Earlier this week, I suggested that the Seattle Seahawks should draft a quarterback on day one of the upcoming draft, and readers were elated... to tee off on the QB class of 2022. The most common refrain I saw in the comments was the suggestion that the team simply go “BPA” — or, Best Player Available; this is an omnipresent phrase that pops up annually in NFL circles throughout March and April, for sure, but what does it really mean for this particular organization?
That seems like it should have an obvious answer, but it is obviously a bit trickier than that. The best guy available in the opinion of Pete Carroll and John Schneider is likely to be vastly different from the best guy available in the eyes of other front offices around the league, and typically diametrically opposed to what the “experts” are saying. They have demonstrated this time and time again; for example, when they drafted Bruce Irvin and Jordyn Brooks. Schneider reportedly called Bruce Irvin the best pure pass rusher in his class, and here he is talking about the Brooks pick;
““We had a pretty strong feeling that the three linebackers might be of the group (of) the position that may fall... The linebackers Schneider mentioned were Kenneth Murray, Patrick Queen, and Brooks.“It was a decision of if one of those linebackers is still there, we’re not going to back out and with Jordyn, everybody had so much conviction,” Schneider said. “There were three linebackers there and all three are incredible players. Jordyn was the guy that fit us best and we had the most buy-in from everybody, so we were extremely excited to get him.”” (full article by Patrick Olde Loohuis available on Seahawks Wire)
The point that I am making with this is that — whether the Front Office is fully committed to going best player available or not in 2022 — the player they select with their first pick will almost assuredly not be the guy who pundits are saying is the best. But it may mean that they aren’t going to target a passer in round one, and if this is the case, things start to get interesting... With the ninth overall pick and a bevy of good players who will be available when they are on the clock, they should have a golden opportunity to find a guy who can make a swift and immediate impact, even if they do elect to trade down.
For the purposes of this article, we are going to assume they stay put where they are currently at. There are quite realistically a few positions that we can simply write off for the Hawks at number 9; they aren’t going to be taking a TE, RB, or specialist with this pick (yes, joke all you want about Pete and running the ball, but there isn’t a back in this year’s draft that will be that tempting with the ninth pick... maybe if they trade down but please just run it back with Penny instead). I really don’t expect them to take a safety or an interior offensive lineman, either, although I can’t say that with as much certainty as the previous statement. For this article, I am going to pick one player at each position not listed above that would widely be regarded as a “reach” if/when John Schneider picks up the phone and makes some dude’s dream come true. Reach or not, one thing is absolutely for certain: this team has a multitude of holes to fill, and while this may make the 2022 season a painful one to watch, it also makes the draft process that much more fun to pay attention to. So read on if you like speculative fiction.
Side note: I am a big fan of the work of The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, whose yearly Beast Draft Guide has become an invaluable tool for many of us draft nerds and analysts. All combine/pro-day measurements are sourced from the 2022 version of the Beast, which can be found in its entirety here.
Treylon Burks — Arkansas | 6’ 2” | 225 lbs | 22 years old
Treylon Burks is my favorite player in this draft and it really isn't close. pic.twitter.com/TZUlr0stVl— Brenden Deeg (@BrendenDeegNFP) April 6, 2022
While his NFL.com draft profile compares him to A.J. Brown, the much more common and apt comparison is to Deebo Samuel; in fact, Dane Brugler referred to Treylon Burks as a “linebacker-sized Deebo Samuel,” and that sounds magnificently exciting in a Shane Waldron offense that will still hopefully feature DK and Tyler as the clear top two guys in 2022. Adding an offensive weapon like Burks is a no-brainer for a team that wants to get better production after the catch, and he looks like a guy who might actually make screens a viable play for this offense (to somebody other than Metcalf, of course). With a new quarterback on the horizon, much focus has been put on adding blockers on the O-line. Honestly, though, I see far more value in taking an explosive receiver who can legitimately give this team a playmaking threat that they have coveted in rival players like Deebo and Cooper Kupp. The best pass protector is often a quick release, and having three players who can all get open at every level of the defense will ease the burden on whoever ends up taking snaps in 2022. Per Dane Brugler;
“SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Arkansas, Burks was the slot receiver in offensive coordinator Kendal Briles’ up-tempo, RPO-based scheme. With 82.9 percent of his career snaps coming in the slot, inline or in the backfield, he was deployed across the formation to create mismatches and led the Razorbacks in receiving yards each of the past three seasons. With his vision and acceleration, Burks has the skills to turn quick-hitters into big plays, breaking tackles with his balance, body strength and competitive toughness (led the SEC with 22 plays of 20-plus yards in 2021). He can also track the football downfield with his large catch radius, although his separation skills can be mitigated by his undeveloped rhythm as a route runner. Overall, Burks is underdeveloped as an outside route runner, but he is a dynamic weapon with the ball in his hands and boasts the unique blend of size, athleticism and ball skills to grow into an NFL team’s No. 1 receiver. He compares to a linebacker-sized Deebo Samuel in a similar scheme. GRADE: 1st Round (No. 21 overall)”
Logan Hall — Houston | 6’6” | 283 lbs | 22 years old
Logan Hall tested like an elite athlete and he showed it on film too. pic.twitter.com/TOiVosfcLe— Billy M (@BillyM_91) April 6, 2022
With the Seattle Seahawks defense set to look quite a bit different in 2022, the team has more than a few holes to fill. However, I think that they have an exciting player in Darrell Taylor who could be an impact player for years to come. That being said, the team needs more interior presence, especially as they transition fully to the 3-4 under Clint Hurtt. Logan Hall has the look of a player who can capably step in and be a 3-down starter on this defense. He is strong, has great length, and could push the pocket from anywhere on the line. His versatility would be a great lift for a squad looking to rebuild its identity, and the idea of pairing a young 3-4 DE/5T style player with the up-and-coming Darrell Taylor just seems too good to pass up. There are some other talented players who very well may be available when the Seahawks are on the clock; notably Jermaine Johnson from Florida State. However — and I will admit this is a terrible reason to justify this, but so be it — the Seahawks have drafted one player from Florida State during Pete Carroll’s tenure (Demarcus Christmas, 2019 in the 6th round). They have never drafted a Houston player under Carroll....so maybe they’re due? (If you read that in an Owen Wilson voice in your head, it will sound funny and endearingly clueless). Michael STUFR Edwards mocked Logan Hall to the Seahawks a couple drafts back (before the Wilson trade). He would justifiably get called a reach at number 9, but these things only matter up until gameday. Per Dane Brugler,
“A two-year starter at Houston, Hall played primarily at three-technique in defensive coordinator Doug Belk’s multiple fronts, also lining up at five-technique, nose tackle and as an edge rusher. Arriving in Houston as a spindly, 220-pound project, he showed significant physical and mental maturation the past four seasons and took a significant jump between his junior and senior seasons (head coach Dana Holgorsen: “He’s one of the best defensive tackles I’ve ever coached.”). Although he played primarily inside in college, Hall has the long levers and foot quickness to be an impactful pass rusher when given a runway off the edge. He has the body flexibility to bend, dip and attack from different angles but must continue to develop his anchor and shed strength, especially when his pad level rises.Overall, Hall has some tweener traits and lacks consistency, but with additional coaching, he can be a matchup weapon thanks to his athletic versatility, body length and disruptive nature. He projects as an NFL starting edge rusher who can slide inside in sub packages.GRADE: 1st-2nd Round (No. 37 overall)”
Travis Jones — Connecticut | 6’4” | 325 lbs | 22 1⁄2 years old
Sneaky-good interior pass rusher. Looks like he keeps the play in front of him and keeps his focus on the ball at all times. https://t.co/gXlp2smBnl— Stan "the Soy Boy" Taylor (@GoodGuyAtSports) April 8, 2022
The definition of a high-motor player, he was the lone bright spot on a struggling UConn football team. A star at the Senior Bowl, Travis Jones looks every bit the part of a player who is going to be a monster in the NFL. His incredible size/speed combo looks unique, as he is nearly 330 and runs the 40 in 4.9 with a massive wingspan and huge hands... I hate studying player measurements to the point where I could accurately have a suit tailored specifically for their body type, but damn if this guy doesn’t look every bit the part of a long-term defensive fixture in the NFL. And he has dominated high-end competition, like in the above tape against Clemson. Explosive player who can push the pocket, he would make an immediate impact on Seattle’s defense. Per Dane Brugler,
