A new month brings about another week of mocks predicting the outcome of the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft in April. With the Seahawks brass at the NFL Combine this week to scout this year's class, head coach Pete Carroll discussed the “exciting opportunity” it is for Seattle to have five picks in the first-three rounds, including two firsts.
"This is really an exciting opportunity for us," said Carroll. "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. It's another competitive opp for us, and John and I have spent a ton of time already just kind of positioning and posturing where our heads are at and all that stuff. Even at such an early stage of gathering information, it's still really exciting. We know that the opportunity is something special, so we're looking forward to it and we'll see how it goes."
With that in mind, it's time to take a look at what some of the draft experts think the Seahawks might do with the No. 5 and No. 20 picks:
No. 9: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida after a projected trade with Carolina.
Kiper Jr.: Here's a team that could afford to take a developmental quarterback with elite upside. Seattle has said it wants to bring back veteran Geno Smith, but what if the organization uses the franchise tag on Smith, plays him for a season and adds Richardson to take over in 2024? That'd be the ideal scenario for Richardson, a raw passer who completed just 53.8% of his throws last season but has incredible ability as a runner. He had 17 touchdown passes and added nine more scores on the ground. At 6-4, Richardson has the type of arm strength that makes NFL coaches drool. If he gets into the right situation -- and isn't forced to play early -- he could be a star.
The Seahawks make the most sense for Richardson because they have the picks to take a chance on a high-ceiling prospect, including what they're getting in the projected trade with the Panthers. If they don't go with Richardson, they likely would be all-in on the edge rushers, with Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech) and Myles Murphy (Clemson) still available.
No. 20: Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
Kiper Jr.: My projected trade between Carolina and Seattle gave the Seahawks some extra capital for moving down four spots, but this is their original pick after a surprise 9-8 season. And if they want to keep improving, they have to add young talent to their front seven. As I mentioned in January, Darrell Taylor, a 2020 second-round pick, is coming off a breakout 9.5-sack season, while Uchenna Nwosu also had 9.5 quarterback takedowns, but they're both entering the final years of their contracts. The Seahawks need to get more production from other players.
Murphy had 17.5 sacks in three seasons at Clemson, and at 6-5, 275 pounds, he's also strong against the run. Seattle ranked 27th in yards per carry allowed (4.9) last season, so that's an area to upgrade. One position to watch: The Seahawks lost middle linebacker Jordyn Brooks to a torn right ACL in January, so they could try to add another off-ball 'backer to help in 2023.
No. 5: Calijah Kancey, DT, PITT
Trapasso: The Seahawks aren't strangers to surprising first-round picks. Kancey should erupt at the combine, and Seattle loves up-the-field penetrating types at the defensive tackle spot.
No. 20: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Trapasso: The Seahawks can't pass on Johnston here, who'd bring another big specimen to the receiver position for Geno Smith.
No. 5: Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama
Sikkema: 2022 PFF Grade: 83.6. PFF Big Board Rank: 3
This is the Seahawks' dream pick. Look for them to have the phone lines open to trade back, but they won't move if Anderson is still on the board.
No. 20: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Sikkema: 2022 PFF Grade: N/A. PFF Big Board Rank: 20
Tyler Lockett isn't getting any younger. He's certainly not cooked, but drafting a route-running savant in Smith-Njigba creates a great receiver trio with Lockett and jumpstarts a smooth transition over the next few seasons for this passing attack.
No. 5: Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama
Brooks: Pete Carroll needs to add a dynamic pass rusher to help the Seahawks' defense re-emerge as a premier unit.
No. 20: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
With Ringo joining Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant to handle the perimeter, Seattle's secondary has the young pieces to become a true strength, like the "Legion of Boom" unit that anchored two Super Bowl runs.
Check out photos from Thursday, March 2 at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.