The number five overall pick is an intriguing one this year. Thanks to an excellent free agency period so far, the Seattle Seahawks could take one of myriad routes thanks to the depth they are building on an emerging and youthful roster.
A trade-down would have been a safe bet for this team in years past, but this franchise has a different feel to it these days. Could we see the Seattle Seahawks target one of the quarterbacks available this year?
Geno’s 2022 season could be a flash in the pan. The first half of the season was one for the ages for the 2013 second-round pick, but the second stanza showcased a quarterback plagued by questionable decision making as his play was littered with turnover worthy plays.
Seattle Seahawks 7-round mock draft
Round 1, Pick 5 (via Broncos): Will Levis, QB — Kentucky
Argue that this pick is a waste of time as much as you want. You will be screaming into the abyss.
If you do not believe that the Seattle Seahawks should take a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, you are simply not paying attention. The Seahawks simply must take a quarterback here.
It is true that the team has holes, but they have had an excellent free agency period so far. The signings of Dre’Mont Jones, Jarran Reed, Evan Brown, Devin Bush and Julian Love address both obvious areas of need as well as clear depth concerns.
Geno Smith may have just won the Comeback Player of the Year award and the belief around the franchise steadily grew throughout the year. Admittedly it is a heartwarming story, but the aforementioned belief is one that was unencumbered by the weight of expectation.
Frankly, it is a belief unencumbered by any realistic championship aspirations.
Seattle Seahawks fans have rightly been intoxicated by this feel-good story, but the franchise has structured Geno’s new contract in a way that enables the team to move on in 12-24 months. An ideal incubation period for a rookie QB.
An Alex Smith — Patrick Mahomes type of succession plan that was structured in Kansas in 2017 should be the goal in the Pacific Northwest.
General Manager John Schneider was said to have had an affinity for Mahomes in the draft that year. The same is to be said for Josh Allen a year later, who it has been stated that Schneider attempted to move up for. A rumored trade with the Browns in 2018 for the number one pick fell apart but picking at five overall this year finally allows Schneider to take his breed of QB.
Picking this high is an opportunity that does not come around very often for the Seahawks. In this mock, Anthony Richardson is off the board and so the pick is Will Levis. Schneider will see similarities between Levis and Josh Allen and will be salivating at the former Kentucky quarterback’s physical traits.
Levis matches the physical profile that Schneider loves in his quarterbacks, but he is so much more than this as a prospect. Much more than many are giving him credit for and possesses a higher ceiling than both CJ Stroud and Bryce Young if developed in the right environment. The Emerald City provides exactly this.
He is knocked for reckless play and careless turnovers, but he had zero assistance from his surroundings last year. Playing behind one of the worst offensive lines imaginable, Levis suffered to the tune of 47 sacks in 13 games in 2022. That level of pressure simply is not conducive to effective quarterback play.
Combine that with the loss of offensive coordinator Liam Coen to the NFL, as well as top weapon Wan’Dale Robinson to the draft last year, it is easy to rationalize the statistical drop-off from 2021 to ’22.
Too much time has been spent nitpicking the quarterback prospects — Levis in particular — and the focus has been on what they are perceived to do poorly. Analysts seem to be forgetting the undoubted potential that will excite NFL evaluators.
Levis has a self-proclaimed “cannon” of an arm. Hyperbole aside, he has obvious arm strength. Perhaps the best in this class. With effortless velocity, underrated touch, and a compact, efficient release Levis can drive the ball wherever he wants.
Due to his rocked-up frame, Levis will also be a weapon as a runner. Whilst he may not be an Anthony Richardson-level threat on every down and distance, he moves like a well-sized linebacker, and defenses will have to account for this; particularly in the red zone.
He is a hard worker who is committed to his craft and appears to be a great leader. Geno Smith bided his time and became the man in the locker room whom teammates appreciated and admired even before Russell Wilson was traded. Levis will similarly have time to ingratiate himself among his peers in Seattle and will form similar bonds ahead of when his time comes.
Naysayers may point to the possible availability of a Will Anderson, Tyree Wilson, or Jalen Carter-type defensive contributor, but this is a chance to shoot for the moon and hit on a franchise QB. Nothing is more valuable.
Furthermore, Anderson will almost certainly end up in Arizona, Wilson is a less-than-natural schematic fit and Carter is not aligned with Schneider’s new character-driven ideals regarding draft picks.
Yes, Levis has some technical flaws that he will need to work on but he has a superstar quality about him. Well-loved at Kentucky; given time, he will be equally as adored in Seattle.
Round 1, Pick 20: Lukas Van Ness, DE — Iowa
Instead of the obvious d-line pick at five, the Seahawks choose to wait to add to this unit until their second pick in round one with a high upside swing.
The size/weight chassis of Van Ness is similar to Tyree Wilson, hinting at a less-than-ideal fit within the Seattle Seahawks defense. However, taking such a physical profile at 20, as opposed to five overall is a luxury that the team can afford to take.
Van Ness is an incredibly enticing prospect and could go higher than this after an impressive combine. Another John Schneider type of athlete, Van Ness was never a full-time starter at Iowa but his best football is still to come.
