QB Will Levis to Seahawks? Brock & Salk react to Kiper’s mock draft

Jan 26, 2023, 12:50 AM
Seahawks Will Levis...
Will Levis of the Kentucky Wildcats against the Georgia Bulldogs at Kroger Field on November 19, 2022. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It’s officially mock draft season, and one of the biggest names in the business has the Seahawks making a bit of a surprising selection with the fifth pick in April’s NFL Draft.

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The Seahawks have commonly been linked to star defensive linemen with their top selection, but in Mel Kiper Jr.’s first mock draft of the offseason for ESPN, he has Seattle selecting Kentucky quarterback Will Levis.

Levis started his college career at Penn State before transferring to Kentucky in 2021. In two years as the Wildcats’ starting quarterback, Levis completed 65.7% of his passes for 5,232 yards and 43 touchdowns to 23 interceptions in 24 games.

For added context, Kiper has the Chicago Bears taking Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter first overall. The Houston Texans then select Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud at No. 2, while Arizona takes Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson third. At pick four, the Indianapolis Colts select Alabama QB Bryce Young. For the mock draft, visit this link (to see the full ESPN article requires subscription).

The Seahawks currently don’t have a quarterback on the roster as Pro Bowler Geno Smith is a free agent, as is his backup, Drew Lock, who the team is reportedly very high on.

On Wednesday, Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk delved into whether Kiper is on to something with Levis as a fit for the Seahawks.

(Note: Kiper will be joining Brock and Salk next week to discuss the Seahawks and the NFL Draft.)

“Will Levis is 6-foot-3, 222 (pounds),” said Brock Huard, who is a former NFL quarterback and current FOX college football broadcaster. “Why are we talking about Will Levis at 8 a.m. in Seattle in January? Because Mel Kiper’s first 1.0 mock (draft) comes out, and the familiar names go one through four, and sitting there at five, it isn’t a D-lineman.”

It should be noted that Kiper doesn’t do trades in his mock drafts, so “he’s just looking at pure talent,” Huard said. Kiper also acknowledges every year that there will be multiple trades that shake things up in the first round.

“He’s talking to GMs, he’s talking to scouts … and this is a check the boxes (pick),” he said. “Levis is… built like a brick house and can throw a ball 75 yards like (star Bills quarterback) Josh Allen.”

While Levis certainly checks all the boxes when it comes to physical tools, Huard isn’t a big fan.

“I look at 46 touchdowns and 25 picks (in his college career). That’s just what I look at,” he said. “… Even in his dynamic year (in 2021), where he had an NFL (offensive coordinator in Liam Cohen), Sean McVay’s guy … (Levis) got to work in an NFL system and still threw 13 picks. I see a lot of Ryan Tannehill. I see a lot of Blaine Gabbert. I see a lot of Jake Locker. I see a lot of ‘OK, you check the boxes.’ But every time I sat and watched … I’m like, ‘Ah.'”

Levis “didn’t have great help” at Kentucky, Huard said, which actually makes some scouts like him more, Huard said.

“I mean, it’s a heavy lift. And some of the scouts love that and saw him battered and hammered and playing injured this year, and he was beat up all season,” he said. “And when Mel comes on with us next week, he’s gonna make all this case for him.”

Salk also isn’t exactly on board with Levis as a fit for the Seahawks.

“From a Seattle perspective, you do know that there are four guys (Anderson, Stroud, Carter, Young) that are considered the cream of this crop. And you have the pick after those four guys are expected to go,” he said. “In this version of the world, Mel looks at it and says they go quarterback. By then, they may have signed Geno Smith, they may have not. I mean, there’s gonna be a million things that are going to affect it. I gotta tell you, of all the potential names there, I’m not right now excited about Will Levis.”

That being said, Salk said there’s a “huge asterisk” when it comes to the Seahawks and drafting a quarterback.

“Of all the things that I have faith in in the world, one of them is (Seahawks general manager) John Schneider’s ability to evaluate and identify a quarterback,” he said.

Schneider not only identified and drafted Russell Wilson in 2012 and then went with Smith in 2022, but he has also attended pro days for some of the game’s top passers before they were drafted, such as Allen and Patrick Mahomes. Typically when Schneider goes to see a quarterback in person, they wind up being a top NFL quarterback.

“But right now, if you ask me should the Seahawks draft Will Levis, my answer is a flat no,” Salk said.

Added Huard, “Mine’s a hard pass.”

If Anderson, Carter, Stroud and Young are off the board when the Seahawks are on the clock at fifth overall, Huard wants them to trade down. If they can’t, here’s what he feels they should do:

“Then I’m going freak show D-lineman. I’m going with the freakiest-traits guy that can run and hit …Yeah, I think I’m taking (Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson) today,” he said.

You can read more about Huard’s thoughts on Wilson at this link.

Listen to the full conversation from Wednesday’s Brock and Salk in the player below.

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