This year's draft is really interesting. I did a mock draft earlier using the PFN mock and couldn't help but want to do another. I really like the idea of keeping the different mocks that I do nearly completely distinct from each other. I'm planning on doing a couple of these over the next week or so. I'll try and pick different players in each of them, but I had a hard time doing that in a couple, and you'll see those when we get to them. For now, though, this is a different take on the Seahawks draft.
There are a few differences between this draft and my last one. The two main differences are what site I used and my approach to it. I used the ESPN draft simulator this time instead of the PFN mock because their board is more up-to-date than PFN's. The second difference is that I didn't do any trades in this one. The ESPN simulator is remarkably permissive when it comes to trades, and I have a weird taste in my mouth about what I got with the PFN mock, so I just didn't bother with them this time. This does mean that this draft is almost completely unrealistic, but then what's new?
Let's get to it, shall we? (Once again, I'll be providing relative athletic scores for those players that have them, and those images are via Kent Lee Platte and the fine folks at ras.football)
5. Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
There are so few situations where I'd be so reluctant to pick a player like Jalen Carter. He's an incredible interior lineman. His strength at the point of attack, his quickness off the snap, his ability to disrupt the line of scrimmage in general is beyond impressive. In terms of talent, he is the #1 defensive player in this draft, and there's not a particularly close #2 (I'm not a Will Anderson fan). If there wasn't anything to worry about with Jalen Carter, there wouldn't be a chance that Seattle would get him. His floor would be pick #3 at Arizona and that would be that, just like in 2019 when the Jets had a chance to grab a "falling" Quinnen Williams after Kyler Murray and Nick Bosa came off the board. The commentary around then was really funny.
Unfortunately, Jalen Carter is not without concerns. Honestly, I'm not even worried about the legal issues. Those seem largely resolved. What I am worried about is the the unrelenting deluge of reports, reliable or not, that his work ethic and football character leave a lot to be desired. Adam Schefter was recently on the radio in Philadelphia and shared reports that he had heard that "One guy, maybe the one guy, who kept Jalen Carter in line was Jordan Davis. When he was around Jordan Davis he was on some of his best behavior." That's not something that should need to be said about a top 5 pick. He's not a middle school kid anymore. I get that he's still maturing as a person, I was too at that age, and I still am maturing, but I wouldn't have picked myself in the top 5 of a draft of anything at that point either.
This pick comes down to Pete and John's interviews with Carter. If they think he's a guy they want in their program, and if they think he can be the guy he looked like at Georgia, then I can get on board with the pick. If not, then he shouldn't be on their board anywhere, let alone at 5.
One downside of his college play though, is that I don't think that he'll provide a tremendous improvement right away. Even if his work ethic wasn't a concern, he's never played more than 40% of the snaps in a season. That is a legitimate knock against him, and it also means that, like Quinnen Williams, it might take him a few years to really come into his own as an NFL player. I wouldn't expect much from him in year 1.
20. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
I swear I didn't come into this intending to pick a quarterback. I picked Jalen Carter to see what the draft might look like if we didn't go QB in the first round, but there I was at pick 20, and Will Levis was staring me in the face. I'm not as high on Levis as I am on Stroud or Richardson, but he's got a crazy arm and enough athleticism to make things happen at the next level. His teammates love him, and he's shown the ability to execute in an NFL-style offense. He's a bit on the older side, but not so much that I wouldn't mind sitting him for a year behind Geno. He was there, and this is great value for him. No reason not to make the pick.
37: Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin
Man, Creed Humphrey still hurts. Seattle hasn't had a good center since they traded Max Unger away, and they have a real chance to start building an offensive line full of great talent after grabbing two young and extremely talented tackles in the draft last year. Tippmann is quite tall for a center (kinda like Unger, weird coincidence, and a little bit funny), but he moves well for his size and is known for being a good communicator. Great for the point man in a zone scheme. Damn...I miss Max Unger...
52: Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
Draft sims really aren't very high on his dude. Keeanu Benton is an above average prospect in most aspects of his game, but he's not really exceptional at anything. He's a really good athlete, but not a great one. He's good against the run, but not great. He's a good pass rusher, but he's not great at it. He's exactly what the Seahawks need right now: someone who can play anywhere you need along the interior of the defensive line. I have said before and will say again that you shouldn't draft for what you need right now, but instead for what you'll need in two years, but guys like Benton are always needed by any team.
(Also, yay for my first player that actually has a RAS. None of the others have enough athletic testing.)
83: Rashee Rice, WR, SMU
Rashee Rice isn't as fast as the Seahawks usually want their receivers to be. He's not an extremely polished route runner and he doesn't have the best hands. What he does have is insane acceleration and jumping ability and great contested catch skills. He's got the ability to play inside or outside as a receiver, and while he's not as quick as you might expect him to be with his 10-split, his agility numbers are just fine as well. If he can straighten out some of the concentration drops I don't see any reason why he couldn't develop into a WR2/3 relatively quickly.