STACY ROST

Rost: With Seattle Seahawks’ top pick, expect the unexpected

Apr 16, 2024, 10:37 AM

Seattle Seahawks draft...

A video board displays a Seahawks graphic during the 2018 NFL Draft at in Arlington, Texas. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

We’re less than two weeks away from the 2024 NFL Draft, where the Seattle Seahawks will be on the board at pick No. 16, their third-highest pick since 2012. Ahead of general manager/president of football operations John Schneider’s first selection, one former player and current NFL analyst had an especially intriguing word of caution.

What Seahawks GM Schneider said about QB draft visits

“The more we talk to Schneider, the more you realize that I would say prepare to be surprised,” said Dave Wyman, who co-hosts Seattle Sports’ John Schneider Show during Wyman and Bob every Thursday, when he joined us Monday on Bump and Stacy. “I mean, he could take (Michael) Penix. Honestly, I feel like that could happen.”

Wyman, a former NFL linebacker who is now a Seahawks Radio Network analyst, isn’t saying Schneider will take UW Huskies quarterbacks Michael Penix Jr. … but he is saying he might. Or that he could see a cornerback or a safety or an outside backer or a tight end go to Seattle at No. 16.

The reason is two-fold. Firstly, there’s a depth issue in this class when it comes to Seattle’s most glaring roster needs. The Seahawks badly need impact players on the interior of the offensive line and at inside linebacker. Neither position group has been mocked early in mock drafts. Texas A&M’s Edgerrin Cooper and NC State’s Payton Wilson, the two top-rated interior linebackers in the draft, are projected to be second-round picks with the potential to be picked up as late first-rounders. Sixteen would be a reach. Likewise, Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson has been mocked similarly, though at least one recent mock has him going at 16 to Seattle.

Instead, this class is an excellent one for tackles, wide receivers, and boasts one of the best tight ends in the nation. The problem is Seattle has two young starting tackles, just drafted a first-round receiver last year, and may not be willing to risk a missed pick on a tight end early considering the lack of success with first-round picks at that position over the last decade. According to The Ringer’s Sheil Kapadia, the nine first-round tight ends drafted since 2014 have combined for zero All-Pro nominations and just one 1,000-yard season (there’s reason to think Georgia’s Brock Bowers could break that trend; see my co-host Michael Bumpus’ reasoning here).

Former Seahawks RB Turbin on why Seattle should draft a QB

The second reason is equally as important and it’s one we were used to hearing more recently: Schneider and Seattle have learned their lesson drafting for need.

“In general, we just do a much better job when we just pick the best player,” Schneider told Wyman and Bob a year ago.

The Seahawks entered the 2023 draft with a hole on the defensive line and left with … a cornerback. It was a move that surprised many. Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter had been widely mocked to Seattle and filled an immediate need; meanwhile, the team had just seen a Pro Bowl season from corner Riq Woolen in 2022 plus a solid campaign from Mike Jackson.

But the results have done little to discourage Seattle’s approach. Witherspoon was one of Seattle’s best defensive players in 2023 and finished as a finalist for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

So, what do they need? They need to address the trenches. Perhaps they do it by selecting a lineman like UW’s Troy Fautanu and swapping him inside to guard.

Or they could shock everyone again. Schneider was in attendance at Penix’s pro day while offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb paid a visit to Oregon to watch QB Bo Nix. They recently hosted cornerback Cooper DeJean. They could get a Day 1 starter with Bowers if he manages to slip by the Jets at No. 10.

Whatever they do, Wyman’s warning feels fitting for a front office that has so often zigged when others have zagged: expect the unexpected.

More Seattle Seahawks NFL Draft coverage

Huard reacts to Seahawks GM’s comments on drafting QB
Wyman highlights UW Huskies LB as Seahawks draft target
Brock’s Seahawks Draft Profile: A complete safety
Who is new Seahawks OL Laken Tomlinson? Huard weighs in
What style of lineman fits new Seattle Seahawks OC Grubb’s scheme?

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