STACY ROST

Don’t forget about 20: What Seahawks can do with 2 first-rounders

Apr 12, 2023, 10:45 AM | Updated: 11:03 am

Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll...

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll watches his team play the Atlanta Falcons in 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

All eyes are on the Seattle Seahawks’ No. 5 overall pick. That’s not just to see whether they take a franchise passer or one of the NFL Draft’s more polarizing prospects. It’s also because with either selection, Seattle’s choice will shake up the rest of the top 10.

NFL.com’s Zierlein: Tyree Wilson would be great for Seattle Seahawks at No. 5

It’s easy to guess who may go in the top five — good luck getting every prediction right on any draft day, though — but trickier to predict is who will fall into the later half of the first round, where there’s rich talent still to be found. And it can’t be overlooked, since Seattle also owns pick No. 20.

Don’t forget about 20!

The No. 5 overall pick is fun. It’s the highest pick Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have ever had, and the highest for the franchise since 2009. But the 20th selection is also fairly notable for that same period.

Prior to selecting tackle Charles Cross at No. 9 overall in 2022, the highest pick used by the Seahawks’ regime led by Schneider and Carroll was No. 6 in 2010. Two years later, the closest they got to the top 10 was No. 12, from which they traded back three spots to No. 15 to select Bruce Irvin. They owned No. 21 in 2019, but they traded back to 30th in a swap with the Packers.

With linebacker Jordyn Brooks selected at No. 27 (2020), defensive lineman L.J. Collier at No. 29 (2019), running back Rashaad Penny at No. 27 (2018), offensive lineman Germain Ifedi at No. 31 (2016), and guard James Carpenter at No. 25 (2011), the bulk of the Seahawks’ original picks and eventual first-round selections have been late in the second half — at least in the last several years.

No. 20 isn’t the same as a top-10 pick, but in any other year we’d be looking at it as one of Seattle’s higher picks it has had under Carroll and Schneider.

List of all-time Seahawks draft picks

Who could be available for Seattle Seahawks at 20?

Seattle has needed help on defense for years, and few would question going back-to-back defense in the first round to help a unit that was 25th in points allowed and 30th in rushing yards allowed last season.

Around the second half of the first round, you could probably still find Clemson edge Myles Murphy, a first team All-ACC selection who had 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks last year.

Or how about Nolan Smith? He’s another option out of an elite Georgia defense, though unlike Jalen Carter he’s an edge rusher. A former No. 1 overall recruit in the nation, Smith provides youth, speed and elite athleticism behind Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu.

There are also several notable offensive weapons. Despite having a dynamic receiving duo in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, Seattle could still stand to add another pass-catching weapon, and at 20 they could still find two of the year’s best: Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba (who racked up 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021 before an injury-shortened 2022) and USC’s Jordan Addison (who had a solid 2022, but an even more spectacular 2021 for Pittsburgh with 17 touchdowns and nearly 1,600 yards).

There are two wild cards here. The first is star Texas halfback Bijan Robinson. Seahawks fans (or any NFL fan) might cringe to see a running back taken in the first round in 2023, but Robinson is one of the best players in the class regardless of position. Seattle has Kenneth Walker III returning for his second year after racking up over 1,000 yards and being named an Offensive Rookie of the Year finalist in 2022, but there’s little depth behind him. For a Pete Carroll team that loves to run the ball and play stout defense, Robinson (and the idea of a two-headed monster at running back) seems like a perfect fit.

Problem is, he actually may not be available at 20; several mocks have Philly snagging him at 10th overall.

The second wild card: quarterback. The top four prospects will be off the board, but Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker could still be lingering. He would be ranked higher were it not for a torn ACL that’ll keep him sidelined for 2023.

What’s worked for other teams with two first-rounders?

It’s less about what’s worked and more about which teams have lucked out. There’s strategy there — take a position of need, don’t take a huge risk, etc. But as is the case with any year, sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t.

The Seahawks have made it work before. They found a franchise tackle in Russell Okung at No. 6 in 2010, then selected star safety Earl Thomas at No. 14.

The Giants and Jets hit on their two first-rounders last year. The Giants addressed areas of need with tackle Evan Neal and edge Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Jets hit the lotto with corner Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner at No. 4 and wide receiver Garrett Wilson at No. 10, who earned NFL Defensive and Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, respectively.

The Jags found two key pieces of their offense in 2021 with quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne, the latter of whom rushed for over 1,000 yards last season.

Then there are more lopsided selections. The Browns have taken two or more first-rounders in the same class five times since 2012, with pass rusher Myles Garrett being the most successful single choice. Others have been misses, including quarterback Johnny Manziel and cornerback Justin Gilbert. The Raiders, meanwhile, whiffed on first-round selections of Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette in 2020.

More Seattle Seahawks draft coverage

Huard: UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet has the traits Seahawks like at RB
What Seahawks wanted out of Jalen Carter visit
Bumpus: BYU QB Jaren Hall has Russell Wilson traits
Rost: Seahawks don’t need to trade back from 5, and they shouldn’t
Seattle Seahawks Draft Profile: K-State pass rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah

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Don’t forget about 20: What Seahawks can do with 2 first-rounders