It’s been just about a year since Alex called me a lunatic on the podcast for predicting a second place finish for the 2022 Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. It was the return to West Virginia glory from Geno Smith and an incredible draft class last year that propelled that prediction into existence. The ’23 draft class from Seattle legitimately resets the limit of the upcoming season to the sky.
Will Anderson, Bryce Young, and Jalen Carter be damned. If you’ve paid an ounce of attention to this program over the past six months there wouldn’t be a question in your mind that Devon Witherspoon was the best football player in the draft. From an all-around perspective, Spoon hits hard, runs well, has great ball skills and brings game-changing energy to the gridiron. Fanboy status for the Illinois secondary stated on The Sunday Slate with Kerby Joseph in ’22 and was carried over by Witherspoon last fall. After the Seahawks made the steal of the draft in ’22 by selecting Tyriq Woolen—almost 150 spots lower than the draft guide had him ranked—wheels started turning on round two of The Legion of Boom. The violence, leadership, and pure vibes that Devon Witherspoon is bringing to Seattle could have carried this grade into A+ territory alone.
But then it got so much better.
Seattle Seahawks Draft Grade: A+
Jaxon Smith-Njigba was in constant competition on our big board with Shrine Bowl standout, and apple of our eye, Zay Flowers. At the end of the cycle, JSN emerged as WR1 for us, and for reasons that no one else could ever match. The twitchy routes, reliable hands, and ease that comes with the separation he creates were unique to him and him only. More exciting for The 12th Man is that there was nowhere else in the league that JSN could have landed to make a bigger, more immediate impact than he will have in Seattle. DK will be DK, Tyler Lockett (EMAW) will keep spreading the field, and JSN will slide seamlessly into the slot to wreak havoc on the West and the NFL as a whole. This addition alone will justify every penny on the new Geno Smith deal.
When round two rolled around and Derek Hall was read off as the 37th-overall pick, there was only a brief moment of pause for us. Hall was prospect 60 on the big board, and created over a rounds worth of negative surplus in the Hawks draft. Consider the rest of that D-line, however, and take just one second to revisit Derek Hall tape, and he screams Seattle Seahawk. They needed to add depth in the pass rushing department, and at the end of the day, if Derek Hall was their favorite of the available bunch at 37, they were well within reasonable striking range to take a shot at him. Selecting him ahead of BJ Ojulari, Keion White, and Isiah Foskey made us raise an eyebrow, but once again, it only brought on brief pause.
If the Russell Wilson trade didn’t prove advantageous enough throughout the 2022 regular season, the dividends that came with it in the form of this year’s draft were great enough to convince any looming doubters. Remember when Seattle took the player formerly known as Kenny Walker? He turned into Ken as a pro and is on his way to steal your girl right now. Adding a 1,000 yard rookie rusher was pretty sick, but it takes a village and Rashad Penny walked this offseason. This is where the end of our short doubt in decision making ends, and Zach Charbonnet enters the conversation.
One of the last remaining, legitimately “old school” type of coaches in the NFL today, Pete Carrol, is going to be able to wear opposing defenses down to dust with the duo of Ken Walker and Zach Charbonet. You don’t really get a third-down back in Charb, rather, you get someone who will threaten the alpha status in the RB room. He was always RB3 for The Slate, but he was also always the purest runner. Bijan Robinson will bring layers of new elements to the Falcons offense, Jahmyr Gibbs will open doors to Jared Goff and the future of the Lions passing game, but Zach Charbonnet is the most meticulously balanced and intentional runner of the bunch. He’s built like a brick shit house and is going to offer the Seahawks offense a set of fresh leges whenever they want one out there.
Fourth and fifth-round selections Anthony Bradford (OG5, LSU), Cameron Young (DT16, Miss. State), Mike Morris (ED32, Michigan) and Olu Oluwatimi (C7, Michigan) reinforced the trenches—shoutout Russ, again, for allowing a supplement of responsible drafting in the middle rounds. Sixth-round safety Jerrick Reed II had at least one interception in each of his four years at New Mexico (four in 2020), and Kenny McIntosh (RB17, Georgia) was a chefs kiss to round this thing out.
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