Skipping my normal intro . . .
Way too excited / anxious / semi-terrified about what’s going to happen once Roger Goodell officially opens the 2023 NFL Draft tomorrow evening.
Thought No. 1
The Seattle Seahawks seem to be going out of their way to encourage media to think they will be selecting embattled Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter fifth overall.
Could Seattle be using Carter as a smokescreen?
With the first round of the draft only a day away, a big part of me hopes the answer is, “Yes.”
Thought No. 2
The main reason that I’m hoping Seattle’s alleged interest in Jalen Carter is a smokescreen is because I really, really, REALLY want us to draft Florida QB Anthony Richardson.
Yes, his accuracy is an issue.
But Seattle hired Greg Olson (aka their new quarterback guru) for a reason and that reason revolves around his work with young QBs (aka Seattle didn’t hire him thinking that he’d help Geno Smith take “the next step”).
As with Jalen Carter, the “chatter” around Seattle’s interest in Anthony Richardson has increased in recent days.
Fingers crossed that (a) it’s real, and (b) he’s still on the board at No. 5.
Thought No. 3
As much as I want Anthony Richardson, I do not want the Seahawks to trade UP from No. 5.
No way, no how, no matter what.
If Richardson is gone and if Will Anderson Jr. is also gone, I am hoping Seattle trades DOWN.
Not too far down though . . .
Just far enough to make it more palatable to the 12s when John and Pete do a very Seahawk-y thing and select the prospect that Quandre Diggs considers the best player in the draft.
For those that doubt it, here is where a running back ranks on some of the most well-known draft boards:
- ESPN’s ‘Best Available’ list: No. 2
- PFF’s Big Board: No. 8
- PFN’s Big Board: No. 6
- PFN’s Consensus Big Board: No. 5
- The Athletic’s Top 100 list: No. 6
- The Draft Network’s Consensus Big Board: No. 9
And now consider that “positional value” is definitely a factor in those rankings.
Thought No. 4
Yes, I know that my obsession with the Seahawks drafting Bijan rubs some 12s the wrong way. (Sorry, not sorry.)
The good news is that it’s unlikely to happen and I’ll move on to a new obsession.
Or return to an old one . . . Ex. Cade Johnson’s golden opportunity to become Seattle’s next great wide receiver.
The bad news is that if Seattle DOES draft Bijan Robinson, my “victory lap” might last as long as he’s in a Seahawks uniform.
Thought No. 5
The excruciatingly drawn out Aaron Rodgers trade is finally complete. Halle-effing-lujah!
There are two big takeaways from this ordeal:
- As Tyler Alsin pointed out on Monday, there is a very real possibility that Seattle will never again have to play against
that insufferable @%&!Aaron Rodgers, and THAT is cause for celebration.
- Watching what this ordeal has done to the New York Jets‘ Super Bowl odds is fascinating.
- When the offseason started, New York’s odds for “winning it all” were +2,500
- After news broke that Rodgers wanted to play for the Jets, the line for New York winning the Super Bowl fell to +1,600
- As of Monday afternoon, the odds were +1,400
Note: Believe it or not, more money has been placed on the Jets winning the Super Bowl than any other team. Who woulda thunk it?
Here’s another example, this one specifically from our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook:
The Jets, who currently own the longest playoff drought of any of the major professional U.S. men’s sports were +700 to make the playoffs at this time last year. Today, they’re at -150.
Flipping things over to the Green Bay Packers . . .
- Their Super Bowl odds were +2,500 when the offseason started
- When the Rodgers trade news first broke (i.e., when he went on the Pat McAfee Show and said, “Come and get me,” to the Jets), Green Bay’s odds plummeted to +5,000
- The Packers’ odds were still at +5,000 Monday night
The moral of the story: QBs, especially MVP QBs, change betting lines.
Thought No. 6
Sticking with Aaron Rodgers and the Jets for the moment - and potentially giving the sports bettors among us something to think about . . .
Per CBS Sports:
- Passing Yards: 3,695 = 3rd-worst in his career
- Pass Yards per Attempt: 6.8 = 2nd-worst
- Passing Touchdowns: 26 = tied for 4th-worst
- Interceptions: 12 = 2nd-worst
- Passer Rating: 91.1 = WORST
Apart from the fleecing they gave us in the Jamal Adams trade, I don’t really have much animosity toward the Jets.
I do not like their new quarterback though.
Thus, I am rooting against him (and, by extension, them) and would be delighted if he has some more career worsts and they extend their playoff drought to 13 years.
Note: The only combination of QB and team that I’m hoping does worst than the Rodgers and the Jets is Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns (yuck x infinity).
Thought No. 7
Regardless of who the Seahawks draft over the next few days, there are going to be A LOT of post-draft additions to the roster.
Per OTC (Over The Cap), Seattle only has 52 players on their 90-man roster.
The Rams have a league-low 44.
The Seahawks have the league’s second lowest total . . . by a lot.
The third lowest is Tampa Bay with 60.
The NFC average is 66.5 players per team, the AFC average is 68.5, and the league average is (unsurprisingly) 67.5.
Seattle is sitting at 52 and will still be well under the league average after the draft concludes on April 29th.
