With the NFL draft now less than three weeks away — it remains on course for April 23-25 — it’s time to take a look at the Seahawks by position group, assess their needs and examine a few players who might fill those needs.
We’ll start with quarterback, which might be the easiest position group on the team to review.
Nope, Seattle doesn’t have any questions about its starter, with Russell Wilson returning in 2020 for what will be his ninth season (really? already?) and what will also be the first season of a four-year extension that was part of a new contract he signed a year ago.
Wilson will make an average of $35 million for the next four years, still the most of any player in the NFL ($1 million more than Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger).
But Seattle again has no clear backup at the moment with only Wilson on the roster, meaning that somehow, some way over the next month or so the Seahawks figure to add at least two quarterbacks.
Here’s a look at the quarterback spot as we begin our annual review of each Seahawks position group entering the draft.
Key offseason losses: Geno Smith remains an unsigned free agent. Smith ended last season as the only other QB on the roster.
As noted, Wilson is set as the starter, and there is no backup.
The Seahawks have had a different backup quarterback every year since 2015, when Tarvaris Jackson played the last of three consecutive seasons with the team. Since then, Seattle has had Trevone Boykin, Austin Davis, Brett Hundley and Smith, in that order. Neither Hundley nor Smith took a snap in a game.
That Wilson is so durable and entrenched as the starter has made the backup QB spot an increasingly tricky proposition for the Seahawks.
It’s hard to justify spending a whole lot on a backup when their backup has not taken a snap in more than two years.
But the backup QB is also one snap away from being as important as any player on the team.
The guess here is that Seattle ends up with someone with some experience again in camp — maybe Smith — but also adds a rookie via the draft (though likely in the later rounds) or undrafted free agency who could stick around and be groomed for a few years.
Draft need (on scale of 1-10): 6.
Potential draft fits
Steven Montez, Colorado: I had Seattle taking Montez with their final pick at the end of the sixth round in my recent seven-round mock draft, and he seems like the kind of guy who’d make sense with size (6-4, 240), a strong arm and just enough athleticism to fit the Wilson-esque aspects of Seattle’s offense.
James Morgan, Florida International: Morgan burst into the news a few days ago when it was revealed that he’d had a pre-draft meeting with the Patriots. Seattle GM John Schneider might take a liking to Morgan for this reason: Like Schneider, he grew up in the Green Bay area, attending a high school about a mile away from Lambeau Field. He also played at the same college as the only QB Seattle has drafted since Wilson: Alex McGough, whom the Seahawks took in the seventh round in 2018. Morgan also had a good 40-12 TD-to-interception rate the past two years, and at 6-4, 223 seems to have all the physical tools. He was also reported to have met with the Seahawks at the East-West Shrine Game.
Jake Luton, Oregon State: Of the draftable QBs with local ties, Luton — who attended Marysville-Pilchuck High — might make the most sense. Jacob Eason is going to go before Seattle needs to draft a QB, and Luton maybe seems a little more of what Seattle would be looking for stylistically than Anthony Gordon in having run basically a pro-style offense at OSU. And even more than Morgan, he has one stat that will surely catch Pete Carroll’s “It’s All About the Ball’’ eye — a TD-to-INT ratio last year of 28-3. (Wilson’s 33-4 TD-to-INT rate his last year at Wisconsin was among his many selling points.)
Nathan Rourke, Ohio: If you’re just looking for a Wilson-esque runner, here is your guy. Rourke, who is more similar to Wilson in stature than the rest of this list at 6-1, 203, missed by one rushing TD of becoming only the fifth player in NCAA history with more than 50 TD passes and 50 rushing TDs (he had 60 and 49). He also threw for more than 2,000 yards and ran for more than 1,000 yards each of his three seasons at Ohio. If nothing else, he’d be really fun to watch in the preseason.
Next: Running backs.