The 2023 NFL Combine is a crucial checkpoint for the Seattle Seahawks ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. The team’s Cinderella playoff run in 2022 was a great story, but they can’t stall out while the momentum is still building. This April’s draft will be key in keeping the gas pedal to the floor.
Seahawks 2023 Draft Prospects To Target at NFL Combine
It’s a defining offseason for the Seahawks, who unexpectedly made the playoffs in 2022. Many expected a rebuild after Seattle traded away Russell Wilson and inserted Geno Smith as the starter. Instead, Wilson regressed with Denver, Smith made the Pro Bowl, and Seattle found new life.
Still, there’s more for the Seahawks to do, and everyone knows it — including head coach Pete Carroll. Carroll has even said that QB might not be off the table in the 2023 NFL Draft, with the Seahawks holding the fifth overall pick.
“The position that we are in, we are totally connected to the quarterbacks that are coming out,” Carroll exclaimed at the NFL Combine. “This is a really huge opportunity for us. It’s a rare opportunity for us. We’ve been drafting in the low 20s for such a long time, you just don’t get the chance for these guys. So we’re deeply involved with all of them.”
That rhetoric leaves the door open for one of Anthony Richardson, Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, or Will Levis at No. 5 overall. But still, the current plan is for Smith to remain the Seahawks’ starter in the short term. General manager John Schneider still seems optimistic that a deal will get done with the impending free agent.
“I would say it’s always a process,” Schneider commented. “All these negotiations, some go a little bit faster than others. Usually, when you’re talking about larger numbers, they take a little bit more time.”
Whatever happens, the pieces are still settling for this upstart Seattle team, and some of those future pieces might hit the field at the NFL Combine ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.
DB Brian Branch, Alabama
The Seahawks have two picks in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft (5 and 20 overall). Needless to say, Seattle will have big decisions to make, and the NFL Combine will be vital in settling their board.
Alabama’s Brian Branch could be an exciting fit for the Seahawks, with his physicality and ability to play the slot between Tariq Woolen and Michael Jackson. His testing may determine where he falls, however. A fall to 20 seems unlikely if Branch can confirm his athleticism during drills.
EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia
Set to perform all field activities and testing drills, Georgia’s Nolan Smith should rise after the NFL Combine. He’s an elite athlete and a former five-star recruit, who could ultimately run in the 4.4 range and put up a vertical over 40″.
Athleticism is a prime selling point for Smith, but he’s a particularly good fit for the Seahawks’ defense. He’s a natural 3-4 OLB with the burst and bend to breach the apex, and the play strength and pursuit quickness to wreak havoc in run defense.
G Steve Avila, TCU
The Seahawks need to upgrade their interior offensive line for the long term, and in the middle rounds, Steve Avila could be a good option for them. At around 6’4″, 330 pounds, Avila is a brick house inside, whose heavy-handed style matches the Seahawks’ preferences.
Athleticism is one of the primary concerns with Avila, but the NFL Combine is a chance for him to prove he’s not a liability in that area. On tape, he shows enough functional athleticism to hold his own, but numbers will be key for confirmation.
WR Parker Washington, Penn State
Between DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Seattle has a void at wide receiver. There are several options they could pursue in the 2023 NFL Draft. They could add a speed threat in the slot, or add a more natural big-slot weapon in Penn State’s Parker Washington.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft WR Class
Listed around 5’10”, 210 pounds, Washington is essentially a running back out of the slot, with elite combined contact balance and catching instincts. His burst and speed are only decent on tape, but if Washington can test better than expected, he could boost his stock.
DT Moro Ojomo, Texas
The Seahawks have an affinity for well-leveraged, alignment-versatile defensive linemen on the front. At 6’2 1/2″ and 294 pounds, Texas’ Moro Ojomo fits that profile perfectly, and he also has massive 34 3/8″ arms, which he can use to bully offensive blockers.
Ojomo’s combination of natural leverage and proportional length amounts to elite power capacity, but his testing is what will truly settle in his stock. He flashes explosiveness on tape, and if he tests well, he could be a surprise Day 2 candidate for Seattle.
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