10 sleepers to cap the Seattle Seahawks 2023 draft

Apr 28, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces Seahawks draft pick
Apr 28, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces Seahawks draft pick / Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Seahawks can land a defensive backfield star on day three

As noted above, the Hawks have established a pretty amazing knack for this sort of thing. There's been quite a bit of buzz about Seattle taking a corner in the first round, something Pete and John have never come close to before. Yes 12s, our beloved Seahawks could actually draft a corner in the first round. So no, you won't see Devon Witherspoon, Christian Gonzalez, or Joey Porter Jr. discussed here. You can read an awful lot about them in the link above. What you will find here is a deeper look at some of those late-round sleepers that can become surprise standouts for the Seahawks.

Ronnie Hickman, S, Ohio St. At 6' 1/2" and 203 pounds, Hickman has the size to play safety, and his 4.45 40 time shows he has the speed as well. Although he's primarily known for his ability to stuff the run, he's not exactly a slouch in coverage, either. Hickman has been especially good in coverage on tight ends, an area that the Seahawks desperately need to improve. Simply upgrading coverage on the tight end to mediocre would have bumped last year's record up to 11-6.

So if he's so great, why is he a sleeper, projected as a fourth-round pick? Here's a summary of his weaknesses from one dradt site: "Coverage skills are lacking. Does not look fluid when he needs to turn and run with a receiver. Speed is marginal. Primarily played free safety in college but will need to move to strong safety at the next level due to his size and lack of coverage skills."

Oh, geez, my bad. That was actually written about Kam Chancellor. The same site stated that Chancellor projected as a solid backup and special teamer, but "may never be more than that". Hey, at least they said "may", not "never". Chancellor did move to strong safety, so at least they got that right. A lot of sites are minimizing Hickman.'s prospects, too. Now I'm not saying he's the next Bam Bam; no one is. But he has the tools to be a force for the Hawks. That's all can we ask.

Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama. At 6'2 and with a wingspan just under 79 inches, Ricks fits that prototype of the rangy coverage guy the Seahawks love. He began his collegiate career at LSU, tallying five pass breakups and four picks as a true freshman. Ricks only played in six games in 2021 before he was lost for the season with a torn labrum. He transferred to Alabama last year, finally breaking through to the starting lineup in week eight vs Mississippi State. Gee, I wonder if the 52 points Tennessee hung on them in week seven had anything to do with that change...

Regardless, Ricks showed he should have been in the lineup sooner, as he finished the 2022 season with a passer rating allowed of just 56.0. He excels at press coverage, jamming receivers at the line and disrupting routes before they start. His extreme physicality is hardly his only tool, as he also shows great recognition of routes. He's adept at timing his jump to break up passes and come away with the ball as well.

So why is this Richard Sherman 2.0 projected to be a fifth-round pick? Three numbers say it all: 4.60. As in a ran a 4.60 40. That wasn't a fluke, as his lack of true top-end speed showed up too often in college. Then again, Sherman ran a 4.60 40 and was graded as - oh, sorry, he didn't even receive a prospect grade. Instead, the note on one of the greatest corners the league has ever seen read: "Likely needs time in developmental league." So please, bring on Eli Ricks.