The Seattle Seahawks could make a bold move during the 2023 NFL Draft.
According to a report from NBC Sports’ Mike Florio, “some” believe the Seahawks will make a “surprise” move by selecting the University of Florida’s Anthony Richardson with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
“How about this one? There’s chatter in league circles that the Seahawks could take Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson with the fifth overall pick in the draft,” writes Florio. “It would be a surprise, to say the least. But some believe the Seahawks will take Richardson at No. 5, if he’s there.”
Why the Seahawks Could Draft Anthony Richardson
The Seahawks hold two first-round draft picks in this year’s draft, with the first being at No. 5 — via the Russell Wilson trade with the Denver Broncos — and the second selection being at No. 20.
The idea of the Seahawks drafting Richardson is for a number of reasons. However, the biggest one may be the notion that Geno Smith may not replicate his Pro Bowl season from last year. Smith surprisingly emerged as a franchise quarterback last season in the aftermath of the Wilson trade. For the first time in his career, Smith established himself as a bonafide starter, ranking within the top 10 of most major passing categories, including touchdowns, yards and passer rating.
While Seattle did re-sign Smith to a three-year, $75 million contract, the contract allows the Seahawks to wiggle out of the deal following the 2023 season. An out in the contract would allow Seattle to incur a dead cap hit of just $17.4 million.
“The three-year, $105 million contract signed by quarterback Geno Smith gives the Seahawks significant flexibility,” writes Florio. “Given its structure, they could escape the deal after one year and $28 million. And so a player like Richardson could sit on the bench for a year (or two) and learn the game before playing.”
The Seahawks have been projected to either take a defensive lineman — the University of Georgia’s Jalen Carter and the University of Alabama’s Will Anderson are possible options — or a quarterback such as Richardson.
Seahawks Not Hiding Interest in Top QB Prospects
Head coach Pete Carroll and Seattle have made it no secret that they’re interested in this year’s top quarterback prospects, meeting with Richardson, C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young and Will Levis.
As Florio notes, this supposed interest in the quarterback prospects could merely be a smokescreen.
“Could it all be a smokescreen aimed at getting someone else to trade up for the pick? Absolutely,” writes Florio. “Regardless, at a time when there’s plenty of talk, one talking point is that Richardson is a very real possibility for the Seahawks at No. 5.”
There’s little doubt that Richardson is one of the most tantalizing quarterback prospects ever. For what he lacks in experience — just 13 collegiate starts and 24 career touchdown passes — he makes up for in sheer athletic ability.
CBS Sports’ Douglas Clawson details just how much of a dynamic athlete Richardson is.
“He blew up the combine with a QB record 40.5-inch vertical and 10-foot, 9-inch broad jump, while running a 4.43 40-yard dash with a body (6-foot-4, 244 pounds) that more closely resembles Derrick Henry,” writes Clawson. “He can break a long run at any time or launch the ball 75 yards through the air.”
Sitting a year or two behind Smith could eventually pave the way for Richardson to eventually emerge as the Seahawks’ franchise quarterback.