Day One of the 2023 NFL Draft is Thursday, April 27th.
That’s 22 days from now.
Unless the Seahawks make a trade between now and then, they’ll fly to Kansas City with ten selections and return home with a collection of players that will (hopefully) fill holes on the current roster and/or address future needs.
This is the 496th mock draft I’ve done this year, but only the third one I’ve published.
In the first FTR 2023 mock draft, which was published on February 5th, the Seahawks addressed the trenches by using their first three picks on Defensive Tackles and their next two picks on Interior Offensive Linemen.
Exactly a month later, the second FTR 2023 mock draft had the Seahawks going on the offensive by using their first three picks on a Wideout (Quentin Johnston), a Running Back (Bijan Robinson), and a Tight End (Michael Mayer).
This time, Seattle is going with a more balanced approach.
As with my first two mock drafts, this one uses PFF’s Mock Draft Simulator with the default settings and the simulator making the picks for the other 31 teams.
Before starting, I identified three prospects that I would gladly select with the 5th overall pick and decided that I would trade back if none of them were available.
At #20, I had my heart set on Bijan Robinson, with a trade down being Option 2.
One guess how all that turned out.
The 2023 NFL Draft begins
C.J. Stroud was one of the three players I was willing to use the #5 pick on. Will Anderson Jr. and Anthony Richardson were the other two.
Unsurprisingly, the Carolina Panthers made Stroud the #1 overall pick, the Houston Texans grabbed Bryce Young at #2, and the Arizona Cardinals took Anderson at #3.
Only one team - the Indianapolis Colts - stood between the Seahawks and the uber-athletic Anthony Richardson.
Yeah . . . that didn’t work out in our favor.
With Stroud, Anderson, and Richardson gone, a trade was in order.
My preference was to stay in the Top-10.
Alas, no such luck.
- Houston gets pick #5
- Seattle gets pick #12, pick #104 (R4), and the Texans’ 2024 R1
To me, this trade seems reasonable; others may disagree.
Note: Unlike my previous mock drafts, I didn’t use any of the trade value charts to evaluate the trades this time around.
Obviously, the main focus of this trade is the R1 that Seattle gets from Houston next year (fingers crossed that it ends up being a top-5 pick).
In theory, maybe Seattle could leverage the situation a little more and get Houston to give up pick #65 or #73 instead of #104. However, given who the Texans end up taking at #5, I think that would be a stretch. (Spoiler: They take Jalen Carter.)
Round 1, Pick 1
The full breakdown of the first three rounds is in the Bonus Coverage section at the end of this article so I’m not going to go pick-by-pick here. Instead, I’ll simply say that picks 6 through 11 are used on three OTs, a QB, a CB, and an EDGE.
With the 12th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Wide Receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba from Ohio State.
As I noted in my second mock draft, John and Pete have never selected a wide receiver in the first round and the highest pick they’ve used on a wideout was #45 (Paul Richardson in 2014).
The past is the past though and, as I wrote on March 26th, “despite a solid 1-2 punch, the Seahawks have massive needs at the wide receiver position.”
At this point, I think most 12s would agree that the Seahawks should take a receiver with one of their first four picks (R1 or R2).
Here, at #12, we get our pick of every wide receiver in the draft.
As noted in the Background section, the target at #20 was Bijan Robinson. Unfortunately, for us, the Detroit Lions snagged him at #18.
There were several players Seattle could have “settled” for, but the New York Giants were open to a trade so that’s the route the Seahawks take here.
- New York gets #20
- Seattle gets pick #28 and pick #60 (R2)
With the pick they got from us, the Giants selected Clemson DT Bryan Bresee.
Round 1, Pick 2
Between #13 and #27, the board falls like this: CB, EDGE, WR, EDGE, CB, Bijan Robinson, WR, Bryan Bresee, EDGE, Safety, DT, WR, TE, CB, OT.
With the 28th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Defensive Tackle Mazi Smith from Michigan.
Yeah . . . exactly.
Nose Tackle is an obvious need with Al Woods now a free agent and Bryan Mone uncertain to return from his Week 15 knee injury, and Mazi Smith is arguably the best Nose Tackle in the draft.
