NFL Draft insider on why ’22 Seahawks class hit, possible ’23 targets

Nov 30, 2022, 12:03 PM

Seahawks Tariq Woolen...

Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen intercepts a pass in a game against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 9, 2022. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Seahawks have been one of the more pleasantly surprising teams in the NFL this season, and considering the amount of rookies they’re relying on, their 2022 draft class deserves a lot of credit for that.

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Seattle has received big contributions from cornerback Tariq Woolen (fifth round), running back Kenneth Walker III (second round), and offensive tackles Charles Cross (first round) and Abraham Lucas (third round), and those aren’t even all of the rookies playing regular roles for the Hawks this year.

On Wednesday’s edition of Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports, ESPN NFL Draft analyst and insider Matt Miller shared his take on the Seahawks’ rookie class, and he said the team moving on from quarterback Russell Wilson prior to the 2022 draft added a different sense of urgency to their picks.

“I almost feel like there’s pressure to get it right, because when you have a Russell Wilson you can miss (on a draft pick) and it’s probably going to be OK – still gonna win 10 games, still gonna make the playoffs,” Miller said. “When you don’t have a Russell Wilson, well, you gotta get those picks right, and there’s a little bit of extra motivation. I think that was part of it. But also, I think we can look back, and maybe this is oversimplifying – they took high-character, highly athletic players at every position.”

Even though the Seahawks are still in the playoff race and have a shot at getting back in front of the San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC West, they could be that much better next year with the struggling Broncos’ 2023 first- and second-round picks belonging to Seattle due to the Wilson trade.

While many expected Seattle to target a quarterback in the draft either in 2022 or 2023 following the Wilson deal, the stellar play of Geno Smith this season has added more intrigue to that.

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Miller explained his thoughts the 2023 draft and what the Hawks could do in it now that an extension for Smith is a possible option.

“Last year we talked about maybe a down draft class overall. I think this year is much better,” he said. “I mean, obviously, Geno Smith has outplayed every expectation; I know you guys have talked a lot about that. There are quarterbacks in this draft if they decide that they don’t want to re-sign Geno and want to go young, or if they want to re-sign Geno but still go young – Bryce Young at Alabama, C.J. Stroud at Ohio State.”

Miller doesn’t see QB as the Seahawks’ top priority, though, and some fans probably agree after seeing the team’s recent struggles against opposing run games.

“There are also really good defensive line prospects this year, which I think is the biggest need for Seattle,” he said. “There’s Jalen Carter at Georgia, who is an ideal 3-technique pass rusher. There’s Will Anderson at Alabama who looks like the next Von Miller as an edge rusher.”

You can listen to the full conversation with Miller in the podcast below.

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