Todd McShay just released his way, way, way (way, way, way, way, way) too early 2023 Mock Draft (behind the ESPN+ paywall) and it’s not looking good for those that hope the Seahawks can land Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud.
Yes, Seattle has two firsts and two seconds next year. That’s great! But if the teams at the top of the draft aren’t willing to trade down (because they need a QB) then only a colossal overpay (ex. both R1s and another future R1, maybe more) would move the needle. And, even then, it may not be enough.
Using the Super Bowl odds to (mostly) determine the draft order, McShay has the Seahawks picking 9th.
The New York Jets take a wideout at #3 overall.
The Carolina Panthers then do the most Panther-y thing possible with their second consecutive #6 pick:
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida*
... I’m not so sure they view Matt Corral as a long-term option, and Sam Darnold will be off the books after this season. Plus, Carolina could have a new regime in place, especially if it’s picking this early again. Now, Richardson is a huge projection — the 6-foot-4, 236-pound passer played in just eight games and started once last year — and has some turnover issues. But he’s extremely talented and poised for a breakout season in his first as a full-time starter.
At this point, there are 2 picks until Seattle is on the clock. All eyes are on Kentucky quarterback Will Levis.
The Chicago Bears, picking 7th, select a wide receiver.
The New York Giants are on the clock, and ...
HEARTBREAK FOR SEATTLE!
The Giants didn’t pick up Daniel Jones’ fifth-year option, which leaves the QB seat up for grabs next season. Levis needs to find more consistency, but he has a live arm and a big 6-foot-3, 232-pound frame. He has thrived in the quick game at Kentucky, with a lot of run-pass options and screen-type stuff, but there are some Josh Allen-like traits here for new Giants coach Brian Daboll. Oh, and Levis connected with receiver Wan’Dale Robinson — whom the Giants drafted in Round 2 this year — 104 times last season.
To this point, there have been 8 players selected and 4 of them have been quarterbacks. How do the 12s feel about the 5th-best option from the 2023 quarterback class?
And, more to the point, how do the 12s feel about this particular pick?
Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami*
Van Dyke didn’t consistently play like a first-rounder in nine starts last season, but the 6-foot-4, 224-pounder has the talent of a future franchise passer. The third-year sophomore just needs to take the next step this year. Seattle GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll seem to still legitimately like Drew Lock’s potential as an NFL starter, but if the Seahawks have another disappointing season and another top-10 pick, they could be in the market for an upgrade.
To be fair, McShay knows that he’s going to be wrong more than he’s right in a mock draft that’s released almost a full year before the Commissioner opens the 2023 NFL Draft. McShay will be lucky if half the names on his list get picked in the first round and he acknowledges this.
Expect big changes between now and next April. My 2022 way-too-early mock, for example, featured 10 prospects who ultimately were first-rounders and predicted five top-10 picks — but eight players listed ultimately didn’t enter the draft, and 14 others weren’t selected in Round 1. It’s still 12 months out, and we have a full college season and a long pre-draft process ahead.
That said, if the 2023 draft order plays out anything close to what McShay showed in his way, way, way (way, way, way, way, way) too early 2023 Mock Draft then there are likely to be 4 or 5 teams that will be looking at QBs ahead of us and probably a handful of others looking to move up to take one.
My apologies to the Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud fans out there (and probably the Will Levis fans as well) ... it doesn’t look like the Seahawks are going to get your guy.