Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith may have been a Pro Bowler, but should Seattle consider prioritizing a quarterback in the NFL draft? (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith may have been a Pro Bowler, but should Seattle consider prioritizing a quarterback in the NFL draft? (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Should Seahawks prioritize quarterback in draft?

A challenger to Geno Smith is something worth considering for Seattle.

  • Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times
  • Monday, April 15, 2024 10:14am
  • SportsSeahawks

It was, quite possibly, the worst outcome the Seahawks could have had.

They were in playoff contention going into the last week, then missed the playoffs despite winning their final game, then were left sitting with the 16th pick in the draft. No celebration for a successful season, and no salivation for a top-tier prospect.

Barring a brain-cell-spinning trade, or a series of blatant misreads by the mock drafters, Seattle is not going to select the likes of Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye — the quarterbacking trio at the top of most prognostication boards.

That, however, does not eliminate the following question: Should the Seahawks prioritize a quarterback in the draft?

Prioritize is the key word because that’s distinct from select. If a QB is sitting there on Day 3, it might make sense for the Seahawks to take a flier. But what if Seahawks general manager John Schneider, whose role is far more authoritative since the team parted ways with Pete Carroll, opts to go for the franchise-changing acquisition?

The projected starting QB, after all, is Geno Smith — a Pro Bowler whose last season and a half has been somewhere between decent and dandy. The blistering start to his 2022 season helped him earn NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors — not to mention NFC Offensive Player of the Month — but consistency has eluded him since.

The 20-to-9 touchdown-to-interception rate last season was underwhelming. The 64.7% completion rating was five points down from the season before. And though he did lead the league in game-winning drives (five) and fourth-quarter comebacks (four), the fact that this 9-8 team could have been a lot worse was a testament to the tenuous offense.

To be fair, the Seahawks’ defense was the team’s most conspicuous weakness, and likely a major reason why Carroll won’t be back on the sidelines. But an outstanding quarterback can (mostly) offset a shoddy “D.” Can Smith, who will be 34 in October, be that?

Probably not. The question is whether anyone else can.

This seems to be one of the more polarizing QB draft classes once you get past the top three. Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy is listed as the fifth pick on one board and 20th on another. Former Husky and Heisman runner-up Michael Penix Jr. is a mid-to-late first rounder to some and a second rounder to others. Oregon’s Bo Nix might hear his name on the first day as well.

You’re not going to read any evaluations in this column as to which QBs would be a quality fit and which one wouldn’t. Not when the scouts and executive themselves don’t truly know, either. But there certainly are needs for the Seahawks that go beyond the man throwing the football.

Offensive line is one of them. Charles Cross has not blossomed into an elite left tackle two years after going ninth overall. And right tackle Abe Lucas missed most of last season with a knee injury. It’s not that the Seahawks gave up that many sacks — the 38 they allowed were the fourth fewest in the league. But the 92.9 rushing yards per game — the fifth fewest in the NFL — were an issue. That wasn’t because of middling running backs.

Also, the Seahawks released starting safeties Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams. These weren’t safeties at the top of their games anymore — particularly in Adams’ case. But there was a reason they were still the ones getting the snaps when healthy. Devon Witherspoon has the potential to be a multi-time All-Pro cornerback, and Julian Love was productive when he was on the field. There are still big holes on the back end, though. Same is true of the linebacking corps, which no longer features Jordyn Brooks or Bobby Wagner.

All that said, there’s a reason the men behind center get paid so much more than any other position. The QBs are what make a team go in this increasingly offensive-centered league.

Smith regressed to the mean after his scorching start in 2022, but he did not regress to the QB he was with the Jets when he lost his starting role. He has won, can win, and if he was surrounded with the kind of talent you see in, say, San Francisco, would likely win often.

Unfortunately for the Seahawks, that surrounding talent isn’t there.

I say take the best player available if you’re the Seahawks, whose next pick after 16th isn’t until late in the third round. There are numerous needs on both sides of the ball.

Still, there very well could be an upgrade over Geno out there. Would be hard to let that slip away.

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