The Seahawks selected a pair of players in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, picking Auburn outside linebacker Derick Hall with the 37th overall pick, and UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet with the 52nd pick.
Those two add to a draft class that also includes first-round picks Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and will grow on Saturday with the Seahawks currently holding six picks in rounds four through seven.
"Great day," general manager John Schneider said. "We drafted two grown men today, huge competitors, excellent human beings, alpha dog guys, leaders. Derick and Charbonnet are just really, really impressive people."
Here are seven things we learned from Schneider and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll following Day 2 of the draft.
1. A goal this draft is to add toughness and "find the right people."
In any draft, a team wants to find talented players, of course, but a theme emerging from the picks so far is that Seattle has also focused on players known for their toughness, something the Seahawks saw as something they needed to upgrade.
"There's no secret, when we finished the season last year, we said we wanted to add some toughness and some juice to this football team, and we feel like we've really done that," Schneider said.
And in addition to toughness, the Seahawks also have put extra emphasis the past couple of drafts in finding the right kind of players from a competitor and makeup standpoint.
"We really have, and I think you have seen this over the years, continue to dig to find the right people, the right guys that really stand for what we want them to stand for," Carroll said. "So, when we ask them to do this crazy stuff, we ask them to play so hard and consistently come back year after year. You have guys that it really means something to them. Our locker room right now, you guys have heard me talk about this team in particular last year, the togetherness and the willingness to go the extra step and make the sacrifice for the guy next to them and all of that. That's a big deal. There is a very subjective, loose area in there that you can close in on as a team that can be a positive factor, that is the connectiveness, the togetherness that they feel, and the bond. When you have great people that really care and it means something to them, and they have a chip on their shoulder that they are going to prove who they are, you are going to get everything they have more so. They are going to help a guy that might not be of that makeup as much. That's how you build the team. I think last year's class was a great indication of great, great people and these guys were really on it. They are going to tap out in the next couple of years as really big-time contributors. I think you can see that these four guys that we just picked, you've already seen it. You know, you can tell that they are the real deal. We are so happy to bring them to our locker room, to our guys because our guys that are here will feel that. They will understand it, they will know why they are on our team, and why we chose them. It's another way to add to all that it takes to put together a championship club, so we are really fired up about it."
2. Derick Hall is stout but also "really fast."
There is a lot to like about Hall, who was a team captain at Auburn and an All-SEC selection as a senior, and he can get the job done with both speed and power.
"He's stout, he's a penetrator, he really gets off, and he's really fast," Carroll said. "Again, we add another fast guy to play on the edge that will show up in particular, if you have seen the highlight of his pass rush and how he digs into guys. Speed and power are really his strength, and he pursues the ball really well, he chases it. Probably why that happens and why you get those numbers is because of the motor that he brings. He's really a constant. He plays with great energy, and he played a ton of plays. I think he played 80-something percent of the time last year, so he's a tough-minded kid as well. He has to really be a help for us on (special) teams because he fits right into all of the core areas. He will be a big guy for us in all of that stuff."
Added Schneider, "He had a really impressive Pro Day. Some of his deficiencies in his game during the fall, he really showed well to compensate for some of those things at his Pro Day that you can really say, 'Wow, this guy, it's really impressive what he did.'"
And the appeal to Hall goes beyond his on-field skills.
"He's a leader," Schneider said. "He's the alpha dog of that team."
Said Carroll, "People love him, the coaches love him for what he brings and what he stands for. Leadership, toughness, and all of the things that we love adding to our team."
3. The Seahawks will have a formidable duo in Zach Charbonnet and Kenneth Walker III.
Charbonnet was the second running back the Seahawks have picked in the second round in as many years, and Carroll, who has long talked about wanting a potent one-two punch at running back, is hoping Charbonnet and Kenneth Walker III, who rushed for 1,050 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie, can be just that.
"He's going to be right in there with Ken, it's going to take both guys to get the workload with some help from DeeJay (Dallas)," Carroll said. "I really like the versatility that we are talking about because he can block, can catch the ball out of the backfield, he's good in the screen game, he makes big plays, and he's been the workhorse, so I think he will be a great complement to Ken. I got Ken on the phone just to talk to him about that, how much we see them fitting together. I'm pretty excited about this one."
