It is no secret that the Seattle Seahawks are about to experience a rebuild. The team traded away their Super-Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, in exchange for premier picks, along with other players jolting them into a younger and less competitive team.
With the NFL Draft on the horizon, it is possible to paint a picture of a potential roadmap the Seahawks could follow in order to install a new core for future success.
Round 1, Pick 9: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
While Malik Willis is still on the board at this point in the draft, the value of Thibodeaux is too high to refuse. A few months ago, the thought of the star Oregon pass-rusher not being a top-three pick would have been outlandish. After teams around the league started to question his effort, his draft stock has been on a decline.
With that being said, Thibodeaux has the potential to become one of the league’s most feared edge rushers, given his powerful punches and 4.58 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. His fluidity when moving through and around offensive linemen, making him a tough one-on-one matchup.
Playing in only 30 games in the NCAA, the fear mongering defender was top ten in both tackles for loss and sacks in the Pac-12 in each of his three years.
For Seattle, bringing in former Los Angeles Charger Uchenna Nwosu on a two-year deal was a step in the right direction, but they still need help in the pass-rush department. Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson have both shown flashes since being brought into the league in 2020.
Neither possesses the same explosiveness and power that Kayvon Thibodeaux would bring however. With a team that has more holes to fill than draft picks, the most logical choice here is to get the best player available with the possibility of landing Alabama quarterback Bryce Young in the 2023 draft.
Thibodeaux would bring a monstrous boost to an underwhelming front-seven, helping to chase after the likes of NFC West quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Trey Lance, and Matthew Stafford.
Trade Alert! Seahawks Trade Picks 40 and 153 to the Dallas Cowboys in Exchange for Pick 56 and a 2023 Second-Round Pick.
Although it is unlikely that Dallas would give up this amount of draft capital to move up sixteen spots, they are the team that chose to keep Michael Gallup over Amari Cooper, in addition to releasing their serviceable right tackle, La’ael Collins.
This gives Seattle more ammunition for a deeper draft class next year while only needing to wait for this pick until they are on the clock again. In reality, it would make sense for them to move down from either pick 40 or 41 to maximize their value.
Round 2, Pick 41: DeMarvin Leal, Defensive Tackle, Texas A&M
According to ESPN’s depth chart projections, Seattle’s youngest starting defensive lineman would be 27-year-old Poona Ford.
For a team desperately trying to become younger, that can be seen as an issue. Leal has the versatility of playing either defensive tackle or defensive end. He also fits the prototypical Seattle interior defensive lineman build, excelling in filling in gaps within the running game in order to make it tougher to run through.
The three-year Texas A&M defender has a lightning-quick strike with the power of a gunshot, giving him the significant edge at the beginning of plays.
In this hypothetical, Thibodeaux would help solidify the need on the outside, which would help Leal play to his strengths of being an interior force.
Round 2, Pick 56: Carson Strong, Quarterback, Nevada
Linebackers such as Wyoming’s Chad Muma and South Carolina’s Kingsley Enagbare also make sense at this spot, but Drew Lock starting at quarterback is a terrifying thought. At this point in time, Seattle does not have a better option than him.
It is tough to replace the same leadership that Russell Wilson brought to the team, but Strong provides the best sense of that out of the whole quarterback class this year. The Nevada quarterback made long, difficult throws throughout his collegiate career, putting blazing velocity and zip on his passes in the process.
For the most part, he keeps the ball out of harm’s way while also having a beautiful touch on most passes. So, with all of these impressive qualities, why is he getting selected at the end of the second round?
It is a valid question, and that has to do with his medical history. His knee has been a point of emphasis ever since high school, having had multiple surgeries and knee drainages. Besides affecting availability, it also changes how Strong plays in the pocket.
He has almost zero rushing ability and is stone-footed in the pocket, leading to unnecessary sacks. His pure arm talent and leadership is already an upgrade over what Seattle has in Drew Lock.
The worst-case scenario here is that Strong either flops or has injury issues. If this happens, the Seahawks would be able to explore other options next season, including tapping into a deeper quarterback class in 2023.
