Seahawks linked to this boom or bust linebacker in 2024 NFL draft

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The Seattle Seahawks swept out a lot of veterans this offseason. Gone are players such as Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, Will Dissly, and Quandre Diggs. The team brought in a number of new veterans in free agency, including presumptive starters at linebackers, Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson. But both Baker and Dodson are on prove-it one-year deals so Seattle may need to find at least one long-term starter in the 2024 NFL draft.

Unfortunately, the 2024 class is not loaded with talent at the position. There might be one or two who go in the first round, or perhaps no off-ball linebacker goes until the second round. The safest choice might be Edgerrin Cooper of Texas A&M, and while he might be a solid choice, Seattle has other needs - namely, the interior of the offensive line - so they don't choose a linebacker with their first pick.

Therefore,'s Chad Reuter's recent mock draft has a bit of surprise in store for 12s. Not only does Seattle trade down (probably not a shock) to pick number 22, but the Seahawks do choose a linebacker. That player is North Carolina State's Payton Wilson.

Payton Wilson would be an iffy pick for the Seahawks in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft

The problem with picking Wilson early is that he is the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect. Whoever gets chosen first is going to also be remembered as the first draft pick with Mike Macdonald as head coach. General manager John Schneider has full control over all roster moves for the first time since he came to Seattle in 2010. Giving Macdonald a player who might not work out well is no way to begin the Macdonald era.

Sure, no draft pick is guaranteed to be great, but limiting risk with higher-round picks is necessary. The problem with Wilson is his injury history. He has suffered two torn ACLs - one in high school and one in college - and a serious shoulder injury in 2021. While he has stayed healthy the last two years, that also is not that long a period of time. In fact, since 2018, he has spent more time hurt than completely healthy.

Still, there is no doubt that Wilson is capable of being a very productive linebacker. He ran a 4.43 40 at the NFL Combine and he also had 17.5 tackles for loss last year while winning the Butkus Award for the best linebacker in college football. He does have the raw ability to be disruptive in the NFL.

The question is whether he is worth risking a first-round pick on for a team in the midst of a fairly big roster turnover. The first-round choice must be a player who becomes a cornerstone for the Seahawks for many years to come. Wilson could be that, but Seattle should probably go with a safer bet.

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