Seems like a no-brainer at #28.
In theory, Smith may have lasted another nine picks, but I’d rather take him here, ensuring that we get him and giving us a fifth-year option.
The sting of missing out on Bijan Robinson is still fresh as Day 2 begins.
Even worse, a hated division rival sits one spot ahead of us at #36 . . . and they have a “need” for the player that I’m targeting.
I chose my pseudonym for a reason though, and that reason is that Frank T. Raines has the same initials as F—k The Rams.
So, yeah, FTR!
We’re leapfrogging the Rams and taking our guy.
- Seattle gets pick #35
- Indianapolis gets pick #37 and pick #151
Round 2, Pick 1
Some will question this pick, but the drop off between this player and the next-best player at his position is much more pronounced than the difference between the top two players at any other position at this point in the draft.
Plus, I’ve got Shane Waldron on one shoulder and Clint Hurtt on the other and the only way to placate them both is to alternate the picks. Hurtt got his guy seven picks earlier; it’s Shane’s turn now.
With the 35th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Running Back Jahmyr Gibbs from Alabama.
Yes, Seattle already has an RB1 in Kenneth Walker III.
As things stand right now though, RB2 is DeeJay Dallas and, well, that won’t do.
Especially since Seattle hasn’t had a running back start every game in a given season since 2013 (and only twice since 2005).
Another starter-level running back is clearly one of our biggest needs, and we just got the second-best one in this year’s draft (to pair with the BEST one from last year’s draft).
There’s a link to the full scouting report below, but I’d like to highlight one passage in particular:
In the modern era where the expectation for running backs is to be able to offer value as a runner and a receiver, Gibbs exceeds those expectations and may be one of the best past-catching hybrid running backs that has entered the draft in the past 10 years.
One other thing to consider . . .
Fastest running backs at the 2022 NFL Combine:
- 4.37 seconds: Pierre Strong and Isiah Pacheco
- 4.38 seconds: Ty Chandler, Kenneth Walker III, and D’Vonte Price
- 4.39 seconds: Breece Hall
Fastest running backs at the 2023 NFL Combine:
- 4.32 seconds: Devon Achane
- 4.36 seconds: Jahmyr Gibbs
Yeah . . . K9 is fast, but Gibbs is FASTER.
Round 2, Pick 2
It’s Clint Hurtt’s turn and, I’ll be honest, I seriously considered moving up a few spots to grab LB Trenton Simpson (who went to the Steelers at #49) or EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore (the Buccaneers’ pick at #50).
However, I wanted to end the draft with more picks than I started it with (right now, Seattle is +1), and there are other players at those positions that may provide more “value” later on.
So the Seahawks stay put at #52, and give our DC what he’s asking for.
With the 52nd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah from Kansas State.
In my opinion, “King Felix” is an absolute STEAL at #52.
Don’t believe me?
Go find the game tape for Kansas State v. TCU in 2021 and tell me I’m wrong.
Spoiler Alert: Officially, King Felix ended that game with four sacks and two forced fumbles. However, the two fumbles he forced were by the quarterback and would have counted as sacks had the ball been recovered behind the line of scrimmage. Alas, he had to “settle” for four sacks instead of SIX.
Round 2, Pick 3
Remember how the Seahawks traded back from #20 to #28? This pick is the “bonus” selection that move netted us.
With the 60th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Quarterback Hendon Hooker from Tennessee.
Some will point to his age (he turned 25 on January 13th) and/or the fact that he suffered an ACL injury in November as reasons not to take Hooker before Day Three.
Those are legitimate concerns . . . I guess.
Sure, Hooker is older than his quarterback peers in this year’s draft but that doesn’t mean he can’t be the face of a franchise for a decade or more; nor does it mean that his career will be shorter than the careers of his 2023 draftmates.
And his ACL injury?
I’ll just leave this here . . .
#Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker, who tore his ACL in November, received positive medical reports here in Indy, sources say. He's three months after the operation and on track to be ready for the season opener.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 4, 2023
Oh, and let’s not forget that Hooker was squarely in the middle of the Heisman conversation before he got hurt, having amassed 3,135 passing yards, a 69.6% completion rate, and a TD-INT ratio of 27-to-2 up to that point. Plus, he had another 430 yards and 5 TDs on the ground.
