JOE FANN

Fann: Seahawks Draft — bowl guide for their potential 1st-round picks

Dec 6, 2022, 4:19 PM

College football bowl season is right around the corner, and that means one final chance to see the top prospects in the 2023 draft class in live action. The Seahawks possess two first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: their own and the Broncos’, of course.

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The Broncos’ catastrophe of a season has been to Seattle’s benefit as Denver’s pick is likely to be in the top five with upside of landing in the top three. Denver is currently 3-9 with games against the Chiefs (twice), Cardinals, Rams and Chargers left. Only Houston (1-10-1) and Chicago (3-10) have worse records, with the Rams (3-9) tied with the Broncos.

Thus, it’s never too early to start looking at who the Seahawks might take with that pick. Below you’ll find the bowl schedules of prospects ranked in the top 15 (in case Denver strings a couple of wins together to close the year) of Pro Football Focus’ Big Board at three different positions: pass rushers, quarterbacks and corners.

Once the bowl season is finished, I’ll circle back and recap how each of these players fared in their final collegiate action. It’s worth noting that some prospects could opt out of their bowl games to avoid injury, as has become a growing trend in college football.

The pass rushers

Anyone who has watched the Seahawks this season is fully aware of how desperate Seattle is for help along the defensive front. The Seahawks rank 24th in ESPN’s pass rush win rate model while ranking 28th in rushing yards allowed per attempt.

Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama (No. 2 on PFF’s big board)

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Kansas State, Dec. 31 (9 a.m.)

Anderson put his name on the map as a blue-chip talent in 2021 when he posted a ridiculous 17 1/2 sacks and 31 tackles for loss. Anderson has come back to earth in 2020, but he’s still been plenty productive with 10 sacks, 17 tackles for loss and one pick-six for good measure. He is without question the best edge rushing prospect in this year’s draft class.

Jalen Carter, DI, Georgia (5)

Peach Bowl: Georgia vs. Ohio State, Dec. 31 (5 p.m.)

Carter is the second half of the pipe dream (along with Anderson) for many Seahawks fans. That cohort would be elated with one of the top two defensive linemen coming out, though the two are markedly different. While Anderson is a tried-and-true edge player, Carter is an interior force with Quinnen Williams-like upside.

Bryan Bresee, DI, Clemson (6)

Orange Bowl: Tennessee vs. Clemson, Dec. 30 (4:30 p.m.)

Breesee touches three bills on the scale and stands 6 foot 5. He’s a towering and disrupting presence despite a modest 8 career sacks.

Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson (8)

Orange Bowl: Tennessee vs. Clemson, Dec. 30 (4:30 p.m.)

Murphy is a powerful athlete at 6-5 and 275 pounds. PFF’s Sam Monson calls Murphy “a bull in a China shop,” which indicates raw talent without polish. That might sound a bit too much like Boye Mafe for Seahawks fans to feel comfortable about potentially using a first-round pick on another project-type player. Murphy has 18 1/2 career sacks over three seasons and 6 1/2 in 2022.

Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia (10)

Peach Bowl: Georgia vs. Ohio State, Dec. 31 (5 p.m.)

Smith has 15 sacks over his last two seasons without being regarded as a pure edge rushing prospect. The athleticism and tools are there to flourish, but to me he sounds like an Isaiah Simmons-type player who is elite athletically but will need the right coaching staff to unlock his potential.

Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech (11)

Texas Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech, Dec. 28 (6 p.m.)

Wilson has been productive the last two seasons with 7 sacks in each campaign and a total of 27 1/2 tackles for loss. He’s a mountain of a man at 6-6 and 275 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan.

The quarterbacks

No matter what you think of Geno Smith, there’s no avoiding the reality that this might be the only time Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll will ever get a top five (or even top 10 pick) to use on a quarterback. Taking one of the top signal callers would be a polarizing pick that would be easily justified in practical terms while taking away from any potential win-now mindset in 2023.

Bryce Young, Alabama (1)

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Kansas State, Dec. 31 (9 a.m.)

Young seems destined to join the Texans as the No. 1 overall pick, where he would reunite with former college teammate John Metchie. He might not even play in Alabama’s bowl game, but he’s worth mentioning just in case. Just because he’s the expected No. 1 pick in December doesn’t mean he will still be in April 2023.

Will Levis, Kentucky (3)

Music City Bowl: Iowa vs. Kentucky, Dec. 31 (9 a.m.)

Levis had a turbulent season for the Wildcats with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His athletic build (6-3, 222 pounds) and big-arm toolset will keep him in the top 10 of the 2023 NFL Draft, even if some teams find his college tape underwhelming. There will be a franchise that falls in love with Levis as a prototype QB that just needs some polishing.

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (4)

Peach Bowl: Georgia vs. Ohio State, Dec. 31 (5 p.m.)

Per Monson, Stroud was sacked on just 12.7% of pressures during his collegiate career at Ohio State, a number that indicates elite pocket awareness. Stroud is a 2022 Heisman finalist with 37 touchdowns to just six interceptions. His numbers dipped from 2021 where he threw for 44 scores, but Stroud will have the chance to end his college career in notable fashion on the College Football Playoff stage against a Georgia defense chalk-full of NFL prospects.

The cornerbacks

These prospects are more likely to be choices with the Seahawks’ own first-rounder (as opposed to the one coming from Denver), but it’s worth mentioning that the team is without a solidified long-term starter opposite Tariq Woolen.

Cam Smith, South Carolina (13)

Gator Bowl: Notre Dame vs. South Carolina, Dec. 30 (12:30 p.m.)

Per Monson, quarterbacks have avoided targeting Smith this season as he’s allowed just nine receptions on 22 targets for 137 yards. Smith posted three picks in 2021.

Kelee Ringo, Georgia (15)

Peach Bowl: Georgia vs. Ohio State, Dec. 31 (5:00 p.m.)

Ringo fits the Seahawks’ preferred mold of corner at 6-2 and 205 pounds. By comparison, Woolen is listed at 6-4 and 205 pounds. Ringo made two interceptions in each of his final two seasons for the Bulldogs. A potential CFP semi-final matchup against Marvin Harrison Jr. would provide valuable tape for pro scouts.

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