Brock & Salk: Does it really make sense for Seahawks to draft a QB?

Jan 27, 2024, 2:45 PM

Seattle Seahawks offensive line...

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks looks on at the line of scrimmage on Jan. 1, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks are in the midst of a very different offseason than usual as the team is searching for a new head coach while also having to answer plenty of questions about the future of the roster.

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One of those questions comes at the game’s most important position: Quarterback.

Geno Smith was a Pro Bowler in 2022, but his production dipped in 2023 as did the entirety of Seattle’s offense. Smith is still under contract for two more years, but this offseason is the best time financially for the Seahawks to get out of that deal. The Seahawks also have to make a decision fast due to bonuses and guarantees.

With the Seahawks set to hire a new head coach and with Smith’s future up in the air for the time being, many NFL Draft analysts think this is the year the Hawks draft a quarterback early.

General manager John Schneider has been in Seattle since 2010, but he’s drafted just two quarterbacks in that time, and neither came in the first round.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper has the Seahawks taking Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy 16th overall in his latest mock draft.

Given the state of the roster, is drafting a quarterback the right call? Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk discussed that in depth on Tuesday.

Brock Huard, a former NFL and college quarterback, saw McCarthy plenty of times in his work as a college football analyst for FOX Sports.

McCarthy won a ton of games at Michigan, including the national championship this past season, but he operated a run-heavy offense and he was rarely the focal point on that side of the ball.

“There was always a little bit of a hesitancy. There was always a little bit of a (delay) instead of just (UW quarterback Michael Penix Jr.) throwing people open and guys just anticipating,” Huard said of McCarthy as a passer. “… You never saw that with J.J. But was that because he can’t? Or was that because, ‘You know what? I threw three picks in one game and the other 14, I threw one. I’m gonna take care of the ball, and I’m never gonna put it in harm’s way because our run game, our defense and my legs are going to help us win the national title.'”

Mike Salk said it’s hard to judge what the Seahawks’ next head coach will want out of a quarterback since we don’t know who that is yet. But he thinks McCarthy’s ideal NFL head coach is someone who leans on defense and a run-first offense.

Two names that came to mind for Salk were Jim Harbaugh, McCarthy’s head coach at Michigan who was hired with the Los Angeles Chargers two days after this conversation, and former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who is still available.

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“The problem is if either of those guys came in here, don’t you think the first thing they’re going to want to do is fix the line of scrimmage?” Salk said.

The line of scrimmage was a big issue for the Seahawks on both sides of the ball in 2023 as Seattle had one of the worst rushing attacks on offense as well as one of the NFL’s worst run defenses.

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With that being the case and with Smith having shown he’s more than capable of being an NFL starter, Huard and Salk think the Seahawks likely need to address the offensive or defensive line in the first round. Seattle also doesn’t own a second-round pick in April’s draft.

“It is hard for me to say based on the roster, based on what we’re seeing in the playoffs, that J.J. McCarthy would be a better pick than some of the guys that come after him in this mock draft,” Salk said.

Some of those players in Kiper’s mock draft include UW offensive lineman Troy Fautanu, Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse and Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II.

“You need line of scrimmage (help),” Huard said. “… This has got to be (focusing on) the line of scrimmage game. You weren’t good enough … You actually go back and look at the season as I did yesterday, kind of reflecting back on these line of scrimmage games and these 100-yard rushers and these teams that just absolutely punctured you, and you could not sustain.”

“I don’t think this is the time for that quarterback,” Huard added. “I understand the premise. I understand like, man, it would be great to get a young first-round quarterback that you really do like and build around them.”

Salk said it’s frustrating because he does want the Seahawks to draft a quarterback for the future, but given where Seattle stands in the draft, he doesn’t think it should happen.

“It’s really hard for me to say that either either McCarthy or even Penix at that spot would have more value for them right now than somebody on the line,” he said.

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

• How other head coaching hires have impacted the Seahawks
• What should Seahawks do with Geno, Adams and Wagner? ESPN’s Yates weighs in
• Why is the Seattle Seahawks’ coaching search taking so long?
• ESPN draft analyst gives 2 prospects who seem like Seahawks
• Why ESPN’s Yates thinks Seahawks will hire Dan Quinn as coach
• Draft prospects to help Seahawks on offensive, defensive lines

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Brock & Salk: Does it really make sense for Seahawks to draft a QB?