Sunday, April 23, 2023

Mini-Mock #4 - Seahawks Draft for Now and Later


If this were my final pre-draft mock, I'd be happy.  

If this were the Seahawks actual selections through the first two rounds of the draft, I'd be ecstatic. 

In the penultimate SeahawksFTW Mini-Mock Draft, the Seattle Seahawks add two impact defensive starters, filling major needs from last season, while also fortifying the few weak spots on their offensive front with additional potential starters to protect your recently extended franchise quarterback.  

I had only intended to continue the two round mock drafts I've been putting out, but I accidentally forgot to change it from the default three round mock.  So in this bonus addition, you see the Seahawks 83rd overall selection, where we drafted a quarterback to train under Geno.

In this mock, Bryce Young was taken with the top pick. At this point, its hard not to assume that to be the consensus #1 pick.  The Texans then shake things up in this mock, by going with Anthony Richardson with the second pick.  The Cardinals snatched up Jalen Carter at #3 with the Colts taking Will Levis at #4.

I had the interesting decision of having a lot of options at #5, but it felt like trading back would've cost us taking any of the guys we were targeting. For a while I expected the Seahawks to trade back to obtain more 2nd and 3rd round picks-- where the Seahawks bread is typically buttered.

However, after running a number of these mocks, it feels like there is too much disparity between the top and bottom of the first round.  I don't know who the Seahawks will take with that fifth overall choice, but whoever they take will be transformative. 

In this mock, I went with the best player available, passing up CJ Stroud to take Will Anderson, Jr. If available to them, the Seahawks need to find a way to fit him into their defense. 

With pick #20, I was planning to address interior defensive line help.  None of my preferred players were available besides Bryan Bresee, but Nolan Smith was still there and I couldn't pass on that guy.  He's not only sensational on the field, but he has tremendous character off the field, as well. Total Seahawk guy.  

With these two now in the fold, my thought is that Dre Jones and Jarran Reed will handle the interior of the line, with the new guys coming off the edges in rotation with Boye Mafe, Darrell Taylor, and company. 

I wasn't planning for it to go down this way, but with both of my second round draft picks I went with interior offensive linemen.  After the Nolan Smith pick, I knew I had to go offense.  In my limited planning, I was thinking I would take the best Center available and hopefully add an offensive weapon, either a running back or a receiver.  

When I was on the clock, however, the available player pool changed my mind.

O'Cyrus Torrence is a big, agile, right guard that could plug in right away in this offense. He could also sit behind Haynes or Lewis and be eased in slowly.  I've made it explicitly clear how I feel about preparing for attrition.  We've barely had capable starters on this roster the past few seasons, let alone competent backups.  Seattle needs a more robust offensive line room and this move shores that up nicely.

Just a few picks later, I selected another interior offensive lineman who could very likely be in the week one starting lineup.  Center Joe Tippmann was one of Brock Huard's "Very Biased Draft Profiles" as his favorite Center in this year's draft.  

Austin Blythe, while knowledgeable, didn't possess the strength and athleticism needed to be a serviceable lineman in the NFL last year.  His decision to retire at the end of the season seems to indicate that he would agree with me.  

I was shocked to discover that Joey Hunt is still on the Seahawks roster. Joey Hunt is a less experienced version of Austin Blythe.  The Seahawks did sign Evan Brown, the former Lions G/C, to presumably start the season at center, but his versatility would allow for the Seahawks to make these two picks in the second round and let competition dictate the starting lineup.  

If Torrence shines in camp, but Tippmann struggles, then Brown starts the season at Center.  

If Tippman really shows initiative but Torrence is slow to start, Brown can slide over to guard while Tippman handles Center duties. 

We're only two rounds into the 2023 NFL draft and Seattle has addressed immediate needs with their first four picks.  They still have 6 choices remaining and the undrafted free agency period.  Things are looking pretty sweet in the Pacific Northwest.

With their only selection in the third round, knowing that critical needs have already been addressed, I knew we had some flexibility here.  I could take a riskier move without too much consequence.  

I decided to take Quarterback Hendon Hooker out of Tennessee.  Hooker reminds me a little of our own Geno Smith and would benefit from sitting behind him for a season or two while we still have Geno under contract.  Now, this does likely mean that we'd have to carry three quarterbacks on our roster all year, because Drew Lock was resigned as well.

I would be perfectly fine having Hooker as the third QB running the scout team.  I would probably carry one less Wide Receiver on my roster to compensate, which is acceptable to me given that Seattle doesn't have much beyond Metcalf and Lockett. 

They'll add competition to that group in the later rounds of the draft and the undrafted free agency period. They have always been able to find gems like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse after the draft concludes.

It's exciting to think how this particular draft scenario might play out.  What late round steals could the Seahawks pull off in this year's draft to help reload their roster?  If they can land 4 players like this to address immediate concerns at the top, they will have incredible flexibility for the remainder of the draft. 

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