Seattle Seahawks NFL Draft Targets 2022: Offensive Line, Quarterback, Edge, & Cornerback All Strong Needs

This offseason for the Seahawks was defined by their decision to trade away franchise quarterback Russell Wilson, and it sets them up for an interesting rebuilding period. However, Pete Carroll is the oldest head coach in the NFL at 70 years old, and there are questions about his future with the team. This draft will set the course for the immediate future for the Seahawks, and they have the Broncos’ first-round pick and two picks in the second round to work with. This article will explore their remaining team needs, draft history, and potential targets.

Seahawks’ Offseason Round-Up

Russell Wilson started as the Seattle quarterback for ten seasons and made the Pro Bowl in all but one of those seasons. He also won the Super Bowl during that span and became one of the best players in franchise history. Parting with him was a big decision, but it was arguably the right one given the lack of talent on their roster right now.

In the Wilson trade, the Seahawks acquired a first, second, and fifth-round pick in 2022 as well as a first and second-round pick in 2023. They also acquired tight end Noah Fant, defensive end Shelby Harris, and quarterback Drew Lock. Fant is an ascending talent at tight end while Lock didn’t pan out for the Broncos but could improve with a change of scenery.

The Seahawks made a handful of significant signings this offseason in addition to the Wilson trade. Uchenna Nwosu helps bolster their pass-rush while Artie Burns provides some improved play in the secondary along with the resigning of Sidney Jones after D.J. Reed signed with the Jets. Seattle also resigned Quandre Diggs, a leader of the defense, and Rashaad Penny after his breakout season at running back.

Biggest Remaining Team Needs

Offensive Line: Russell Wilson grew fed up with his offensive line in recent years, and it’s hard to blame him as the Seahawks ranked in the bottom ten in pass-blocking efficiency in each of the last three seasons per PFF. Re-signing Duane Brown is reportedly still an option at left tackle, but he’s 36 years old and the team needs to get younger upfront. Expect Seattle to address the line with one of their top three picks.

Quarterback: Of course, with trading Russell Wilson comes a ton of uncertainty under center. As a Broncos fan who has watched plenty of Drew Lock in recent years, I don’t believe he’s their long-term answer. This isn’t a very strong quarterback class compared to recent years and the team would be wise to bolster the offensive line before investing in the quarterback position to boost the development process.

Edge: The Seahawks had the third-worst pass-rush grade in the NFL last season per PFF and they had just 34 sacks, the 10th-fewest in the league. Uchenna Nwosu helps with that somewhat and the team has high hopes for last year’s second-round pick Darrell Taylor, but neither is proven as a top pass-rusher. This is a strong edge class overall and the Seahawks could address the position with a premium pick.

Cornerback: The Seahawks’ projected starters in Sidney Jones, Tre Brown, and Justin Coleman are a solid group that Pete Carroll is excited about, but they have all had significant injuries lately. Seattle hasn’t drafted a cornerback in the first two rounds in 15 years, but this could be the year to do so with some excellent talent available in this draft class.

John Schneider Draft History

The Seahawks have made a habit of trading down in the first round of the draft, and general manager John Schneider has executed seven trades down with the team’s first pick in the past five years. However, Schneider has also been aggressive in trading up when the time is right with 11 trades up over the past ten years. In all, we should expect Schneider to be highly active on the phones in discussing potential trades this week.

Seattle’s drafts haven’t been very successful lately, but Schneider and Carroll have been very successful when they’ve been armed with three or more picks inside the top 75 of the draft. In their first season with the Seahawks in 2010, they selected Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, and Golden Tate in the first and second rounds as well as Kam Chancellor in the fifth round. Two years later, they selected Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, and Russell Wilson in the top 75. Those two drafts helped lay the foundation for their decade of incredible success.

First-Round Draft Targets

OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State: The Seahawks may be tempted to dive into the quarterback class with the #9 pick, but they would be better off shoring up the left tackle position before doing so to help further the development of their rookie quarterback. Charles Cross is arguably the most refined pass protector in this class with his excellent footwork and agility boosting his mirroring. Cross isn’t a road-grading player in the run game, but he will be an above-average starter in pass protection right away.

CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati: In new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt’s scheme, the Seahawks are expected to play a more aggressive style with variable blitzing, and that’s highly dependent on lockdown corners on the boundary. Gardner is elite in man coverage, and he never allowed a touchdown in coverage at Cincinnati. He plays with a confident demeanor and has excellent ball skills to make plays. Gardner doesn’t have extensive experience in zone coverage, but his natural press coverage abilities will be coveted.

QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati: There seems to be a very real chance that the Seahawks could go with a quarterback in the first round, and Ridder might be the best option for them at #9. Ridder’s accuracy deficiencies could limit his future upside, but he’s refined in his field processing, vision, and pocket mechanics. Ridder is an elite athlete who ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash, and he could beat defenses with his arm and legs similar to Russell Wilson.

DT Jordan Davis, Georgia: It’s rare for a defensive tackle to be a top-ten pick in the draft, but it’s also rare for a defensive tackle to have the level of athleticism of Jordan Davis. The Georgia defensive lineman tested with a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 10 out of 10, and his 4.78-second 40-yard dash at 6’6”, 342 lbs was ridiculous. There are lingering questions about Davis’s workload and issues, especially when faced with up-tempo offenses, but it’s hard to ignore how transformative he could be for the Seattle defensive line.

DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon: Due to some overblown off-field concerns, there seems to be a chance Kayvon Thibodeaux slips down the board. If the Oregon product is still available when the Seahawks make their pick at #9, they would be smart in ensuring the pass-rusher doesn’t leave the Pacific Northwest. Thibodeaux has ideal flexibility and bend to turn the corner and his explosive first step allows him to get the jump on offensive linemen. He has awesome upside as a speed-to-power pass-rusher in the NFL.

Second-Round Draft Targets

CB Kyler Gordon, Washington: Gordon was invited to the green room for the draft, which prompted me to take a closer look at his profile. While he ran just a 4.52-second 40-yard dash (36th percentile), he tested with a stellar RAS of 9.69 as he graded as elite in the vertical and broad jumps, short shuttle, and 3-cone drill. Gordon was one of the most productive cornerbacks in man coverage last season, and his play speed is much better than the 40-yard dash highlighted.

DE Drake Jackson, USC: If the Seahawks are looking for a high-upside pass-rusher in the second round, Drake Jackson would be a great option. The USC product only turned 21 years old in April, and his bend around the edge is electric. He may be a tad undersized, but his length is among the best in the class, and he’s an athletic freak who displays excellent flexibility and agility on film.

OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan: I have Raimann graded much higher than the 40th overall prospect, but the range of opinion on him has been significant. Raimann is new to the game of football after switching over from tight end, but he’s already 24 years old. His movement skills and finesse style of play help him project as an ideal fit in a West Coast-style zone-running offense, but it’s unclear if he’ll ever have the power chops to contribute to run-blocking the way Caroll wants.

RB Kenneth Walker, Michigan State: Say what you want about positional value, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Seahawks draft a running back in the second round. Kenneth Walker had 30 carries of 15+ yards last year and he forced 89 missed tackles, both of which were the most in the country. Walker’s lack of pass-protection and pass-catching experience, Walker has the athletic profile to be a three-down back in the NFL. With his blend of power, agility, explosiveness, and speed, there aren’t many holes to pick in his game as a pure runner.

QB Sam Howell, North Carolina: Landing Sam Howell in the second round could end up being great value after being previously considered the top quarterback in this class. With his excellent mobility and deep-ball accuracy, Howell has a bit of Russell Wilson in his game, and his ability to produce as a dual-threat is very intriguing. Howell’s pocket mechanics and ability to make full-field reads need work, but his poise and leadership should be very enticing for the Seahawks.

DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State: In a late breakout in his fifth year at Penn State, Arnold Ebiketie showed he has developed some of the best pass-rush technique in the draft. His hand usage and footwork consistently help him beat offensive tackles, especially with his elite athletic profile featuring explosiveness, flexibility, and bend. Ebiketie’s strength comes and goes, and the bull-rush isn’t a consistent part of his game, but he can be a high-level addition to the Seattle pass-rushing rotation.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. With my educational background in the sports business and a strong knowledge of the inner workings of professional and collegiate sports, I hope to tell enthralling stories about the world of sports as it unfolds around me.

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