It’s a known fact that John Schneider and Pete Carroll have only drafted one cornerback before Day Three, and that cornerback, Shaquill Griffin, was selected with the 90th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Well, that narrative is about to change!
With the 83rd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Cornerback D.J. Turner from Michigan.
It may be unfair to focus on what I’m going to focus on when you consider that D.J. Turner is “one of the better cover corners in the 2023 draft class”, but . . .
Four point two-six.
Turner’s time in the 40-yard dash was officially clocked at 4.26 at the NFL Combine which makes him the fastest player in this year’s draft.
You know who else posted a 4.26-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine?
The Avatar (aka Tariq ‘the Freak’ Woolen).
. . .
So as to not undersell just how incredibly fast Seattle’s potential teammates are, here are the fastest-ever official 40-yard dash times at the NFL Combine:
- 4.22 seconds: John Ross, 2017
- 4.23 seconds: Kalon Barnes, 2022
- 4.24 seconds: Chris Johnson, 2008
- 4.26 seconds: D.J. Turner, Tariq Woolen, and 3 other players.
Having two of the eight fastest players in NFL (Combine) history playing in the same secondary would be INSANE.
FUN FACT: At this point in this mock draft, the Seahawks have made 6 picks and the San Francisco 49ers still have to wait another 15 picks before making their first one.
With 2,000 words approaching and a whole Bonus Coverage section still to write, let’s summarize Seattle’s five picks from Day Three.
Pick 104: LB Noah Sewell (Oregon)
From PFF: Like his older brother, Penei, Noah is a certified ass-kicker. To look like a man among boys at only 20 years old is not something you see every day. He’s the most powerful linebacker in the class, and it isn’t close.
Pick 123: DT Moro Ojomo (Texas)
From PFF: Ojomo’s work in the run game is pure teaching tape. His hands and hips fire in unison into pads snap after snap, which is why he graded so well in that regard despite being undersized. (6-foot-3, 292)
Pick #154: OG Jarrett Patterson (Notre Dame)
Stat line from 2020-2022: 0 sacks, 3 hits, 27 hurries on 1,189 pass-block snaps, including 0 sacks, 1 hit, 8 hurries on 382 pass-block snaps last year.
Pick #198: OC Ricky Stromberg (Arkansas)
Stat line from 2020-2022: 4 sacks, 3 hits, 20 hurries on 1,151 pass-block snaps, including 0 sacks, 0 hits, 11 hurries on 416 pass-block snaps last year.
Pick #237: RB Mohamed Ibrahim (Minnesota)
2022 Stat line: 320 carries for 1,675 yards (5.2 average) with 20 touchdowns. PFF Overall grade of 88.0. His 1,106 yards after contact ranked 3rd in the nation, and his 71 forced missed tackles ranked 19th.