A gritty hockey background will have served him well as he displays both a grizzled and violent mentality for the position, as well as the bend and agility of a man twenty pounds lighter. At 272 pounds, Van Ness may be best served by adding a little weight in order to accentuate his already impressive power and play as a true five-tech on the d-line.
In his limited collegiate career, Van Ness showed that he can win in a variety of ways thanks to his pliability, but he will become more and more refined at the next level. His potential as a QB hunter is limitless.
Nicknamed ‘Hercules’, Van Ness’ aforementioned power off the edge will enable him to hold his own against the run too. He has an innate ability to win the leverage battle against blockers, which is complemented by an alluring natural length.
The signing of Dre’Mont Jones will ensure that Van Ness can be eased into his role as he adapts to the NFL level but the Hawkeye will be seen as a steal at 20th overall when all’s said and done.
***TRADE! After losing T.J. Hockenson last year, the Detroit Lions decide the time is right to move up to the top of the second round and snag a tight end.
The Seattle Seahawks agree to trade pick numbers 37 (round 2) and 154 (round 5) and move down to Detroit’s pick number 48 (round 2). They acquire pick number 81 (round 3) as part of the trade.***
Round 2, Pick 48 (via Lions): Jack Campbell, LB — Iowa
‘Captain Jack’ will come in and immediately challenge free agent signing Devin Bush for a starting spot at the MIKE position.
Admittedly, the Seahawks do not trot out two inside linebackers as often as one might expect within their 3-4 alignment, but it is not yet clear exactly how long Jordyn Brooks is likely to be out for with a torn ACL.
An early pick focusing on the linebacking corps will prove to be a smart hedge against any possible tardiness with Brooks’ return from said injury.
Campbell ticks the character box yet again for John Schneider and put up some impressive numbers at the combine for a man of his size. Among linebackers, he topped the three-cone and shuttle drills with excellent times of 6.74 and 4.24 seconds respectively, and came second and third in the broad and vertical jumps, too. His forty is a fast enough 4.65, but it is the agility drills that will catch the eye of the Seattle Seahawks.
Don’t be surprised if Campbell immediately beats out Bush. The Hawkeye profiles as a three-down, hard-hitting, dynamic defender who is just at home in coverage as he is sifting through traffic against the run. For such a big frame, he is a joy to watch and offers another heart-and-soul type to add to this youthful, emerging defense.
An excellent compliment for Jordyn Brooks upon his return at some point in 2023, Campbell is an upgrade on the outgoing Cody Barton. Captain Jack and Brooks project as an exciting duo as the Seattle Seahawks move into the second year running their realigned 3-4 defense.
Campbell is even the type that could be a long-term replacement for Brooks should the Seahawks choose not to extend the former first-round pick.
Round 2, Pick 52: Steve Avila, iOL — TCU
The former Horned Frog was by far one of the most impressive performers at the Senior Bowl this year among interior linemen. O’Cyrus Torrence and John Michael Schmitz were garnering all the plaudits, but Torrence is overrated and Schmitz may go a lot earlier than this.
Patience pays off here for the Seattle Seahawks and Avila, who can play multiple positions across the interior, is available late in the second frame.
Drafting Avila ignites some competition along the line. Phil Haynes has been resigned at guard, and Evan Brown has been picked up as a free agent to play center. Avila provides a challenge to both.
A left guard in 2022, Avila perhaps had his best season for TCU as a center in 2021. This is where he will find a home in Seattle. Center suits his game well due to some limitations when moving laterally; Avila will be comfortable operating in the middle of the line within the restricted, tighter areas.
Avila has overwhelming strength, a rock-solid anchor, and no discernible difference of ability in the pass or run game.
He has an aggressive mentality and will be a tone-setter for this developing O-line. Avila was named as a team captain in 2022 and will become another core piece for this Seattle Seahawks team moving forward.
Round 3, Pick 81 (via Lions): Tyler Scott, WR — Cincinnati
The Seattle Seahawks have been crying out for a consistent third option at wideout for years and Scott can instantly provide just that. The 2023 NFL Draft is rich in slot wideouts and Scott is a hidden gem that few people are talking about.
Zay Flowers is perhaps the best of the bunch with his electrifying movement skills, but his name could be called in round one. Jordan Addison, Josh Downs, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Jalin Hyatt will also all be off the board at this point, but the Seahawks wait for their preferred target and are richly rewarded for their patience again.
Tyler Lockett comparisons are not a million miles off base; Scott has a similar stature and testing profile. Both ran in the 4.4s at the combine, but Scott beats Lockett in the 10-yard split, vertical jump and broad jump.
The former Bearcat has an uncanny ability to find space across the middle, is a legitimate deep threat, and is excellent after the catch. His running back experience is evident when he has the ball in his hands and a track background is clear whenever he needs to find that extra gear to accelerate away from defenders.
The Cincinnati product will share a similar early-career profile with the Lockett. He will start out as an excellent tertiary option and possible return man but flourish into the long-term successor for old-reliable.
