Seahawks Draft Best Players Available With Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba And It Feels Awesome

Shutdown Man (via Illinois Athletics)

In these weeks leading up to this draft, I found myself romanticizing the notion of the Seattle Seahawks drafting a quarterback at pick 5 to groom behind Geno Smith. It was no knock on Geno, I am one of his biggest fans, but I just liked the idea of taking one of them high, especially if it was Anthony Richardson.

I have also fantasied about the idea of rolling the dice on Georgia DT Jalen Carter, even with all of his off field issues, or Texas Tech DE Tyree Wilson. Getting a pass rusher at 5 made tons of sense, as did quarterback. After all, both are premium positions.

Cornerback is another premium position, and in my last draft article, I was very tempted to mock Illinois corner Devon Witherspoon to Seattle at 5. He was widely regarded as the best cover corner in this draft, and the team had brought him in for a visit. I opted to write about Tyree Wilson, instead, and now I look less smart.

That’s okay. I’m not here to look smart (as anyone with a fair sense of writing and grammar can see). I’m in this blog stuff because I obsessively love the Seattle Seahawks, and I am happy to say that the Seahawks made the right call on Witherspoon at 5, and then later with Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba at pick 20. I would have done it differently, but that’s why I am a middle aged blogger and landscaper, and John Schneider is John Schneider. I’m better looking, though, and taller.

The best that I can describe Witherspoon is to call him a gritty, self made, pit bull of a corner who blankets receivers, and smashes ball carriers. He locks onto route runners, harasses them, times up plays on the ball well, and he’s an absolute vicious hitter against anyone with the ball in their hands. Pound for pound, he’s the biggest hitter in this class, and I invite anyone to check out his highlight reels, if you so choose, and haven’t done this yet. It’s a fun watch. He’s a tough guy.

He will show up against the run plays of San Francisco, and he will be in the hips of receivers. You put him on one side, and Tariq Woolen on the other, with Coby Bryant out there, and throw in Michael Jackson Senior, and Seattle might now have the youngest, and brightest cornerback room in the entire NFL. That is going to help any pass rush out.

Now on day two, Seattle can focus on the defensive line some. There’s going to be some good ones remaining, like Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton, or one of my favorites, Georgia Tech DE Keion White.

With Jaxon Smith-Njigba, though, I think Seattle, again, didn’t overthink what was there in front of them. He’s the best route running pass catcher in this class. Think Cooper Kupp, Keenan Allen, and CeeDee Lamb. Shoot, think a bigger version of Doug Baldwin. If Seattle wants to truly emulate the Sean McVay offense, JSN is exactly the guy they needed to land.

I also find it very interesting that his college quarterback was CJ Stroud who is often compared to Geno Smith. He is leaving college having played with a specific type of rhythm passer, and is now in the pros playing with the older doppelgänger version of Stroud. I’m very intrigued by this, and here is a big reason why.

I think this signals that the team might be much higher on the longer term potential of Geno Smith than some fans, and media members are. In short, I now sense they feel good about him being the guy here for a while. I think this opening round of the draft perhaps signals that those looking at the team friendly contract that he signed (with belief that the Seahawks are setting themselves to move off of him soon) are misreading the situation.

I think the team put in protective measures should he suddenly regress, but aren’t necessarily looking to outright replace him in a year or two with some dude on a rookie contract. I think this drafting of JSN over say, Kentucky QB Will Levis at pick 20, signals that they want to continue riding with Geno Smith, and build more of the offense around him.

That’s just my opening round takeaways. Add a significant piece to the defense, and giving Geno his special toy of a possession receiver feels like this team believes they are close, and they aren’t in the mood of drafting for the future.

Here are some players available at the start of the second round today who I believe would be exciting Seahawks; Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton, Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz, Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer, Northwestern DE Adetomiwa Adebawore, Georgia Tech DE Keion White, Clemson LB Trenton Simpson, TCU Guard Steve Avila, Oregon St TE Luke Musgrave, UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet, Iowa TE Sam LaPorta, Georgia TE Darnell Washington.

I would love to see the Seahawks grab one or two of these guys Friday night. For my money, get a DL like Benton and Schmitz at center in round two, and hope one of those many talented tight ends makes it to the third round pick. If that happens, then I think it’s a home run afterwards.. just like last year.

And yes, there is that Will Levis guy from Kentucky, as well, and Hendon Hooker from Tennessee, if Seattle does, in fact, want to go QB of the future now. We shall soon see.

Go Hawks!


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