Mock draft after mock draft after mock draft after mock draft (ad nauseam), the Seattle Seahawks select a defensive player with the 5th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Usually it’s Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson because, well, the Arizona Cardinals almost always select Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr. at #3, and most mock-drafters appear to believe that Georgia DT Jalen Carter is damaged goods and has zero chance of going to a team that needs defensive linemen.
Every once in a while, there’s a mock draft that has the Seahawks selecting a quarterback at #5; usually it’s Florida QB Anthony Richardson, but sometimes (okay, one time) it’s Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker.
Then, without warning, NFL.com dropped a mock draft from a former NFL kick returner turned sports journalist slash quasi-celebrity (who just so happens to have made a stop in the Pacific Northwest as a regional scout for everyone’s favorite NFL team just before the turn of the century), and . . .
Time stands still.
Okay, not really, but from a 12’s point of view, this is pretty unexpected and worth savoring a little bit longer than the colorless collage of mock drafts that came before it.
Unsurprisingly, Bucky Brooks’ 3rd mock draft starts out like pretty much every other mock draft: QB, QB, EDGE; C.J. Stroud to the Panthers, Bryce Young to the Texans, Will Anderson Jr. to our NFC West rivals.
Then the Indianapolis Colts select Tyree Wilson at #4 . . .
. . . which means Seattle can’t take him at #5.
The initial reaction is SHOCK because everyone knows that the Colts need a quarterback. That said, Brooks’ write-up about the pick makes a certain amount of sense:
Adding a quarterback is a top priority, given that free-agent sign(ee) Gardner Minshew currently sits first on Indianapolis’ depth chart — but the grades on the available QB1 prospects do not match the Colts’ draft position. Wilson would give the team a young, energetic pass rusher to pair with Kwity Paye on the edges.
Whether or not the Colts would pass on a QB at #4 is debatable, but they did in this mock draft which means that the Seahawks are on the clock with Anthony Richardson right there for the taking.
. . .
With the 5th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select JALEN CARTER.
The shock that was felt when the Colts took Wilson expands exponentially, but Bucky Brooks knows way more about football than your average mock-drafter so he gets the benefit of the doubt - at least long enough to read his rationale.
Brooks wisely uses the three magic words in his write-up about the pick:
Pete Carroll and John Schneider take the best player available to upgrade a defense that needs a makeover after last season’s disappointing performance. Carter’s off-field issues must be examined carefully, but there’s no question about his on-field talent.
In John and Pete we trust, right?
At #6, the Detroit Lions select Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon - which is interesting since they signed 3 DBs in free agency, including last year’s NFL co-leader in interceptions, C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
The Raiders also take a cornerback at #7 (Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez) with Brooks crediting the signing of Jimmy Garoppolo as the reason the silver and black can go BPA on defense.
Having recently named 2nd-year QB Desmond Ridder as their starter heading into 2023, HC Arthur Smith and the Atlanta Falcons take Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness at #8.
The Chicago Bears, who traded away the #1 pick earlier this month, take the first offensive tackle off the board (Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski), and the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles take Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith at #10.
And, just like that, we’re basically 1/3rd of the way through Round 1 and only 2 quarterbacks have been selected - which, if we’re being honest with ourselves, is probably how the actual draft should play out . . . even if it probably won’t.
The Titans take Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr. at #11, and the Texans take his teammate, WR Jaxon Smith-Njgba at #12.
Having successfully convinced Green Bay to let them keep the #13 pick, the New York Jets use it on Florida Guard O’Cyrus Torrence.
Two picks later, the Packers select Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy.
In between the Jets and Packers, the New England Patriots take Georgia OT Broderick Jones.
Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. is selected at #16 by the NFL team that’s about to be sold and the Pittsburgh Steelers select a cornerback of their own at #17 (Maryland’s Deonte Banks).
Note: If I were Brooks, I would have been very tempted to swap the 16th and 17th picks so Joey Porter Jr. could get drafted by the same team that selected his father in the 3rd round (#73 overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft.
The Detroit Lions take Pittsburgh DT Calijah Kancey off the board at #18, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take Tennessee OT Darnell Wright at #19.
Seattle is on the clock at #20.
To this point, through the draft’s first 19 picks, the selections have included:
- 7 defensive linemen (5 EDGEs, 2 DTs);
- 5 offensive linemen (4 Tackles, 1 Guard);
- 4 Cornerbacks;
- 1 Wide Receiver; and
- only 2 QBs
Two quarterbacks with the first 2 picks, then 17 non-QBs; 11 of them defensive players, including 6 straight from #3 through #8.
. . .
With the 20th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select ANTHONY RICHARDSON.
I’m speechless. Bucky Brooks isn’t:
Seattle’s player-development model could transform Richardson into a superstar. With Geno Smith entrenched as the veteran starter after signing a three-year deal, the Seahawks could take their time shaping the young five-star athlete on the practice field.
For as awesome as Day One has been up to this point, the rest of the first round is a bit painful as several players that the 12s have been dreaming about fail to slide to the Seahawks in the second round.
Texas RB Bijan Robinson is snapped up by the Los Angeles Chargers with the very next pick (#21 overall).
Two wideouts Seattle could use (Zay Flowers and Jordan Addison) come off the board at #23 and #27 (to the Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills, respectively), and two tight ends (Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer) go back-to-back to the Cincinnati Bengals at #28 and the New Orleans Saints at #29.
Minnesota Center John Michael Schmitz gets selected by the New York Giants at #25, Alabama Safety Brian Branch goes to the Jacksonville Jaguars one pick earlier (#24 overall), and Northwestern EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore lands with the defending Champions with the final pick of the first round (#31 overall).
The one that probably hurts the most though is the Philadelphia Eagles’ pick at #30.
Michigan Nose Tackle Mazi Smith.
When Day Two starts, the top players available (as determined by Pro Football Network’s NFL Industry Consensus Big Board) are:
- WR Quentin Johnston (TCU)
- QB Will Levis (Kentucky)
- CB Kelee Ringo (Georgia)
- LB Trenton Simpson (Clemson)
- RB Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama)
- EDGE Isaiah Foskey (Notre Dame)
With Seattle sitting at #37, one of those 6 players could be the Seahawks’ 3rd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Who would you take?