“SUMMARY: A three-year starter at UConn, Jones played three-technique and nose tackle in defensive coordinator Lou Spanos’ four-man front. Recruited primarily as an offensive guard out of high school, he reshaped his body and developed into an impactful defensive tackle since joining the Huskies, despite a 21-month layoff between the 2019 and 2021 seasons and the program posting a 4-32 record (three of those wins vs. FCS teams) over his four years in college. A big-bodied athlete with strong legs and arms, Jones is quick off the ball and powerful through his hips to be disruptive vs. both the pass and the run. He uses quickness and forceful hand moves to get his nose in the gap, but he needs to harness his momentum and consistently use his secondary moves to shoot through. Overall, Jones’ pass rush technique is still a work-in-progress, but he creates problems for interior blockers with his athletic movements and explosive upper body to stack, shed and toss.He projects as an early NFL starter with two-gap potential. GRADE: 1st-2nd Round (No. 34 overall)”
Andrew Booth — Clemson - CB | 6’0” | 194 lbs | 21 1⁄2 years old
Clemson CB Andrew Booth Jr.#NFLDraft #NFLCombine #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/qTA6aeH9hA— Eagles Nest Blog (@EaglesNestNFL) April 2, 2022
Andrew Booth, Jr. is an athletic, ball-hawking, hard-tackling, screen-destroying corner out of Clemson with decently long arms; to put it another way, he is exactly the kind of Blue Chip defensive back that could make an immediate impact (assuming that he is healed up from his offseason surgery which kept him out of combine/pro day workouts and seemingly makes him the perfect target for the Hawks *sobbing quietly*). The Seahawks haven’t taken a CB in the first round of the NFL draft during the entirety of Pete Carroll’s tenure. While Pete’s developmental magic with corners hasn’t seemed quite so magical in recent years, the team could remedy this by taking a high-ceiling (but admittedly difficult to predict floor) guy in the first round. If Sauce Gardner is still on the board, the Seahawks should take him without hesitation. However, he will be gone by the time they are on the clock. Trent McDuffie from Washington is also highly regarded as a shutdown corner — and the Seahawks have relaxed their physical qualifications for corner after DJ Reed and Tre Brown. But I just don’t see them going this route this early in the draft (potentially after a tradeback?). Kaiir Elam from the Florida Gators is another name to pay attention to in a trade-back scenario. Per Dane Brugler;
“SUMMARY: A two-year starter at Clemson, Booth was an outside cornerback in former defensive coordinator Brent Venables’ man and zone schemes, including bail and side-saddle techniques. A former five-star recruit, he blossomed over the last three years for the Tigers and had a strong junior season, including impressive tapes against the two SEC teams on the 2021 schedule (Georgia and South Carolina). Booth stays in phase because of his lower-body quickness and hip-flip skills to mirror routes, staying coordinated in his transitions and in position to make plays on the ball. There is nothing finesse about his play style and he takes his contain responsibilities seriously in the run game, but his downhill aggressiveness makes his tackling an adventure. Overall, Booth’s tape has some volatility and he must mature his feel for spacing, but he has fluid athleticism, finds the football and disrupts the catch point, three important ingredients to playing the position at ahigh level. He has NFL starting traits (if he stays healthy) and projects best in a man-heavy scheme. GRADE: 1st-2nd Round (No. 26 overall)”
Quay Walker — Georgia | 6’ 3 1⁄2” | 241 lbs | 22 years old
Going through the NFL Combine list more in depth and a player I absolutely expect to raise their draft stock is LB Quay Walker (@QuayWalker_ )— Marissa Myers (@Marissa_M27) February 15, 2022
Walker is a very physical tackler, and his athleticism is going to shine! #NFL #NFLDraft #CollegeFootball #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/AKuNZXVbmv
The Georgia Bulldogs’ National Championship winning defense is likely to produce multiple first round picks this season. While Nakobe Dean is generally getting more attention, it is difficult not to see a little bit of KJ Wright in his teammate Quay Walker. Yes, it is 2022 and off-ball linebackers are essentially only ahead of run-stuffing tackles in positional value on defense... However, the Seattle Seahawks defense used to strike fear into the hearts of opposing offenses, but now they just strike fear in the hearts of Seattle fans on a weekly basis. And even in their waning days of dominance, Bobby Wagner remained the one shining example of consistency and leadership on an undermanned team. Now, he is with the Los Angeles Rams and I cry about it on a strictly adhered to morning/afternoon/evening regimen. I am still very high on Jordyn Brooks as the assumed leader of this defense. Cody Barton is an unknown, but has versatility and theoretically could line up outside if the team feels strongly enough about his prospects. This squad desperately needs an injection of brutality; Quay Walker is a hard-hitting sideline-to-sideline backer who is as comfortable blitzing as he is dropping. Any team would be fortunate to have this guy on their squad. Per Dane Brugler;
