Seahawks 2023 mock draft: The C.J. Stroud or bust edition

College players have until Monday to declare for the 2023 NFL draft. One of the big stars that has yet to do so is Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, generally ranked second at his position in this class behind Alabama’s Bryce Young. While we wait for Stroud to make his decision, we snuck him into our latest seven-round mock draft for the Seahawks.

However, before we pulled the trigger on taking Stroud with the No. 5 overall pick, we got an interesting trade offer from the Packers that was almost too good to pass up on. Here’s how the mock played out.

The blockbuster trade offer

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Shaken by Geno Smith’s string of too many turnover-worthy throws to finish the season, we went into this mock determined to take a quarterback. However, just before we got on the clock Green Bay made a juicy offer: trade the No. 5 overall selection for pick Nos. 15, 45 and 113 in this draft plus 2024 first and second rounders. In the real world, the Seahawks should think long and hard if they get a comparable offer. In the end, we passed – unwilling to let Stroud go to a conference rival.

Pick No. 5: Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud

Syndication The Columbus Dispatch

Stroud (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) is coming off a brilliant Junior season, having posted 41 touchdown passes, just six interceptions and a 177.7 QB rating. He almost managed to beat repeat national champion Georgia and their spooky-good defense, but Ohio State’s kicker missed a field goal at the last second. On film, Stroud looks a lot like this year’s version of Geno Smith. He’s intelligent, accurate and has a ton of velocity on his passes, which reach every level of the field. While not a running QB, Stroud has enough mobility to escape a pass rush and moves his feet well in and out of the pocket. If Seattle moves on from Smith, they won’t find a better replacement this year who can do the same things.

Pick No. 20: Oregon LB Noah Sewell

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On the other side of the ball the Seahawks have a rather significant hole at inside linebacker, where Jordyn Brooks has made strides but continues to get abused in coverage regularly. His ACL tear makes his future in the NFL even more in doubt. Replacing him should be high on Seattle’s list in this draft and Sewell (6-foot-3, 250 pounds) may be the best off-ball linebacker in this class. He does a bit of everything. In 33 games at Oregon Sewell posted two interceptions, nine pass breakups, three forced fumbles, 7.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for a loss.

Pick No. 37: Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer

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Tight ends have become a huge part of Seattle’s offense in the post-Russell Wilson era. While they have three quality options they don’t have a true weapon on this level. Mayer (6-foot-4, 249 pounds) has the requisite blocking skills but really shines as a pass catcher. His soft hands, quick release and ability after the catch helped him post 18 touchdowns and over 2,000 receiving yards at Notre Dame.

Pick No. 53: Clemson DT Tyler Davis

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If Jalen Carter isn’t available when the Seahawks are on the clock at No. 5 then they’ll have to make do with the second-tier interior defensive linemen in this class. One of the best is Davis (6-foot-2, 300 pounds), who can get pressure on the quarterback and stop the run, as well. In 42 games at Clemson he totaled 15.5 sacks and 26.5 tackles for a loss.

Pick No. 84: Auburn RB Tank Bigsby

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Running back shouldn’t be too high on Seattle’s list this year, but if you think Pete Carroll can resist an accomplished rusher named Tank you’ve got another thing coming. Bigsby (6-foot-0, 208 pounds) has the kind of size and power his name suggests. In 35 games at the college level he totaled 2,903 yards on 540 carries (5.4 yards per attempt) and scored 25 touchdowns.

Pick No. 119: Oregon C Alex Forsyth

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With this pick we doubled down on the Ducks, picking up a potential new franchise center – which should be the No. 1 item for upgrading the offensive line. Forsyth has quality size (6-foot-3, 305 pounds), power and athleticism for the position. More importantly, he also has the high football IQ needed to play it at the highest level.

Pick No. 148: Houston EDGE D'Anthony Jones

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This is a little late in the draft to address the hole on the edge, but Darrell Taylor’s late-season surge makes the need here less urgent. Jones (6-foot-2, 270 pounds) posted 14 sacks and 22 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons at Houston. He also forced nine fumbles during that stretch.

Pick No. 153: South Carolina DT Zacch Pickens

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Al Woods, Shelby Harris and Poona Ford are a quality trio for the defensive interior, but the Seahawks need to refresh their rotation with younger DTs. Pickens (6-foot-3, 305 pounds) is a potent pass rusher and comes equipped with impressive physical tools. He’s totaled 7.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss in 43 games at South Carolina.

Pick No. 184: Texas A&M WR Ainias Smith

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With our last pick we wanted to get a versatile offensive weapon for Stroud and Smith (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) fits the bill perfectly. A combo running back and wide receiver, he’s posted almost 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns from scrimmage for the Aggies.

Story originally appeared on Seahawks Wire