The Seattle Seahawks had one of the best draft classes in the NFL last season. Possibly the best, depending on who you ask. In fact, they had such a good draft that three of their rookies landed in the first round of the Athletic’s Day One redraft. Two of these names should seem pretty obvious — left tackle Charles Cross and cornerback Tariq Woolen — but the third guy might surprise some people: Abraham Lucas. The former Washington State standout didn’t just ‘sneak’ into the first round, either; Nick Baumgardner actually has him landing in the top 10! And the team that “drafted” him is none other than the Seattle Seahawks... with the ninth overall pick. You can read Baumgardner’s blurb on Lucas below.
9. Seattle Seahawks: Abe Lucas, OT, Washington State
Original pick: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Well, this is awkward — Cross and Lucas are teammates in Seattle. That happened because the Seahawks grabbed Lucas at No. 72, and that has been a real steal. Wherever you slot him among the 2022 rookie tackles, you have to admit that Lucas massively outperformed his draft slot. The case could be made that Seattle would still take Cross here, as his upside could still be better, but Lucas was the better of the two last season. Either way, it’s great news for the Seahawks, who still have both guys in real life.
Now, I am not one to argue with the talents of Abe Lucas, as he started 16 games last year and generally had an excellent rookie season. But taking a career-RT with the ninth overall pick is a bit of a tough pill to swallow with a glaring need at left tackle. But possibly even more disturbing than this, Baumgardner has the Seahawks “passing” on Tariq Woolen, who ended up coming off the board three picks later. Woolen was clearly one of the top rookies in the NFL last season, and ended the year as a candidate for DROY. With Sauce Gardner off the board with the first overall pick and Derek Stingley Jr. getting selected 10th overall, Woolen would be the third defensive back drafted. Baumgardner had the following to say.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
Original pick: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama (to Detroit via trade)
Should Minnesota have traded this pick? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see how the returns pan out over time.
Woolen (No. 153, Seattle) outplayed his draft spot, perhaps more than any player on this list. He should not have fallen to the fifth round. He played at a small school and switched over from receiver midway through his career, so there was a lot to be scared about. But he’s also 6-4, 205 and ran a 4.29-second 40 with a 42-inch vert and a broad jump of 10 feet 11 inches. Every Power 5 coach in America whiffed on this guy — and so did every NFL team (at least once or twice) last year.
While I am not surprised that Sauce Gardner was picked ahead of Woolen, I am a bit shocked to see Stingley’s name called ahead of him. Not for lack of talent or potential, but simply because Woolen put his ballhawking skills on display last season and looks like a foundational piece for the Seahawks defense going forward. Stingley may be the same for the Houston Texans, but I would argue that Woolen put together a better rookie campaign between the two, and I don’t think it was particularly close.
Charles Cross dropped down a bit in the first round, going to the San Diego Chargers with the 17th pick. Baumgardner’s blurb on Cross:
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Original pick: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
Cross isn’t tumbling out of the first round entirely, as the former Bulldog was better in protection during the second half of the 2022 season than he was at the start. Cross was among the youngest offensive linemen drafted last year — younger than Ekwonu. Lucas, by contrast, was among the oldest. In a year, maybe we swap which of those two has the edge, but it should be fun for Seattle to watch it play out.
This seems fair, as Charles Cross has all the tools to succeed in the NFL, but he did have some uneven performances in his rookie season. Offensive linemen often require patience and good coaching when transitioning from college to the pros, and Cross is no different. I fully expect that the Seahawks have their bookend tackles in Cross and Lucas going forward.
So there you have it. I generally agree with Baumgardner’s assessment that Woolen and Cross would be first round picks in a redraft. Lucas surprised me, but that isn’t a dig at his talent or performance. Ken Walker III may have gotten snubbed, as he cracked 1,000 yards and posted 9 touchdowns last year, all while only making 11 starts and missing two games due to injury. But that speaks to positional value as well, as Baumgardner doesn’t have any running backs listed in the redraft. But I still can’t get over taking Abe Lucas over Tariq Woolen... that one just doesn’t make me. Unless this is solely predicated on the fact that Pete Carroll and John Schneider have never selected a corner in the first round. Then it makes perfect sense to me.