The 2022 NFL Draft kicks off later this month, and due to the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver, the Seahawks are loaded with the most draft capital they've had in the last decade, including the ninth overall pick, their first Top 10 pick since 2010, John Schneider and Pete Carroll's first draft in Seattle.
With eight total picks, including three in the top 41 and four in the top 72, the Seahawks are looking to use this year's draft to help reach Carroll's stated goal of building "the most competitive roster in the NFL."
"This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to help our franchise, which is what we're here to do," Carroll said of the 2022 and 2023 draft capital acquired in the Wilson trade. "We're doing everything we can to make it as good as we can possibly make it.
"We've got to make this the most competitive roster in the NFL, that's what we're out to do, and that means all the way through the ranks. That means you're going to get young, but we're going to mix it with a group of experienced players as well. That's the chemistry we have to create."
With the draft coming up soon, Seahawks.com is taking 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 12 drafts under Schneider and Carroll.
On Monday we kicked things off with quarterback, and today we turn our attention to the other side of the ball with a look at safeties. Check back tomorrow when we take a look at where things stand at receiver.
Seattle's 2022 Draft Picks: Round 1, No. 9 overall; Round 2, No. 40 overall; Round 2, No. 41 overall; Round 3, No. 72 overall; Round 4, No. 109 overall; Round 5, No. 145 overall; Round 5, No. 153 overall; Round 7, No. 229 overall.
Safety Draft History Under Carroll & Schneider: Earl Thomas (No. 14 overall, 2010), Kam Chancellor (No. 133, 2010), Mark LeGree (No. 156, 2011), Winston Guy (No. 181, 2012), Ryan Murphy (No. 248, 2015), Lano Hill (No. 95, 2017), Tedric Thompson (No. 111, 2017), Marquise Blair (No. 47, 2019), Ugo Amadi (No. 132, 2019).
Where The Seahawks Stand
Having signed Jamal Adams to a contract extension last offseason, then re-signed Quandre Diggs to a multi-year deal last month, the Seahawks head into the draft feeling great about where they stand at safety with a pair of Pro-Bowlers patrolling the back end of their defense.
That being said, the Seahawks will need to add depth to that position group at some point this offseason, be it through the draft or free agency. Ryan Neal, who has started nine games over the past two seasons, gives the Seahawks a strong depth option behind Adams, but the only other players listed as safeties on the roster, Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair, both have spent the past two seasons mostly playing nickel corner. Nigel Warrior, who is listed as a cornerback, also has safety experience having played there in college.
What could end up determining how much help the Seahawks need to add at safety is what the Seahawks have planned at the nickel cornerback spot. The Seahawks signed Justin Coleman this offseason, their nickel back from 2017-2018, and also added Artie Burns Jr., a versatile corner who has played nickel and outside corner. Carroll said this offseason that Coleman will come in and compete for the nickel job and mentioned Blair and Amadi as his competition, but if the Seahawks made a call in that battle early on and/or felt like a two-man competition was the way to go, then either Blair or Amadi could go back to safety, the position both were drafted as in 2019.
NFL Draft expert Rob Rang identifies safety prospects the Seahawks could target in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Rob Rang's Top 5 Safeties
Boasting arguably the NFL's elite safety tandem in the recently re-signed Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams, Seattle is unlikely to spend an early pick at this position, which is unfortunate in its own way, as there are really good players with some Seahawk-y traits. Given his massive frame and knack for creating big plays, Notre Dame's Kyle Hamilton could have some Seahawks fans reliving Kam Chancellor's glory days and Michigan's Daxton Hill is so fluid in coverage, some believe he projects best as a cover corner at the next level. Similar debates were held years ago about Earl Thomas at the University of Texas prior to his emerging as another key component of the Legion of Boom as Seattle's free safety. The Seahawks have plenty of young talent at the position already in Ryan Neal, Ugo Amadi and, of course, the tantalizing Marquise Blair, but the depth of this year's safety class is good enough that the club may add to the group via the draft.
1. Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame, 6-4, 229, 4.59, First Round
Projected as a potential top five pick for much of the pre-draft process, Hamilton's stock took a bit of a hit at the Combine with his clocking just under 4.6, a time outside of the threshold some clubs have for safety. Hamilton plays significantly faster than his timed speed suggests, however, due to his instincts and massive frame and he's both an intimidating hitter and a legitimate ballhawk.
2. Daxton Hill, Michigan, 6-0, 191, 4.38, First Round
Clubs foolhardy enough to drop the aforementioned Hamilton due to a disappointing 40-yard dash may also struggle with Hill, who at just 191 pounds is considerably lighter than most teams prefer at safety and may be viewed as a cornerback by some clubs. Hill has the coverage skills to handle this move, if necessary, dropping down to play slot receivers often for the Wolverines. Free safeties with true range have never been more important than in today's pass-happy NFL, however.
3. Jaquan Brisker, Penn State, 6-1, 199, 4.49, First/Second Round
Perhaps the closest thing to a "traditional" safety in this class, Brisker combines the physicality of a linebacker with the speed and shiftiness of a cornerback, offering the best of both worlds from a defensive coordinator's perspective. Given how often he delivered bone-crunching hits for Penn State, it is pretty remarkable that Brisker did not force any fumbles in his three seasons of action for Penn State, though he did intercept five passes.
4. Lewis Cine, Georgia, 6-2, 199, 4.37, Second Round
Bigger, faster and an even more explosive hitter than Brisker, Cine checks in fourth on this list because he isn't quite as fluid in changing direction, perhaps limiting Cine (pronounced "seen") to zone-heavy alignments. Pound for pound, Cine is arguably the heaviest hitter in this year's draft class, serving as the perfect hammer at the tail end of Georgia's unbelievably gifted defense.
5. Jalen Pitre, Baylor, 5-11, 198, 4.50 (est.), Second Round
A catalyst for Baylor's turnaround from a 2-7 campaign in 2020 to 12-2 and Sugar Bowl champions, Pitre was recognized as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a Jim Thorpe Award finalist after a remarkable 2021 season in which he filled the stat sheet with 75 tackles, including 18.5 for loss and three sacks, as well as three forced fumbles, three recovered fumbles and two interceptions. Offering similar awareness and closing speed near the line of scrimmage as the Seahawks' Jamal Adams, Pitre (pronounced pee-tree) is a moveable chess piece who can wreak havoc on opponents.
One of the most recognized names in the industry, Rob Rang has been covering the NFL Draft for more than 20 years, with work at FOX, Sports Illustrated, CBSSports.com, USA Today, Yahoo, NFL.com and NFLDraftScout.com, among others. Rang's opinions and evaluations are his own and do not reflect those of the Seahawks.