With the third FTR mock draft now complete, here is Seattle’s 2023 draft class:
- R1.12: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
- R1.28: DT Mazi Smith
- R2.35: RB Jahmyr Gibbs
- R2.52: EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
- R2.60: QB Hendon Hooker
- R2.83: CB D.J. Turner
- R4.104: LB Noah Sewell
- R4.123: DT Moro Ojomo
- R5.154: OG Jarrett Patterson
- R6.198: OC Ricky Stromberg
- R7.237: RB Mohamed Ibrahim
Plus, Seattle has Houston’s first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
As promised, here are the first 102 picks in this mock draft:
#1: QB C.J. Stroud (CAR)
#2: QB Bryce Young (HST)
#3: EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (AZ)
#4: QB Anthony Richardson (IND)
#5: DT Jalen Carter (HST)
#6: EDGE Tyree Wilson (DET)
#7: QB Will Levis (LV)
#8: OT Peter Skoronski (ATL)
#9: OT Paris Johnson Jr. (CHI)
#10: CB Christian Gonzalez (PHI)
#11: OT Broderick Jones (TEN)
#12: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (SEA)
#13: CB Devon Witherspoon (NYJ)
#14: EDGE Lukas Van Ness (NE)
#15: WR Jordan Addison (GB)
#16: EDGE Nolan Smith (WAS)
#17: CB Joey Porter Jr. (PIT)
#18: RB Bijan Robinson (DET)
#19: WR Quentin Johnston (TB)
#20: DT Bryan Bresee (CIN)
#21: EDGE Myles Murphy (LAC)
#22: S Brian Branch (BLT)
#23: DT Calijah Kancey (MIN)
#24: WR Zay Flowers (JAX)
#25: TE Michael Mayer (NYG)
#26: CB Deonte Banks (DAL)
#27: OT Anton Harrison (BUF)
#28: DT Mazi Smith (SEA)
#29: TE Dalton Kincaid (NO)
#30: OT Darnell Wright (PHI)
#31: OG O’Cyrus Torrence (KC)
#32: LB Jack Campbell (PIT)
#33: CB Kelee Ringo (HST)
#34: WR Josh Downs (AZ)
#35: RB Jahmyr Gibbs (SEA)
#36: CB Emmanuel Forbes (LAR)
#37: OT Dawand Jones (IND)
#38: OG Steve Avila (LV)
#39: CB Cam Smith (CAR)
#40: EDGE BJ Ojulari (NO)
#41: LB Drew Sanders (TEN)
#42: EDGE Will McDonald IV (NYJ)
#43: WR Jalin Hyatt (NYJ)
#44: EDGE Isaiah Foskey (ATL)
#45: TE Sam LaPorta (GB)
#46: TE Darnell Washington (NE)
#47: CB Tyrique Stevenson (WAS)
#48: TE Luke Musgrave (DET)
#49: LB Trenton Simpson (PIT)
#50: EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore (TB)
#51: OC John Michael Schmitz (MIA)
#52: EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah (SEA)
#53: LB Daiyan Henley (CHI)
#54: DT Keeanu Benton (LAC)
#55: S Antonio Johnson (DET)
#56: ED Tuli Tuipulotu (JAX)
#57: OC Joe Tippmann (NYG)
#58: OT Cody Mauch (DAL)
#59: CB Julius Brents (BUF)
#60: QB Hendon Hooker (SEA)
#61: DT Siaki Ika (CHI)
#62: WR Tyler Scott (PHI)
#63: OT Matthew Bergeron (KC)
#64: OC Luke Wypler (CHI)
#65: EDGE Derick Hall (HST)
#66: RB Zach Charbonnet (AZ)
#67: EDGE Keion White (DEN)
#68: CB Clark Phillips III (DEN)
#69: CB Eli Ricks (LAR)
#70: OT Jaelyn Duncan (LV)
#71: S Sydney Brown (NO)
#72: WR Rashee Rice (TEN)
#73: WR Cedric Tillman (HST)
#74: OT Blake Freeland (CLV)
#75: WR Marvin Mims (ATL)
#76: WR Nathaniel Dell (NE)
#77: DT Gervon Dexter Sr. (LAR)
#78: CB Darius Rush (GB)
#79: WR A.T. Perry (IND)
#80: TE Tucker Kraft (PIT)
#81: DT Jaquelin Roy (DET)
#82: S Jordan Battle (TB)
#83: CB D.J. Turner (SEA)
#84: EDGE Nick Herbig (MIA)
#85: RB Devon Achane (LAC)
#86: EDGE Andre Carter II (BLT)
#87: WR Trey Palmer (MIN)
#88: CB Jaylon Jones (JAX)
#89: S Christopher Smith (NYG)
#90: EDGE Byron Young (DAL)
#91: S Jammie Robinson
#92: DT Byron Young (CIN)
#93: WR Michael Wilson (CAR)
#94: DT Zacch Pickens (PHI)
#95: EDGE Mike Morris (KC)
#96: LB Dorian Williams (AZ)
#97: LB DeMarvion Overshown (WAS)
#98: RB Kendre Miller (CLV)
#99: CB Jakorian Bennett (SF)
#100: CB Garrett Williams (LV)
#101: RB Tank Bigsby (SF)
#102: RB Tyjae Spears (SF)