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Seahawks trade down from 5th, still land Anthony Richardson in Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft

The Seahawks take the former Florida quarterback in the top-10 according to ESPN’s famed draft analyst.

NCAA Football: Florida at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Mel Kiper has been the biggest name in NFL mock drafts for decades, and earlier this week he released his updated Round 1 mock.

As we covered in his last mock draft, Kiper had the Seattle Seahawks taking Kentucky quarterback Will Levis at 5th overall and Tennessee linebacker Byron Young at 20th. While he believes Levis will still go at 5th, the plot twist is Seattle trading down to 9th, instead sending Levis to the Carolina Panthers.

As for the Seahawks, they still go with a quarterback! Here’s the (paywalled) write-up on Florida’s Anthony Richardson:

Here’s a team that could afford to take a developmental quarterback with elite upside. Seattle has said it wants to bring back veteran Geno Smith, but what if the organization uses the franchise tag on Smith, plays him for a season and adds Richardson to take over in 2024? That’d be the ideal scenario for Richardson, a raw passer who completed just 53.8% of his throws last season but has incredible ability as a runner. He had 17 touchdown passes and added nine more scores on the ground. At 6-4, Richardson has the type of arm strength that makes NFL coaches drool. If he gets into the right situation — and isn’t forced to play early — he could be a star.

The Seahawks make the most sense for Richardson because they have the picks to take a chance on a high-ceiling prospect, including what they’re getting in the projected trade with the Panthers. If they don’t go with Richardson, they likely would be all-in on the edge rushers, with Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech) and Myles Murphy (Clemson) still available.

For the record, Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud are already off the board in his mock, as are Will Anderson and Jalen Carter. The mock was conducted before news of Carter’s arrest warrants came out, so keep that in mind.

Later on, Kiper predicts Seattle stands pat at #20 and takes the former Tiger.

My projected trade between Carolina and Seattle gave the Seahawks some extra capital for moving down four spots, but this is their original pick after a surprise 9-8 season. And if they want to keep improving, they have to add young talent to their front seven. As I mentioned in January, Darrell Taylor, a 2020 second-round pick, is coming off a breakout 9.5-sack season, while Uchenna Nwosu also had 9.5 quarterback takedowns, but they’re both entering the final years of their contracts. The Seahawks need to get more production from other players.

Murphy had 17.5 sacks in three seasons at Clemson, and at 6-5, 275 pounds, he’s also strong against the run. Seattle ranked 27th in yards per carry allowed (4.9) last season, so that’s an area to upgrade. One position to watch: The Seahawks lost middle linebacker Jordyn Brooks to a torn right ACL in January, so they could try to add another off-ball ‘backer to help in 2023.

A potential quarterback of the future and an EDGE rusher in Round 1, while getting additional draft capital via the Carolina Panthers. Doesn’t sound too bad to me!

We know that the NFL combine will have some impact on the draft stocks of players this week, so expect that Kiper’s next mock draft (and many others) to have new wrinkles once all interviews are conducted and testing information is available.