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The Seattle Seahawks have mostly gotten strong grades for their nine selections in the 2022 NFL draft. Several of their picks are considered high-value choices for where they were taken compared to where they were expected to be drafted.
While we’re happy with the results, we still have some questions regarding just how good this group can be. Here are four that will need answering over the next few years.
Are these the new rules?
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Just before the draft started last Thursday evening, coach Pete Carroll started sharing his annual clues about his team’s upcoming picks on Twitter. One of them was the title of a Dua Lipa song called “New Rules.” Our best guess as to what that means is Seattle went into this draft with some different ideas compared to business as usual.
Ever since the 2013 draft class this organization has made a bad habit of wasting their selections (especially in the first round) on relatively low-value positions and consistently reaching for prospects who were expected to be taken much later in the draft.
This year the Seahawks went in with a radically-different strategy: load up on plus athletes at the premium positions (excluding one) as much as possible. They came out with two picks each at offensive tackle, EDGE, cornerback and wide receiver. While any prospect can crash and burn in the NFL, this is a far more sound gameplan than what we’ve come to expect from this front office.
We will have to wait until next year to find out if this was just a fluke or if this class represents a real shift in philosophy to approaching the draft.
Were the Seahawks right to pass on '22 QBs?
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The one premium position that the Seahawks elected not to use a draft pick on happens to be the most-important one and also their greatest need. After trading Russell Wilson to the Broncos, Seattle should be in the market for a new franchise quarterback.
However, the team decided not to try to find him in this draft class – despite their heavily-reported interest in Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder. Most likely the idea is to wait and target a new QB1 in next year’s draft, which is supposedly much deeper at this position than the 2022 group. Time will tell if this was the right call by the Seahawks – but if either Ridder (Falcons) or Malik Willis (Titans) go on to be a star in the NFL it will be another serious black mark on this team’s poor draft record over the last 10 years.
How much will Charles Cross' lack of size matter?
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Thanks to the Wilson trade, for the first time in 12 years this organization had the benefit of a top-10 overall selection in the draft. The last time they used it on Russell Okung, who went on to be their franchise left tackle for the next six years. They’re hoping for similar success with Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, who they took with their No. 9 pick.
For what it’s worth, Cross has gotten quality grades from PFF both in run blocking and pass protection and he’s considered one of the top-three offensive tackles in this draft class behind Evan Neal and Ickey Ekwonu.
The main yellow flag with Cross is a lack of size/power for his position. While he has elite agility and solid speed for a pro tackle, he’s only 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds – a frame you’d normally expect to see for a pro guard. That relatively small stature may have played a role in his occasional struggles against powerful bull rushers – which is his biggest concern on tape. While he rarely lost his balance, Cross was frequently pushed off the line and driven into the pocket. He deserves credit for holding up under that pressure, but at the next level the bull rushers he faces are going to be much stronger, so it’s not hard to imagine him getting blown up in those situations in Seattle.
That said, there’s no guarantee it will prevent him from balling out in the NFL. Cross shares a similar physical profile with Duane Brown, who should probably be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day.
How many starters did they draft?
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It will take at least a couple of years to fairly evaluate this draft class – but in general the expectation is for teams to get two long-term starters each year. The last time the Seahawks checked that box was back in 2015 when they landed both Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett, so it’s been a while.
We are projecting for Cross to start at left tackle and Abraham Lucas to start at right tackle this year – if not in 2023. However, whether they’ll be any good remains to be seen. The Seahawks have to hope those two work out and they get at least one other quality starter out of this bunch.
The good news is there’s plenty of upside for their Day 2 and Day 3 picks. While we didn’t care for taking a running back in Round 2, Kenneth Walker III has the physical tools he needs to be a featured rusher in the NFL. Also, fifth-round pick Tariq Woolen comes with obscene athleticism for a cornerback of his size. We would be surprised if neither one of them goes on to have a solid pro career.