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FTR’s first 2023 mock draft: The Seahawks address the trenches

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Seattle Seahawks v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks have five picks in the first three rounds of this year’s NFL Draft, which makes doing mock drafts so much more fun than, oh, say . . . 2021, when the Seahawks had a total of three picks in the entire draft.

To be fair, I did hundreds of mock drafts in 2021; I just didn’t write about them.

This year though, I may share a few, starting with #233.

(not a typo - - and, yes, the title says this is my first mock draft . . . because it’s the first one that I’m writing an article about)

Some ground rules / background:

  • PFF’s Mock Draft Simulator
  • Default settings
  • No trades
  • I’m only making picks for Seattle; the rest is the AI (or whatever PFF uses in their sim)

Before diving into the results of Mock Draft #233, let’s take a look at how the Seahawks are positioned when compared to some of their closest friends . . .

The NFC West

As things stand now, only two of the four NFC West teams have a chance to improve in Round 1: the Arizona Cardinals have the 3rd overall selection (by virtue of sucking this year their 4-13 record) while the Seahawks have the 5th overall selection (courtesy of the Russell Wilson trade) as well as their native pick at #20.

The Los Angeles Rams’ pick (#6 overall) belongs to the Detroit Lions courtesy of the Matthew Stafford / Jared Goff trade. Incidentally, Goff’s selection in 2016 was the last time the Rams used a first round pick on a player in that year’s draft.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers’ 2023 first round pick wins the ‘Hot Potato’ award as it was (1) sent to the Miami Dolphins as part of the trade that landed them Trey Lance, (2) sent to the Denver Broncos in the Bradley Chubb trade at the trade deadline, and (3) sent to the New Orleans Saints as part of the agreed upon compensation when the Broncos signed Sean Payton as their new head coach.

Expanding the view to the first three rounds, the NFC West picks look like this (according to the PFF simulator):

  • Arizona: #3, #34, #66, #96*
  • Los Angeles: #36, #69
  • San Francisco: #99*, #101*, #102*
  • Seattle: #5, #20, #37, #51, #83

* denotes compensatory selections at the end of the 3rd round


Preamble aside, let’s jump into the picks!

Round One

The first four players off the board were:

With the 5th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Defensive Tackle Jalen Carter, Georgia.

In my opinion, this is the ideal scenario for the Seahawks.

Is it likely that Carter falls to the Seahawks at #5? Probably not. But as a recent Field Gulls article noted, The Ringer’s Danny Kelly mocked the same pick at #5 a few days ago.

Kelly’s mock had three QBs going in the top 4, which seems like the more likely scenario for Carter to slide to #5. But there’s been a lot of internet ink spilled about the Bears and Tyree Wilson, so . . . who knows.

For what it’s worth, PFF’s simulator (with the default settings) has Carter available at #5 about 20% of the time.

Full transparency: If Jalen Carter and Will Anderson are both off the board, I would absolutely look to move off of #5 as those are the only 2 players I can see the Seahawks taking that high . . . unless they end up needing a QB, but that’s a story for another day.

Here, today, in this mock draft, the Seahawks land the perfect player to kick-start their defensive turnaround in 2023 (and beyond).


The next 14 picks are the typical mix of D-linemen, Offensive Tackles, Quarterbacks, Wideouts, and Cornerbacks.

Will Levis and Anthony Richardson go back-to-back to the QB-needy Atlanta Falcons (#8) and even more QB-needy Carolina Panthers (#9) after the Raiders surprisingly take OT Peter Skoronski at #7.

Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy goes to the Detroit Lions at #6, and TCU WR Quentin Johnston rounds out the Top 10 with the Philadelphia Eagles using the pick they got from the Saints to bolster their already-dangerous receiver group.

Offensive Tackles come off the board at #11 and #13, to the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets, respectively.

Cornerbacks go 12th, 17th, and 18th (Texans, Steelers, Lions).

The New England Patriots take Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness at #14, the Green Bay Packers take Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer at #15, and the team in Washington D.C. takes Alabama Safety Brian Branch at #16.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers grab a potential Seattle target with their selection of Baylor DT Siaki Ika at #19, and . . .

Seattle is on the clock with their native pick in Round 1.

Round One, Pick Two

Admittedly, I have an unhealthy obsession with Texas RB Bijan Robinson and actively dream about Seattle selecting the most dynamic player in the draft and pairing him with Kenneth Walker III for years to come.

Robinson is often available at #20 on the PFF simulator, and I grab him at least 75% of the time. Most of the remaining 25% happens when I select Jalen Carter at #5 because then I usually give in to the temptation to go the symmetry route and pair Carter with his college teammate, Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith.

In this draft though, obsession and symmetry be damned because there’s an available player that I absolutely cannot refuse drafting at this point in the draft . . .

With the 20th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Defensive Tackle Bryan Bresee, Clemson.

