Heaps: Two scenarios for Seahawks to trade back into 1st round

Apr 23, 2022, 3:23 PM
Seahawks Tyler Linderbaum...
Iowa offensive lineman Tyler Linderbaum looks to make a block during the first half against Illinois. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Seahawks have some of the best draft capital in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft thanks to holding the No. 9 selection as well as back-to-back early picks in the second round.

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There’s a lot of speculation that the Seahawks, as they’re known to do, may trade down from the ninth overall pick.

Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps thinks that could be in play, but he also thinks the Seahawks could be aggressive and trade up. Just not from No. 9.

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Because the Seahawks have those two second-round picks, Heaps thinks Seattle could trade back into the first round to pick someone they really like. Heaps explained two scenarios he could the Seahawks doing that during Thursday’s Jake and Stacy on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“Number one, (if) it’s a quarterback. If there’s a quarterback that you love, like a Desmond Ridder or a Matt Corral, yes, I would sign off on trading up for him because that means that this organization really truly believes in what this quarterback could be,” Heaps said.

The Seahawks have that high first-round pick as well as a second pick in the second round because they traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos earlier this offseason. Currently, the Seahawks have three quarterbacks on the roster – Wilson’s longtime backup Geno Smith, 2019 Broncos second-round pick Drew Lock and Jacob Eason, a 2020 fourth-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts. As things currently stand, Smith or Lock is expected to start for Seattle in 2022, but general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll said this week that they’re open to adding a quarterback in the draft.

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But who else could the Seahawks look to acquire if they traded back into the first round?

“If they went defense at pick No. 9 – if they got a corner or they got a pass rusher – the other guy that I would actually be very interested in them trading up for is center Tyler Linderbaum out of Iowa,” Heaps said.

Linderbaum started his collegiate career as a defensive lineman before moving to center ahead of the 2019 season. He started every game for Iowa that year and took a big step forward in 2020, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors and second-team All-American honors. In 2021, he was a unanimous first-team All-American and won the Rimington Trophy, given to the best center in the nation each year.

Linderbaum is seen by most analysts as the best center in this year’s draft class, if not the best interior offensive lineman in general. He is projected as an immediate starter at center as a rookie, per NFL.com’s draft profile.

The Seahawks seemingly have their next starting center in Austin Blythe, a free-agent addition who played for offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and offensive line coach Andy Dickerson with the Los Angeles Rams, and offensive tackle is seen as a higher priority because 2021 starters Duane Brown and Brandon Shell are still free agents.

So why would the Seahawks trade back into the first round for a center if they added a defender with their first pick?

“Now I know it’s not a tackle, I know they signed Austin Blythe, but Austin Blythe to me screams hedge … (Linderbaum) is a guy that has all the athletic traits, the size, the strength, the savviness at that center position that I think plays extremely well in the draft,” Heaps said. “And remember, I highlighted (Kansas City Chiefs second-round pick) Creed Humphrey and (Denver Broncos third-round pick) Quinn Meinerz last year as my two (interior offensive line) guys that I just loved in the draft. Tyler Linderbaum is one of those guys that I really love in this draft. I just think (Linderbaum is) a good, solid football player that I think would fit very well in Shane Waldron and Andy Dickerson’s run scheme.”

Listen to the full second hour of Thursday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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Heaps: Two scenarios for Seahawks to trade back into 1st round