Draft day: ‘A lot of different scenarios’

At Seattle’s pre-draft presser on April 19, John Schneider was asked whether the top of the 2023 draft was pretty predictable by now.

“You would think so, right?” he said before giving the reality. “It doesn’t feel like it, no. … You’re constantly trying to paint pictures and scenarios of what you think will happen and what other teams will do.

“There’s just a ton of different variables up there. A lot of different scenarios. A lot of different ways we can go.’’

Chatter on the top four

The general consensus until this week had been that Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud and Alabama QB Bryce Young would be the top two in some order, followed by Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. and then another QB – either Florida’s Anthony Richardson or Kentucky’s Will Levis. But recent scuttlebutt has flipped some of that.

It appears that Young is Carolina’s choice at No. 1, but Houston (by many accounts) is sour on Stroud and might actually prefer Texas Tech pass rusher Tyree Wilson to Anderson. In that case, Stroud or Anderson likely would go at 3, depending on whether Arizona (apparently desperate to trade) was able to move down with a team that really wanted a QB.

The big twist would be if Arizona could not drop and decided to draft Ohio State LT Paris Johnson Jr. or Illinois corner Devon Witherspoon over Anderson.

At 4, the Colts want a QB, and Levis reportedly has been their target. Would they pick him over Stroud?

At 5: Anderson, Carter or move down?

If so, the Seahawks shockingly would be looking at Anderson and Stroud at 5. That would set up an interesting decision – and a much better choice than whether to gamble on Georgia’s Jalen Carter or Richardson, the two guys who have been dueling to be Seattle’s pick through mock draft season.

Anderson seemingly would be the pick if he is there.

Assuming Stroud and Anderson are gone, though, Schneider seems likely to try to move out of 5 – unless Pete Carroll talks him into taking Carter (Carroll reportedly “really” likes him).

Schneider has mentioned the savings Seattle would get with a trade down, and he probably does not want to pay a $21.7 million bonus to either Carter or Richardson – guys who are big gambles for different reasons.

Asked on HBO’s “Real Sports” whether he thinks his deadly street-racing incident will cause him to slide, Carter said, “Yeah, I feel like it’s gonna matter a little bit. Because NFL teams look deep into your life. … This coming out at the time it did come out I’m pretty sure is going to affect a little bit.” But agent Drew Rosenhaus seems positive that Carter won’t slide past 10.

The Eagles are at 10 and could move up for Carter, who would reunite with former Georgia teammate Jordan Davis. The Titans, at 11, might want to move up for a QB (although they might make the deal with Arizona to get Stroud at 3).

In a trade to the 10-11 area, maybe Richardson would still be available. Or Seattle could go with OG Peter Skoronski (Northwestern), defensive end Lukas Van Ness (Iowa), pass rusher Nolan Smith (Georgia) or perhaps Witherspoon.

Wide receiver at 20?

Most mocks consistently have had a receiver going at No. 20. There’s a good chance that will happen, but it probably won’t be Seattle; Schneider seems likely to use receivers as bait for interested teams so he can move out of no man’s land. Maybe Buffalo would come up from 27 or the Chiefs from 31.

With the move down, Schneider could go offensive line or defensive line, depending on what he did with the first pick. Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV or Georgia Tech’s Keion White could be good additions in the front seven, while Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence would be a good get at guard.

As we have mentioned previously, there’s also a chance Schneider moves up — especially if he can do it at no cost because he already moved down from 5 and has extra ammo for the trade up from 20.

Day 2: More picks, please

Even more than most years, the value in this draft appears to lie in Day 2. Most teams reportedly have fewer than 20 players rated as first-rounders.

If the Hawks can parlay their five Day 1-2 picks into seven, they should do it. They can build their defense and set up their O-line in one fell swoop.

They currently have picks 37, 52 and 83 on Day 2.

Some possible targets we like in Round 2, with snippets from top draft analysts Daniel Jeremiah, Dane Brugler and Lance Zierlein and a Big Board rank using Brugler, Jeremiah and consensus:

TE Luke Musgrave “has the potential to emerge as the top tight end in the class” — Jeremiah
Big Board: 38

C/OG Steve Avila (6-3, 332) “plays with a strong base to anchor and control at either guard or center … and should be an immediate starter as an NFL rookie” — Brugler
Big Board: 40

NT Mazi Smith (6-3, 323) is a “bigger Brandon Mebane” — Brugler
Big Board: 41

C John Michael Schmitz’s “overall technique and teamwork in the run game should create a plug-and-play opportunity in the pros” — Zierlein
Big Board: 45

LB Jack Campbell (6-4, 249) “is an off-the-ball linebacker with excellent size, instincts and range” — Jeremiah
Big Board: 49

C Joe Tippmann (6-6, 313) “is the rare tall center capable of playing with leverage and balance” – Jeremiah
Big board: 50

DE Ade Adebawore’s “explosive first contact and ability to play under his opponent’s pads could earn him a spot as a base end” — Zierlein
Big Board: 51

DL Keeanu Benton’s “stout power base and above-average athleticism at his size (6-3, 309) are outstanding foundation traits” — Brugler
Big Board: 57

WR Tyler Scott “has Tyler Lockett upside as a starting NFL receiver” – Brugler
Big Board: 78

RB Roschon Johnson “is a quick-footed, physical ballcarrier with valuable third-down skills as a pass catcher and blocker” – Brugler
Big Board: 86

Day 1-2 mock after trades down

This is one example of what trades with Tennessee (11) and Kansas City (31) could net:

GM Geno speaks

Geno Smith has been lobbying Carroll and Schneider for more offensive weapons (plenty of fans see a No. 3 wide receiver as a huge need).

On Richard Sherman’s podcast, GM Geno said, “I’ve done some pokin’ and proddin’, I’ve talked to some coaches, some higher-ups in the front office – trying to get some things done. 

“You’ve gotta score points. … You want to add weapons. … I’ve got my eyes on some guys out there (in the draft). … Adding depth to the offense is always my thing. The more weapons the better for the quarterback.”


2 thoughts on “Draft day: ‘A lot of different scenarios’”

  1. If salary cap mismanagement causes Schneider to pass on a potential generational talent in Carter for draft capital and a guy who is going to wind up at guard, he will have committed a Malik McDowell-level screw-up.


  2. So many red flags on Carter — they would have to be incredibly sure to pick him at 5, and even then it would be a big gamble. But if they see 5 as just a bonus pick and don’t mind gambling $22M on it …


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