Seahawks should target two Tennessee Vols stars in upcoming drafts

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) exits the field after Tennessee's game against Alabama in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022.Kns Ut Bama Football Bp
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) exits the field after Tennessee's game against Alabama in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022.Kns Ut Bama Football Bp /

The Seahawks have a massive amount of draft capital in the coming years. I can’t think of a better way to spend it than on two Tennesse Vols stars, Hendon Hooker and Jalin Hyatt. It’s hardly an overstatement to say that the Seahawks offense has been a surprise this season.

Hooker was supposed to be a stopgap at best has arguably been the best quarterback in the league. I give Geno Smith all the credit in the world for keeping the focus on the team, not himself. Leading the league in completion percentage and passer rating, he deserves some credit. At this point, he’s obviously the only choice for Comeback Player of the Year. Heck, if the defense ever comes around, he’ll be in the running for MVP.

While Geno has been lighting up the opposition, he isn’t exactly what you would call young, either. Sure, Aaron Rodgers is still playing well, and Tom Brady is, what, 83? Still, Geno just turned 32 earlier this week. He should have plenty left in the tank, especially as he’s been riding the pine for the past six years.

Regardless, if you’re relying on a 32-year-old QB, you’re not looking far enough ahead. And with all their draft capital, the Seahawks are definitely planning for the long term.

Seahawks can pick up their next two stars at Neyland Stadium

And that brings me around to the Tennesse Volunteers and their stunning victory over Alabama. For those 12s who aren’t familiar with the University of Tennesee’s program, they have a long history of being also-rans. They play in the nation’s best college football conference, the SEC. Sorry Pac-12 fans, but the last three champs have come from the Southeastern Conference, and 12 of the last 16. It’s been six years since Tennessee was even ranked, due to the insane competition they face week in, week out.

Things look different this year in Knoxville. They beat the Crimson Tide – that’s Alabama for those unfamiliar with the college game – for the first time in 16 tries on Saturday. That’s more than a big deal -that’s huge. Picture the Seahawks Sweeping the Cards, Niners, and Rams, then winning the Super Bowl and you’ll just scratch the surface of how big a win this was.

The two players most responsible for the win are quarterback Hendon Hooker and wide receiver Jalin Hyatt. Hooker has been on the national radar as one of 2023’s top draftees for some time now. Our own Michael Thompson had him slated as the fifth-best fit for the Seahawks before this game. Any quarterback that hangs five touchdowns on Alabama is going to move up in the rankings.

Before this game, Hooker had thrown for 1,432 yards with a 70 percent completion rate in five contests. He’d thrown for ten touchdowns with no picks, and run for 231 yards and three more scores. Alabama did pick him off once, but that hardly makes up for the 385 yards and five touchdowns. Hooker is accurate. mobile, and can throw the deep ball as well as anyone in this draft. The 6’4″ senior will looks every bit like the prototype NFL QB.

The surprise player here is Vols wide receiver, Jalin Hyatt. The 6’0″ junior has been a steady player at Tennessee, playing ten games as a freshman. He made steady improvement as a sophomore but took over as the Vols leading receiver this year. Coming into Saturday’s game, he already led Tennessee with 27 catches for 388 yards and five touchdowns.

He had a spectacular day versus one of the nation’s toughest defenses. He caught all five of Hooker’s touchdown passes, racking up 207 yards in the process. By the way, you’ll see some sites list Hyatt as 6’2″ or even 6’3″, but the University’s own site lists him as 6’0″. I’d think if anyone was going to exaggerate, it would be his own team.

His 4.3 speed sure would look good in College Navy, Wolf Gray, and Action Green. The only downside to Hyatt is that he won’t be eligible for the NFL draft until 2024. That is unless he graduates early. Hit the books, Mr. Hyatt, we’d love to see you on the Seahawks!

As I said several hundred words ago, Geno Smith has been playing extraordinary football. But to expect him to continue playing at this level for the next ten years isn’t merely unrealistic, it’s ridiculous. Keeping Smith in Seattle for a few more years and bringing in Hendon Hooker to learn from him would be perfect for the Seahawks.

After all, Patrick Mahomes got one start in his rookie season. Aaron Rodgers didn’t get a start until year four. It isn’t unreasonable to actually let a QB sit for a year or two to improve their craft. I mean, look what it did for Geno.

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As for Hyatt, the Hawks have been desperate to find a third wide receiver to work along with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Yes, it would be so much better if we could nab him in next year’s draft. But with another year under his belt, he’ll likely be that much better. The Hawks draft bonanza from the Russell Wilson trade will have played out by 2024, but they’ve been pretty savvy in the past when it comes to making deals. All I know is, there better be a pair of eyes in Renton trained on Knoxville for the foreseeable future.