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2024 Seahawks Draft Preview: Does John Schneider Select From A "Cool Group" Of Quarterbacks This Year? 

A look at where the Seahawks stand at quarterback heading into the 2024 NFL Draft, as well as draft analyst Rob Rang’s top-ranked prospects at that position.

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The NFL Draft kicks off later this month in Detroit, and while it will the 15th in Seattle for general manager and president of football operations John Schneider, it will be his first with new head coach Mike Macdonald.

But while there are some adjustments to be made for Schneider and the player personnel department in terms of learning what Macdonald and his coaching staff look for in players, Schneider doesn't see this draft process playing out a whole lot differently than the previous 14 did with Pete Carroll as the head coach.

"There's so much preparation that goes into it, it's going to be the same," Schneider said last month at the NFL Annual Meeting. "The preparation is—really, think of it like a game; you're putting together a game-plan sheet. That's basically what your board looks like. So you're like, 'OK, well that happened, now we're going here. That happened. Now we're going here.' So that's really your preparation, and I don't see it being any different.

"Pete, he was a blast to work with throughout the preparation, and Mike and his staff are the same. It's going to be fun."

Unlike the past two drafts in which Seattle had multiple first and second-round picks thanks to the Russell Wilson trade, the Seahawks have a little less draft capital in 2024, though the 16th overall pick is still a valuable asset, either to be used on an elite player or perhaps to be traded for a pick later in the first round along with additional picks. The Seahawks have seven total picks heading into the draft, but do not have a second-rounder having sent that to the Giants in last year's trade for Leonard Williams.

So with the draft coming up soon, 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 14 drafts under Schneider.

Today, we kick things off with quarterback, and tomorrow we'll turn our attention to the other side of the ball with a look at linebacker.

Seattle's 2024 Draft Picks: Round 1, No. 16 overall; Round 3, No. 81 overall (from New Orleans via Denver); Round 4, No. 102 overall (from Washington); Round 4, No. 118 overall; Round 6, No. 179 overall (from Washington); Round 6, No. 192 overall; Round 7, No. 235 overall.

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

Where the Seahawks Stand

Schneider has said throughout his career that, when it comes to acquiring quarterbacks, he sees value in the approach used by Green Bay during his time there, which was to draft quarterbacks frequently, even when the team had an established starter. Yet over his time in Seattle, Schneider has only selected two quarterbacks, Russell Wilson and Alex McGough, a track record he isn't particularly proud of.

"I've told you guys in the past and having grown up in the Packer organization for Ron Wolf, 14 drafts and only drafting two quarterbacks is not something that we're necessarily proud of," Schneider said. "It's just happened that way. Every year it's a goal to acquire a quarterback, whether that's draft free agency, whatever it looks like."

So is this the year the Seahawks buck that trend and draft a quarterback? Well they have already acquired one this offseason, trading for former Commanders starter Sam Howell not long after losing Drew Lock in free agency, so they feel good about that position with Howell and Pro-Bowl starter Geno Smith, but the presence of those two won't keep the Seahawks from taking a hard look at what Schneider called a good group of quarterbacks in the 2024 draft. 

"It's a good group," he said. "It's a good group… This year's draft class is a cool group. A lot of variances in there."

Even with Smith and Howell on the roster, the Seahawks will need at least one if not two more quarterbacks for camp and the preseason, and if the right player is there in the draft who could help the franchise in the future, Seattle could always carry three quarterbacks on the roster, something they haven't frequently done in recent years, but that is fairly common around the league.

The addition of Howell keeps the Seahawks from feeling like they have to draft a quarterback, but as Schneider has said time and time again, he would still like to address that position if the right player is available at the right time.

Rob Rang's Top 5 Quarterbacks

Overview: Last month's trade for 23-year-old Sam Howell seems to lower the chance that Seattle will invest an early pick at quarterback, but if one of players listed below is available to the Seahawks at No. 16 overall, no one should be surprised if the club picks him. That is no knock on Howell, or incumbent starter Geno Smith, both of whom made Pro Bowl-caliber throws a season ago, and whom I believe could lead Seattle back to the playoffs in 2024 and beyond. The first three listed – USC's Caleb Williams, North Carolina's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels – are widely projected to be the first three picks of the draft, so they'll be long gone by the time Seattle is on the board at No. 16 overall. Michigan's J.J. McCarthy and Washington's Michael Penix, Jr. are much more polarizing in the scouting community, but, of course, each of them boast former college coaches on Seattle's staff, making for unique opportunities for reunions in the pros.

