Following their second consecutive 9-8 season in which they narrowly missed the playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks have much to consider as they embark on a new chapter in the post-Pete Carroll era. A changing of the guard is at hand with new head coach Mike McDonald in the fold. McDonald was formerly the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens and was instrumental in the team achieving the #1 ranked defensive unit defensively which was a big proponent to them achieving the  No. 1 seed in the entire NFL.

The Seahawks are a far cry removed from the prime Legion of Boom days of the 2010 era as they ranked near last in total defense at 30th overall in 2023, per Fox Sports. They also took a noticeable step back in rushing production going from 18th to 28th as rookie sensation Kenneth Walker regressed in his sophomore campaign across the board in every statistical category.

They have received great production at the quarterback position the last two seasons from resurgent Pro Bowl journeyman Geno Smith. Yet, he is turning 34 this year and is only being pushed by recently acquired Commanders quarterback Sam Howell, the talented but erratic 23-year-old who recently led the NFL in sacks taken and interceptions thrown.

Ultimately the three biggest positional needs for the Seahawks in this upcoming draft are defensive end, offensive line, and quarterback. They possess the No. 16 pick in the first round and lucky for them, they have great choices in each position group they're debating on drafting from.

Jared Verse

Florida State Seminoles defensive lineman Jared Verse (5) during warm ups against the Louisville Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida State defensive end is regarded as the best edge rusher in this draft by a wide country mile and for a Seahawks defense that struggled defending the run, he'd be the perfect addition to their defense. He racked up 41 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 3 PBU, and a forced fumble.

He is also a superb pass rusher, compiling 9 sacks each in consecutive seasons. The Seahawks had no pass rusher last season collect more than 5.5 sacks, which greatly contributed to their defensive struggles. Verse stands a physically imposing 6 foot 4 and weighs 260 pounds. He ran a blistering 4.53 40 time. Considering he started his collegiate career as a tight end at his first university Albany, it's no surprise his athleticism is regarded as off-the-charts.

He was the leader on and off the field of one of the best defenses in the nation in 2023 for the 13-1 Seminoles who were 6th in points allowed per game and 14th in yards allowed per game. When watching his film, his first step off the edge is one of the quickest and he's got some of the best bend and handwork of any of the defensive linemen in his class that is filled with great talent. He has versatile moves to his arsenal that he uses effectively combined with strength and power to dominate offensive linemen and blockers.

He has to improve his footwork because it's not as crisp and can cause him to lose his balance versus tackles, but overall it's a few weaknesses to his game. He's been compared to Pro Bowl edge rushers LaMarr Woodley, Ryan Kerrigan, and Cameron Jordan; if Verse is available, he should be the Seahawk's pick for them to restore their defense to the days of before.

Troy Fautanu

Washington Huskies offensive lineman Troy Fautanu (55) against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Washington's left tackle was one of the biggest keys and most important pieces to the Huskies' 14-1 season and near National Championship victory. Fautanu swept the award catalog for offensive linemen; being selected as a Third-Team Associated Press All-American, and First-Team All-Pac-12 Conference, and won the Morris Trophy for top offensive lineman.

The Huskies won the Joe Moore Award given to the nation's top offensive linemen. They were ranked near the top of the NCAA in sacks allowed, 11, and only allowed 46 tackles for loss. They averaged 503.9 yards per game which ranked 6th nationally. Fautanu was the leader and most NFL-ready prospect of the group.

He stands 6 foot 4 and weighs 317 pounds. The 2024 offensive linemen class is one of the best in recent years and Fautanu won't be the first prospect off the board but is at least in the conversation. When examining his film, he arguably plays with the meanest streak of any offensive line prospect in the draft. His core strength allows him to generate power and bend when pass-protecting.

His athleticism and quickness (5.01 40 times) allow him to be mobile while sealing the edge when run blocking. The mean streak as mentioned earlier is one of Fautanu's biggest weapons. He's constantly using his aggressive nature to stay in the heat of the moment versus defenses whether pass-protecting or run-blocking.

Sometimes he can get too reliant on this aggression, especially with his hand technique to compensate if beaten off the edge. At his size, some scouts wonder if he would be better suited at guard or center. He is also regarded as a better zone-run blocker than a power-run blocker. Yet, he's lauded as one of the most hardworking, hard-nosed, bring-a-lunch-pail-to-work players in this draft and as long as he keeps that attitude, he'll reach his fullest potential.

He's been compared to Pro Bowl linemen Ali Marpet, Rashawn Slater, and Mike Iuapti; if Verse is unavailable, Fautanu will be the perfect selection to kickstart the rebuilding of the 25th-ranked offensive line of the Seahawks that struggled mightily to block in 2023.

Michael Penix Jr.

Washington quarterback Michael Penix (QB08) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington quarterback was one of the biggest stars of the 2023 college football season. Breaking out in the 2022 season, Penix Jr. threw 31 touchdowns and 8 interceptions with 4,641 yards through the air to finish 8th in the Heisman vote. He outdid himself in every statistical category in 2023, throwing for a nation-leading 4,903 yards 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions en route to a Maxwell Trophy award and 2nd place Heisman finish behind LSU's Jayden Daniels.

He was the catalyst driver behind unquestionably the nation's most explosive offense (13th-ranked scoring offense and 2nd-ranked passing). Blessed with perhaps the best combination in the nation of arm strength and deep throwing ability and accuracy, the 6 foot 3, 213 pound left-hander led the Huskies to an undefeated regular season and their first national championship appearance since 1990, losing to the #1 ranked Michigan Wolverines 34-13. He was also a second-team All-American, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, and Davy O'Brien Finalist.

Penix Jr. was a consummate leader on and off the field, lauded for his warrior spirit. He overcame multiple debilitating injuries (two torn ACLs and two shoulder issues) from 2018 to 2021 while at his first school Indiana University. At age 24, this has caused some serious concern for scouts but Penix Jr. himself has reassured that this is not a problem for NFL teams to worry about, via Fox Sports.

Penix Jr.'s film shows fully why he is regarded as one of the best pure-pocket-passer prospects in years. He possesses great field vision, a seasoned understanding of NFL schemes and offensive playbooks, and throws with elite touch. Though he prefers to do his damage from the pocket, he ran a 4.5 40 time at his Pro Day and compiled 13 total rushing touchdowns in his six years of college.

The 2024 quarterback class is debatably the strongest class since 2021 with a plethora of dynamic talent for teams looking for their franchise savior. He has been compared to Pro Bowlers like Phillip Rivers, Tua Tagovailoa, and Carson Palmer.

The Seahawks need a franchise quarterback to build around in the future and with Penix Jr.'s familiarity with the Seattle Metropolitan area and fit in their downfield passing-driven offense while he works on his intermediate accuracy, he could develop greatly under Smith's tutelage before eventually usurping the starting role for many years to come.