Seahawks Draft: Lance Zierlein’s thoughts on Will Levis, draft’s strengths

Jan 27, 2023, 12:10 PM | Updated: Jan 29, 2023, 12:34 pm

Seahawks Will Levis...

Will Levis of the Kentucky Wildcats runs the ball during the second half against the Northern Illinois Huskies on September 24, 2022. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

(Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Seahawks fans are eagerly awaiting the 2023 NFL Draft, and for very good reason.

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The Seahawks are in great position to add impact players in this April’s draft as they have two picks in each of the first two rounds, including the No. 5 overall selection.

Someone who covers the draft in great detail is Lance Zierlein of He joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Thursday to disuss the draft and the Seahawks, and he also shared his thoughts on a recent mock draft that had Seattle making a bit of a surprise selection.

Kentucky QB Will Levis at No. 5?

No one is more famous when it comes to NFL mock drafts than ESPN’s Mel Kiper, who was one of the forefathers when it comes to covering the NFL Draft in great detail.

Kiper revealed his first mock draft of the offseason for ESPN this week, and it had the Seahawks making a selection that few would expect.

In that draft, Kiper had the Seahawks selecting Kentucky quarterback Will Levis fifth overall. It’s a hypothetical that both Brock Huard and Mike Salk aren’t on board with.

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

Does Zierlein agree with Kiper than Levis is worthy of being the No. 5 overall draft pick in April?

“No, he’s not,” Zierlein said. “So let me address some of the things Mel said. Mel also had (star Buffalo Bills quarterback) Josh Allen as his first quarterback in 2018, so I think he deserves kudos for that. Mel clearly loves (Levis’) arm talent, he loves the size … The kid did play with injuries this year – three different types of injuries he gutted his way through.”

Something you’ll hear or read about with Levis is that his 2021 season was much better than his 2022 campaign due to having a better supporting cast and having an NFL offensive coordinator running things on that side of the ball.

While Zierlein agrees Levis was better in 2021, he doesn’t think the tape was as impressive as some believe.

“I go back to (Levis’ 2021 season) and I still didn’t see enough in 2021. Mel’s really putting everything on 2021 where the offensive line was a lot better, too. (The tape is) better. It’s better. And I will tell you there are some arm talent throws where I go, ‘Wow.’ But there are some basic accuracy throws … that don’t get made, and I didn’t see the same poise that you want to see in the pocket — awareness of pressure off the edge,” he said. “There’s some things that really concern me with the quickness of reading the field. So no, I don’t think (he’s a top-five pick).”

Zierlein thinks people will try to push Levis or Florida’s Anthony Richardson way up draft boards because they’re big quarterbacks with huge arms who are also impressive athletes but are very raw, kind of like Allen was coming out of Wyoming in 2018.

“But I think (Allen is) an outlier. And I think it’s a mistake with those two guys in particular because I think that, to me, if you want to take a shot, you take shot around (pick) 20 if Seattle wanted a quarterback,” Zierlein said. “You take a shot there and you try to roll with Geno (Smith) and keep letting him run the team for the next year or two years. But at No. 5, to me, if it’s not Young or it’s not Stroud, I am not taking a quarterback at five.”

General draft thoughts

When looking at the draft as a whole, which positions have some of the best top-end depth?

“It’s the best tight end draft that I’ve seen, a terrific tight end draft. I mean, really, really good,” Zierlein said. “I think from a corner standpoint, it has a chance to be a better corner draft than we’ve seen recently … A 6.2 (grade) is an average starter, and I already have, looking at just the corners, I’m looking at about 12 to 13 who are in this draft that have that grade. So I think that’s a really good sign if you need corner help.”

What about on the defensive line, where the Seahawks could use some help for 2023 and beyond?

“I think this is a really good draft for defensive tackles in the middle of the draft. You can wait until round three, four, and five and I think you’re gonna find starters, and pretty good starters on the interior,” Zierlein said. ” … And then from a pass rush standpoint … (the Seahawks) have a chance to put together a pretty good rush with picks five, 20 and 38.”

Listen to the full conversation with Zierlein at this link or in the player below.

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