Believe it or not, it’s been five years since the Seattle Seahawks traded down from their top pick in the NFL Draft. They’re in a unique position this year with first-round selections at 5th and 20th overall, and there are questions about what Seattle will do with that draft capital.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell (yes, he of the “Seahawks had the worst offseason in 2022” fame) went pick-by-pick and instead of a mock draft, he had suggestions for each team and whether they should stand pat, trade up, or trade down. Perusing through the (paywalled) article, he believes the Seahawks’ best move is to trade down... not once, but twice. Yes, trade down from 5 and again from 20.
What they should do: Trade down.
If the Seahawks plan to draft a quarterback, they could consider trading up to get ahead of the Colts. As NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal pointed out, though, they re-signed Geno Smith and gave Drew Lock $4 million guaranteed to be Smith’s backup. It’s not out of the question Seattle drafts a passer — Richardson? — and installs him as the No. 3 option, but the Lock signing might also be an indication the organization doesn’t like the top quarterbacks, no matter how many pictures it takes with them.
Let’s say the Seahawks are not drafting a quarterback. We know general manager John Schneider typically prefers to trade down, both from his lineage of working underneath late general manager Ted Thompson and more than a decade of his own work in Seattle. When he has traded within the first two rounds of the draft since 2010, 14 of his 17 deals have been trades down. Schneider has been aggressive in trading picks in those rounds for veteran players, but it’s difficult to imagine him dealing this selection for somebody already in the league.
Seattle typically doesn’t draft this high, so this might be a chance to add someone at a key position such as Anderson if four quarterbacks come off the board to start the draft. It’s typically more valuable to move down and add more premium selections if you’re offered first- and second-round picks as part of a deal, though. If the Seahawks can land a future first-rounder from the Titans (No. 11) or Commanders (No. 16) as part of a trade up for a quarterback, Schneider should be amenable to moving back.
So a trade up if they want a QB, otherwise trade down.
And as for 20...
20. Seattle Seahawks
What they should do: Trade down.
Likewise, the Seahawks don’t need receivers and should be trying to solicit interest from the teams below them. We’ve seen them be comfortable moving down to the bottom of the first round and even to the top of the second round in this range, so I’m not sure they typically see much difference between the players in the 20s and the ones available 10 or 15 picks later.
What happens here might depend on what Seattle elects to do with the No. 5 pick. If it drafts a quarterback who won’t play much in 2022, this selection might be coach Pete Carroll’s chance to add an immediate contributor to the roster. If the Seahawks draft a non-quarterback early, they are more likely to trade away this pick for additional selections, possibly to take a quarterback later in the draft.
Alright I have to assume by “The Seahawks don’t need receivers” he means that they don’t absolutely need to use a first-round pick on a wide receiver, or at least not at 20th. Because otherwise, and I’m unapologetic in beating this drum, the Seahawks need wide receiver depth. This doesn’t mean Dee Eskridge and Dareke Young can’t earn their roster spots and more playing time, but Tyler Lockett is on the other side of 30 and they can’t just bank on him and DK Metcalf being there forever, injury-free.
Seattle’s only had a handful of games in which they’ve been down one of their top two receivers (so for 2018, this includes when Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett were the top duo)
These are the individual QB EPA/play stats for the games since 2018 that a Seahawks WR1/WR2 has missed. So we're talking Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett:— Mookie Alexander, Unofficially (@mookiealexander) March 22, 2023
vs. CHI: -0.23
vs. DAL: 0.3
vs. MIN: -0.21
vs. LAR: -0.26
at KC: -0.22
The Seahawks also scored just 82 points in those five games, and when you consider they had garbage time touchdowns against the Bears and Chiefs when the game was out of reach, and a fumble return TD against the Vikings, the scoring looks worse and the passing stats would be even uglier. It’s a small sample size but it’s consistent that the Seahawks offense struggles to function when they lose a top receiver.
I don’t believe you can ever over-invest at a skill position that is in high demand given the era of high-octane passing offenses. If you don’t have at least elite scheme like the Kansas City Chiefs, you need considerable depth at wide receiver, which Seattle does not have and hasn’t had for years.
Anyway, I think Seattle will trade down from one of those picks, but not both. I lean towards a dip from 20 to somewhere in the 26-31 range, but they aren’t going to trade down from 5 unless there’s an offer involved that nets them a first-round pick next year, too.