Let me take you back to March of this year, when in one of the biggest trades in NFL history, the Seahawks traded Russell Wilson for a slew of draft picks, Noah Fant, Shelby Harris, and of course, Drew Lock. What has followed for Seattle sports fans is a lot of anxiety, and hot discussions over who will fill the gaping hole under center: former backup quarterback Geno Smith or the newly acquired Drew Lock. Smith has all the right characteristics to be a solid off-the-bench backup to a franchise quarterback, which worked very well while that existed in Seattle. But now that that’s gone, it’s left the quarterback position vacant and both Lock and Smith with compelling cases to fill it.
Geno Smith’s Case
For about a month of the 2021 season, Smith was under center for Seattle after a busted finger landed Wilson on the IR. Though he had big shoes to fill, Smith did pretty well despite going 1-3 in the four games he played. He threw for 702 yards, five touchdowns, and just one interception across those four games, but his inability to scramble in the pocket and a poor offensive line got him sacked 13 times. He hasn’t been a starter since 2014 and since 2015, he’s totaled 196 pass attempts, 95 of which came last season as a substitute for Wilson. Drew Lock on the other hand has 710 pass attempts since his rookie year in 2019.
Despite all of that, Smith’s real advantage over Lock is his experience. As an almost 10-year veteran of the league and a 4-year veteran of the Seahawks, he has a familiarity with Shane Waldron’s system that Lock simply cannot replicate. Smith isn’t an ace by any means, but he can manage and maintain the game with his knowledge and experience, and in a rebuilding year, this steadiness could be just what the Seahawks need.
Drew Lock’s Case
Drew Lock has what everyone can’t get back, and that’s time. At just 26 and fresh in the league in his last year of his rookie contract, he could be very valuable to the Seahawks long term. He is the more talented player in terms of starpower and has shown moments of brilliance in his few seasons, but to become the franchise quarterback that Seattle needs, his turnover tendency needs to be kept at bay and his consistency needs to level out. That being said, he’s young, and not everyone can be Justin Herbert or Patrick Mahomes right out of the gate. However, it’s his youth that may be what wins him the job by default despite the fact that Smith put up better numbers last season.
Realistically, the coaching staff needs to know what their quarterback situation looks like prior to the 2023 NFL Draft in which they have a first round pick that they acquired in the Wilson trade. If Lock can iron out some of his problems and manage to have an average year this season, then the Seahawks might be more inclined to turn their attention away from the quarterback position to fill their first round draft pick in 2023. That would give Lock another year to improve and round out his game and hopefully keep them from revisiting the quarterback position in 2024.
I’m a Geno Smith fan and was proud to see him rally in Wilson’s absence last year, and come up clutch in some crucial moments. However, if the Seahawks are truly playing the long game, Lock is the better choice. Smith could maybe win them more games by playing it safe and managing, but if Seattle is trying to build a future, they certainly won’t do it around Smith who will likely retire in a few years anyway. Their best bet at long term success is to try and shape the offense around Drew Lock and help him develop a consistent game. If they didn’t see something in him, Seattle would have drafted a quarterback this year, but they didn’t, which leads me to believe that they are setting up for Lock to take over.