The 2022 NFL Draft has officially kicked off, and the Seattle Seahawks have made their first selection. As the seven rounds progress and the team makes all of their picks, we will provide a live draft grade and analysis for each of the Seahawks’ selections. How do these new prospects fit with the roster, what kind of impact will they have on the team, and what do the team’s needs look like now that the draft is complete?
Make sure to continue to check back as the 2022 NFL Draft continues for live Seattle Seahawks draft grades and analysis.
Seattle Seahawks grades for 2022 NFL Draft
What are the Seahawks‘ grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?
Round 1, Pick 9: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
The run on offensive players, specifically offensive tackles, heads to the Pacific Northwest at No. 9. Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks decide to stay put with the ninth overall pick and select Mississippi State’s Charles Cross. Filling a massive need, Cross may have a slight adjustment period entering the NFL, but he’s shown more than enough technical proficiency to make an immediate impact.
Despite hailing from the Mike Leach system at Mississippi State, Cross had plenty of examples of terrific run-blocking skill. Cross has sound hands in pass protection and a great anchor. He is also a gifted athlete with a documented ability to keep his quarterback clean. Cross is an immediate starter at a pivotal position in Seattle’s offense.
Round 2, Pick 40: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
Through their first two picks at least, the Seahawks are passing on quarterback options. With the 40th pick in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe. Mafe adds to an edge-rushing rotation that is fairly thin outside of Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu. But more than that, Mafe gives Seattle a pass-rushing catalyst with an extremely high ceiling.
Mafe is a bit older as a rookie, but he’s relatively new to football. He’s trending up fast, as was evidenced by his strong Senior Bowl week and dominant Senior Bowl game. Standing at 6’4”, 261 pounds, with 4.53 speed and a 38” vertical, Mafe has it all — explosiveness, bend capacity, forceful hands, and a hot motor. He has all the traits to be a constant disruptor off the edge if he can keep refining his hand usage.
Round 2, Pick 41: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
A potential three-down running back, Kenneth Walker III was the nation’s top RB a season ago. He was a record-setting running back at two universities after a great two-year career at Wake Forest and a fabulous season at Michigan State. Walker has great speed, better acceleration, and actually loses no speed through his breaks.
There isn’t much to his pass-catching game, but he has shown a penchant for taking any touch the distance. Taking a running back early isn’t necessarily the best strategy, however, especially when the Seahawks already have Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny on the roster. Walker is good — the fit and use of draft capital are not.
Round 3, Pick 72: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
It seems as though the Seahawks are rolling forward with the assumption that Drew Lock will battle to maintain the starting QB job in 2022. They selected Charles Cross to man the left tackle spot in Round 1. And when faced with the opportunity to add a falling QB in Round 3, the Seahawks instead added a natural right tackle in Abraham Lucas.
Lucas has a lot of upside. He’s a phenomenal athlete at 6’6”, 315 pounds, with 34” arms. However, there is a lot to work on. His kick can be more consistent, and he doesn’t always have great pad level. He does flash independent hands, however, and his sheer reach, combined with his lateral athleticism, makes him hard to get around. At this point, he’s a sensible investment for Seattle.
Round 4, Pick 109: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
After emphasizing the offensive side of the ball with most of their Day 2 picks, the Seattle Seahawks went back to defense to start Day 3. They added Boye Mafe on Friday night to boost their pass-rushing presence. And now, they add Cincinnati cornerback Coby Bryant to catalyze a facelift on the secondary.
Bryant is a great pick at this point. One could argue he was worth considering a round earlier. For the Seahawks, who don’t have a lot of steadiness at cornerback, Bryant provides exactly that. He’s not quite the size/speed athlete that his college teammate Ahmad Gardner is, but he has a solid frame, great instincts, and impressive ball skills when passes come his way. He can help provide security on the boundary for Seattle – at a great price.
Round 5, Pick 153: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
The Seahawks smartly addressed the cornerback position two-fold in the 2022 NFL Draft. They added a high-floor player with immediate starting utility in Coby Bryant in Round 4. Then, in Round 5, they came back and selected a raw but extremely high-upside prospect in Tariq Woolen.
Taller cornerbacks rarely work out in the NFL, but in the Seahawks’ zone-heavy scheme, Woolen should better acclimate. Woolen is 6’4”, 205 pounds, with 33 ⅝” arms, 4.26 speed, and searing explosiveness. He needs to keep refining his technique, but his length and recovery speed amount to immense potential.
Round 5, Pick 158: Tyreke Smith, EDGE, Ohio State
Ohio State has a reputation for producing impressive EDGE prospects, and in Tyreke Smith and Zach Harrison, they were expected to have an impact on this draft class. While Harrison returned to school, Smith’s stock appeared to slide significantly during the season.
Despite this, Smith is a physical specimen who plays the game with exceptional athletic upside. He has good length, converts speed to power extremely well, and when he times the snap correctly, he’s explosive at getting into the backfield. Timing will be key to his NFL success – Smith has routinely been late to the party in the backfield, impacting his production at the college level.
Round 7, Pick 229: Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers
The end goal in Round 7 is always to acquire value. The Seahawks might have won that competition with this pick. Bo Melton is a fantastic addition at this point. There are some questions for the Rutgers receiver. He could stand to improve at the catch point in the NFL. At the same time, the limited passing offense at Rutgers kept him from putting up greater numbers, and he didn’t always field accurate targets.
In a vacuum, Melton is a supremely twitchy athlete with elite explosiveness in space. He also has the speed to stretch space, and he’s a decent RAC threat. With his tools, Melton could eventually slide into the rotation with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Round 7, Pick 233: Dareke Young, WR, Lenoir-Rhyne
The Seahawks are taking swings on wide receiver talent late – a position that can be rewarding when players hit. Dareke Young is the latest selection to don the Seahawks’ colors. He has all the traits worth banking on at this point. He’s 6’2”, 224 pounds, with arms nearly 33” long. He has 4.44 speed, elite explosiveness, and also flashed some lateral agility. The Seahawks are betting on traits here. With a seventh-round pick, that’s always a good call.
What were the Seahawks’ biggest needs entering the draft?
- QB, OT, LB, CB, DT
The departure of Russell Wilson most definitely created a need to address the QB position. However, they must not negate their other glaring needs. The offensive line has long been an issue, and without putting some time and attention into that unit, it risks capping the potential of any QB they try to develop.
Defensively, they have needs at all three levels. Bobby Wagner’s release leaves a big hole at linebacker. Meanwhile, the cornerback position has never looked right since the Legion of Boom days and could certainly use an infusion of talent.