The Seattle Seahawks were widely hailed as having one of the best draft classes in 2022 and they are receiving the same sorts of accolades again following their outstanding results in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Add ESPN’s Matt Miller to the list of people who think the Seahawks nailed it.
Via ESPN+, Miller just released his ranking of the “100 best 2023 NFL draft picks, steals, (and) team fits” and Seattle landed four players on the list, with both of their first-round picks landing in Miller’s Top-5.
Before we look at which of the newest Seahawks made the list, where they landed, and what Miller said about their selection, let’s first look at the criteria that Mr. Miller used to make his list:
This isn’t just a list of the best prospects — we did that before the draft. Instead, we are incorporating a bit more into the equation than just what each prospect put on tape. To create our list of the best 100 picks, we factored in value (where a player was drafted vs. where he was ranked pre-draft), scheme fit, how the selection addressed a need and whether additional assets were gained or lost in draft-day trades to acquire the prospect.
Number 1: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
The Seahawks grabbed my No. 5 overall player and WR1 at pick No. 20, one of the best values of the first round. On top of that, JSN is an ideal fit in the slot — where he dominated at Ohio State — and can complement DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in what could be a very good offense this season. I also think Smith-Njigba will seamlessly slide into the WR2 role down the road, once Lockett is no longer there.
FTR’s Take: No arguments here.
Best. Pick. Period.
Number 5: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Sometimes a great draft pick isn’t based on need but rather value and team fit. Cornerback wasn’t the Seahawks’ biggest weakness, but Witherspoon’s grade as a player and what he brings to Seattle stand out. With Witherspoon (and Tariq Woolen), the Seahawks are on their way to building yet another elite secondary. He is a silky-smooth cover man with good ball skills (three interceptions in 2022) and toughness.
FTR’s Take: I, too, would put Witherspoon at No. 5. The “issue” I have is that Joey Porter Jr. is No. 4. While I understand the rationale (picked 17 spots later than projected, playing for dad’s old team, likely to be CB1 as a rookie), I think what Witherspoon will do in Seattle opposite Tariq Woolen warrants his being the first cornerback on the list.
On a side note, Bijan Robinson is No. 6 on Miller’s list (which I think is a little too high), and Anthony Richardson is No. 9 (which I think is way too low). I’d have probably put Richardson at No. 4, Porter at No. 6, and Robinson at No. 9.
Number 84: Mike Morris, DE, Michigan
The Seahawks needed speed and power at defensive end in this draft and got it with Derick Hall in Round 2 and Morris in Round 5. At 6-foot-5 and 292 pounds, Morris will be a 5-technique in the team’s three-man front but also has experience standing up and rushing over the tackle, too. He is a scheme fit who fills a need while also having developmental upside.
FTR’s Take: I was a little bit underwhelmed by this pick, initially. Not because I don’t like the player and/or didn’t think he was a good selection; more so because there were other players that I would have been more excited by at No. 151. Since the draft, however, my opinion of this pick has soared and I think when all is said and done, Morris may be considered one of the biggest steals in the draft.
Number 98: Anthony Bradford, OG, LSU
Bradford makes the top 100 because he could be starting very soon in Seattle despite coming off the board on Day 3. He has the mauler mentality in the run game that coach Pete Carroll loves, and he could quickly push Phil Haynes for playing time at right guard.
FTR’s Take: I feel bad for Phil Haynes. He probably went to sleep after Day 2 thinking the starting job at rght guard was HIS . . . and then the Seahawks drafted Anthony Bradford at No. 108. On the bright side, Haynes will be well-paid if he ends up being second string.
I’m a bit surprised that center Olusegun Oluwatimi didn’t make the list, but I’m not surprised that the Seahawks are well-represented.
- SBNation Reacts Results: Seahawks fans overwhelmingly approve of Round 1 selections
- DraftKings lists two Seahawks among favorites for 2023 Rookie of the Year awards
- NFL Draft Grades: Seahawks 2023 draft class receives high marks from 19 of 21 sites
It’s going to be a fun year!
My Top 5:
- Hendon Hooker (future QB1 in Round 3 - sorta sounds familiar)
- Nolan Smith (how was he still on the board at No. 30?)
- Anthony Richardson
- Devon Witherspoon
Fun with numbers:
Seattle is the only team with two players in the Top 5 and Houston is the only other team with two players in the top 10.
Every team has at least one player in the top-100.
Dallas was the last team to join the party with their first (and only) entry being No. 87.
The defending Super Bowl Champions have three players on the list, but their highest one was at No. 71.
Conference-wise, Miller’s list is almost perfectly balanced with 51 NFC picks and 49 on the AFC side.
In the NFC West, the breakdown is:
- Rams: 6 (Nos. 35, 60, 63, 74, 75, and 91)
- 49ers: 5 (Nos. 24, 62, 76, 93, and 94)
- Seahawks: 4 (Nos. 1, 5, 84, and 98)
- Cardinals: 1 (Paris Johnson Jr. at No. 25)
Last but not least . . .
If Miller were to redo this list after the season, I think he would include seven or eight Seahawks.
Obviously I’m biased, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.