What If The Seahawks Take A Quarterback With The Fifth Pick?

This question feels like a waste of time. It feels like clickbait nonsense. When you read it from established journalists/pundits – as opposed to yours truly, who’s writing this in his pajamas in the middle of the afternoon while listening to some #FunkyDiscoHouse – it feels like they’re just parroting what unnamed agents/NFL front offices want them to “leak”, for financial/competitive gains.

When I read about the Seahawks showing interest in the quarterback position at the top of the draft, it seems very disingenuous. That’s what we WANT the rest of the league to believe, so the price to trade into our spot goes up. Or, so teams will leapfrog us, in hopes that one of the bigtime defensive line prospects falls to us. And/or to drive Geno Smith’s price down.

99.9% of me believes it’s bullshit that the Seahawks would select a quarterback with the fifth overall draft pick. I can’t say 100%, because nothing is 100% in the game of football. But, I’m saying it without saying it: the Seahawks are NOT drafting a quarterback fifth overall.

I say that as a fan of the Seahawks who has followed this organization VERY closely through the years.

Can you name the highest-drafted quarterback in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era? You should, because his name is Russell Wilson, and he was famously taken by us in the third round. We’ve taken exactly one other quarterback in the draft since 2010: Alex McGough in 2018, in the 7th round. That’s a 50% success rate, for those keeping track at home.

The Seahawks have largely been unconventional at the spot over the last 12+ years. The inherited Matt Hasselbeck, they traded for Charlie Whitehurst (a huge bust), they took on Tarvaris Jackson because he was familiar with Darrell Bevell’s system, they made a medium-sized splash on Matt Flynn, and they’ve run through a number of starting busts to sit behind Wilson until we got to Geno and Drew Lock last year battling it out. LOTTA crap there, up to and including Hasselbeck’s last year here (when he was over the hill), outside of hitting the lottery on Russell Wilson.

But, at the same time, there haven’t been those huge swings you see out of most other franchises. Do you know who was the last quarterback we drafted in the first two rounds? The much-maligned Rick Mirer at number two overall, back in 1993. In fact, there’s only one other QB the Seahawks have taken in the first two rounds, and that was Dan McGwire at number 16 in 1991 (when Chuck Knox lobbied hard for Brett Favre). That’s a 0% success rate, for those keeping track at home.

Isn’t that interesting, though? When you think about the Seahawks, you don’t think about us being totally bereft of quarterback talent. But, we’ve been unorthodox at getting our guys. Jim Zorn was an undrafted free agent. Dave Krieg was as well. Warren Moon was a free agent, Matt Hasselbeck was a trade acquisition; those are all the big names, that comprise a significant chunk of the Pre-Wilson Seahawks history.

What’s also interesting – especially going from the Holmgren era through the John Schneider era (both with ties to the Green Bay Packers way of doing things) – is that this organization doesn’t even take a lot of draft fliers the way the Packers model themselves after. We get our franchise quarterback, and we throw whatever scrubs we find off the scrap heap behind him. Now, to be fair, what are we talking about? The Packers have made two high-profile draft picks of Aaron Rodgers (when Favre was still playing at a high level) and Jordan Love (when Rodgers was still playing at a high level); it’s not like they’re actually drafting a new quarterback every season.

But, that’s their reputation, and that’s also the reputation that was foisted upon John Schneider. I don’t know if he buys into that or not. Maybe that was an unfair allegation that was levied against him, since he came from Green Bay. But, regardless, it hasn’t been even remotely his practice since coming here. Not even when you consider this team really could’ve used a little more attention paid to the position!

There are those rumors that he was all in on Patrick Mahomes and/or Josh Allen. That if those guys would’ve fallen to us in their respective draft classes, we would’ve taken one of them even though that was smack in Wilson’s prime. Of course, we’ll never know; it’s easy to plant those stories to make yourself look smart. It’s also easy to plant those stories when you want to drive down the price of your own franchise quarterback in times of contract extension. But, it’s a great What If. What if we traded Wilson back in 2017 and acquired a ton of draft picks at that time? What if we used those picks to select (or trade up for) one of Mahomes or Allen? Wouldn’t that be exciting?!

That’s where you get to the 00.1% chance of the Seahawks taking a quarterback at five. Because to do that, they would have to be SO SURE this guy is the next superstar in this league. Which is what makes all the Anthony Richardson hullabaloo at the combine over the weekend all the more intriguing. He blew the collective minds of everyone watching, with his freakish athleticism, with his interviewing skills, and with his leadership traits. He also apparently had a very positive interview with Pete Carroll (who, as we all remember, had that crazy interaction with D.K. Metcalf before we later took him at the end of the second round).

Would I be excited if the Seahawks took a quarterback at five? You’re damn right I would be! Because I love a surprise out of left field. Because I don’t really want to overpay for Geno Smith’s services. And because I would have to 100% buy in on this guy, since the organization is taking such a huge risk. With our philosophy largely undermining the quarterback spot throughout the years, this would be a HUGE step in the other direction.

Naturally, it depends on who we take at five. I’ll say this, there’s no “sure thing” in this draft. Bryce Young is undersized and slight of frame. Also, I don’t know how much I buy Alabama quarterbacks, after the underwhelming showing of both Mac Jones and Tua (Hurts goes pretty far in turning that tide for me, but he also transferred out of there, and had to find a way to succeed without the crutch of being on the best roster college football has to offer). C.J. Stroud has great accuracy, but lacks a willingness to scramble, and if I don’t trust Bama quarterbacks, I REALLY don’t trust Buckeye QBs. He also had the luxury of being on an elite roster of players, and it’s impossible to tell how someone will react to the real world of the NFL, where there’s significantly more parity.