Round 3, Pick 72: David Bell, Wide Receiver, Purdue
The decision between Bell and North Dakota State receiver Christian Watson was a difficult choice to make.
Watson is a big-body receiver with more range, but Bell’s elite route-running ability makes it tough to pass him up on with pick 72. This comes down more to landing spot than pure talent, although Bell could surpass Watson in both categories.
Purdue had some fantastic wins in their 2021 season while also suffering some not-so-great losses. What remained consistent, however, was Bell’s ability to get open.
He wins his matchups off of his smooth route running breakthroughs and quick releases. Physicality will not bode well with him, especially when advancing to the NFL level.
A rookie quarterback’s best friend can be someone that can create separation and get open in the middle of the field and that is something Bell excels at.
Round 4, Pick 109: Alontae Taylor, Cornerback, Tennessee
Seattle’s cornerback room is a mess.
The group had issues even before D.J. Reed departed for the Jets. Artie Burns and Sidney Jones are the two starters as of now, which says it all.
Alontae Taylor can be similarly compared to Trevon Diggs. Both have immaculate playmaking ability, quality speed, exceptional zone coverage skills, but also take massive gambles. In all of those aspects, they can change the tide of a game.
Now is that the most attractive defensive back trait to have? Clearly not, but it is a risk worth Seattle taking.
If their cornerbacks are going to get beat regardless, they may as well pick up a younger option that has a natural sense for the ball.
Round 5, Pick 152: Pierre Strong, Running Back, South Dakota State
There is no guarantee that Rashaad Penny is coming back and Chris Carson is coming off yet another serious injury. Outside of that, DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer have not yet proven that they can handle a healthy workload.
That was the long way of saying that the Seahawks could use some help at the running back position.
In college, Pierre Strong had ten rushing touchdowns on plays 50-plus yards. The big-play ability he possesses becomes even more intriguing given his shiftiness when navigating through gaps.
He is not afraid to take on blitzing defenders either after displaying plenty of grit throughout his dominant career at South Dakota State.
Round 7, Pick 229: D’Vonte Price, Running Back, Florida International
Price is a personal favorite of mine in this year’s draft. Price provides the full package that every running back needs.
According to NFL analyst Lance Zierlein, the Florida International runner has the “Height, weight, speed prospect with bell-cow size.”
It is an uncommon move to go back-to-back running backs late in the draft, but with that said, the value that Price provides in the seventh round cannot be ignored.
Not to mention, he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. The 6 ‘1, 210 pound back also has a showing of highlight-reel plays that would compliment Pierre Strong.
In addition to his breakaway speed and impressive hands, Price also has experience as an effective special teamer which drastically raises his odds of landing and staying on an NFL roster.
He has shown fearlessness when running through defenders.His size however makes him more susceptible to the big-hit.
Another knock on Price is the lack of quickness when changing direction.
Overall, D’Vonte Price has diamond in the rough potential written all over him, making him a worthy pick this late in the draft.
Although the offensive line does not get addressed during the draft at all, other positions receive massive upgrades. A possible fixture could be picking up La’el Collins once Dallas releases him.
The former LSU Tiger has seven years of experience that has shown his elite run-blocking ability. Tackles like that do not grow on trees and might be a safer option than spending a premium draft selection on one.
After the Russell Wilson trade, Seattle has the second-most cap space in the NFL as well. The Seahawks have the pockets to land a solid lineman or two without spending draft capital and it would be a wise choice for them to allocate funds to that part of the roster.
Doubling-down on players in the trenches with the best-player-available strategy provides an instant upgrade while also injecting youth into one of the older front-sevens in football.
Speaking of stacking up, adding two running backs late with highlight-reel ability helps ease the stress of relying too much on a Chris Carson with plenty of mileage on him, and a Rashaad Penny that had a few games of high production.
Alontae Taylor provides much-needed secondary help, especially in zone coverage.
Quarterback Carson Strong receives a safety blanket in route-runner David Bell, while also adding a second-round pick to the growing arsenal of future selections the Seahawks hold.