.
I’m writing this to clear up all the confusion that might exist between someone being a fan of a quarterback, which other writers are allowed to do if they’re fans of the “pre-approved quarterbacks” like Richardson or Bryce Young (who I have CONSISTENTLY called the best quarterback in the draft class), plus having a LIGHT-HEARTED obsession on this website that is meant to be entertaining, and the objective of identifying two sets of prospects in the 2023 draft class:
Those who you’d want on the Seahawks
Those who you wouldn’t
To think that I am eliminating all prospects from the former category who aren’t Grayson McCall, is just to have not been paying attention to what I’ve been writing for the last 18 months.
To think that writing that Will Levis is definitely in the latter category so far is “only because I happen to think McCall is better”…Levis, like how I was told that I was wrong about Malik Willis and Desmond Ridder, is perfectly capable of being overrated without it having anything to do with any other quarterback in the country.
So far it just seems like a lot of people are saying “I heard about Will Levis” and that’s enough for them to think that being a fan of the Kentucky quarterback is okay, but being a fan of a Coastal Carolina quarterback is just for shits and giggles.
And will Will Levis be good? I HOPE SO! I love good quarterbacks. That’s my favorite thing about football.
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I don’t even know if there are other Seahawks writers on the internet who have even dedicated time to studying potential franchise quarterbacks for next year, let alone a writer who has been doing that since a year prior to Wilson being traded, but surely anyone who has been reading Seaside Joe knows that I’ve not only highlighted McCall…I’ve given you lists of more than 150 college quarterbacks to start considering. I’ve highlighted the consensus rankings, which don’t have McCall anywhere near the top. I made a top-five QB list that didn’t have McCall at number one.
I’ve written a shorter list of eight names who should be focused on and that even included Levis because I know my opinion is not the only valuable opinion.
Nobody is more fair about evaluating the quarterback talent for the 2023 draft than I am, and that may not be hard to do because I don’t even know who else is attempting to do that right now. Or even any time prior to next February’s combine.
But it was that preparation that I had a year ago that made me so confident that Desmond Ridder and Malik Willis were not first or second round picks—while other Seahawks draft writers were literally selling you on the premise that Seattle was going to trade up for Ridder in the first round—that I didn’t even feel the need to write about the 2022 quarterback class in great detail. I had studied them, it was clearly the weakest class since 2013, and I moved onto other positions. Willis and Ridder got drafted in round three.
Over the next six months, you might read me praise Grayson McCall again. Why? He’s actually good. Will I make note of it when McCall makes mistakes? Yes! I always have, whenever those moments happen, although (and this is where it gets into tricky territory of assuming I’m not objective) they are rare. He only has six career interceptions. I don’t know how else to sell this to people: I’m not crazy, Grayson McCall is good.
During that time, will I criticize other quarterbacks who are not McCall? You bet. One has nothing to do with the other.
Will I praise other quarterbacks who are not McCall? I have spent more time on McCall than I have on Bryce Young, but I’ve said nicer things about Young than I’ve said about McCall. I mean, I don’t even think I’ve ever said that McCall has a first round grade.
Based on what I saw on Saturday’s game, in which McCall was 12-of-17 for 173 yards and three touchdowns, plus a rushing score, it further confirmed that Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell is going to continue to emphasize a rushing attack ahead of a passing attack. (knock knock Pete Carroll) McCall will skate through another season going mostly unnoticed and then I believe he will start moving up the boards after the Senior Bowl and combine…by the end, maybe he is a third round pick.
If he doesn’t go to the Seahawks, that’s fine. Having the #McCawww campaign is not meant to change history. I don’t think that John Schneider is subscribed to Seaside Joe. (Yet.) It’s meant to be fun. If more people notice that McCall is a player worth watching, then that’s great too. As I said, nobody else is doing it.
Do I know that McCall will have a good NFL career? No, of course not. But honestly at this point, if McCall even gets drafted, I think Seaside Joe will have the right to pop champagne because he’s not on anybody else’s radar. When I was tweeting about McCall on Saturday, I would go search Twitter for what others were saying about McCall…and 50% of the tweets were my own!
I’m already in the middle of watching Will Levis’s 2022 debut against Miami of Ohio. Next I’ll move onto Richardson, Young, Stroud, and so on. I’m always looking for the next player who will make the game of football more interesting, more exciting, and transcend the barriers of being perfectly average or wildly inconsistent, which most college quarterbacks fall into. I didn’t ask to believe in McCall, he just happens to have been the one overlooked player out of many dozens that I have watched in the last two years who consistently does the right things.
Whether he will have the deep passing attack necessary to be an above-average starter in the NFL is something that I do not have the answer to and we may not find out until he’s in an offense that tests his capabilities a bit more. Whether the Seahawks should draft him at some point? I can’t say yet. Whether he has the accuracy, leadership, confidence, or athleticism, there should be no doubts.
So, am I going to lie to you about the 2023 draft over the next six months? No—but I’m grateful that you asked the question, Bill, and we should always be questioning our ‘trusted’ sources. I’m not going to lie to you about the quarterbacks or prospects at other positions in the draft. That’s not what happens at Seaside Joe. That’s what’s happening almost everywhere else.