“SUMMARY: A one-year starter at Georgia, Walker played the “Money” linebacker position in former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning’s 3-4 base scheme. After playing outside linebacker and defensive end in high school, he moved inside when he arrived in Athens and struggled initially, but he showed improvement each season and was a key member of Georgia’s 2021 championship-winning defense. With his lateral twitch and movement skills, Walker has outstanding mirroring skills vs. the run and uses his long arms to punch himself off blocks or lasso ball carriers out of his reach. Although he doesn’t have the statistical résumé of a playmaker, he has a high batting average as a tackler, and his traits and trajectory suggest his best football is ahead of him. Overall, Walker is still developing his instincts,especially in coverage, but he aces the eye test with his exceptional combination of size, length and athleticism to dominate vs. the run. He has the potential to be a four-down impact linebacker in the NFL. GRADE: 1st-2nd Round (No. 31 overall)”
Bernhard Raimann - LT - Central Michigan | 6’ 6” | 303 lbs | 24 1⁄2 years old
Film room preview: Bernhard Raimann breaking down one of my favorite reps on his 2021 film. Excellent example of what it looks like to stay leveraged on a block to finish. Footwork pic.twitter.com/BsbtkSXsve— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) April 4, 2022
Hearing Bernhard Raimann describe his own game really impresses me. While he is definitely on the older side for a rookie, as he is set to turn 25 during the first month of the 2022 NFL Season, he is a former tight end who has good size and plus athleticism for a zone blocking scheme. There may be an early run on Left Tackles, as top prospects Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal will almost certainly be gone within the first five picks, and although Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning could be an option here (the guy runs the 40 in 4.89 and watches the “Saw” movies on his phone before games, according to Bruce Feldman of the Athletic), he might likely be gone as well, and even if he isn’t, I think I prefer the limited tape I have seen from Raimann. While mocks and pundits are varying wildly on where Penning and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross will end up, Dane Brugler has both of them selected by the time the Atlanta Falcons are on the clock at 8. While Raimann has the look of a developmental player, he would join his former MAC rival Dee Eskridge in Seattle and would compete instantly for starter reps; after taking the latter player in 2021, it seems apparent that the team obviously isn’t afraid to use some high-end draft capital on players outside of the Power 5. However, it remains to be seen if they would consider somebody this high, as literally all but one first round pick this team has made since 2010 has been a player from a major conference (Rashaad Penny from SDSU being the lone exception). Per Dane Brugler;
“SUMMARY: A two-year starter at Central Michigan, Raimann lined up at left tackle in head coach Jim McElwain’s zone-blocking scheme, making the transition from tight end to tackle in the midst of the pandemic. Despite never before playing on the offensive line, he showed the desire and ability to be a quick study and started18 consecutive games at left tackle for the Chippewas the last two seasons, allowing only one career sack (at Missouri). An efficient pass protector, Raimann plays with the athletic reflexes and natural center of gravity to mirror/counter rush moves with his stubborn hands. He needs to get stronger through his roots/legs and he would benefit from more explosive hands, especially in the run game, but he has a crafty understanding of his body posture and hand placement to establish his base and absorb power. Overall, Raimann is still developing his strength and technique, but he is a fluid, balanced athlete with the reactionary skills and awareness to match up against NFL speed. He is older than ideal for a rookie, but he should compete for starting reps in year one. GRADE: 1st-2nd Round (No. 36 overall)”
So there you have it. Who are some players you think that the Seattle Seahawks may actually consider if they stay put at 9th?