NFL Draft Primer
Teams are still getting to know the players as people and their background, but the boards are pretty much set for the 2023 NFL Draft. There will be a ton of marketing by the sports agencies to boost their commissions, or, as they spin it, their client’s draft position. But don’t buy the hype over the next month, how players performed with their teammates on Fridays and Saturdays over the last few years is 80% of the evaluation.
So, what should be expected from the Seahawks in Kansas City on the weekend of April 27th-29th?
Let’s figure it out.
~350 players have been rated by choosing the Top 20-40 at each position and analyzing them individually using available film and measurables. This is not a complete list of players and may include some that didn’t declare, but it should get about 90% of what we’ll see on draft day. For the straight player rankings and positional rankings click here for the Draft Board.
The prospects have been analyzed and graded for their ability to play the various roles needed to execute the schemes run by the Seahawks. In extremely generalized terms, the Seahawks are an 11 or 12 personnel, outside zone running, west coast passing style offense. On defense they play mostly 3-4 odd front nickel, with a single high bear base. For example, Myles Murphy is rated as a late 1st rounder, but if the Seahawks ran a traditional 4-3 he’d be a Top 15 prospect. Derek Hall is rated as a mid-1st round Edge player, but if the Seahawks ran the 4-3 he’d be a mid-2nd round OLB/DE prospect. The change in position based on scheme isn’t major because there are so many hybrid schemes run in the NFL, but it’s the main reason no two teams draft boards match. This is all done based on a general fit for the what the Seahawks do, so take the rankings for what they are.
The Seahawks positional needs, in order of importance, are: DL (DT/DE), ILB, WR, C, G, Edge/OLB, S, CB, TE, QB, OT. The reasoning behind this order is covered in the position specific articles in this series. They’re worth a read to get the full picture of the offseason ahead and what to expect in free agency prior to the draft. Those articles can be found here.
Here's a look at Seattle's round-by-round picks:
Round 1, Pick 5 (via Denver)
Round 1, Pick 20
Round 2, Pick 37 (via Denver)
Round 2, Pick 52
Round 3, Pick 83
Round 4, Pick 123
Round 5, Pick 151 (via Pittsburgh)
Round 5, Pick 154
Round 6, Pick 198
Round 7, Pick 237
The numbers below reflect my estimation of the earliest pick in which the Seahawks would draft those players. The Draft Pick Value chart was used to determine draft position value. If you are not familiar with that value system, you can read about it here.
Players in bold are the scheme fits and likely targets on the Seahawks draft board at the right value.
1st Round Grades: DT/DE:8 Edge:5 CB:4 ILB:3 WR:3 QB:3 OG:1 RB:1 TE:1 OT:1 S:1 Total = 31 Players
1. Jalen Carter (DL 3+)
2. Will Anderson (Edge 10+)
3. Bijan Robinson (RB 10+)
4. Christian Gonzalez (CB 11+)
5. CJ Stroud (QB 15+)
6. Peter Skoronski (OT 15+)
7. Anthony Richardson (QB 16+)
8. Jack Campbell (ILB 20+)
9. Gervon Dexter (DL 20+)
10. Derick Hall (Edge 20+)
11. Mazi Smith (DT 20+)
12. Joey Porter Jr. (CB 20+)
13. Zay Flowers (WR 20+)
14. Brian Branch (SS/FS 20+)
15. O’Cyrus Torrence (OG 30+)
16. Devon Witherspoon (CB 25+)
17. BJ Ojulari (Edge 25+)
18. Will McDonald (Edge 25+)
19. Bryan Bresee (DL 25+)
20. Myles Murphy (DE/Edge 25+)
21. Dalton Kincaid (TE 25+)
22. Tuli Tuipulotu (DE 25+)
23. Drew Sanders (ILB 25+)
24. Tyree Wilson (Edge/DE 25+)
25. Bryce Young (QB 25+)
26. Quentin Johnston (WR 25+)
27. Jordan Addison (WR 30+)
28. Siaki Ika (DT 30+)
29. Isaiah Foskey (Edge 30+)
30. Trenton Simpson (ILB 30+)
31. Kelee Ringo (CB 30+)
The Seahawks have two picks in the 1st round at #5 and #20, which gives them tremendous flexibility. They’ll come out of the day with at least 2 impact starters and possibly some additional picks, hopefully a 1st in the QB rich 2024 draft.