Richardson is naturally on everyone’s minds – and might excite me more than the other two guys, if only for his potential upside – but he has serious accuracy problems. He also didn’t play much at college and might be a little too reliant on his legs for success at the next level. I know it feels nitpicky – one guy runs too much, the other not enough, what is this a 3 Bears situation? – but that’s the nature of the beast with drafting a quarterback, especially in the upper half of the first round. For every Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, there are dozens of Blake Bortleses. You don’t often get those “sure things”. Most of the time, you get someone with flaws that you hope don’t usher him out of the league as a bust.

But, as I said, if the Seahawks take a quarterback at five, of course I’m going to be excited! What other choice do I have? That being said, if it’s not one of those three guys I just referenced, not only would it be a gargantuan shock, but it would be downright irresponsible. There’s just no one else worthy of that kind of attention.

When Seahawks fans speculate on the team taking a QB, it’s usually in the second or third round; MAYBE with the 20th overall pick (or trade down from 20 and take him later in the first). That feels a little more reasonable. It’s FAR less sexy, but it’s also probably the smarter play. Take a bigger project with less upside and hope to mold him over this season as he rides the pine behind Geno. But, can you imagine how much we’d lose our minds if we were one of those teams to take a quarterback in the top five?! What a thrill!

Michael Penix Is Staying With The Huskies Through 2023!

Last Friday didn’t shake out the way we all hoped. USC lost to Utah once again, costing them a sure slot in the college football playoffs and costing us a slot in the Rose Bowl. I’ll always believe that and no one will convince me otherwise.

I’ll also always believe we could’ve handled USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game, but that’s neither here nor there.

With Utah playing Penn State in the Rose Bowl, and USC playing Tulane in the Cotton Bowl, that dropped the Huskies to the Alamo Bowl on Thursday, December 29th. Interestingly enough, it’s a matchup with the Texas Longhorns, and our former head coach Steve Sarkisian.

At the moment, the Longhorns are favorites (-6) and heavily predicted to win this game. I’m guessing that’s because the public doesn’t know any better and is putting their money on the more recognizable school. It’s going to be an interesting clash of styles – with Texas favoring a run-heavy approach, over our high-flying passing attack – but I’m expecting this one to be high scoring and very fun to watch.

We did get some phenomenal news over the weekend though, with the announcement that Michael Penix is coming back for one more year!

He was expected to be one of the more talked-about under-the-radar quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. You know what I mean, there are those guys at the very tippy-top – C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, etc. – and then there’s that next wave. I think many projected Penix to be a Day 2 guy, someone who – after meeting with him and working him out – would certainly propel himself into a second round pick (or even a bottom-of-the-first round pick, if the right team fell in love with him). That’s not nothing! Lots of second round picks have gone on to great NFL careers. He potentially left a great opportunity on the table to come back to school.

And, not for nothing, but he probably eliminated himself as a potential Seahawks target.

I’m trying to be a Live In The Now kind of guy, so I just want to take this as the great news that it is. But, I know as soon as I start getting too high on this move – as soon as I start crowing about how the Huskies are going to be Pac-12 Champions in 2023 – that’s when disaster is going to strike. This is the number one thing I wanted for the Huskies – to the point that I didn’t believe it was even a possibility – and those have always come back to bite me in the ass. I remember when “all I ever wanted” was for Jacob Eason to transfer back here and take us to the promised land in 2019. We finished 8-5 that year, before it all got blown up.

I know there are financial ramifications behind the scenes I’ll probably never be privy to. I’m sure there are NIL deals and insurance policies in place that will make him a wealthy individual. And I’m sure there’s potential for greatness in this decision. He gets to head into 2023 as a Heisman Trophy favorite (not THE favorite, but certainly in the discussion from the onset). Maybe he doubles down on this great season and his draft stock soars into the upper first round. If he makes it through unscathed – right now, the biggest concern is his injury history – that’s two straight years of elite, unmolested play.

But, my mind gravitates towards the risks. Obviously, you hate to think about Penix getting hurt next year. That’s a risk in any situation, though. It would be heartbreaking for him to suffer a severe injury and fall in the draft accordingly. But, let’s assume he’ll be fine. He just had far and away the best year of his career. Indeed, this was the best year any Husky quarterback has ever had! Full stop. He played in all the games, he played at an extremely high level in all the games.

What are the odds he’s able to replicate that? I think the odds are low that he surpasses these numbers; I think he’s hit his ceiling. What more do you want out of Penix? He’s thrown for well over 4,000 yards. He’s completed 66% of his passes. He took 5 sacks! Sure, if we really wanted to, we could get his touchdown numbers improved (he threw 29, against 7 picks), but there was never a lull. There was never really a bad game in the bunch. His worst game was probably at UCLA where he threw two picks and we lost 40-32, but he still threw for 4 TDs and 345 yards on almost 69% completions.

It’s a tall order. The odds of him slipping up in 2023 are a lot better. I feel like this only helps NFL evaluators, but does very little to help Penix in his future endeavors. Sure, if he holds up – under the weight of heightened expectations – then maybe he plays himself into a top 5 pick. But, the deck is really stacked against him. I’ll be watching with my hands over my eyes, just hoping that everything works out okay.

I know this sounds like I’m down on him, but I promise you I’m not! I’ve just seen this play out before. Jake Locker returned for one more year and went from the consensus #1 overall pick (under the previous CBA, where he would’ve made CONSIDERABLY more money as a draft pick, before they erected the slotted pay system) to #8 overall in 2011. While it worked out fairly well for the Huskies – he continues to be a legend, if for no other reason than removing the stink of that 2008 season by getting us back into a bowl game under Sark – I wouldn’t say it was the best decision for Locker. Maybe he’d disagree! I hope he does. I hope he has no regrets about how his career in football went.

And I hope the same for Michael Penix.