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2021 NFL Draft Preview: Will The Seahawks Add Competition For the Backup Quarterback Job?

A look at where the Seahawks stand at quarterback heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, and at some of the top prospects at that position. 

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Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs the ball during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Notre Dame, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

The 2021 NFL draft kicks off next week, though as things currently stand, the Seahawks will be sitting out Day 1 of the draft having traded their first-round pick to acquire safety Jamal Adams last summer. While the Seahawks could always add more picks via trades, for now they have just three picks due to the trades made to acquire Adams, defensive end Carlos Dunlap II and guard Gabe Jackson. And whether the Seahawks end up making just those three picks or if John Schneider works his magic and they end up selecting more players, there will still be opportunities to add talent to the roster, so over the next two weeks, Seahawks.com will take a position-by-position look at where things currently stand for the Seahawks, as well as the top draft prospects at each position. We'll also look at Seattle's draft history at each position over the past 11 drafts under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll. 

So far we've covered the offensive and defensive linesrunning backsafetyreceivercornerbacktight end and linebacker, and today we take a look at where things stand at quarterback. Tomorrow, we'll wrap things up with special teams.  

Seattle's 2021 Draft Picks: Round 2, No. 56 overall; Round 4, No. 129 overall; Round 7, Pick No. 250 overall.

Draft History Under Carroll & Schneider: Russell Wilson (No. 75 overall, 2012), Alex McGough (No. 220, 2018).

Where The Seahawks Stand

The Seahawks have only drafted two quarterbacks in the decade-plus that Carroll and Schneider have been running the team, but when the first of those two ends up being an incredibly durable Hall of Fame-caliber player, that position quickly stops becoming a need on draft weekend.

And with the Seahawks re-signing Geno Smith on Thursday, they have a quality backup option for 2021 as well. Even so, the Seahawks could still look to add a young quarterback or two either as a developmental option or as legit competition for Smith for the No. 2 job. Currently, the only other quarterbacks on Seattle's roster after Smith and Wilson are are Danny Etling and Alex McGough, who were selected with consecutive seventh-round picks in the 2018 draft, and who between them have no regular-season experience.

The Seahawks won't feel a lot of urgency to draft a quarterback with Wilson and Smith both under contract, but while that and the fact that Seattle's recent draft history suggests that selecting a quarterback is unlikely, Schneider does subscribe to the philosophy he learned in Green Bay that it's good to draft and develop quarterbacks every year whether you need one or not, so it should never be a surprise if the Seahawks go that route, particularly if they are able to make trades and add more picks in the later rounds of the draft.

NFL.com's Top 5 Quarterbacks

1. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Overview (via NFL.com): Refined and polished for his age, Lawrence is the ultimate prototype for today's brand of franchise quarterback. He has great size. He also possesses elite pocket-passing qualities paired with dual-threat athleticism that makes him an unpredictable weapon on every down if play-callers are willing to expand their playbooks for him. While he's fairly polished with his approach from the pocket, he has better improvisational talent than many of the quarterbacks who have come up through the quarterback camp circuits from a young age. He has the arm and eyes to make all the throws and to create explosive plays from outside the pocket. There are some areas of concern, though. Lawrence's poise, decision-making and accuracy all took a hit in 2020 when he was forced to work under pressure. His performance against Virginia Tech showed there is still room for improvement with how he processes his options against the blitz. There were times when he looked encumbered by his play-action-heavy, shotgun offense. Getting away from that system could help him post-snap. He's generally a smooth operator, with an abundance of experience and tape against high-level competition over three seasons. His body of work should give NFL teams a clear view of who he is and the type of player he could become. Lawrence has an extremely high ceiling and a floor as a very good player who will start for a long time.

2. Zach Wilson, BYU

Overview (via NFL.com): Ascending quarterback prospect who possesses the swagger and arm talent to create explosive plays inside and outside the pocket. The gunslinger's mentality and improvised release points are clearly patterned off of one of his favorite players, Aaron Rodgers. However, his play is a little more reminiscent of a blend between Jake Plummer and Johnny Manziel coming out of college. As with Manziel, too much of Wilson's work comes off-schedule due to inconsistent anticipation and a desire to hit the big play. But like both Manziel (at Texas A&M) and Plummer, he's mobile with the ability to extend plays and hit the chunk play. Wilson's sophomore year tape shows troubling decision-making, so NFL teams will need to balance his 2019 and 2020 production in the evaluation process. He's put in a lot of work to get to this point and has the potential to become a good pro. However, he might need to play with a more disciplined approach to reach his ceiling.

3. Trey Lance, North Dakota State

Overview (via NFL.com): One-year starter who dazzled in 2019. Lance is mature for his age, but will be just 20 years old at the time of the 2021 NFL Draft. He's a rare dual-threat quarterback in that he's tasked with setting his own protections and reading the full field. Coaches rave about his football IQ and film work. They believe he will come into the league more football savvy than most of the quarterbacks in this draft. Tape shows very average arm strength but velocity should improve with better lower-body drive. While his recognition of coverage danger is a plus, he's currently more of a "yellow light" quarterback who needs to find a "green light" risk-taking mentality to become a playmaking talent in the NFL. An offensive coordinator willing to blend his run/pass talent with a play-action attack could get the most out of Lance, who should become a good NFL starter.

4. Justin Fields, Ohio State

Overview (via NFL.com): Like Dak Prescott before him, Fields enters the league with dual-threat capabilities but is more of a pocket passer with the ability to extend plays or win with his legs when needed. He was up and down in 2020, but a bounce-back performance against Clemson -- including an impressive second half after suffering an injury -- said a lot about his toughness and leadership. He sees the field fairly well inside the Buckeyes' quarterback-friendly offense but needs to become a full-field reader and prevent his eyes from becoming transfixed on primary targets. He sticks open throws with accuracy and velocity thanks to a sturdy platform and good drive mechanics. He's also comfortable throwing into intermediate holes of a zone. A slower operation time and a lack of a twitchy trigger will require him to work with better anticipation and pressure recognition pre- and post-snap. He takes more sacks than coaches will be comfortable with but he also digs his way out of holes and creates explosive plays. Fields operates with a quiet confidence and has experience overcoming adversity. He should continue to improve and become a solid NFL starter within a couple of seasons.

5. Mac Jones, Alabama

Overview (via NFL.com): Jones has above-average accuracy and a season full of eye-catching production. He displayed nice improvement as he grew into the position from 2019 to 2020. His accuracy and ball placement stand out and he throws a very catchable football with consistent touch on it. He's not much of an improv player but can hurt defenses with his feet once he leaves the pocket. The tape shows too much predetermined decision-making about where he wants to go with the football rather than letting the coverage and his progressions speak to him. While the production looks great, he has clearly benefited from a wealth of riches up front, in the backfield and at wide receiver. He has a tendency to play with some panic when pressure gets after him and could struggle when things aren't optimal around him. Jones has good backup to low-end starter potential.

NFL.com's rankings of the top quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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