The Seattle Seahawks shocked the NFL last season by making the playoffs after trading franchise quarterback Russell Wilson last offseason. And as a nice bonus, the Denver Broncos stunk last season and the Seahawks have the No. 5 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft because of it. Now, the best Seahawks draft move is to take a gamble on the most talented player in his draft, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter.
Carter was in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft this season before character concerns stemming from his involvement in a fatal car crash at Georgia cropped up. The DT now has that issue behind him, at least legally, but the damage is done.
Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr. has jumped ahead of Carter as the safer top non-quarterback prospect, and the Carolina Panthers trading up to No. 1 all but guaranteed two QBs will come off the board first.
While Carter will likely fall a bit in the 2023 NFL Draft, he shouldn’t get past Seattle at No. 5 because, for several reasons, he is the perfect Seahawks draft pick.
3. He’s the best player in the 2023 NFL Draft
If you got an inside peek at all 32 draft boards, Jalen Carter is likely on top of all of them. Due to the character concerns about him from some teams, they may take him off but from a pure talent perspective, Carter is No. 1.
The 6-foot-2, 314-pound interior defensive lineman was an excellent basketball player and weightlifter in high school, which gives you a good idea of his strength and athleticism. Carter had 6.0 sacks and 18.5 tackles for a loss in three seasons at Georgia, but stats alone don’t truly illustrate what the DT can do.
He is a disruptor up front with the athleticism, size, and skill to play multiple positions along the defensive line.
There are a few weaknesses. Carter needs to work on his conditioning and he could also put on a few more pounds to deal with some of the monstrous guards he’ll see in the NFL. That said, Carter is the best DT prospect to come out of college since Aaron Donald, and if he’s even 75% of the player Donald is, he will have a huge impact on the team that drafts him.
2. The Seahawks have a need to upgrade the defensive line
The Seahawks draft in 2022 was a doozy. The team nailed almost all its picks, adding two starting tackles, a starting running back, and two starting cornerbacks, including rookie Pro Bowler Tariq Woolen.
With the offense mostly set for Geno Smith this season, the secondary good from last year, and Seahawks legend Bobby Wagner back in the fold, the biggest need the team needs to address in the draft is the defensive line.
Seattle had a top-10 defense last season and a very respectable 45 sacks, but they ranked 30th in rushing yards allowed. Wagner will help that a bit, but the team needs to get better up front, between the tackles, too.
The team signed Broncos defensive linemen Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed this offseason, but if they brought in another dominating force on the interior of the line, that could go from a position of weakness to one of the team’s biggest strengths in 2023.
With Reed and Jones, the more pressing need for the Seahawks may be an outside pass rusher, but at No. 5, with Will Anderson Jr. likely off the board, taking the best player available is the move.
And about those character concerns, the Seahawks can handle it.
1. Pete Carroll can deal with any character issues
Only New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin, and the Baltimore Ravens’ Jim Harbaugh have been with their teams longer than Pete Carroll, and only Belichick and Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid have been in the league for more years.
The point is, with 17 NFL seasons under his belt, Carroll has seen it and dealt with it all at this point.
The character concerns surrounding Jalen Carter are about his maturity and decision-making off the field. On the field, his character as a teammate and football player is unquestioned. Carroll can work with that.
If Carter goes to the wrong organization in the 2023 NFL Draft, the team’s infrastructure could feed into his worst tendencies. With an experienced and competent coach like Pete Carroll, Carter should fall in line and become the best player and NFL citizen he can be.
Carroll has gotten the best out of players like Frank Clark, Russell Wilson, and the Legion of Boom, despite various character concerns and tough personalities. He can do the same with Jalen Carter if the Seahawks draft him.