Seahawks Draft: The top QBs, how deep the edge rusher class is, more

Jan 28, 2023, 1:56 PM

Seahawks Bryce Young...

Bryce Young of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after throwing a touchdown pass against the Kansas State Wildcats on December 31, 2022. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

(Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The 2023 NFL Draft is less than three months away and there’s certainly a lot of buzz around the event when it comes to the Seahawks.

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Thanks to last offseason’s trade with the Denver Broncos involving Russell Wilson, Seattle has the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft in addition to an extra second-round pick, giving the Seahawks four picks in the first 53 selections.

Someone who looks very closely at the draft and top prospects is Jon Cooper, a draft analyst for Ourlads. Cooper joined Wyman and Bob on Seattle Sports 710 AM on Friday to discuss some of the draft’s strengths and much more.

First off, quarterbacks.

No position impacts the draft more than the quarterback spot, especially in the first round.

At No. 5, the Seahawks could potentially be in play for one of the top signal callers in this year’s class, especially depending on what happens in offseason negotiations with Geno Smith.

When looking at this year’s class, Cooper says there’s clearly two quarterbacks who stand out.

“There’s two guys that we think (highly of). We like to use the word ‘bonafide’ … There’s Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud,” he said.

Young was Alabama’s starter the last two years and won the Heisman in 2021. Stroud started the last two seasons at Ohio State and was a Heismna finalist in both years.

“I personally like Stroud just a little bit better. But yet, the other guys (at Ourlads) like Young a little bit better, so we haven’t quite decided who we’re going to list as our first quarterback, but it’s going to be one of those two, and it’s razor thin between them,” Cooper said.

Young is a bit on the smaller side as he’s 6-feet tall and weighs right around 200 pounds. Stroud, meanwhile, has more prototypical NFL size as he’s 6 foot 3 and around 220 pounds.

“Young’s a creator, He makes plays with his feet, he’s incredible in terms of under pressure,” Cooper said.

What about Stroud?

“I thought (Stroud) played really well in the bowl game (against Georgia) and showed me some things that kind of tells me yeah, this guy’s pretty good. But he plays with a great group of people around him. He’s had some of the best offensive lineman, he plays with NFL tackles every year that are really good ones,” he said. “So is he going to be able to play under pressure? There’s some unknowns there comparing him with Young where as Young has shown he can do things with his feet, and he can create plays that aren’t there.”

Cooper thinks both Young and Stroud will be selected in the first five picks, and he thinks another quarterback could wind up being taken in the first five to 10 picks as well.

“The other kid is a very accurate passer, (Will) Levis from Kentucky, who I would say, yeah, maybe. But with a need at quarterback, it’s very possible those guys all go in the top five, or five to 10, all three of them,” he said.

Those three are seen as the 2023 draft’s top quarterbacks, and someone who is often lumped in with that trio is Anthony Richardson of Florida.

Richardson is a unique athlete at 6 foot 4 and 230 pounds, but he also has very limited experience starting at the position.

“He’s very inconsistent,” Cooper said. “There are some people that are throwing him in the middle of the first round and I’m not ready to do that. I think somebody might take him because he’s really an imposing specimen as a quarterback, but so was Mitch Trubisky (who went second overall to the Chicago Bears in 2017). You’ve got to remember that you’d like to see some consistency over a period of time.”

So what can Cooper tell us about Richardson’s game?

‘There’s some accuracy issues that he has, but when he’s on fire, he’s on fire, so take it with a grain of salt,” he said. “Somebody’s gonna draft them first or second round and he’s gonna say, ‘Hey, I can work with that kid.’ And great a quarterback coach, if he can and turns them into something special, but we’re not ready to say that just yet.”

Moving to the other side of the ball, a key position of need for the Seahawks is also a strength of this year’s draft class, Cooper said.

“I think the edge rusher position might be the deepest. Not necessarily are there 10 first-round picks or eight-first round picks … but I think in the top 100 players, you might see 15 to 16 edge rushers (get picked),” he said.

But another defensive need for Seattle is one of the weaker parts of this year’s draft, Cooper said.

“I don’t think inside linebacker is a great position this year. I think it’s pretty thin,” he said. “There’s some good ones, but you’re gonna find that maybe of your top 15 linebackers, you might find that No. 15 might be a fifth- or sixth-round pick. And again, things change. But that’s kind of the way we see that right now.”

Listen to the full discussion with Cooper at this link or in the player below.

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Seahawks Draft: The top QBs, how deep the edge rusher class is, more