Yes, that’s back-to-back picks at the same position but here’s the complete list of interior D-linemen that Seattle currently has under contract for 2023:

  • Shelby Harris - turns 32 in August; $12.21M cap hit in 2023; UFA in 2024
  • Al Woods - turns 36 in March; $5.42M cap hit in 2023; UFA in 2024
  • Quinton Jefferson - turns 30 in March; $6.485M cap hit in 2023; UFA in 2024
  • Bryan Mone - suffered a knee injury in mid-December; finished the season on IR
  • Tyreke Smith - R5 pick in 2022; spent the entire season on IR
  • Jarrod Hewitt - 2021 UDFA; spent the 2022 season on the practice squad

Notice any glaring issues (aside from their lack of generating consistent pressure last season)?

All three of the starters are on “the wrong side” of 30 and are free agents after the 2023 season, while two of the three youngsters behind them have exactly zero experience and (presumably) much lower ceilings than the two DTs that I have Seattle selecting in the first round of this mock draft.

Bryan Mone is the lone exception in that he’s still fairly young (27) and has plenty of experience (nearly 1,000 defensive snaps), but Pete Carroll recently described Mone’s knee surgery as “difficult” and it wouldn’t be surprising if he misses the entire 2023 season.

So . . .

Jalen Carter at #5 and Bryan Bresee at #20.

Day One of the 2023 NFL Draft is in the books and Seattle’s front office has made a clear investment in the defensive line.

Round Two

I’ve seen lots of comments imploring the Seahawks to use their early picks on “defense, defense, and more defense.”

But even those who are prescribing that approach might question this next pick.

With the 37th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Defensive Tackle Mazi Smith, Michigan.

Admittedly, it’s a stretch to think that the Seahawks would use 3 straight picks to restock one position group. But . . .

(A) The current situation with Seattle’s interior D-line group warrants it; and

(B) The alternative is to try to woo free agents (which may not be an option depending on where Geno Smith’s new contract lands)

Plus, there wasn’t anyone else that I was dying to select at #37. Linebackers Trenton Simpson and Drew Sanders went #23 and #32, respectively. Nolan Smith (#29) and fellow EDGE BJ Ojulari were both off the board, as was Will McDonald IV.

I considered Boise State Safety JL Skinner, who lists Kam Chancellor as his favorite player, and Georgia Tight End Darnell Washington, but #37 seemed a little high for either of them.

At the end of the day though, there was one really compelling reason to select Mazi Smith: HE FITS.

John Schneider and Pete Carroll covet exceptional athletes.

The Seahawks need a nose tackle.

Enter Mazi Smith.

As an added bonus, consider the shockwaves that would ripple across the league if, one year after starting a pair of rookie tackles on offense, the Seahawks started a trio of rookie tackles on defense.

Good times!

Round Two, Pick Two

With Seattle’s native pick in the 2nd round, I almost selected Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs.


However, as tempting as it was to add a pass-catching, 3-down back (especially after passing on Bijan Robinson at #20), it would have been almost criminal to pass on the player that I ended up picking.

With the 51st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Center John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota.

Yes, at long last, the Seahawks address the underperforming revolving door in the middle of their offensive line.

As a bonus, the incredibly infectious “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” becomes the team’s de facto theme song and, in an attempt to confuse opposing defenses, all of Seattle’s offensive players get league approval to wear jerseys with ‘Schmitz’ on the back (because his name is their name too).

Round Three

After using the Seahawks’ first three picks on Defensive Tackles and Seattle’s 4th pick on a Center, there are obviously a ton of “needs” left, including EDGE, Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Safety, Guard, and (potentially) a developmental QB - not necessarily in that order.

Unfortunately, we only have one pick in the 3rd round and some of the players I was hoping might slide . . . didn’t.

Auburn EDGE Derick Hall went to the Texans at #65 and Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey went to the Patriots at #76.

WRs Jalin Hyatt (#67), Rashee Rice (#73), and Cedric Tillman (#75) were gone.

Texas LB DeMarvion Overshown was snatched up by the Jets at #74, but Oregon’s Noah Sewell and Alabama’s Henry To’o To’o were still on the board (although PFF’s simulator has To’o To’o as a 5th-round pick).

Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker went one pick before ours as the Bucs chose him to compete with Kyle Trask for Tom Brady’s old job.

Really, all things considered, the choice in Round 3 came down to a Linebacker (Sewell) or a Guard . . .

With the 83rd selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Guard Steve Avila, TCU.

It’s not a sexy pick, but it should pay immediate dividends.

Especially if it results in Gabe Jackson, who platooned with Phil Haynes at RG last year, becoming a cap casualty.

Avila’s entire rookie contract (2023-2026) would cost Seattle $5,549,976.

The cap savings from releasing Jackson are $6.5M.

Jackson’s 2023 cap hit (if retained) is $11,262,223. Avila’s 2023 cap hit would be $1,009,086.

Oh, and Avila also has experience at Center.



The Seahawks’ five picks over the first three rounds yield three defensive tackles and two interior offensive linemen, all of whom should be able to compete for starting roles in 2023.

  • #5: DT Jalen Carter, Georgia
  • #20: DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson
  • #37: DT Mazi Smith, Michigan
  • #51: OC John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
  • #83: OG Steve Avila, TCU

Go Hawks!