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2023 NFL Draft Preview – Seattle Seahawks

Seattle hit big on their 2022 rookie class. Can they do it again in 2023?

Credit to the mock draft simulation goes to NFL Mock Draft Database. Team needs are also generated from this site. Compensatory picks have not been assigned and will not be included in this exercise.

2022 Recap

In 2022, the Seattle Seahawks were a surprise team after shipping Russell Wilson in the offseason. Geno Smith stepped up as a player and led this offense to a strong season as he broke the passing record in a season for Seattle. A significant portion of Seattle’s success came from an incredible 2022 draft class. Charles Cross and Abe Lucas played strong at the tackle spots in a position they lacked in 2021. Running back Kenneth Walker looks like the real deal, as many scouts had him as the second-best running back in the class. In the secondary, Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen look like absolute steals in the middle to later rounds, as both played very well as rookies.

1.05 – Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia 

Seattle was terrible vs. running back in 2022. They allowed the sixth-most rushing yards and tied for the sixth-most rushing touchdowns. Enter Jalen Carter, the 6’3″, 310-pound defensive line with the fifth overall pick. Unfortunately, Carter missed a few games in 2022, but his 2021 numbers were 37 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, and three sacks to count. Despite missing those games, he still almost matched his 2021 numbers. 

Carter has all the physical traits to play in the NFL. He has a great first step to get past any blocking scheme standing in his way. He has elite lateral agility, which he does use to create mismatches along the line. He has the burst and power to explode into offensive backfields and create nightmares for running backs. He will be a force at the next level, which should help Seattle’s defensive line in 2023. Also, thank you, Denver, for being so bad. 

1.20O’Cryus Torrence, IOL, Florida 

On to Seattle’s second first-round pick as they tackle the other side of the football for this pick. Seattle stuck gold with Cross and Lucas as tackles in the 2022 draft, but the interior line still could use some work. Torrence transferred from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and was a very accomplished player in Florida in 2022. Torrence fits here because of what he can do in the run game for Seattle. He was a dominant force all season long, getting a quick first step to help open up holes for the running back. He has a high motor, that he plays aggressively. While he slightly struggles in the passing game, he still does a good job using his strength to knock off defenders from getting to the quarterback. Torrence should be a very impactful player among that offensive line based on the Pete Corrall offense. 

2.37 – Brian Branch, S, Alabama 

Seattle can grab Brian Branch, the Safety from the University of Alabama, in the second round. Branch has been a swift army knife for the Alabama defense playing all over the defense from the front seven to the secondary. Branch, on every play, is always around the football with his quickness and aggressiveness. He works best in the run game, and his ability to sneak up on the line and make hits on the quarterback or running backs. He had 14 tackles for a loss and three sacks in 2022. He plays better in zone coverage schemes where he can watch the quarterback and be a disruptive defender. Imagine Jamal Adams 2.0 with two on the field at any given time could be a nightmare for offenses. 

2.51 – Henry To’o To’o, LB, Alabama

With the first two second-round picks, Seattle stayed in Alabama, selecting Henry To’oto’o linebacker from Alabama. He was a transfer from Tennessee in 2021 and dominated as a crimson tide. He led the team in 2022 with 113 tackles and was ALL-SEC second team. He is likely to play inside linebacker at the next level. He is quick and has a high IQ to find the ball carrier on run plays between the lines. His athleticism is impressive, as he has the speed to get sideline to sideline to make tackles. He is slightly undersized, but we know for middle linebackers, it doesn’t matter. 

3.83 – Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee 

Hooker made the most out of his transfer to Tennessee over two years as a senior there. In 2022 led the Volunteers to an 11-2 record with his career-high 3,135 passing yards. Hooker proved to be an intriguing dual-threat quarterback in this 2023 NFL draft that. I wouldn’t be surprised if his draft stock rises significantly over the next few months. Hooker has rushed over 350 rushing yards in each of the last four seasons in college. He can push the ball downfield with his big arm and has shown moments of impressive accuracy at all levels. He can consistently make quick throws, and his physical gifts make it so that an offense can do many different things. 

Seattle needs a backup plan for Geno Smith. Smith did play well and deserved to be the starter next season, but we’ll find out quickly if 2022 was a one-hit wonder or not. He is 32 years old now, and Seattle may not want to give him a longer-term contract. Hooker could benefit from sitting for a season and be the starter as early as 2024. 

4.122 – Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma 

With their lone fourth-round pick, the Seattle Seahawks selected a mid-round talent receiver in Marvin Mims from Oklahoma. One word to describe Mims is explosive. He can win downfield and make plays after the catch. He averaged over 20 yards per catch in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He made strides in 2022, producing 1083 yards with six touchdowns. Despite being a smaller receiver, he is aggressive on his blockers and does well to make himself available to the quarterback. He is also very twisty, and his elusiveness makes him dangerous as a route runner. Tyler Lockett is hitting 30 years old this year, and Mims could be a perfect replacement for this offense. 

5.151 – K.J Henry, Edge, Clemson 

In the fifth round, Seattle can bring in some depth for an edge rusher who has the potential to be a starter. Henry checks many boxes to play as a power rush linebacker in the NFL. His length and hand skills make him an effective run defender and play the early downs. He lacks the bend to be a player who wins with speed off the edge, but there is potential there for him to make an impact as a rotational player early. 

5.154 – Adetomiwa Adebwaore, Edge, Northwestern

Sticking in the fifth round, Seattle can bring another edge defender into the fold. Adetomiwa projects as a hybrid defensive lineman at the next level. He shows off his natural athleticism on the field when he attacks at the snap. His size allows him to play under the pads of the offensive line and show off his hand skills to make plays. He has the quickness to do damage at Seattle, but it will be up to them to use him in the right way. He has five sacks and five tackles for loss, so he knows how to get past the offensive line. He could end up being a steal in the 5th round. 

6.197 –  Atonio Mafi G, UCLA

The last draft pick for Seattle they take Atonio Mafi, G, from UCLA. Mafi is PFF’s tenth-ranked inferior lineman in the 2023 NFL Draft. As I mentioned, Seattle requires some interior work, and even after selecting Torrence, they use depth. Mafi finished with an 88.3 run-blocking grade which will benefit a young running back like Kenneth Walker. Mafi still needs to work on some things, as he is raw for the only one-time starter if he wants to make it work at the NFL. 

Fantasy Impact 

Regarding fantasy for these draft picks, the likely offensive player to make an immediate impact would be Mims since we all expect Geno Smith to be back. Smith also used their third receiver Marquise Goodwin often, and Mims would immediately upgrade the offense. I wouldn’t expect immediate success as a top WR 36 or anything in 2023, but someone I’d want to bring into my fantasy for future seasons. Hooker would likely be a mid to late second-round pick, depending on whether Geno Smith had a long-term contract. It would probably take a bad play or an injury for Hooker to see immediate fantasy success but another player id want for future seasons. If Hooker were to get an opportunity in 2023, I wouldn’t be surprised if he flashes. 

On the defensive side for IDP leagues, players like Branch and To’o To’o would immediately impact the ball’s defensive side. Branch is a player who could scoop up three to five sacks and post 50-plus tackles. To’oto’o is a quick side-to-side linebacker who could push to start and see upward of 70 plus tackles on the season. Carter is likely a solid bench player, but his impact won’t relate to dominant IDP work.

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