Winner: Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks have bounced back nicely since the departure of Russell Wilson. It’s not too often that a team can arguably trade one of their best players in franchise history and be on an upward trajectory 1 year removed from losing said player. The ample draft capital from the deal certainly gave Seattle enough ammo to turn things around quickly. But, it would still require the Seahawks to have really successful drafts.
As stated countless times already, the 2022 NFL Draft was one the best classes for Seattle since a decade ago. They now look to top it with there 2023 class and, you can argue, that they might just do that. After the 2022 season, it was appearant the Seahawks had gaping holes on defense. Not only up front, but in the backend as well. Although they couldn’t stop the run, its felt as if Seattle hasn’t had a top-10 secondary since the departure of the Legion of Boom.
In an uncharacteristic approach, the Seahawks addressed that need earlier than ever.
Rd 1, Pk 5 (via DEN)
Rd 1, Pk 20
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Rd 2, Pk 37 (via DEN)
EDGE Derick Hall
Rd 2, Pk 52
HB Zach Charbonnet
Rd 4, Pk 108 (via DEN)
OL Anthony Bradford
Rd 4, Pk 123
DL Cameron Young
Rd 5, Pk 151 (via PIT)
EDGE Mike Morris
Rd 5, Pk 154
C Olusegun Oluwatimi
Rd 6, Pk 198
S Jerrick Reed II
Rd 7, Pk 237
HB Kenny McIntosh
Best Pick: Round 1 (Pick 5 via DEN): CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois — physical, lockdown corner to go opposite of Tariq Woolen
Prior to the 2023 NFL Draft, the highest the Seahawks selected a cornerback under Pete Carroll and John Schneider was pick 90 of round 3 in 2017 (CB Shaq Griffin, UCF). It came as a shock to many when Seattle selected CB Devon Witherspoon with the 5th overall pick just a week ago. But, it is a statement of how Pete Carroll wants his defense to play. Not only in the Witherspoon pick, but in the selections of Hall, Morris, Young and Reed.
They were seeking tough minded football players to come into this defense and make an impact from the start. A decade ago, the Legion of Boom was feared. Opposing players knew that when they caught the ball, there was a chance they were going to get popped. Between reinforcements in free agency and draft picks, the Seahawks are on there way back to building another special defense.
Biggest Takeaway: Sticking with Geno Smith
Many people, including myself, felt that Seattle would address the future of the quarterback position with the 5th overall pick. This was the highest Seattle ever selected in the Pete and John era and with a talent like Anthony Richardson to be had, it would have felt like a wise move. Now, Richardson wasn’t available at 5, but Seattle ended up not drafting a quarterback at all. They doubled down on their faith in Geno by adding more pieces to this offense in Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet. By doing so, they alleviate the pressure off Geno’s shoulders and now have one of the betters offenses in the NFL.
Potential Gem: Round 4 (Pick 108 via DEN): OL Anthony Bradford, LSU
It just feels as if anytime Seattle makes a move with Denver, a good result will be produced. Rather than addressing the offensive line early on in the draft, the Seahawks made their first move in the 4th round by selecting the out of LSU. Many were surprised to see him still available in the 4th round. Although he is considered to be a development piece, he has high upside and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up as a starter on this youthful Seahawks offensive line.