Seahawks top three 2023 QB targets through Week 9
Number 3: Will Levis
NFL Comp: B+ version of Josh Allen
How in the world do you have Will Levis over Hendon Hooker? I get it, but this is not a poll on who’s the best college football quarterback, this is a ranking on who’s the best draft fit for a Seattle Seahawks team that is trying to win a championship in the next three years.
Levis was awful on Saturday, there’s no denying this. Levis is also extremely hurt, as they talked about in the broadcast. I compare Levis to Allen not just because they can make all the throws, but also the mobility factor, and right now Levis can’t run like he has. There’s also the factor that Kentucky was overwhelmed from a talent perspective by Tennessee, and Levis was playing from behind almost instantly.
Levis needs to finish this season, get healthy, and get to the combine where he’ll likely blow many of the names on this list in the dust in terms of measurables and intangibles.
Remember, Josh Allen had a terrible year at Wyoming before Buffalo provided him the right environment to succeed. I expect Levis can follow in his path, but I do believe another quarterback prospect has surpassed him.
Number 2: Anthony Richardson
NFL Comp: A young Cam Newton
I saw all I needed to see from Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson in a 42-20 loss to their rival Georgia Bulldogs. On the first offensive play of the game for Florida, Richardson showed off his ridiculous mobility, running around for about 45 yards just to get a modest gain. When you’re making Georgia look foolish trying to tackle you, that’s some real speed and strength.
Unfortunately for Richardson, he was injured running to the sidelines on that play. With his mobility compromised and his team in serious danger, Richardson stayed in the game and battled the best team in the country without his legs.
Down 28-3, Richardson began to give Georgia some Falcons Super Bowl PTSD, as he led the Gators back to a 20-28 score. Richardson was clearly in pain the whole night, but he showed courage, leadership, and greatness in a loss.
Few teams scare Georgia as AR-15 did there for about 15-20 minutes, and that was without his legs. He’s still young, and a bit wild, but there is no doubt in my mind that he’s the most talented QB prospect in this class.
He’ll need time and the right environment, but his ceiling in the NFL and potentially for the Seahawks is a HOF talent. On Saturday, he showed HOF heart and leadership.
Number 1: CJ Stroud
NFL Comp: Joe Burrow
For the first time in a while, Stroud faced adversity. In a brutal environment at Penn State, the Buckeyes were threatened. Down 21-16 with 9 minutes to go, Ohio State went on a rapid 28-3 run and eventually won 44-31.
Stroud’s numbers look good. He went 26/33 for 354 yards and a touchdown. He continues to show incredible accuracy and was superb when he needed to be. There were also some really troubling signs that need to be corrected.
Maybe it’s because I watched every Russell Wilson game since he was at Wisconsin, but delay-of-game penalties are my biggest pet peeve. Wilson was and continues to be terrible at managing the clock. If he was better at it, the Seahawks probably beat the 49ers in the 2019 NFC West championship game, and who knows how far Seattle may have gone.
CJ Stroud was absolutely terrible at managing the play clock on Saturday. Fox analyst Joel Klatt kept hammering him on it, and the camera showed how two massive play clocks were right in front of Stroud to see those penalties. That can’t happen in a CFP game, and it can’t happen in the NFL.
I don’t mean to pile on my top QB, but he wasn’t great at milking the clock late, and he got sacked at the end of the first half on a play where he absolutely couldn’t have gotten sacked. The Ohio State defense was fantastic, and Stroud and the Buckeyes are still my title favorites, but he’ll need to be better down the stretch. If I needed a rookie to start next year and try to win a championship for the Seahawks, then Stroud is the guy.