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Seahawks Draft Breakdown: A look at every 2023 NFL Draft pick

Apr 29, 2023, 3:27 PM | Updated: 4:01 pm

The 2023 NFL Draft could end up being the biggest in Seattle Seahawks history, though the jury will still be out on that for a while. One thing we know for sure, though, is it was a quintessential Seahawks draft under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.

How’s that? They zigged when you thought they would zag, and then they went back to their roots in the later rounds to add the beef around the line of scrimmage that many thought was highest on their shopping list coming into the three-day draft.

Oh, and if you had your heart set on the quarterback of the Seahawks’ future coming in this draft, you’re probably disappointed (and probably are for the second straight year).

Instead, the Seahawks spent the first day grabbing the players thought to be the best cornerback and best wide receiver in this draft class, a pretty unlikely outcome going into Thursday. And true to form, they targeted a running back on Day 2 because, well, it’s what they do. Establish the run, right?

As we do after each Seattle Seahawks draft, let’s break down each member of their 2023 class.

Who did the Seattle Seahawks draft?

FIRST ROUND

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (No. 5 overall)

5 foot 11, 181 pounds, senior, 22 years old

Story | Seattle Sports’ Reaction | NFL Draft profile

With a pick in the top five for the first time in coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider’s tenure with the Seattle Seahawks (which dates back to 2010), they selected a player that elicited the kind of excitement you want to see this high in the draft – even if Devon Witherspoon plays a position that wasn’t seen as Seattle’s biggest need.

“He is a rare player,” Carroll said Thursday of Witherspoon after the first round, “and we’ve been through this draft, since the years we’ve been here, we haven’t seen a guy like this. We have not drafted corners high just because we haven’t come across a guy with his makeup. It’s really his athletic ability, it’s his speed, it’s his playmaking, and it’s his mentality. I haven’t come across a guy like this in a long time.”

How long, exactly?

“The last time I recognized this kind of makeup was back at USC when we had a guy that you may know, Troy Polamalu,” said Carroll, referring to the Hall of Fame safety. “He was a guy that had an extraordinary way about the way he played the game. I saw this connection between Devon and what Devon does, how he looks at the game, and how he approaches it. It just knocked me out, so I am just really excited about this. He’s physical, he’s tough, he has an attitude, he’s going to bring it, and he’s going to fit right in with the guys. That’s a great matchup for us.”

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State (No. 20)

6-1, 196 pounds, junior, 21 years old

Story | Seattle Sports’ Reaction | Bump & Stacy Interview | NFL Draft profile

The Seahawks showed the beauty of having two picks in the first round, because not only did they get who is considered the best cornerback in this draft class, but they followed up 15 picks later with the player believed to be the best wide receiver available this year in Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

What makes that last fact stand out even more is that Seattle already has a pretty stellar duo leading their WR corps in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and Smith-Njigba has a versatility that could complement those two well.

“I really like him,” Carroll said Thursday night. “He’s a guy that can play on the inside and in the slot right now. He has those kinds of skills, and he has shown us everything that we need to see. We will still use the flexibility because we love Tyler in there as well and DK gets in, so we do move our guys. He really has a chance to be a big factor right there.”

Smith-Njigba impressed the Seahawks with more than just his on-field ability.

“He seems like a pro. He seems like an experienced guy. He’s calm, he’s confident. He believes in himself,” Carroll said. “That’s conveyed when you hear him talk and how he reacts and how he plays. You feel like he’s ready to go. He’s going to be ready to fit in. I think (quarterback) Geno (Smith) will sense that. We were having trouble getting him on the phone tonight, but Geno wanted to coach him up right now. It’ll be really clear. He’ll fit in. It’s not too big for him. He was a big deal in a huge program with great players. They all respected the heck out of him by the way he approached the game. I think it will carry over.”

Further Day 1 reading

Salk: Why Seahawks did smartest thing possible with two first-rounders
Rost: Seattle Seahawks still have needs, but now they’re elite at two spots

SECOND ROUND

Derick Hall, OLB, Auburn (No. 37)

6-3, 254 pounds, senior, 22 years old

Story | Seattle Sports’ Reaction | NFL Draft profile

It says something about just how hard it is to predict what the Seahawks will do in an NFL Draft when you consider that pretty much no one saw what they did in the second round coming, and we’re saying that for a couple of reasons. First, they did literally the same thing they did in 2022, which is take a pass rusher with their first of two second-rounders and then a running back with the later pick. And second, with help for their defensive front the biggest need going into the draft, when they finally selected someone who fit that bill, it was a player that still caught people by surprise.

So what is it about Derick Hall that grabbed the Seahawks’ attention?

“He’s stout, he’s a penetrator, he really gets off, and he’s really fast,” Carroll said Friday night. “Again, we add another fast guy to play on the edge that will show up in particular if you have seen the highlight of his pass rush and how he digs into guys. Speed and power are really his strength, and he pursues the ball really well, he chases it. … He’s really a constant. He plays with great energy, and he played a ton of plays. I think he played 80-something percent of the time last year, so he’s a tough-minded kid as well.”

Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA (No. 52)

6-0, 214 pounds, senior, 22 years old

Story | Seattle Sports’ Reaction | NFL Draft profile

The Seahawks presumably liked what they got out of running back Kenneth Walker Jr., their last of two second-round picks in 2022, so much as a rookie last season that they went back to the well again. This time, it was UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet who Seattle grabbed with their second pick in Round 2 to become Walker’s running mate.

“Yeah, really Zach is legitimately that,” Carroll said when asked if Charbonnet will be half of a 1-2 punch with Walker. “He’s going to be right in there with Ken. It’s going to take both guys to get the workload with some help from DeeJay (Dallas). I really like the versatility like we are talking about because he can block, can catch the ball out of the backfield, he’s good in the screen game, he makes big plays, and he’s been the workhorse, so I think he will be a great complement to Ken.”

General manager John Schneider spoke about Charbonnet’s running style.

“Contact balance, toughness, hands, vision, and versatility,” Schneider said. “For a guy that runs a little bit upright, he has some serious contact balance and can extend his burst and get down field. He’s a tough, rugged dude. He wears people out.”

Further Day 2 reading

Seattle Seahawks Draft Takeaways: Breaking down 3 moves on Day 2

THIRD ROUND

The Seahawks traded out of the third round on Friday night. Details in the link below.

Seahawks trade third rounder to Broncos, pick up fourth and future third

FOURTH ROUND

Anthony Bradford, OG, LSU (No. 108)

6-4, 332 pounds, redshirt junior, 24 years old

Story | NFL Draft profile

The Seahawks’ Day 3 run on beef started here, as they drafted an offensive lineman from LSU for the second time in the last four years, with Anthony Bradford joining 2020 third-round selection Damien Lewis.

The NFL.com profile by draft insider Lance Zierlein uses a lot of terms that should make 12s feel good about the selection. Among the things Zierlein says:

“Massive.”

“Plus power.”

“Functional quickness.”

“Really shines on double teams.”

Just watch these videos to get an idea of what he means: Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3

Cameron Young, DT, Mississippi State (No. 123)

6-3, 304 pounds, redshirt senior, 22 years old

Story | NFL Draft profile

The third-day beef wasn’t limited to just the offensive line. Seattle finally addressed their biggest need with their sixth pick of the draft, getting a sizable defensive tackle in Cameron Young.

In 42 career games, including 24 starts, Young made 11.5 tackles for loss.

Seattle lacked size and power at the front of their 3-4 defense in 2022, which is something Young may be able to help address.

“He has the core power and contact balance to force double teams to work,” reads Zierlein’s NFL.com profile of Young.

FIFTH ROUND

Mike Morris, DE, Michigan (No. 151)

6-5, 275 pounds, redshirt junior, 22 years old

Story | NFL Draft profile

Whereas Young brings typical size at his position, Michigan’s Mike Morris is the kind of player who presents an upgrade for Seattle in that department. He’s bigger than most who play edge at 6-5 and 275 pounds, something that really should be an advantage for Morris in his effort to get playing time with the Seahawks.

Just as important, the 2022 consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection was still fast enough to get around the outside for 7.5 sacks last year while adding 11 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and four QB hits.

Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan (No. 154)

6-2, 309 pounds, senior, 23 years old

Story | NFL Draft profile

Yes, this was the Michigan section of the 2023 Seattle Seahawks NFL Draft.

Center, like defensive tackle, was a position of great concern coming into the draft that the Seahawks waited to address. They may have a diamond in the rough with Olu Oluwatimi, who won both the Outland and Rimington trophies as the best interior lineman (offense or defense) and center in the nation, respectively.

Oluwatimi had former NFL lineman and current Seahawks Radio Network analyst Ray Roberts’ attention in recent months, too, who told Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy in March that Oluwatimi could be a “long-term solution” at center.

SIXTH ROUND

Jerrick Reed, S, New Mexico (No. 198)

5-9, 196 pounds, redshirt senior, 22 years old

Story | Yahoo draft profile

The Hawks made their second addition to the secondary of the draft with their sixth-rounder in Jerrick Reed II, who showed a nose for the ball in his time with New Mexico.

In four seasons with the Lobos, Reed made seven interceptions, including four in just seven games in 2020. One of those was a pick-six, and he also forced two fumbles in 2022.

SEVENTH ROUND

Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia (No. 237)

6-1, 210 pounds, senior, 23 years old

Story | NFL Draft profile

While the Seattle Seahawks went into the draft with an established lead running back in Kenneth Walker III and then added a quality second option with Zach Charbonnet in the second round, they were still a little short on depth in the backfield following the departures of Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer in free agency. Enter Kenny McIntosh.

There’s no arguing McIntosh’s pedigree considering he played four years with Georgia, the reigning back-to-back national champions. He was an integral piece of the most recent title winner, too, rushing for 829 yards and 10 touchdowns on 149 attempts for a 5.6 average in 15 games in 2022. Perhaps more important, though, are the 43 receptions for 505 yards and two scores he had last year. Losing Homer in particular left Seattle in need of a pass-catching back, and McIntosh appears to have that capability.

And if all else fails, you can always let him throw the rock, too.

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