Pre-Grading Pick #5

JerHawk81

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Assuming we stay at 5, there are only so many guys who are on our radar. So, I thought I'd take a swing at what I would grade each of the viable picks.

Young or Stroud: A++. Both are great QB prospects and amazing value at 5. If either are still available at 5 (e.g. taking Richardson if Stroud is still there), the grade for selecting any other QB would drop by a full two letter grades. I figure there is only a 5% chance that either of these guys are on the board at 5.

Carter (DL): A+. Clearly a polarizing figure and clearly a gamble. I have him as an elite prospect, but you’re welcome to disagree. And more to the point, I’m going to trust the team if they opt to pass on Carter. On the field, he’s the best DT prospect I’ve seen since Suh, at our biggest position of need, and at a position that is extremely valued in the NFL. I figure there’s an 80% chance that he’s there at 5. And interestingly, betting odds now have him as a clear favorite to the Hawks at 5 (-180).

Anderson Jr. (Edge): A+. An amazing prospect, amazing fit for our system, amazing leader, huge need, amazing edge rusher, and amazing value – I have Anderson as the clear best edge in the class, and one of the two best defenders in the draft. Outside of his Tenn game, he was also the most consistent player in the class. I figure that there is only a 25% chance that he’s there at 5, and I expect that we would take him if he’s there. If Anderson is there at 5 and we select another defender (not named Carter), it would be a huge mistake.

Tyree Wilson (Edge?): B. A long and powerful edge, his stock has really risen the last several months, and he’s now being mocked in the 2-8 range, so the value is there according to the pundits. However, to me, he would struggle in a 3-4 as he’s not an elite pass rusher and looks a bit awkward dropping into space. I really like the player and prospect, but this doesn’t feel he fits our team. To get the most out of him, we would need to scheme around him, or even move back to a 4-3. I would also rather trade back or go another direction at 5 with plans to address edge at 20. With that said, he’s likely to be there at 5 (65%), has the traits Pete loves, and on paper fits a need, so he is the most likely selection in my book.

Richardson (QB): B+. The only reason that this grade is so high is because Richardson is a QB, and the economics of getting your future QB any other way than a top 10 pick are really really hard. I don’t expect Richardson to ever reach his potential, but I he does, we’re literally a SB contention as early as this year, and each year for the next 4-5 years while we can spend extra cap dollars to build around him. You can’t do this paying an established QB $50M/year. Note that this grade falls to a D+ if we pick Richardson while Stroud or Young are on the board.

Levis (QB): B-. Like Richardson, but an inferior prospect in my eyes – both due to lower upside, less fit with our team, and maybe even bigger issues (e.g. accuracy). This falls to an F if we pick Levis while Stroud or Young are on the board, but wouldn’t change if Richardson is on the board.

Hooker (QB) F. No. Just no.

Gonzalez (CB): B+. Gonzalez is both an amazing prospect and an amazing fit, so much so that he’s actually my #5 on my Seahawks big board, and the #1 CB. Great skills, tools, fluidity, etc. However, CB is not a huge area of need, not a huge position of value, and this is a crazy-stacked class at CB so we can go CB later if we want. He’s likely to be there at 5, and it wouldn’t shock me if we shocked the world with Gonzalez at 5.

Witherspoon (CB): C+. Witherspoon is one of my favorite prospects in the class. He’s incredibly sticky in coverage – largely due to his ability to accelerate from zero to full speed as fast as anyone I’ve seen since Deion Sanders. He’s super tough, has above average ball skills, and has good tools. However, he is a pinch behind Gonzalez in ball skills, zone coverage, fluidity in the hips, and length, so he’s a close #2 CB on my board.

