BROCK AND SALK

Former NFL GM: Hawks are ‘sleepers’ to draft QB

Apr 23, 2024, 12:42 PM

UW Huskies Michael Penix draft Seattle Seahawks...

Michael Penix Jr. of the UW Huskies throws the ball against Michigan in the national championship game. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

With Geno Smith set to return for the 2024 season, the Seattle Seahawks enter the NFL Draft with more pressing needs than quarterback.

Most prognosticators expect the Seahawks to draft either an offensive lineman or impact defensive player with their No. 16 overall pick. Trading back is also an option, with that being a common strategy over the past decade under general manager John Schneider.

Klatt: Why Seahawks should draft Michael Penix Jr. at No. 16

But while some have floated the idea, might Seattle actually use its first-round pick on a potential quarterback of the future?

During Tuesday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik thinks that scenario is a real possibility for the Seahawks.

“I think you guys are big-time sleepers at the quarterback spot,” said Dominik, who currently is an NFL analyst for SiriusXM Radio. “I think they’re the sleeper team that’s just being quiet and maybe makes a move. I know that’s not usually what John does, but I think he’s one of those ones that makes a move and puts himself in position to go get the quarterback. So I think when you when you see these quarterbacks fall, what could they do with it? I think that’s one thing I would sit there and look at.”

USC QB Caleb Williams, LSU QB Jayden Daniels and North Carolina QB Drake May are widely expected to be the top three picks in the draft. Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy also is a potential top-five pick. In order to draft any of those quarterbacks, Seattle would almost surely have to trade up from No. 16.

The next quarterback in the pecking order is likely former UW Huskies star Michael Penix Jr., who could be available in the middle of the first round.

Whether the Seahawks trade up or stand pat at No. 16, Dominick thinks there’s a real chance they take one of those quarterbacks. He pointed to the immense value of the position, using an example from his five years as Tampa Bay’s general manager from 2009 to 2013.

“There’s so many good players at other positions that it’s going to be hard to do this,” Dominick said. “When I was in Tampa, we drafted a young quarterback named Josh Freeman, who was supremely talented on the field. … But even though I had a young quarterback who had great numbers his second year, I still had to beat (fellow NFC South quarterbacks) Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan, right? And so I realized that I still have probably the fourth-best quarterback in our division, and that’s really brutal.”

Dominick said the Seahawks might be in a similar position, with Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford, San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy and Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray in the NFC West.

“It doesn’t mean anything against Geno,” Dominick said. “It’s just the fact that, ‘Hey, look, we might have the fourth-best quarterback in this division and we’ve got to swing at it.’ And you know, you might not be picking 16th next year or in that kind of spot. So I think that’s going to be where they’re going to let the draft come to them. I don’t think they’re going to make the move to go get it, but I certainly think that they’re sleepers with those two (fourth-round picks) or maybe that (third-round pick) where they can go make a move.”

Fautanu, Latu, Verse or Penix at No. 16?

Some of the most common players linked to the Seahawks in mock drafts at No. 16 have been UW Huskies offensive lineman Troy Fautanu, UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu and Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse. Penix also could be an intriguing wild-card pick at that spot.

If all four of those players are still available at No. 16, who should Seattle take?

“If your coach is comfortable, you take the quarterback and you just swing the bat,” Dominik said. “I see Penix more as a late first-round, early second-round type of guy, not so much as a mid (first-rounder). But you don’t have a (second-round pick).

“Fautanu, he could go play at guard. You could put him inside at guard easily and he could be dominating at guard. And so I feel really good about that. And I think that really kind of solidifies your offensive line. … I think that really gives you one of the best offensive lines maybe in the NFC when you start to add those guys all together.

“My gut instinct is that you (take) quarterback,” he added. “I’m a believer of quarterback, protect the quarterback, attack the quarterback. That’s my fundamental philosophy.”

Listen to the full discussion with Mark Dominik at this link or watch the video at the top of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More on Seattle Seahawks and NFL Draft

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Brock’s Seahawks Draft Profile: A power-speed force on the edge
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