Would Tyler Huntley be a good fit for Seahawks if Russell Wilson leaves?
The Seahawks are wrapping up a disappointing 2021 season against the Arizona Cardinals, and due to a variety of factors, it’s possible that Sunday is the final game in a Seattle uniform for quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson was the subject of heavy trade rumors and speculation a year ago, but that was after a season in which the Seahawks won 12 games and the NFC West. The Seahawks enter their final game of the 2021 season, however, at 6-10 and having clinched a last-place finish in the division.
Wilson has two years left on his contract, but many analysts and reporters believe there’s a strong chance he is in another uniform for the 2022 season.
If that’s the case, the Seahawks, naturally, would have a new starting quarterback. As for who that could be, that remains less clear.
While discussing the quarterback position and the Seahawks during The Matt Hasselbeck Show on 710 ESPN Seattle on Wednesday, legendary Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck brought up one quarterback who, due to playing well of late when given an opportunity, could find himself as a team’s starter in 2022.
First, Hasselbeck said teams without clear franchise quarterbacks are looking for that guy every year, be it in the draft or free agency or trade. And when it comes to the upcoming draft, Hasselbeck noted that most draft experts don’t think this is a great class when it comes to the quarterback position.
“But to me, you’ve got to find you got to find the diamond in the rough,” he said. “To me, the guy that I love – he’s probably on nobody’s list – is the backup quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. I think Tyler Huntley, a kid out of Utah, I think he’s I think he’s got something special.”
Huntley, 23, is in his second NFL season and went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft before signing with the Ravens. He spent most of his rookie season on Baltimore’s practice squad and appeared in two games, completing three of five passing attempts.
But in 2021, Huntley has been the backup for 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. Jackson has missed four games this year and was knocked out of one due to injury, so Huntley has played in six games and made three starts.
Overall, Huntley is completing 67.5% of his passes (106-157) for 940 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions and has rushed 35 times for 222 yards and two scores.
Hasselbeck called the Utah product “raw” and that he still needs to be coached up, but that it’s obvious there’s upside there. Hasselbeck did make it clear, though, that he likes Huntley as a player in general, not specifically when it comes to the Seahawks and finding a potential replacement for Wilson.
“I think he’s a heck of a player,” Hasselbeck said. “I’m not saying this for the Seahawks necessarily at all, but for teams that are looking for a quarterback, you don’t have to go out and pay millions and millions and millions of dollars for that. I think he’s got an opportunity (to be really good).”
Asked by host Mike Salk what he likes about Huntley, Hasselbeck said he is a good pocket passer with a strong arm, and that Huntley being 6 foot 1 may be why he didn’t get drafted.
“If it were me, I would be taking his film to my scouts to my quarterback coach, to my coordinators and saying, ‘Hey, grade this guy. Tell me what you think,'” Hasselbeck said. “Because I have graded him. I graded him in the month of December … The only quarterback in the entire NFL that had a better (quarterback rating) than Tyler Huntley was (reigning MVP) Aaron Rodgers. And (the Ravens) are losing, so the media hype isn’t following him … I think he’s got a future.”
Listen to the latest Matt Hasselbeck Show at this link or in the player below.
Hasselbeck’s comments on Huntley led to further conversations on the 710 airwaves, including by the two other quarterbacks on the 710 roster. Here’s what those two had to say.
Brock Huard: Huntley a ‘tough dude’
Salk got to hear firsthand what Hasselbeck said about Huntley on Wednesday. Later that day, he turned around and asked Hasselbeck’s former Seahawks teammate, Brock Huard, about Huntley during the latest Brock and Salk Podcast for 710 ESPN Seattle.
Huard noted that Huntley may be on a similar career trajectory to Hasselbeck.
Hasselbeck was a sixth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers who was traded to the Seahawks, where he reunited with his former head coach Mike Holmgren. Hasselbeck would ultimately become the team’s starter over Huard and other quarterbacks, and would become the winningest and statistically best quarterback in team history until Wilson came around.
Huard, who has called college football games for roughly a decade, has got to see Huntley up close many times during his four-year career at Utah, where he started for three seasons.
“I too, have been a big fan of Tyler Huntley,” Huard said. “If you were to say to me over the last 10 years of calling (college) games, who was just one of the flat-out toughest QBs? Just toughest, not prettiest, not best thrower, not projecting anything, just who is one of the toughest dudes that you’ve covered? Tyler Huntley would be way up on that list, if not No. 1 at Utah. He took a pounding and continued to get up time after time after time. And yeah, he was super, super productive.”
Huard likes Huntley, but the level of affection changes when it comes to being the next starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks and replacing Wilson.
“I like Huntley, but Russell Wilson to Huntley (with head coach) Pete Carroll on the last couple years of his deal, Mike, that’s where I have just a hard time,” Huard told Salk.
Huard noted that the conversation surrounding Wilson and trades isn’t going away any time soon as we’re not even to the offseason yet, but when it comes to Huntley being QB1 in Seattle in 2022, he gives some pause.
“That’s the one that I have a hard time absorbing is Pete at his tenure at this time going to someone of that experience level, someone of that throwing level,” he said.
Listen to the Brock and Salk Podcast at this link or in the player below.
Jake Heaps: A ‘slippery slope’
Let’s just say he’s not as high on Huntley and that conversation as the other two 710 quarterbacks.
“Let me just say this: If we are going down this road, this is a perfect example of why you should expect losing football rather than winning football here in Seattle unless you can build a tremendous roster,” Heaps said. “We are championing for a guy in Tyler Huntley where his career numbers, his career experience (are limited). He has three touchdowns to his career and two interceptions to his career. He has an overall yards per attempt that is hovering somewhere around just (6 yards per attempt). So this is not somebody that is well accomplished. He has a high completion percentage because he is throwing the ball short underneath rather than attacking downfield.”
Heaps noted that Huntley is a good athlete who can run the ball and extend plays with his legs, but he again stressed that it’s a “slippery slope” to look at Huntley and life “post-Russell Wilson.”
Heaps said that this could be a “projection pick” from Hasselbeck and his own experience being a backup who then was traded to a team and thrived as a starter, but he doesn’t “see the fit” here in Seattle for Huntley.
“I just believe that this comes down to the slippery slope of moving on from a franchise quarterback and it’s something that I want nothing to do with whatsoever,” he said. “And Tyler Huntley, sure, he would be on my list of potential candidates (to replace Wilson), but he would be towards the bottom of those lists of candidates. He would not be someone that I’d be pounding the table saying, ‘the Seattle Seahawks have to bring in Tyler Huntley because this is the next guy that’s going to be successful in the NFL.'”
Listen to the second hour of Thursday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.