The Seahawks locked up Geno Smith this offseason, but a new mock draft from an ex-NFL GM has a hauntingly bad idea for Seattle in his mock draft.
When you look for who the Seahawks could take with the No. 5 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, just about every mock draft on the planet will have Seattle taking one of the best defensive players in the draft. After all, the team locked up quarterback Geno Smith to a long-term deal this offseason because it was the defense that hindered the ceiling of the team, so improving that immediately with a top prospect makes a ton of sense.
Former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum had a different idea for his mock draft.
With the fifth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Tannenbaum has the Seahawks selecting Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker. Here’s what the ex-GM said to explain the selection:
OK, this one might raise some eyebrows, but hear me out. I think Hooker is really under-scouted right now, largely because he’s coming off the torn ACL in his left knee. But I love his strong arm and 6-3 frame. Before the injury, Hooker looked great for the Vols. He led the nation in yards per attempt (9.5), threw two interceptions over 11 starts and was a top-10 passer in terms of completion percentage (69.6%). I see a potential franchise quarterback and someone who can lead an offense. Go watch his performance against Alabama if you disagree.
The Seahawks recently re-signed Geno Smith, but this is an excellent opportunity to draft and develop Hooker while also letting him rehab the knee. Smith turns 33 this season, and his new contract offers Seattle various outs over the next three seasons.
It’s doing more than raising some eyebrows, that’s for sure.
NFL rumors: Ex-GM mock draft has Seahawks taking Hendon Hooker at No. 5
To be fair to Tannenbaum, there are parts of his logic that check out. Hooker was a potential Heisman frontrunner until his ACL injury, putting up ridiculous numbers with phenomenal efficiency and with some nice tools that could make him an intriguing NFL quarterback. There’s no denying any of this.
However, the ex-GM is glossing over some of the most crucial points. For one, Josh Heupel’s offense at Tennessee is ostensibly a college football cheat code. There’s a reason very few products from that Baylor-style offense have found success at the NFL — it’s like playing quarterback in a different sport to make that transition.
Furthermore, while he talks about being able to wait on Hooker with Smith in the building, that’s not entirely the case. Hooker is 25 years old as of his birthday in January. That’s older than a handful of starting quarterbacks in the NFL right now, so the time to wait for development simply isn’t there as it would be with the other top 2023 draft quarterbacks.
What this mock draft truly misses the mark on, though, is that there is a legitimate chance that Hooker could still be on the board with the No. 20 pick when the Seahawks come back on the clock. As an older prospect coming off a serious knee injury from a non-NFL-friendly college system, that’s very much in play.
This isn’t about Seattle drafting a quarterback, especially if they like Hooker — there is, despite the downplaying earlier, quite a lot to be enticed by — but it is about taking the fifth-best quarterback in the draft class with a Top 5 pick when the franchise has another selection 15 picks later. That’s nonsensical.
Make no mistake, the Seahawks commitment to Geno Smith after the 2022 season is deserved. But it’s also not a long-long-term plan. Hooker might be that, but the fan base in Seattle might need drywall patching instructions en masse if the team took the Tennessee quarterback at No. 5.