Nolan Smith (Edge): C. On paper, he is a viable option at 5. He has elite burst and bend to get to the QB – rivaling any other edge in the class. He is the best edge in space in the class. He’s tough as nails and quite effective against the run. He fills a need and scheme fit perfectly. And, he is being projected as early as the top 10, so this isn’t the huge reach that it looked like 3 weeks ago. But when I watch his actual film, this is too high for him. Smith struggles to get off blocks, and if he doesn’t win early, he can become a non-factor in the play. I think this is why his numbers haven’t been great in college great – and why he has real risk as a top 5 pick. Still, he has as much potential rushing the passer in the class, and projects as the most well rounded 3-4 OLB as anyone in the class.

Skoronski (OL): C+. Skoronski is a very polished, very smart, very athletic, quite strong, etc. lineman. He played OT last year in college, but due to shorter arms, may project inside in the NFL (he played OG previously in college). This is too early for an interior lineman for me, but he’s the best and probably most versatile lineman in the class, and would be a high level contributor on day 1 inside, and provide insurance on the outside. Not an exciting pick, but not an awful one.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR): D. By far, my favorite WR in the class. But, also, by far, too early for him. He’s a great slot guy who may have the ability to play outside – and slot guys simply aren’t valued as a top 5 pick.

McDonald (edge): F. I actually think McDonald is on their radar at 5, so this is the most likely worst case scenario. Evaluators I trust say McDonald is a very good pass rusher – maybe the best speed rusher in the class with a blazing first step and bend. So, yeah – I can see us going with him, much much much earlier than anyone things, and taking him at 5. But when I watch his film, I really don’t see it. I don’t see the get off. I don’t see the elite bend. I don’t see the hands. I don’t see the strength. I see a guy who is a good player, but he looks like a mid-second rounder to me.

Murphy (edge): D. Another guy to keep your eye on. After 2021, he was on track to be a legit top 10 prospect, and taking him at 5 was feasible. But, his 2022 was not as good, so he’s now projected to go in the mid to late 1st. He’s a great target at 20, but I think 5 is too high for him. Still, you can fall in love with his film from 2021, so this isn’t impossible.
 

Fade

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Assuming we stay at 5, there are only so many guys who are on our radar. So, I thought I'd take a swing at what I would grade each of the viable picks.

Young or Stroud: A++. Both are great QB prospects and amazing value at 5. If either are still available at 5 (e.g. taking Richardson if Stroud is still there), the grade for selecting any other QB would drop by a full two letter grades. I figure there is only a 5% chance that either of these guys are on the board at 5.

Carter (DL): A+. Clearly a polarizing figure and clearly a gamble. I have him as an elite prospect, but you’re welcome to disagree. And more to the point, I’m going to trust the team if they opt to pass on Carter. On the field, he’s the best DT prospect I’ve seen since Suh, at our biggest position of need, and at a position that is extremely valued in the NFL. I figure there’s an 80% chance that he’s there at 5. And interestingly, betting odds now have him as a clear favorite to the Hawks at 5 (-180).

Anderson Jr. (Edge): A+. An amazing prospect, amazing fit for our system, amazing leader, huge need, amazing edge rusher, and amazing value – I have Anderson as the clear best edge in the class, and one of the two best defenders in the draft. Outside of his Tenn game, he was also the most consistent player in the class. I figure that there is only a 25% chance that he’s there at 5, and I expect that we would take him if he’s there. If Anderson is there at 5 and we select another defender (not named Carter), it would be a huge mistake.

Tyree Wilson (Edge?): B. A long and powerful edge, his stock has really risen the last several months, and he’s now being mocked in the 2-8 range, so the value is there according to the pundits. However, to me, he would struggle in a 3-4 as he’s not an elite pass rusher and looks a bit awkward dropping into space. I really like the player and prospect, but this doesn’t feel he fits our team. To get the most out of him, we would need to scheme around him, or even move back to a 4-3. I would also rather trade back or go another direction at 5 with plans to address edge at 20. With that said, he’s likely to be there at 5 (65%), has the traits Pete loves, and on paper fits a need, so he is the most likely selection in my book.