This draft class is loaded with highly graded players that fill positions of need, especially on the defensive line. However, the NFL Combine confirmed there are not many elite players in this class. Aside from Carter, Anderson, and Robinson the value in the top half of the first round is not great. Anthony Richardson was amazing in tights playing against air, but go watch the FSU or Georgia game, that’s what he’ll see every week in the NFL. Many would say Gonzalez is overrated with questions about ball skills and technique. All the other top prospects have a concerning weakness in their game that may limit their ability to make a superstar impact.
The Bears trading the #1 overall pick to the Panthers is excellent news for Seattle. The Panthers are taking a QB, which leaves only Arizona as the non-QB-needy team ahead of the Seahawks. This almost ensures Seattle will get one of the two best defensive prospects in the draft. However, it also reduces Seattle’s trade back options with teams that want a QB because the QBs will be gone by the 5th pick.
At pick #5, if Carter is not there, trading back can provide significant return on investment for Seattle. Anderson’s testing numbers and combine performance at 252lbs was impressive, but he still displayed a lack of elite explosiveness and agility and his pass rush moves may be too few to fulfill fan expectations of the 5th overall draft pick. The possibility of resurrecting Aaron Curry ghosts with this pick is a scary thought to many 12s. In more detail, pick #5 (1700pts) is worth picks #10 (1300pts) and #50 (400 pts), that could be Christian Gonzalez and Keeanu Benton, or Zay Flowers and Noah Sewell, 2 impact starters for the price of 1, or even another trade back and 3 impact starters. Anderson’s interviews are impressive and he’s the type of character guy Carroll and Schneider covet; the Seahawks still could draft him at #5 and few would question it.
Pick #5 – 1) Trade Back, 2) Jalen Carter - DL, 3) Will Anderson - Edge
There may be multiple trade backs before they pick depending on how the draft falls. The Seahawks are going to take best player available at premium positions DL, Edge, CB, or QB. In the case of a trade back I’d predict Christian Gonzalez in Top 10, Bijan Robinson in Top 15, or Joey Porter Jr. in Top 20.
The back half of the round is where there is tremendous value. Expect runs on premium positions QB, CB, WR, and OT during picks 1-19 due lack of elite and big drop offs between tiers, causing teams to reach. This will leave excellent players at the IOL, LB, and IDL positions. The DE, TE, and IOL groups don’t have a significant drop off until the mid-3rd round, so Seattle can fill those needs later.
With 10 selections, 5 in the first 83, the Seahawks aren’t looking for additional picks, so the return of a 4th rounder just isn’t worth moving out of #20 and missing out on "their guy". The Seahawks will make a selection at #20.
The positions likely to have significant talent drop offs between pick 20 and 37 are DT, ILB, and Edge. The Seahawks are going pass rush with the pick, most likely an interior pass rusher. It all depends on how the draft falls but there will be several options.
Pick #20 – 1) DL – Gervon Dexter, Brian Bresee, Tyree Wilson; 2) Edge – Derick Hall, Myles Murphy, Isaiah Foskey; 3) ILB/OLB – Jack Campbell, Drew Sanders, Nolan Smith.
The Seahawks will finish the 1st night of the NFL Draft with two new starters on their defense, most likely in the front 7. The new stars may even be accompanied by some additional draft picks.
12’s will sleep well on the night of Thursday, April 27th.
Rounds 2-7 analysis and prediction should be out by Friday.