With the fifth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks hold the highest selection since 2009 — when they drafted future assistant coach Aaron Curry fourth overall. That season, of course, precipitated the arrival of Pete Carroll and John Schneider. The team again picked in the top 10 in Carroll’s first season, choosing Russell Okung sixth overall. Now that the season is over (for the hawks, at least), the team is officially set to pick again at No. 20.
Due largely to the conclusion of the Denver Broncos season, Seattle is in an interesting spot; they may be out of reach of some of the top defensive prospects in the draft, like Jalen Carter or Will Anderson Jr. If this is the case, though, that may mean that at least one of the top 3 QB prospects will still be on the board. The organization seems to outwardly be committed to Geno Smith at the moment, and if they do reach an agreement with him, they could be the target of another organization’s trade up scenario. Dane Brugler of The Athletic suggested just this in his most recent mock draft, as he proposed a move by the Carolina Panthers to leapfrog the Las Vegas Raiders for C.J. Stroud. The full article is behind a paywall, but here is the scenario he laid out:
“Projected trade: No. 5 for Nos. 9, 93 and a 2024 first-round pick”
He goes on to say that the Seahawks could sit at nine and select Tyree Wilson from Texas Tech. This scenario has some precedent; we saw a similar deal play out two years ago which has ended up being pretty impactful for all teams involved, mostly in mutually beneficial ways. Which scenario was this, exactly?
The Philadelphia Eagles were in a similar position in 2021 when they held the sixth overall pick; they subsequently reached an agreement with the Miami Dolphins, who moved up to select Jaylen Waddle. The Eagles would end up making a few more moves, and they ended up jumping back up to No. 10 to select DeVonta Smith (we aren’t going to get into that one here). Here is the detailed view of the initial trade:
Eagles received No. 12, 123, and a 2022 fifth-round pick (which would end up at No. 15);
Miami receives No.6 and 156
The 2022 pick ended up being No. 15. If you analyze this through the classic Jimmy Johnson trade value chart, the Eagles ended up “winning” this trade by a significant margin according to Glenn Erby of Eagles Wire. If we look at this with the Rich Hill model, the deal still favors the Eagles. If we score the future selection as if it were 32nd overall*, the Dolphins picks combined for a total of 555 points, compared to 457 points for the Eagles first and fifth round picks. If we apply the Rich Hill model to the Seattle/Carolina trade suggested above, we get the following:
Seahawks receive No. 9 (387 points), 93 (42), and a future first (184); 613 points
Panthers receive send No. 5 (468); net margin: -145 points
*Scoring future picks can be tricky, with Rich Hill originally suggesting that future picks essentially lose one round of value. However, first round picks offer certain upside — such as the fifth year option — which I think merits scoring a future first as if it were 32nd overall.
This trade seems a little uneven to me; Carolina would be sacrificing a significant amount of draft capital, especially relative to the Miami/Philly trade. In that scenario, the Dolphins gave up a net -98 points (equal to a late second round pick), whereas the Panthers would be down -145 points, or the equivalent of an early second round pick. This doesn’t look entirely out of the question, and it points to one of the issues with scoring draft trades: the static points assigned to each pick can’t always account for positional value. If a team like Carolina is really sold on C.J. Stroud and he is still on the board, Seattle’s pick may hold more relative value than the score assigned above.
This is an interesting scenario to explore from the perspective of the Seahawks’ organization; Pete Carroll and John Schneider earned a bit of a renewed vote of confidence following a season where they had what some are considering the best draft class of 2022.
Even with their recent success, a regression in 2023 could spell trouble for Pete and John; this season was a fun surprise, but with this comes heightened expectations for next year. How much will they want to trade for a future pick when they need impact players now? I think that this could lead to a higher likelihood of them simply staying put, or at least placing a premium on trades involving draft picks this year as opposed to future picks. But I could be wrong; a lot can and will change in the coming months as prospects face a mounting level of scrutiny. Regardless, I will be a bit surprised if we end up seeing the Seahawks go for a trade like the one proposed above or the Miami/Philadelphia deal.