The 2023 NFL Draft takes place next week, and for the Seahawks, this year's draft represents a big opportunity to improve upon a team that reached the playoffs last season. After hitting a home run in the 2022 draft, the Seahawks have even more draft capital this year, including extra first and second-round picks (No. 5 and 37 overall) that were part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver last year.
The fifth overall pick is the highest the Seahawks have had since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010, and this is just the second time in the Carroll-Schneider era that Seattle has had a pair of first-rounders in one draft, having selected Russell Okung and Earl Thomas in 2010.
"This is really an exciting opportunity for us," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said at the NFL Scouting combine. "We have not been in this situation, we have not felt like this ever. So all of the build up to it has been exciting, and we're hoping to obviously max out everything we can with it… We know that the opportunity is something special, so we're looking forward to it and we'll see how it goes."
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 13 drafts under Schneider and Carroll.
So far we’ve covered quarterback, the defensive line/outside linebacker, the offensive line and off-ball linebacker, tight end, running back and safety, and today we turn our attention to receiver. Check back tomorrow as we wrap things up with a look at where things stand at cornerback.
Seattle's 2023 Draft Picks: Round 1, No. 5 overall (from Denver); Round 1, No. 20 overall; Round 2, No. 37 overall (from Denver); Round 2, No. 52 overall; Round 3, No. 83 overall; Round 4, No. 123 overall; Round 5, No. 151 overall (from Pittsburgh); Round 5, No. 154 overall; Round 6, No. 198 overall; Round 7, No. 237 overall.
Receiver draft History Under John Schneider and Pete Carroll: Golden Tate (No. 60 overall, 2010); Jameson Konz (No. 245, 2010); Kris Durham (No. 107, 2011); Chris Harper (No. 123, 2013); Paul Richardson (No. 45, 2014); Kevin Norwood (No. 123, 2014); Tyler Lockett (No. 69, 2015); Kenny Lawler (No. 243, 2016); Amara Darboh (No. 106, 2017); David Moore (No. 226, 2017); DK Metcalf (No. 64, 2019); Gary Jennings (No. 120, 2019); John Ursua (No. 236, 2019); Freddie Swain (No. 214, 2020); Dee Eskridge (No. 56, 2021); Bo Melton (No. 229, 2022), Dareke Young, (No. 233, 2022).
Where the Seahawks Stand
The Seahawks have one of the NFL's best receiving duos in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, both of whom are coming off of 1,000-yard seasons, but in today's NFL, a team's third receiver is essentially another starting role, and one that can make a big difference for an offense.
And heading into this draft, the Seahawks don't have a clear-cut answer as to who will be their third receiver in 2023. Marquise Goodwin, who held that role last season, signed with Cleveland in free agency, and while the Seahawks have intriguing options already on the roster, namely Dareke Young and Dee Eskridge they very well could also look to draft a receiver, perhaps in the first couple of rounds, who could compete for that role.
And in addition to potential need, Seattle's draft history under Schneider and Carroll also suggests that selecting a receiver is possible, particularly on Day 2 of the draft. The Seahawks have selected at least one receiver in 11 of 13 drafts since Carroll and Schneider took over in 2020, and four times they picked a receiver in the second round (Golden Tate, Paul Richardson, DK Metcalf and Eskridge). Seattle also traded up early in the third round to select Tyler Lockett.
Yet whether or not Seattle does pick a receiver, that player would face competition from players like Young and Eskridge for the No. 3 job. The Seahawks still have high hopes for Eskridge, whose first two seasons have been derailed by injuries, while Young, a seventh-round pick last season, saw his role in the offense increase late in the season after initially establishing himself on special teams.
"I really liked Dareke," Carroll said in his end-of-season press conference. "I thought he had a real chance to being a factor. He did so many positive things toughness wise, the physical part of the blocking, the catch-and-run with the couple of chances that he's had, but we've seen it. We know what he's got. His work on special teams was excellent. He was an excellent factor. We have really high expectations of what he can contribute. We have to help him with his belief in himself on how good he can be because we've really seen that he has great potential. He's a really strong, physical kid, and he loves to play that way. He's really smart. He's a really smart kid. We love that guy.
