Many 12s might argue that while the Seattle Seahawks 2023 draft class did not measure up to the 2022 edition, Seattle at least did a good job with their two first-round picks. Seattle took cornerback Devon Witherspoon with pick number 5 overall and Witherspoon made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. At pick 20, Seattle chose receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and JSN was good but not great.
ESPN thinks that the last part is important both for the 2023 season and moving forward. There is even a chance had Seattle taken a different player than JSN, Pete Carroll might still be the head coach for the Seahawks. The player Seattle should have chosen, says ESPN, is defensive lineman Kobie Turner. While JSN is an easy player to like who will probably be a very good NFL player, the logic in ESPN's argument is not flawed.
Even when Seattle took Jaxon Smith-Njigba, he did not fit a position of need. The team already had Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, plus tight ends such as Noah Fant. Smith-Njigba seemed more like icing on a cake while other positions needed to add ingredients to make their batter. This included the defensive line which was terrible overall in 2022 but especially bad against the run.
The Seattle Seahawks should have gone a different direction in 2023 NFL draft, per ESPN
Seattle did pick up Jarran Reed and Dre'Mont Jones in free agency last offseason, but they needed young talent as well. The Seahawks did not draft a defensive lineman until they chose Cam Young in the fourth round. They instead took a receiver and a running back, Zach Charbonnet, in the first two rounds and did not have a pressing need at either position.
Turner went to the Los Angeles Rams in the third round. In his first season with Los Angeles, he had 9 sacks and a very good 38 percent run-stop rate. He would have made Seattle better in terms of pass rush and stopping the run. At least, in theory, he would have.
Ultimately, choosing JSN and not choosing Turner was not the problem in Seattle. The issue was the coaching staff. Had Seattle taken Turner he very likely would not have had anywhere near the season he had with the Rams. The Rams were a better-coached defense this season and in many seasons prior.
Had Turner gone to Seattle, he likely wouldn't get played as much and would end up with maybe 2 sacks. Had Smith-Njigba, he probably have gotten closer to 1,000 yards receiving. But that should change, at least defensively, beginning in 2024. Seattle will get better direction under Mike Macdonald. It is too bad the Seahawks do not have a chance to draft Turner in the 2024 NFL draft.