BROCK AND SALK
ESPN NFL Draft expert breaks down all 10 Seattle Seahawks picks
May 9, 2023, 9:18 AM
The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books and the Seattle Seahawks are again earning high marks from the draft community, including ESPN’s Matt Miller.
ESPN insider Miller: Seahawks draft an ‘A’ for ‘smart team-building’
Miller is a big fan of what the Seahawks did with their 10 picks this year, and he went through every single selection with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Monday to share insight into what the Hawks are getting in these players.
CB Devon Witherspoon
The Seahawks surprised some when they took a cornerback over a defensive lineman at No. 5 overall. But Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon is someone who draft analysts love, including Miller.
“He was my top corner. Feisty, physical, sticky in coverage. He’ll be a tone-setter from a physicality and a toughness standpoint,” Miller said.
Miller told Brock and Salk that a little more than a week before the first round, he’d actually heard that the Seahawks were doing “a ton of work” on the All-American corner.
“And I thanked the person who gave me that information because it was spot on,” he said.
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Witherspoon was Miller’s top-rated cornerback in this year’s draft, and Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba was his top-rated receiver. The Seahawks were able to land both Witherspoon and Smith-Njigba in the first round at picks No. 5 and 20, respectively.
“He was my top receiver. Elite route runner. Short-area quickness, burst, does not drop the football. He only had five drops in college despite being a heavily-targeted player,” Miller said.
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Smith-Njigba profiles as a slot receiver, and Miller thinks he will “dominate” from that spot. But don’t rule out more from the former Buckeye, as Miller threw out some lofty names in the same breath as Smith-Njigba.
“Like a Cooper Kupp, like a Justin Jefferson, there’s some versatility to be an inside-outside receiver,” he said. “He’s the future at that position for Seattle, in my opinion.”
OLB/edge Derrick Hall
The Seahawks not only had two picks in the first round of this year’s draft, but they had two picks in the second round, as well.
With the first of those two picks, the Seahawks selected Auburn outside linebacker/edge rusher Derick Hall, who is just what the doctor ordered for Seattle’s defense, Miller said.
“This is the juice they needed on that outside,” he said. “There was so much talk about Tyree Wilson or Jalen Carter (with the fifth pick). What they needed was speed. They needed burst and (Hall) has that. His ability to use the first-step quickness to beat you, to use the long arm and convert that speed to power is really, really good.”
RB Zach Charbonnet
Despite selecting Kenneth Walker III in the second round of last year’s draft and seeing him rush for over 1,000 yards as a rookie, the Seahawks used their second second-round pick on another running back, this time UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet, who Miller called “a stud.”
“Three-down back. I was surprised that they drafted him where they did because of Ken Walker, who I’m a big fan of, but this is your Rashaad Penny replacement,” Miller said. “Poised, patient, great vision, and I think does enough out of the backfield that he’s gonna get some touches early.”
OG Anthony Bradford
Seattle traded its third-round pick to Denver for the Broncos’ fourth-round pick and a 2024 third-rounder. With that fourth-round pick from Denver, the Hawks added some major beef to the offensive line with LSU’s Anthony Bradford, a massive man at 6 foot 4 and more than 330 pounds.
“Just a mauler. Physical – super physical – but with really great size,” Miller said. “So whether it’s zone scheme or power scheme, I think he works well.”
And despite being a Day 3 pick, Miller says Bradford may wind up starting sooner than later.
“He’s that talented. He’s just got to sync up his timing a little bit better in pass protection,” he said.
DT Cameron Young
For the Seahawks, the fourth round of this year’s draft was all about adding big boys to the trenches.
First, it was Bradford. Next up? Mississippi State defensive tackle Cameron Young, who is 6-3 and 304 pounds with long 34.5-inch arms.
“This is your three-technique that can bump out to five-technique,” Miller said. “He’s raw – that’s the thing. But I think the quickness, the leverage, and his use of length is really impressive for somebody that you’re getting in the late-fourth round.”
DE Mike Morris
After making two picks in the fourth round, Seattle also had two picks in the fifth round at 151 and 154 overall.
With the first of those two selections, the Seahawks added another big guy to the defensive line in Michigan’s Mike Morris, who played as an outside linebacker for the Wolverines but will be a 3-4 defensive end in Seattle.
“You go back a year (ago) and Mike Morris’ name is in some early first-round lists because of his potential,” Miller said. “Michigan did not get that out of him. Whether that’s on the player or the system, he just wasn’t developed. To be 6 foot 2, 275, you expected more. But all that talent is there. So I think especially as this team moves to maybe more of a 30-front look, he’s someone that can be that five-technique.”
C Olu Oluwatimi
The Seahawks double-dipped Michigan players in the fifth round, selecting Morris’ teammate Olu Oluwatimi just three picks later.
Oluwatimi was an All-American and named the top center in college football in 2022, but fell all the way to the fifth round.
“There were scouts who loved him and there were scouts who didn’t like him,” Miller said. “I think the biggest thing is he’s got to play with a little more toughness at the point of attack. But from an agility standpoint, from a play strength standpoint, it’s all there. For where he was drafted, he has a great opportunity to become a starter and way outplay his ranking.”
DB Jerrick Reed
With their sixth-round pick, the Seahawks took on a scrappy and undersized defensive back, Jerrick Reed of New Mexico.
“He can play everywhere,” Miller said. “… Not great size, but he can play slot corner, he can play nickel, he’s going to be a monster on special teams. He’s just undersized.”
Reed was listed at 5-10 and 192 pounds at New Mexico, and because of his size, versatility and sixth-round draft status, there’s been some comparisons to Seahawks Pro Bowl free safety Quandre Diggs.
“I think all the football traits are there for him to be a really, really good player,” Miller said. “I don’t want to compare him to Quandre because Quandre is different, but it’s almost a similar usage example is what you’re looking at.”
RB Kenny McIntosh
Despite being a key part of two Georgia National Championship teams, running back Kenny McIntosh had to wait until the seventh round for his name to be called by the Seahawks.
Miller thinks that’s largely because McIntosh ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash in the pre-draft process. That time was 13th-best of running backs at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, and only two backs who participated in the drill ran slower times than McIntosh.
“That’s the only reason he was still available where he was,” he said.
What McIntosh can do, though, is catch the football, and that could earn him playing time early in his career.
“He is one of the best receivers out of the backfield, whether that’s the screen game or check downs. You want to get the ball in his hands as a receiver,” Miller said. “Quicker than fast, which is the word I would put on him.”
You can listen to Brock and Salk’s full conversation with Miller in the second segment of the podcast below.
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