"Dee Eskridge is coming back. He's an explosive, dynamic athlete that we've got to bring him into it. We've had struggles within the process. Sometimes it takes the young guys three years. Going back to when Golden (Tate) played with us, it took him a while to get going, but he always had the potential. It's very similar. He's ready to go. He's healthy and all that, legs are good. He didn't have any problem there. He needs to have a good consistent offseason and come back and stay in good health, so that he can stay out there and make him a factor. He's got enough to help us there."
Carroll later added on Eskridge, "We need to get the ball in his hands and see what he can do. He needs to be really consistent. He needs to come back and take advantage of this opportunity because we are still wide open for him. We're not closing any doors for him. He's got to do his part too. He's got to find his way to good health. That sometimes can be a challenge for guys, and he's got to overcome the nicks and the stuff that has held him back. We need to keep him settled into his position and not try to do too much with him and just get him back going and see what happens. It's cool because he is fully recovered and ready to go right now."
Having Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf is a great place to start when it comes to building a receiving corps, so Seattle is hardly desperate to add players there, but both their history and the lack of a clear-cut No. 3 receiver means selecting a receiver next week is still a very real possibility.
Rob Rang's Top 5 Receivers
Overview: It isn't hard to imagine a very good Seattle offense vaulting into another stratosphere if the club was able to find a dynamic third receiver to pair with stars DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, which is why pass-catchers are a trendy selection in mock drafts for Seattle at No. 20 overall. The 2023 wide receiver lacks the "can't miss" prospect of prior years, with none likely to earn a Top 10 selection. The "sweet spot" for the position this year should form in the mid portion of the first round throughout Day Two. The Seahawks currently have four draft picks in that span and I would be surprised if one of them is not used on a receiver. One of the unique features of this year's receiver class is the relative lack of size among many of the top-rated prospects, with many checking in 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds or less. North Carolina's Josh Downs, Cincinnati's Tyler Scott and Houston's Tank Dell are among the pint-sized receivers with big-time playmaking chops that didn't make the list below, but that I think might help immediately in the slot and perhaps in the return game.
1. Quentin Johnston, TCU, 6-3, 208, First-Second Round
With all due respect to the handful of "other" draft-worthy TCU prospects, Johnston was the athlete the Horned Frogs' shocking rise to the national title game was built around. He is a classic split end receiver with a rare combination of size, speed and elusiveness after the catch.
2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State, 6-1, 196, First-Second Round
Given that he played in just 23 games over his college career, it seems ludicrous to suggest that JSN is the most pro-ready receiver in this class, but his sharp routes and soft hands beg to differ, as does his strength and savvy after the catch. Smith-Njigba reminds me of the Chargers' star Keenan Allen.
3. Zay Flowers, Boston College, 5-9, 182, First-Second Round
While obviously lacking the size of his peers, Flowers bloomed throughout his four years at Boston College, scoring a staggering 31 touchdowns over that time. Lightning quick and ultra-competitive, there are shades of former Carolina Panthers' superstar Steve Smith in Flowers' game.
4. Jordan Addison, USC, 5-11, 173, First-Second Round
A smooth as silk route-runner with a knack for getting open on 3rd down and in the red zone, Addison's college tape from USC (and previously at Pittsburgh) looks so much like Lockett's in Seattle that I'm not entirely convinced the Seahawks' superstar isn't pulling double-duty. In all seriousness, Addison won the Biletnikoff Award as a true sophomore in 2021, showing pro-readiness even then.
5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee, 6-0, 176, First-Second Round
The best pure vertical threat in this class, Hyatt took over as this year's Biletnikoff Award winner, hauling in 15 touchdowns against SEC competition – including five (yes, five!) scores in Tennessee's big win over Alabama. The Seahawks could see Hyatt as a younger, cheaper version of recent free agent additions Marquise Goodwin and Phillip Dorsett.
NFL Draft expert Rob Rang identifies the top five receiver prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.