The Seahawks entered this draft with four big needs – and they didn’t address any of them in the first two days:
❌ Nose tackle
❌ Defensive end
❌ Inside linebacker
After going for star power in Round 1, with cornerback Devon Witherspoon and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Hawks really needed to hit some of those big needs on Day 2.
Instead, they reached to add yet another rush linebacker and used a second-round pick on a running back for the second straight year. Maybe their best move was bailing from the third round and picking up an early fourth and a 2024 third from Denver (more on the Broncos below).
Instead of going for big ends Keion White or Keeanu Benton at 37, John Schneider decided to add pass rusher Derick Hall to a group that already includes Uchenna Nwosu, Darrell Taylor and Boye Mafe. Hall was ranked around 58 on consensus draft boards, so Schneider obviously wanted to make sure they got him.
The Hawks have become addicted to drafting pass rushers in the second round – Taylor in 2020, Mafe in 2022 and now Hall.
“We’re expecting big things from this group,” Pete Carroll said. “It’s a good group. They were very productive last year (22 sacks), but I think we’re just scratching the surface.”
The Hawks are sticking with the 3-4, Carroll said Thursday night, so they need to figure out which of these four guys can play in space. Taylor certainly could not in 2022. That has not been a strength for Hall either, and Schneider admitted they are projecting his ability there.
Lance Zierlein, NFL Media analyst, called him “average against the run, exploitable in coverage.”
He impressed Schneider with his Pro Day though. “Some of the deficiencies in his game during the fall he really showed well to compensate for some of those things in his Pro Day.”
Hall ran a 4.2 short shuttle at his Pro Day. At the Combine, he ran a 4.55 40 with an excellent 1.55 10-yard split. He was the No. 4 most athletic edge in this class, per NextGen Stats.
The Hawks clearly preferred Hall to White, Benton and other linemen. Carroll told Hall on the phone: “We’ve been watching this thing, we’ve been waiting on it, and we feel very fortunate that we got you.”
After 37, D-linemen eluded Seattle
So what about the defensive line?
It sounds like Schneider was hoping to get a big man at 52 and, after that failed, again in the third round.
Benton was taken three picks before Seattle drafted Zach Charbonnet at 52, and White was picked three spots before Benton. Both were rated in that zone on big boards, so it should have been no surprise to Schneider that they didn’t make it to 52.
Alabama’s Byron Young might have been Seattle’s target in the third round. He was rated a fourth-rounder on most boards, but he was taken at 70 by Las Vegas.
Carroll admits the line remains a weakness (if only due to the extreme lack of numbers).
“It’s not like we’re not aware of it,” Carroll said. “We’re watching. We’d like to hit it. We made an effort in free agency. We were right out of the chutes to go get a couple guys we could really count on. And we’re not done. It’s not done. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ve got six big shots tomorrow, too. We’re still at it.”
Among those they could look at with their fourth-rounders (108 and 123) are Northwestern’s Tommy Adebawore (who was expected to go in the second round), Texas’ Moro Ojomo, Mississippi State’s Cameron Young and Auburn’s Colby Wooden.
It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see Al Woods and perhaps Poona Ford back after the draft wraps up.
Running backs: 2 by 2
With no D-linemen there at 52, Charbonnet was the top guy on Seattle’s board – and he filled a depth need as the Hawks had only Ken Walker and DeeJay Dallas in their backfield.
The Hawks could have taken fan favorite John Michael Schmitz, but Schneider seems allergic to drafting centers (this is the fourth straight year he has needed one and not taken one). The Giants took the Minnesota center five picks later.
Charbonnet (6-0, 214, 4.53) “has extraordinary vision with reliable pass-catching and blocking skills and impeccable football character,” per analyst Dane Brugler of The Athletic.
The UCLA back led FBS in all-purpose yards per game (168) and led the Pac-12 in rushing (1,359 yards) in 2022. He also caught 37 passes.
“He’s going to be right in there with Ken,” Carroll said. “It’s going to take both guys to get the workload. I really like the versatility because (Charbonnet) can block, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, he’s good on the screen game, he makes big plays, he’s been the workhorse. So, I think he’ll be a great complement to Kenny. I got Ken on the phone just to talk to him about that, how much we see them fitting together.”
Still rooting against Denver
Seahawks fans will have a vested interest in Russell Wilson and the Broncos again in 2023.
Just as the Seahawks wrapped the Wilson trade by taking Hall to go with Witherspoon and the six other players they got in that 2022 blockbuster, they took a 2024 third-rounder from the Broncos, who moved up to 83 from 108.
“We had a goal going into this thing to try to get into next year a little bit,” said Schneider, who decided to bail on the third round after his targets (including Young?) were taken. “Throughout the process we had a couple upsets in there, meaning that we had some guys go that we were interested in. It happens, especially early in the draft. We felt real blessed to be able to get into a deal with Denver and acquire that third-round pick.”
Schneider said the 2024 draft class “is supposed to be really good. Not slighting this year’s class, just saying there’s a common theme. I think everybody knows it.”
As for the Wilson trade, Carroll said, “It’s had an impact on our program. There’s no doubt.”
Day 3: Schneider is out of his funk
Schneider has had a roller coaster ride on Day 3 during his 13 previous drafts with Seattle. A stellar first three years earned him the reputation as the Day 3 drafting king, but then he went from first to worst – rarely hitting on any of his Day 3 picks from 2013 to 2017.
He has rallied out of that funk over the last five years, landing Will Dissly and Michael Dickson in 2018, Phil Haynes and Travis Homer in 2019, Colby Parkinson and DeeJay Dallas in 2020, and Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen in 2022.
In 13 of his 14 drafts, he has had more than the standard four Day 3 picks. He has six this year, and he needs to hit on a couple again.
A number of linebackers and interior offensive linemen are available, so maybe the Seahawks will look at some of them. In addition to the D-linemen mentioned above, here are some possibilities in the fourth and fifth rounds:
- WR Tyler Scott
- S Antonio Johnson
- LB Henry To’oTo’o
- OG Chandler Zavala
- SS JL Skinner
- LB Noah Sewell
- C Luke Wypler
- OG Emil Ekiyor
- OG Andrew Vorhees
2 thoughts on “Hawks whiff on needs on Day 2”
– CB Devon Witherspoon: A
– WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba: A+
– OLB Derick Hall: B
– RB Zach Charbonnet: B+
Players that I would love (any of them):
– Jerrod Clark
– Moro Ojomo
– Lyke Wypler
– Chandler Zavala
– Nick Broeker
– Anthony Bradford
– Nick Saldiveri
You consider Hall a reach? I had hoped they would take Charbonnet who is a strong inside runner to pair with K9 who is better on the outside. The guy they had ample opportunity to take but passed on his Adebawore who I thought could be the Michael Bennett they’ve looked for. A lot of teams passed on him though. His interviews must not have been good. This was a weak draft for defensive linemen.