The Seattle Seahawks opted not to select a quarterback in the draft, despite plenty of speculation that the team could snag a signal-caller with one of their first three picks. Seattle got to work in the undrafted free-agent market signing two quarterbacks, including Western Michigan’s Kaleb Eleby, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The former Western Michigan quarterback is coming off his best collegiate season throwing for 3,277 yards, 23 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 63.5% of his passes. Eleby also had a solid 2020 notching 1,715 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 64.7% of his throws in just six appearances.
The Athletic’s draft analyst Dane Brugler gave Eleby a seventh-round grade as his No. 11 ranked quarterback of the 2022 class. Eleby was Brugler’s No. 281 overall ranked prospect and sees the quarterback as having some developmental NFL upside.
“Eleby has sound accuracy and decision-making when he is able to stay in rhythm, giving his targets a chance to make plays,” Brugler detailed. “Though he doesn’t lack confidence, he is an average-twitch passer, and his tape shows a player who could have greatly benefited from another season or two at the college level. Overall, Eleby put plenty of splash plays on tape that are encouraging, but his snap-to-snap consistency and lack of high-end traits are concerning for his next-level jump. He has the talent to survive in the NFL, even if it means a year or two on the practice squad to start.”
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Schneider on Not Selecting QB: ‘It Didn’t Fall the Right Way for One Reason or Another’
Seattle appears set on entering training camp with Drew Lock, Geno Smith and Jacob Eason competing to be the team’s QB1. Eleby will be vying to land a spot on the roster with the potential to start out on the team’s practice squad. The quarterback led Western Michigan to a win over Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, the first signal-caller selected in the draft. The Western Michigan standout threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns while completing 65.7% of his passes in the team’s upset win over Pitt.
As for why the Seahawks decided to pass on Malik Willis and the other rookie quarterbacks, Seahawks general manager John Schneider expressed skepticism about the current crop of players being ready to contribute next season. Schneider added that the “draft didn’t fall the right way” for Seattle to select a quarterback.
“It’s hard for rookies, it’s very hard on rookies to come in here,” Schneider explained during an April 30 press conference. “You have to have unique qualities. …Continuously throughout the draft, it didn’t fall the right way for one reason or another.”
Eleby: ‘I Definitely Feel Like I’m One of the Best Quarterbacks in the Draft’
During the pre-draft process, Eleby detailed to NFL Network what a team is getting with his skillset. Eleby pointed to his accuracy and leadership ability as two key qualities that separate him from the pack.
“I definitely feel like I’m one of the best quarterbacks in the draft,” Eleby noted. “My ability to put the ball wherever it needs to be, when it needs to be there, how it needs to be there. That’s a skill that you either have it or you don’t. I feel like I possess those skills. The leadership ability is second to none. First one in, last one out type of attitude. I’m only going to continue to get better.”