While several NFL analysts expected the Seattle Seahawks to draft a quarterback with their No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the franchise surprised everyone by going with Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon in the first round.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had been transparent with starter Geno Smith about their pre-draft research into quarterbacks, and conducted several visits with top prospects, but Seattle ended up not selecting any QBs with their ten picks.
On Sunday, April 30, however, one day after the draft concluded, KPRC 2‘s Aaron Wilson reported that Seattle “invited quarterback Jack Coan to their rookie minicamp.” Coan started out his college career at Wisconsin before transferring to Notre Dame in 2021. In 13 games with the Fighting Irish, he completed 65.5% of his passes for 3,150 yards and 25 touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference.
SB Nation‘s Owen Riese wrote of Coan ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft, “While lacking many high end traits, [he’s] exactly what a lot of NFL teams are looking for in a backup quarterback. He’s going to operate your offense. He’s going to run the play that’s called, and run it correctly, going through the progressions. He’s going to protect the football and not put you in bad positions. He’s very pro ready, and even if the ceiling isn’t very high, he’s going to be in the league for 6-8 years sticking around as, at worst, a backup or third stringer and a good guy to have in the QB room.”
After going undrafted, Coan signed with the Indianapolis Colts but failed to make the 53-man roster. A few months later, the 24-year-old joined the XFL by signing with the San Antonio Brahmas. The 6-foot-3, 223-pound quarterback got his chance to shine during the playoffs. While the Brahmas lost to the D.C. Defenders due to a missed field goal late in regulation, Coan completed 34-of-48 passes for 312 yards in the 29-28 defeat, per RotoWire. While he didn’t score any touchdowns, he threw two 2-point conversions and zero interceptions.
Coan hoped he did enough to warrant another chance in the NFL. He told reporters on April 24, “My agent will certainly be reaching out to teams, and I really hope that I get a call and be able to do some workouts and get signed. That would mean a ton to me and I would certainly make the most of the opportunity. But if not, I’m just going to put my head down and try to get better every day, and just see what happens.”
The Seahawks Brought in Jack Coan One Day After Signing QB Holton Ahlers
The move to add Coan comes right on the heels of the Seahawks signing East Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers, who went undrafted during the 2023 NFL Draft. The 23-year-old prospect confirmed the news by tweeting, “God is good ❤️ I’m a Seahawk… Let’s work!!! @Seahawks.”
In 13 games last season, Ahler completed 67.2% of his passes for 3,708 yards, 28 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He also rushed for 182 yards and six rushing touchdowns, per CBS Sports. The outlet wrote he’s “slated” to be the third-string quarterback behind Drew Lock, but Coan will at least have the chance to give Ahlers a run for his money.
Ahlers received a strong endorsement from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler ahead of the draft. “A three-star recruit, Ahlers had offers from Florida and Georgia but wanted to stay close to home and picked East Carolina over NC State,” Brugler wrote. “He leaves ECU as the school’s all-time record holder in several categories, including passing yards (also an AAC record) and touchdowns responsible for. Ahlers is a competitive, sturdy passer willing to hang tough and make throws from a muddy pocket.”
A left-handed passer, his release is a tad mechanical and inconsistent delivery balance alters his accuracy. Overall, Ahlers efficiently works through his reads and plays with the aggressive confidence to push the ball downfield, but continued improvements with his footwork and ball placement are vital for him to stick in the NFL.”
The Seahawks Have Signed Over 25 UDFAs
The Seahawks entered the draft with only 52 players on the roster, the second-lowest behind the Los Angeles Rams, which general manager John Schneider explained last month, “We’re pretty tapped out” when it comes to “cash and cap.”
However, after adding 10 players during the NFL Draft, the Seahawks moved to quickly rack up a slew of undrafted free agents. According to SB Nation’s UDFA tracker, Seattle has signed approximately 26 undrafted players, including Ahlers, Penn State long snapper Chris Stoll, and UCLA’s leading wide receiver from last season, Jake Bobo.