Schneider described Charbonnet by saying, "Contact balance, toughness, hands, vision, and versatility. For a guy that runs a little bit upright, he has some serious contact balance and can extend his burst and get down field. He's a tough, rugged dude. He wears people out."
4. Recapping the Russell Wilson trade.
By selecting Hall on with the 37th pick, the Seahawks put a bow on last year's trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver. In the end, the Broncos received Wilson as well as a 2022 fourth-round pick, which they used to select defensive lineman Eyioma Uwazurike. The final haul for the Seahawks ended up being the three players that came over from Denver, tight end Noah Fant, defensive end Shelby Harris and quarterback Drew Lock, as well as the following draft picks:
LT Charles Cross
OLB Boye Mafe
OLB Tyreke Smith
WR Dareke Young*
CB Devon Witherspoon
OLB Derick Hall
*-The Seahawks traded back with the 2022 fifth-round pick they received from Denver, picking Smith after moving back and adding the seventh-rounder they used on Young.
Asked about that trade, Carroll said: "It's had an impact on our program, there's no doubt. It was a big, big change for us, but it's really felt positive. It's really felt positive. It's felt like we're getting stronger, the way we're looking to the future with this last draft (class) elevating. We've got a good feeling about what's going on and we're excited about it. And then to come back, here it goes this draft, what do we do with it? Bang, four guys who are going to play for us and be big factors on this team and help us win a bunch of games. It feels good now. It feels like we're making progress. We'll see how far we can stretch the impact of it all."
5. The Seahawks wanted to add picks in what they expect to be a strong 2024 class.
The Seahawks traded back from the third round, sending the 83rd pick to Denver in exchange for an early fourth-rounder (No. 108) as well as a third-round pick in next year's draft. Schneider said part of the reasoning behind that trade was to add a pick in what they're expecting to be a strong class.
"We had a goal going into this thing to try to get into next year a little bit… Next year's class is supposed to be really good."
6. This has been a particularly random draft.
Prior to the draft, a lot of attention was placed on the unpredictability at the top of the draft, and that proved to be true beyond the No. 1 pick. But as Schneider outlined on Friday, the randomness of this year's draft extended into Day 2.
"This one is probably the most random that we've had so far in our 14 drafts since we've been here," Schneider said. "We've had guys come off our medical board already, we've had guys come off our free agent board already, and we're only in the third round. This is very random."
7. The Seahawks won't reach to force a pick at quarterback, or defensive line for that matter.
The Seahawks have selected only two quarterbacks under Carroll and Schneider, but not because they don't want to take quarterbacks, but rather because they don't want to force the issue and make a mistake by reaching on a player. Many figured the Seahawks might add a quarterback this year, and while that could still happen, it didn't in the first two days.
"Our goal every year is to draft a quarterback, it really has been honestly, and it hasn't happened," Schneider said. "You can't just force it, especially at that position. It's the most unique position in the game. We feel like with Geno and Drew we have two really good quarterbacks. We have six picks tomorrow, there's still several good quarterbacks available. If we're able to line somebody up and it works, great, but we're not going to panic and push just to do it. That's when you can make huge mistakes."
And that same logic applies to all positions, and in the case of this year's draft, the defensive line, which is one of the team's bigger needs after releasing Al Woods, Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson in salary-cap related moves, and with Poona Ford still a free agent.
Asked about the defensive line and if the same thinking applied to what he said about quarterback, Schneider said, "Yes. Exactly. We had some upsets today, it happens." Upsets referring to players coming off the board ahead of the Seahawks that they liked. "So it's like, all right, how do we compensate?"
Added Carroll, "It's not like we're not aware of. We're watching and we'd like to hit it. And we made an effort in free agency, we went right out of the chutes to go get a couple of guys (Dre'Mont Jones and Jarran Reed) we can really count on. And we're not done, none of it's done. We've got a lot of work to do, and we've got six big shots tomorrow too, so we're still at it."
Take a look at photos of running back Zach Charbonnet during his two years at Michigan (2019-2020) and two years at UCLA (2021-2022). Charbonnet was selected by the Seahawks with the 52nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.