Among some later round quarterback candidates I like for Seattle are South Carolina's Spencer Rattler, Tulane's Michael Pratt, Tennessee's Joe Milton III and Central Florida's John Rhys Plumlee.

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1. Caleb Williams, USC, 6-1, 214, Top 5

Among the most talented passers I've evaluated in nearly 25 years as a scout, Williams is the heavy favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick of the draft – a pick currently owned by the Chicago Bears. Williams began his career at Oklahoma, beating out the aforementioned Rattler as a freshman before following his head coach Lincoln Riley west to Southern Cal. Williams won the 2022 Heisman Trophy in his first season with the Trojans and was dominant, at times, this past season, as well, making the early jump to the NFL with a sparkling 93-14 touchdown to interception ratio over his career. While a little shorter than scouts would prefer, Williams has a compact, athletic frame and a live arm. He is uniquely accurate on the move, showing vision, accuracy and the courage to take and make the exceptional throw (or run), earning a reputation as a Patrick Mahomes-like playmaker.

2. Drake Maye, North Carolina, 6-4, 223, Top 5

Prototypically-built with a strong arm, good athletic ability and all of the intangibles expected of a star NFL quarterback, Maye will understandably be ranked by some above USC's Williams as the top prospect at the position. Maye succeeded the Seahawks' Howell as the star signal-caller for Mack Brown's Tar Heels, showing off the velocity, accuracy and understanding of defenses that bely his young age (21), throwing for 63 touchdowns (against 16 interceptions) without as talented a supporting cast as the other quarterbacks on this list. Maye starred in an Air-Raid offense that boosted his production but one that often asked him to turn his back to the defense in play-action, showing the awareness of defenders and downfield accuracy that translate well to the next level.

3. Jayden Daniels, LSU, 6-4, 210, First Round

Much to the chagrin of a lot of local college football fans, Daniels succeeded Willliams as the Heisman Trophy winner this past season, understandably earning the award after scoring an FBS-best 50 touchdowns (40 passing, 10 rushing) in a breakout senior campaign. PAC-12 fans might remember Daniels from his days as a skinny scrambler at Arizona State. He's gained 30 pounds of muscle since then and vastly improved his decision-making and accuracy as a downfield passer, leaving college football with a sparkling 66.3% career completion percentage and an 89-20 touchdown to interception rate. Daniels is a talented passer but he's even more appealing because of his creative, gliding running, making him a dynamic dual-threat at the position.

4. J.J. McCarthy, Michigan, 6-3, 219, First Round

In many ways McCarthy is a combination of the prior two quarterbacks, offering many of the intangibles scouts like about Maye, as well as the elusiveness running skills that Daniels offers. As local college fans know all too well, McCarthy helped lead Michigan to a national championship this past season and beat Ohio State each of the past two seasons, showing a mettle under pressure that NFL scouts greatly respect. His statistics pale in comparison to the others on this list but Michigan didn't ask him to throw the ball all over the field. The throws they did ask him to make, however, McCarthy did so while showing pro-caliber anticipation and accuracy, especially in the short to intermediate zones and down the seam.

5. Michael Penix Jr., Washington, 6-2, 216, First Round

From a local football perspective, it is difficult to discuss Penix and not venture into hyperbole. Under the tutelage of Seahawks' offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, Penix enjoyed arguably the greatest two seasons in the long and storied history of University of Washington football. During that time Penix completed 65.4% of his passes for 4,903 yards, a 67-19 touchdown to interception ratio and guided the Huskies to a 25-3 overall record, including winning the PAC-12 championship in the conference's final year of existence. With all due respect to presumptive No. 1 overall pick, Williams, Penix is the most accurate pocket passer in this class, which could have him off the board by the time the Seahawks pick. Penix's stock continues to rise as the draft approaches. Scouts appreciate that he is particularly precise on downfield throws and followed up his stellar time in Seattle (after starting his career at the University of Indiana) with splashy showings at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.

NFL Draft analyst Rob Rang ranked his top quarterbacks for the upcoming draft. Rang's rankings included two Heisman winners and a local standout prospect.

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