For the second time in the Pete Carroll era, the Seattle Seahawks will be drafting in the top-10. Thanks to the Russell Wilson trade, Seattle also has three other picks in the top three rounds. It will be the most rookie talent integration the Seahawks have had in a long time. If pulled off correctly, 2022 could set up the next era of Seahawk success.
In this article, we will be looking at the possibilities for those picks. We will pool predicted selections from three top draft sites (the Ringer, NFL.com, and Pro Football Focus), discuss team needs, as well as speculate what could be a classic Pete Carroll-John Schneider overdraft in each spot.
Round 1, Pick 9
Pro Football Focus – Trevor Penning (OT), Northern Iowa
NFL.com – Ickey Ekwonu (OT), N.C. State
The Ringer – Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE), Oregon
Seattle Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Defensive End, Quarterback
PCJS Potential Overreach: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
Seattle has many needs as a rebuilding roster, and their first selection will go a long way in determining how the next three years will shake out. The experts have justifiably determined offensive tackle as a key need, given the Seahawks have not yet re-signed either starting tackle from last season, Duane Brown and Brandon Shell. Danny Kelly from the Ringer had the Seahawks selecting Kayvon Thibodeaux, an insane athlete at defensive end that has been speculated to drop a little bit in the draft. Either position would signal that the Seahawks are eyeing a longer-term rebuild with the possibility of looking towards next year’s QB crop.
If they do draft a quarterback, it means that Seattle sees Liberty’s Malik Willis (the only guy with top-10 buzz) as a future star. Playing at Liberty, he’s been a somewhat erratic passer against sub-par competition. But his intangibles are Josh Allen-esque, a cannon for an arm and a running back’s build. His selection would bring instant excitement, but he’s not a sure thing. It would be a significant risk to pass on a surefire top 10 talent.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider have always marched to their own drum, especially in the draft. It has led to some success, like selecting Russell Wilson in the third or Bruce Irvin in the first. It has also bitten them in the ass, especially recently with overdrafts like Rashaad Penny and L.J. Collier. Linebacker is a position that Pete and John have always emphasized, notably spending high-value picks on Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton while Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright were still under contract. Brooks was practically a backup his rookie season and didn’t see the field regularly as a starter until last year. Barton has flashed but never really played due to Bobby Wagner’s iron-man-like health. When he finally got the chance during Bobby’s injury at the end of last season, he looked like a real player. Taking a guy like Dean or Utah’s Devin Lloyd would once again overstack a position while there are real holes on the roster.
Round 2, Picks 40 & 41
PFF: Arnold Ebiketie (DE), Penn State and Quay Walker (LB), Georgia
NFL: Quay Walker (LB), Georgia and Kyler Gordon (CB), Washington
Ringer: Trey McBride (TE), Colorado State and Kyler Gordon (CB), Washington
Seattle Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Defensive End, Quarterback
PCJS Potential Overreach: Any offensive skill player
The experts have some consensus on what they believe Seattle will do here. Quay Walker would be a questionable pick, given what we’ve already discussed about what the Seahawks already have at off-ball linebacker. Kyler Gordon would be an awesome selection, given that many fans have seen him play on Saturdays for the University of Washington. The Seahawks have a clear need at corner. Gordon’s size and coverage ability would be a welcome sight to many dual Husky/Seahawk fans.
Arnold Ebiketie would be another great selection. A late bloomer in college who transferred to Penn State, he amassed 52 pressures in his senior season for the Nittany Lions. The Seahawks have some juice off the edge, but lack depth after the release of Carlos Dunlap and Kerry Hyder Jr.
A very interesting possibility at one of these selections would be quarterback. There are five quarterbacks with at least a second-round grade, Willis, Kenny Pickett (Pitt), Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati), Sam Howell (University of North Carolina), and Matt Corral (Ole Miss). Willis and Pickett are expected to be gone early, but the other three have been the subject of a TON of speculation. One of them, at least, will probably drop into the high second round. If Willis is taken early, or if the Seahawks decide not to pull the trigger on him, having back-to-back picks here could justify rolling the dice on any of those other names.
Seattle is currently projected to start DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett at wide receiver, Will Dissly and Noah Fant at tight end and have the Rashaad Penny/Chris Carson duo competing for carries at running back. That is a good, flexible and expensive core, especially considering the Seahawks spent a second-rounder on wide receiver Dee Eskridge last season. Dropping ANOTHER second-round pick here would automatically be a waste for 2022, as it would be a meager chance that a new draftee would see significant snaps with all that talent ahead of them. There are clear needs on this roster at extremely important positions. This duo drafting a clear backup at any of these positions would be infuriating.
Round 3, Pick 72
PFF: Amare Barno (DE), Virginia Tech
NFL: Logan Hall (DT), Houston
Seattle Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Defensive End
PCJS Potential Overreach: Guard, Skill Player, Safety
This continues a run of defensive players selected by mock-drafters, signaling a belief that Pete Caroll and John Schneider will attempt to continue to rebuild their defense. Defensive end and defensive tackle are both needs considering Seattle’s switch in defensive styles. While Poona Ford is certainly big enough to play the nose, the Seahawks need bigger, more versatile players like the recently signed Quentin Jefferson to play the defensive end spot.
Any draft-worthy quarterback should be gone by this time in the draft, making it critical for Seattle to draft a difference-maker. In recent history, Seattle has been drafting better in the third round (Shaquill Griffin, Cody Barton, Damian Lewis), but they’ve struggled in the longer term. Guys like Amarah Darboh, Naz Jones, Lano Hill, CJ Prosise, Nick Vannet, and Rees Odhiambo are all guys that failed to make significant impacts outside of flashes. It’s vital for their rebuild that they take someone that can play.
How Pete Carroll and John Schneider prevent that from happening is by drafting someone at a position where the chips aren’t stacked against them early. Such as the case of Lano Hill, who was drafted when Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor were still under contract. There are going to be talented safeties in the third round, but Seattle has – once again – two safeties signed to big money in Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs. This is similar to the logjam at receiver, running back, tight end, and now at guard. There are entrenched players in those spots; PCJS must resist drafting these positions early. If they want to compete, they need help now.
It is clear that draft experts around the NFL believe the Seahawks need reinforcements on the defense badly. What was once one of the most feared defenses in the league has quickly become one of the league’s worst units, with a massive hole at cornerback.
On the other side of the ball, Seattle is missing starting-caliber players at the two most important positions on offense – quarterback and offensive tackle. While there should be a top-flight tackle available at the ninth spot, there’s a big question mark as to whether there’s a QB worth being taken that high.
Seattle’s back-to-back picks in the second should help with those needs, but that’s only if Pete Carroll or John Schneider do not get in the way. The Seahawks have good talent at some of the least important positions in football, linebacker, running back, guard and safety. It would be a double whammy if this regime decided to draft any of those positions with their first four picks, both misunderstanding the roster and general positional value.
It’s going to be a long year for fans no matter what, but hopefully, there are at least some exciting prospects that we can watch during this year of non-contention.