The Seattle Seahawks went into the 2022 NFL draft playing by a set of new rules and they came out with one of the best hauls in the league. By sticking to their plan, Seattle was able to double up on prospects at four critical positions for the modern game. Overall, they picked a fine group of athletes that should help rebuild their roster after the Russell Wilson trade.
Let’s hand out some individual grades for each pick. These are not about grading the prospects themselves at all. It’s anybody’s guess how well they will work out in the NFL anyway and it takes at least two seasons to give a fair evaluation for any pro.
These grades are fundamentally about analyzing the decision that the team made with each pick.
With their first pick in the draft, Seattle didn’t get overly clever for a change. They didn’t take a relatively-useless position for this spot and they didn’t reach for any prospects. Instead, they stayed put and took the best remaining prospect on the board at their most critical position of need outside of quarterback. Simple. Sharp. Correct.
EDGE was another key position of need for the Seahawks heading into this draft. They probably could have held off another round to make a pick here but we won’t complain about them prioritizing EDGE early. Like every rookie Mafe’s game is a work in progress but he is a superb athlete, testing in the 99th percentile at his position. That’s about all you can ask for.
This was really the only misstep by the front office during this draft, which is a damn sight better than the number of mistakes they usually make. Picking a running back this early is a relatively-poor use of draft capital, even if it was for a stud like Walker. Rolling the dice on one of the top QB prospects probably would have been the right decision, here.
After getting sidetracked by the one most-obvious Pete Carroll pick of the group, the Seahawks got back to business by addressing the other major hole along their offensive line at right tackle. Like Mafe, Lucas is an exceptional athlete and should project as a long-term starter at an important spot.
There was a lot of speculation about Seattle potentially taking a cornerback in Round 1, but it was probably wise to wait until Day 3 to attack this spot like usual. Their patience paid off, beginning with landing Bryant in the fourth round. Cornerback is an underrated component of a modern roster and it’s refreshing to see this front office address it early in the offseason rather than wait until September to scramble for options like last year.
Bryant’s ball skills will be a welcome addition to this secondary. It’s arguable that the Seahawks got an even better cornerback prospect with their next pick, though. Woolen comes equipped with Richard Sherman’s size and length along with the speed of a much smaller defensive back. Doubling down at corner here was another pleasant surprise.
Seattle circled back to the edge with this pick, which was probably a good call given how thin they are at this position right now. With Benson Mayowa, Kerry Hyder Jr. and Carlos Dunlap all having been cut, investing two draft picks on the EDGE is a smart decision. If nothing else, Smith offers extra depth at another important spot in the trenches.
After cornerback, wide receiver was the other major position we predicted that Seattle would target on Day 3. Waiting until the seventh round to do so was a risk. However, they’re only looking for a potential WR3 to pair with Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, anyway. Melton has the classic 5-foot-11 frame for a Pete Carroll receiver and was productive in college. Melton should also be the team’s top kick returner.
With their final pick in the draft, the Seahawks doubled down yet again on another important position by taking another wide receiver. This time they went for an entirely different athletic profile, taking the 6-foot-2, 224 pounder from a Division II school – potentially a sneaky value pick.
We’re dying to know why the Seahawks decided to ditch their previous strategy in the draft – whatever that was – and go in this new direction. Our best guess is that the influence of associate head coach Sean Desai is responsible for the new philosophy. Whatever it is, we’re not complaining and neither should any Seattle fan. We can nitpick about taking a running back instead of Malik Willis or Desmond Ridder, but no draft class is perfect and we’re more than satisfied with the results.
Overall draft grade: A-