Thought No. 8
Post-draft, almost regardless of who we select, these are the players that I would like to see the Seahawks focus on in wave 12 of free agency:
Some combination of Poona Ford, Al Woods, and Shelby Harris - Seattle may or may not still need a Nose Tackle and experienced veterans on affordable contracts is a staple of a Pete Carroll / John Schneider team. Plus, none of these guys should be unemployed in 2023.
Tyler Ott or Carson Tinker - I doubt Seattle is going to draft a long snapper, and we don’t currently have one on our roster; may as well bring back one of the two guys who already know the idiosyncrasies of Michael Dickson (both as a punter and as the holder on Jason Myers’ field goal tries).
Side Note: It’s very interesting (at least to me) that Seattle has the highest-paid punter in the league and the 3rd-highest-paid kicker, but, in terms of their 2023 cap hits, Dickson is No. 3, and Myers is all the way down at No. 15.
Godwin Igwebuike - Per PFF, Iggy averaged 28.0 yards on 11 kick return last season, from Week 14 through Week 18. Per ESPN, among players with at least 10 kick returns, that was the 4th-best mark in the league.
By comparison, DeeJay Dallas returned 13 kicks from Week 1-5 and Week 10-13 with an average return of 20.8 yards. Dee Eskridge averaged 21.4 yards on 7 kick returns from Week 6-10
Thought No. 9
I’m saving the list of “outside” free agents I’d like us to pursue until after the draft concludes.
Okay, I’ll share one player from that list . . .
RB Jerick McKinnon
Yes, he’ll be 31 when the season starts (his birthday is actually next week).
And, yes, last year was a statistical outlier for him.
But McKinnon led a fair number of my 33 fantasy teams to Top-3 finishes last season, including a handful of Championships, and, unless we draft Bijan Robinson (or Jahmyr Gibbs), I think McKinnon could do the same for the 2023 Seahawks.
Keeping in mind that the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t really utilize McKinnon as a running back the last two years, here are his rushing stats:
- 2021: 13 games, 12 carries, 62 yards (5.17 average), 0 touchdowns
- 2022: 17 games, 72 carries, 291 yards (4.04 average), 1 touchdown
What Kansas City did do though, was make him a veritable weapon in the passing game.
- 2021: 13 of 20 for 107 yards with 1 touchdown (yawn)
- 2022: 56 of 71 for 512 yards and NINE touchdowns (BOOM!)
If the Seahawks don’t add a pass-catching running back in the draft, Jerick McKinnon should be a priority free agent signing. Especially if he’s willing to sign at/near the veteran minimum (as was the case the last two years in Kansas City).
Thought No. 10
Could the Cardinals move back from No. 3 because a team wants to move up for an offensive tackle?
According to Tony Pauline, the answer is, “Yes.”
Latest- The Cardinals are getting calls from teams who want to move to #3 then take one of the offensive lineman. Did not hear which OT is being targeted.— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 22, 2023
All I’m going to say is, “YES, PLEASE!”
First of all, the Cardinals (potentially) giving up their shot at one of the best defensive players in the draft is a big win for the Seahawks.
More importantly though, a team jumping ahead of Seattle to take an offensive tackle means one more of our likely targets will still be on the board at No. 5.
That would be a HUGE win!
Thought No. 11
Here is the list of current projected starting QBs in the NFC:
- Atlanta: Desmond Ridder
- Arizona: Kyler Murray (at some point in 2023; until then, it’s Colt McCoy)
Andy DaltonBryce Young (we all know that’s happening)
- Chicago: Justin Fields
- Dallas: Dak Prescott
- Detroit: Jared Goff
- Green Bay: Jordan Love
- Los Angeles: Matthew Stafford
- Minnesota: Kirk Cousins
- New Orleans: Derek Carr
- New York: Daniel Jones
- Philadelphia: Jalen Hurts
- San Francisco: Brock Purdy (or maybe Trey Lance)
- Seattle: Geno Smith
- Tampa Bay: Kyle Trask (or maybe Baker Mayfield)
- Washington: Sam Howell (or maybe Jacoby Brissett)
As a 12, which quarterbacks on that list scare you?
For me, the list is two names long at most: Jalen Hurts and (maybe) Dak Prescott.
To be clear, the 49ers are a concern, but not because of Brock Purdy (he’s alright, but it’s the TEAM that’s dangerous).
The rest though?
Thought No. 12
My wishlist for this year’s draft:
- Anthony Richardson at No. 5
- Some combination of RB/WR with our next two picks (ex. Bijan Robinson and Josh Downs or Zay Flowers and Jahmyr Gibbs)
- A Center and/or a Guard (Day 3 is fine, but Joe Tippmann or Steve Avila at No. 52 would be awesome!)
- Defense, defense, defense with the rest of our picks
- Jerrod Clark on Day 3
- Stetson Bennett in Round 7 (if we didn’t get Richardson at No. 5)
Yes, I know that there are 12s who will hate this if it happens, but the NFL is an offensive-minded league and the Seahawks won’t keep up, let alone reach the heights we want them to, if they stick with the status quo (Geno-K9-DK-NoE) on offense.
I want to see a BOLD and AGGRESSIVE draft.