The 2023 offseason will look much different than the 2022 offseason for the Seattle Seahawks. For starters, they won’t need to trade a disgruntled star player. It won’t feel as if the franchise is falling from the sky. And for the first time in a while, it feels like they have the advantage going into an NFL Draft, something Hawks fans haven’t been able to say for a long time.
If there is one question that has to be answered, it’s whether or not the Seahawks should draft a quarterback in this draft. I believe it’s a good problem to have, not a bad one. No one could have predicted that Geno Smith would have the season he had. He’s currently the frontrunner to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He was a Pro Bowl quarterback; he was 8th in passing yards with 4,282 yards and 4th in passing touchdowns with 30. On top of that, he proved that at his age, he can still move around the pocket, picking up 366 yards on the ground.
There is no doubt that Geno Smith deserves to be paid this offseason, and if the Hawks don’t do it, someone else will. There are a lot of quarterback-needy teams in the league at the moment, and they won’t pass up on Smith’s services. But he has expressed his want and desire to play for this franchise. He answered contract questions a few weeks ago, and it seems optimistic that he will be a Hawk.
“We’ve had talks, and we’re in the process of getting all that settled right now,” Smith said. “It’s looking very good, we think we can get some things done, but obviously, those things take time. This is the process that I hate about the NFL because I just want to play football, but it’s a business as well, so we’ve got to take care of business, and then we’ll get back to the football.”
So if there is a starter in place for the 2023 season, should they draft a QB? I believe that answer has to be yes. Smith is already 32 years old, and while this season was incredible to watch, there has to be some speculation that he won’t replicate this exact kind of success for years and years to come. The Seahawks have been gifted with a perfect situation where they can likely lock Smith up on a short 2-3 year contract while they transition to the QB of the future.
Backup Drew Lock is an unrestricted free agent, and he will likely be heading to a team where he can compete for the starting job, which is not Seattle. The Hawks will indeed sign another quarterback to back up Smith, but why not add a rookie quarterback in the mix as well? There are many good ones in this draft class, and the Hawks have the picks to make a move.
Seattle holds the 5th overall pick (from Denver), the 20th overall pick (their own), the 38th overall pick (from Denver), the 53rd overall pick (their own), and the 84th overall pick (their own). Five picks inside the top 100 seem like a strange place for Seattle, who rarely appears to have five overall picks at all in a draft.
At number five, there could be a couple of quarterback options to choose from. I assume Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud will be off the board by then. Maybe Seattle can draft Will Levis from Kentucky at that spot, or perhaps they trade back from 5 and draft Florida’s Anthony Richardson, a QB who is similar to Geno Smith and could learn the system. If the Hawks are aggressive about one of the top two quarterbacks in this draft, they have a bounty of picks to make a trade. However, I believe the Hawks have learned the value of holding draft capital and building through the draft and will elect to stay put or maybe even stockpile more with a trade back.
With that said, if they go for a quarterback in the first round, Levis or Richardson will be the top two choices. Levis is thought to be a more raw prospect but is rumored to have the best arm in this draft class. Decisions made towards the end of the season did have scouts confused, though, as he sat out his team’s bowl game and declined invites to postseason competitions. Richardson might be the QB who has the lowest floor but the highest ceiling. His legs will excite fans in a modern NFL offense.
But what if they don’t go quarterback in the first round? Maybe Seattle will focus on building their defensive line in a class with many talented pass-rushers. There is a chance that they focus on the offensive line, which slightly improved last season through the draft but still needs some work. That’s no problem. They still have those top-100 picks.
Lots of good quarterbacks will be available outside the first round, from Jaren Hall to Hendon Hooker to Jake Haener to Tanner McKee and Max Duggan. My favorite selection for Seattle would be Hooker, who was on pace to win the Heisman this year but tore his ACL. He could be a project for Seattle, but he doesn’t need to play for at least one or two years with Smith.
My bottom line for the Hawks is to build the defense in the first round and even look at trading back to add another Top-40 pick. Hooker will be there in the second round, and they can really build a young core in this draft. But, by all means necessary, a rookie QB must be on the roster.