The Seahawks would be picking at No. 3 overall if the 2023 NFL draft were held today. That puts them in position to land a blue chip prospect that could fundamentally change their defense. It also puts them in a prime spot to trade down with teams who are looking to draft a quarterback.
In our latest seven-round 2023 mock draft we took advantage of the latter, dealing down three spots with Detroit and adding a pick in the teens. Later, we traded down again from No. 35 overall – doubling up the picks Seattle received in the Russell Wilson trade to maximize the value of the deal.
In the end, we still got our guy and came out with 11 total selections in the draft. Here’s how it went down.
Trade: Pick No. 3 for pick Nos. 6 and 17 from Lions
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Having (hopefully) gotten an assist from Detroit in Week 18 to clinch a playoff berth, we return the favor here. We deal down three spots to No. 6 and add pick No. 17 overall. The Lions use the No. 3 pick to take Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and we cross our fingers that our preferred defensive prospect might still be available…
Pick No. 6: Georgia DT Jalen Carter
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Defying all common sense, the consensus best player in the draft is still on the board when we’re on the clock again at No. 6. Carter falling this far would be odd – but if Aaron Donald can slip to No. 13 it’s not impossible. Donald also happens to be the best pro comp for Carter (6-foot-3, 310 pounds). Landing a game-wrecker like that should have an obvious appeal for the Seahawks, who know better than anyone what an elite interior disrupter can do to your offense.
Pick No. 17: Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson
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Boosting the interior rotation will definitely be on the menu, but Seattle also has to address the edge. Darrell Taylor has come on strong recently. However, most of this season it’s been the Uchenna Nwosu show too often at this position. Adding Wilson (6-foot-6, 275 pounds) forces opponents to account for another legitimate pass-rush threat and will open up opportunities for Carter, Nwosu and the rest. Wilson has totaled 14 sacks and 27.5 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons.
Pick No. 18: Alabama S Brian Branch
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Safety might seem like the last position of need on the surface. However, depending on what they decide to do with Quandre Diggs they might have cause to draft one. Cutting Diggs before June 1 would save the Seahawks almost $10 million in 2023 and $11 million more next year. If Diggs is cut, they could replace him with Branch (6-foot-0, 190 pounds), who can line up anywhere on the back end – including free safety.
Trade: Pick No. 35 for pick Nos. 39 and 108 from Panthers
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With an eye on squeezing as much value out of the Russell Wilson trade as possible, we trade down again here with former Seahawks executive Scott Fitterer, now general manager of the Panthers. We only move down four spots in the order and pick up an extra fourth-rounder in the process.
Pick No. 39: North Carolina WR Josh Downs
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Keeping the theme in Carolina, we use the No. 39 pick from the Panthers on Tarheels wide receiver Josh Downs, filling the team’s hole at WR3. Downs has the typical Pete Carrol receiver build (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) and is crafty and productive from the slot. He’s posted 195 catches, 19 touchdowns and over 2,350 receiving yards over the last two years.
Pick No. 53: Baylor DT Siaki Ika
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Carter is the obvious new centerpiece at DT, but the Seahawks could use a genuine youth movement at this position. Drafting Ika (6-foot-4, 350 pounds) here gives them a versatile piece up front and might save them from having to pay Shelby Harris when his contract is up in 2024.
Pick No. 84: Alabama TE Cameron Latu
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Seattle’s run game is predicated on having some badass blocking tight ends lead the charge. Drafting Latu (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) helps keep that trend going and also gives them a potent pass-catching weapon. Latu has totaled 56 catches, 787 yards and 12 touchdowns the last two seasons since becoming a starter.
Pick No. 108: Ohio State C Luke Wypler
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Austin Blythe will be 31 years old by the time next season begins, making him a prime candidate to be replaced by a younger lineman. Wyper (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) is far more polished than your average college center. That refined technique could make him an NFL starter as soon as next season.
Pick No. 119: USC G Andrew Vorhees
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The Seahawks (and every other team) could use more offensive line depth this offseason. Vorhees (6-foot-6, 320 pounds) has positional versatility, functional athleticism, a strong base and a killer instinct as a run blocker.
Pick No. 146: Purdue CB Cory Trice
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Cornerback shouldn’t be on high on Seattle’s list of needs, but Trice is too interesting to pass up on here. He can line up at several different spots on the back end and comes with plus size (6-foot-3, 210 pounds). In 30 games at Purdue he posted five interceptions and 15 passes defensed.
Pick No. 150: Tulane LB Dorian Williams
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This is a little late in the draft to look for potential successors to Jordyn Brooks, but the board doesn’t always fall the way you want it to. Williams (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) had a breakout Senior season at Tulane, posting five sacks, 8.5 tackles for a loss, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Pick No. 185: Washington OL Jaxson Kirkland
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We couldn’t resist getting Kirkland (6-foot-7, 310 pounds) this late in the draft. The Seahawks could see him either as a backup behind Charles Cross at left tackle or potentially replace Gabe Jackson at right guard.