4 prospects Seahawks could reach for at No. 20 in 2023 NFL Draft

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Reach No. 4: Seahawks could draft edge rusher Nolan Smith

Picking Nolan Smith in the first round is a bit like taking Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson high in the draft. What teams would be betting on with both players is that their immense athletic ability can make them productive while they are still truly learning how to play their positions. Smith has the physical attributes to be a good edge rusher in the NFL, but can he? No one really knows.

Smith played four years at Georgia but he wasn’t one of the top guys at his position until 2023. That may have to do with Georgia basically being an NFL minor league team, but it could be that Georgia coach Kirby Smart simply saw something else from the other players in the edge rusher group. Smith was solid in college but his numbers don’t really scream first-round choice. In his last season at Georgia, he played in eight games and had 3 sacks and 7 tackles for loss. Decent but not great numbers.

But at the NFL combine, Smith was a standout. Smith ran a 4.39 40 (which is ridiculous for someone his size), had a broad jump of 10’8″, and a vertical jump of 41.5 inches. The problem is that football games aren’t won by how fast someone can run or how high someone can jump. That’s more of a track activity. Even with great speed, unless a player has excellent technique and a high football IQ, they might not make a good NFL player.

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Smith could be a great NFL player, but it might take him a year or so to adjust and learn. The chance a team takes on him involves patience. You might not see much production out of Smith in his rookie season, but hopefully by year two. Does that mean Smith is worth taking a chance on with pick 20 in the 2023 draft?