Round 3, Pick 83: Tyjae Spears, RB — Tulane
The Seattle Seahawks let Rashaad Penny walk this offseason. Despite boasting the best all-time yards per carry average (5.7) among running backs with over 300 carries, Penny just cannot stay healthy.
Kenneth Walker burst onto the scene last year and received the most first-place votes in the Rookie of the Year race. He will remain the Hawks’ top back moving into 2023 but the team needs someone to spell the Michigan State alum during games.
Spears can immediately do this, as well as being a true pass-catching threat out of the backfield. The Tulane product is not quite the size that Seattle looks for in its backs, but he is not small (5’10’’/190lbs) and offers deceptive power.
He is also solid in pass protection and offers more dynamism with the ball in his hands than some of the third-down backs Seattle has had in recent years.
Spears turned heads at the Senior Bowl and is working his way up draft boards. Do not be surprised if he enjoys a career arc similar to Tony Pollard, who has just become RB1 in Dallas.
Round 4, Pick 123: Jerrod Clark, iDL — Coastal Carolina
Al Woods is not getting any younger and Bryan Mone is currently suffering from an ACL tear that will likely see him miss a chunk of the 2023 season. Having elected to not engage any of the run-stuffing defensive tackles on the free agency market, the Seattle Seahawks select the 334-pound Chanticleer in round four.
Clark is a behemoth on the interior but possesses surprising agility having been a tight end in high school. His sheer power, size, and almost 34” arms allow him to control the point of attack and act as an obdurate clog against the run.
He can drive blockers backward and collapse the pocket and will become a penetrative force as a nose tackle, allowing the likes of Dre’Mont Jones and Lukas Van Ness to eat next to him.
Seattle takes its third collegiate team captain in this draft to continue their focus on character and leadership.
Round 5, Pick 151: YaYa Diaby, DE/OLB — Louisville
There will still be several edge players available at this stage, with Diaby and Central Michigan’s Thomas Incoom both potential targets. Diaby’s measurables, however, are just too tantalizing for John Schneider to pass up.
Finishing 2022 with nine sacks and 14 tackles for loss, Diaby projects as an outside linebacker for the Hawks. He does need to add additional moves to his pass-rushing repertoire and play with a plan, but he should make an immediate impact as a rookie.
Possessing almost 34-inch arms and with a wingspan of over 81 inches, the former Cardinal has a frame that will hit Seahawk thresholds. He weighed in at 263 pounds at the combine which is a similar weight to 2022 pick, Boye Mafe. This is not where the similarities end though, as their testing scores are eerily similar.
40-yard dash — Diaby: 4.51 seconds, Mafe: 4.53
10-yard split — Diaby: 1.56 seconds, Mafe: 1.59
Vertical jump — Diaby: 37”, Mafe: 38”
Broad jump — Diaby: 10’0”, Mafe:10’5”
Mafe was a second-round pick, so it would not be a surprise to see Diaby taken much higher than this by the time draft night rolls around.
Adding another piece to a rotation that includes Darrell Taylor, Uchenna Nwosu (the only duo in the league to record at least nine sacks and three forced fumbles each), and Mafe will keep the unit fresh and complete a fearsome foursome that drips with upside.
Diaby’s additional size and length, coupled with his experience at defensive end will also allow him to play along the d-line from time to time on obvious passing downs. This versatility will whet the appetite of Pete Carroll by providing him even more dynamism up front as they look to develop the multiplicity within the scheme heading into year two of the 3-4 scheme.
Round 6, Pick 198: Darrell Luter Jr., CB — South Alabama
Depth for the secondary.
Luter could go much higher than this, but in a deep cornerback class and coming from a smaller school, he might just slip through the cracks.
He is an intriguing prospect, who has sufficient length and plays with a physicality that will appeal to the Seahawks. Furthermore, Luter’s combine was solid. A 4.46 forty, with a 40.5” vertical, and a 6.90-second three-cone are all well above average scores, highlighting his athletic traits.
The tape reveals a fluid mover in coverage and this was on full display during the combine as he was competitive and held his own throughout the week. It was not an entirely flawless showcase though as he was faked out at the line of scrimmage during drills and so may struggle initially at the next level against shifty and explosive receivers.
Despite this, he has an air of natural patience about him which is something to cherish in rookie corners. Luter rarely panics and reads receivers well, allowing him to be effective when needing to play the ball in the air at the catch point.
The Seattle Seahawks will appreciate his physical prowess and feisty nature, and should not have any issues trying to indoctrinate Luter into their system. This pick will add some real competition to the cornerback room and he could challenge to start opposite Tariq Woolen by year two.
Round 7, Pick 237: Jovaughn Gwyn, iOL — South Carolina
With their final pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select an explosive project at guard. Phil Haynes may well be entrenched as the starter at right guard after Gabe Jackson’s release, but Pete Carroll et al., practically coined the phrase “next man up”.
Gwen spent his entire collegiate career at right guard and could be a little undersized for the NFL level, but tested well at the combine and is worth a shot this late. He may end up battling for a spot at center instead, but the Hawks will be intrigued by his athletic potential despite his lack of prototypical length.