Richardson (QB): B+. The only reason that this grade is so high is because Richardson is a QB, and the economics of getting your future QB any other way than a top 10 pick are really really hard. I don’t expect Richardson to ever reach his potential, but I he does, we’re literally a SB contention as early as this year, and each year for the next 4-5 years while we can spend extra cap dollars to build around him. You can’t do this paying an established QB $50M/year. Note that this grade falls to a D+ if we pick Richardson while Stroud or Young are on the board.

Levis (QB): B-. Like Richardson, but an inferior prospect in my eyes – both due to lower upside, less fit with our team, and maybe even bigger issues (e.g. accuracy). This falls to an F if we pick Levis while Stroud or Young are on the board, but wouldn’t change if Richardson is on the board.

Hooker (QB) F. No. Just no.

Gonzalez (CB): B+. Gonzalez is both an amazing prospect and an amazing fit, so much so that he’s actually my #5 on my Seahawks big board, and the #1 CB. Great skills, tools, fluidity, etc. However, CB is not a huge area of need, not a huge position of value, and this is a crazy-stacked class at CB so we can go CB later if we want. He’s likely to be there at 5, and it wouldn’t shock me if we shocked the world with Gonzalez at 5.

Witherspoon (CB): C+. Witherspoon is one of my favorite prospects in the class. He’s incredibly sticky in coverage – largely due to his ability to accelerate from zero to full speed as fast as anyone I’ve seen since Deion Sanders. He’s super tough, has above average ball skills, and has good tools. However, he is a pinch behind Gonzalez in ball skills, zone coverage, fluidity in the hips, and length, so he’s a close #2 CB on my board.

Nolan Smith (Edge): C. On paper, he is a viable option at 5. He has elite burst and bend to get to the QB – rivaling any other edge in the class. He is the best edge in space in the class. He’s tough as nails and quite effective against the run. He fills a need and scheme fit perfectly. And, he is being projected as early as the top 10, so this isn’t the huge reach that it looked like 3 weeks ago. But when I watch his actual film, this is too high for him. Smith struggles to get off blocks, and if he doesn’t win early, he can become a non-factor in the play. I think this is why his numbers haven’t been great in college great – and why he has real risk as a top 5 pick. Still, he has as much potential rushing the passer in the class, and projects as the most well rounded 3-4 OLB as anyone in the class.

Skoronski (OL): C+. Skoronski is a very polished, very smart, very athletic, quite strong, etc. lineman. He played OT last year in college, but due to shorter arms, may project inside in the NFL (he played OG previously in college). This is too early for an interior lineman for me, but he’s the best and probably most versatile lineman in the class, and would be a high level contributor on day 1 inside, and provide insurance on the outside. Not an exciting pick, but not an awful one.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR): D. By far, my favorite WR in the class. But, also, by far, too early for him. He’s a great slot guy who may have the ability to play outside – and slot guys simply aren’t valued as a top 5 pick.

McDonald (edge): F. I actually think McDonald is on their radar at 5, so this is the most likely worst case scenario. Evaluators I trust say McDonald is a very good pass rusher – maybe the best speed rusher in the class with a blazing first step and bend. So, yeah – I can see us going with him, much much much earlier than anyone things, and taking him at 5. But when I watch his film, I really don’t see it. I don’t see the get off. I don’t see the elite bend. I don’t see the hands. I don’t see the strength. I see a guy who is a good player, but he looks like a mid-second rounder to me.

Murphy (edge): D. Another guy to keep your eye on. After 2021, he was on track to be a legit top 10 prospect, and taking him at 5 was feasible. But, his 2022 was not as good, so he’s now projected to go in the mid to late 1st. He’s a great target at 20, but I think 5 is too high for him. Still, you can fall in love with his film from 2021, so this isn’t impossible.

These are pretty good evals of players.

Outside of overhyping the QBs which you would need to drop a full letter grade on each.

Suh-Carter is a match on the talent side of things. But Carter is gonna be underwhelming in the NFL, too lazy. Not on my board due to that. But you're bang on evaluating his talent.

Anderson would be my highest graded player projected/that did go in the top 5.
 

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