By now, you have likely heard that Pete Carroll indicated the team might have interest in taking a quarterback early in the draft, and the decision may not hinge on whether or not Geno Smith returns. Of course, people say a lot of things ahead of the draft. “[Quarterbacks] don’t grow on trees,” said John Schneider, but pre-draft bluster is an abundant fruit produced by nearly every organization leading up to April. But if we assume that Schneider and Carroll mean what they say, then what does it mean? While they are sincere in suggesting that possessing this high of a draft pick is a unique position for the team, the reality remains that signal callers can climb up draft boards faster than most prospects at other position. This becomes so true that we see teams forgo the opportunity to draft players like Bradley Chubb, Quinnen Williams, and Ja’Marr Chase to instead select guys like Kyler Murray, Sam Darnold, and Zach Wilson.
The logic of drafting a quarterback is outwardly pretty simple; it is unarguably the most important position on the offense, and many would suggest the most important position on the roster overall. To extend this, drafting a passer carries a lot of risk, but it also sets up the team to be back in the same (or better) position if they fail miserably. That is, take a look at the Chicago Bears. Justin Fields has a ton of impressive qualities, but the Bears went 3-14 last year and accordingly hold the first overall pick. However, I doubt that teams bank on this strategy, because abject failure usually results in a series of firings and sometimes an entire regime change. To put it bluntly, I don’t think that Pete Carroll and John Schneider would make any decision backed by the logic that failure would be an acceptable outcome.
This class of rookie passers looks a lot more impressive on paper than many recent ones. Last year, we saw two quarterbacks come of the board by Day 2, and only one of them landed in the first round (Kenny Pickett at 20th overall). That was a big shift from the prior season that saw the first three picks all dedicated to quarterbacks. Only one of these guys — Trevor Lawrence — has done much of anything in the NFL. In fact, Zach Wilson has essentially become a pariah with the New York Jets. But once again, pundits are starting to suggest that we could see as many as four quarterbacks off the board in the first five picks, and easily within the top ten. This may or may not be hype, but we have seen similar runs on the position before. Again, see the 2021 draft.
Michael-Shawn Dugar of the Athletic points out that this strategy could be perceived as an effort to generate interest in the top 4 picks, with the intent to ensure that Seattle would be able to go after one of the two top defenders in the class — Will Anderson Jr. or Jalen Carter. But Dugar goes on to say that Schneider’s track record and history under Ted Thompson in Green Bay indicate otherwise. So if this indeed the case, and Seattle has an opportunity to draft one of the top guys in this class, what kind of player will they be getting? Here is a brief assessment on each of the projected QBs to land at the top of the draft:
“There are signs that Young may ultimately have a long, successful NFL career. He could be another outlier. But measurables and traits are priorities during the draft process. And Young simply doesn’t have classic measurable or out-of-this world traits, which make him one of the more polarizing possible No. 1 overall picks in a long time. “
“‘To me, Stroud is the best in the class,” Lee said. “His combination of poise in the pocket, his willingness to work the middle of the field, his athletic ability and consistent ball placement grade him out ahead of the three others in the top tier. His arm strength is behind Will Levis and Anthony Richardson, but he’s never had the accuracy or decision-making issues that that pair has been criticized for. When you think about his efficiency and calm, it’s easy to see 2018 Jared Goff in his game — a quarterback good enough to lead his team to a Super Bowl.’”
-Vic Tafur of the Athletic quoting Daniel Jeramiah
“His 10.7 yards per attempt off play action last season ranked ninth among full-time FBS starters, right in front of Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker and Alabama’s Bryce Young (10.4). However, Richardson’s 38.7 percent completion rate on attempts vs. pressure landed 58th within the same group of 66 qualifying passers. His average depth of target was an outstanding 11.5 yards, but he completed just 53.8 percent of his throws and had some rough stretches from the pocket.
When it’s great, it’s great. When it’s not, it’s not.”
“[Will Levis] drinks his coffee with… mayonnaise.”
I’m in no position to be criticizing any of these guys (other than Levis, that is disgusting), as they are all phenomenal athletes and are on the precipice of translating their craft to the highest level that a football player can achieve: the NFL. But as we have seen many, many times in the past, even outstanding players can struggle mightily as a pro. I don’t see many “red flags” with these quarterbacks (outside of Levis, that is a literal indictment of his decision making), but I do see a lot of question marks. Maybe this will be enough to see one of these guys drop to Seattle with the 5th pick, and this could potentially put them in position to make a franchise-altering decision. Given what we have seen with Patrick Mahomes, this can be the difference between simply being a playoff team and being a team that wins multiple Super Bowls under a future Hall of Famer. But we also saw the LA Rams win a Super Bowl only after discharging their highly drafted quarterback in exchange for another highly drafted quarterback who many had written off as past his prime. They did so, however, featuring a number of highly drafted defensive players who brought Joe Burrow to the turf an astounding seven times during Super Bowl 56. So this leads me to the rhetorical question I find myself asking repeatedly... who is more likely to be on the Seattle Seahawks roster when they next win a playoff game: Will Anderson Jr., Tyree Wilson, or one of the passers listed above?