uarterback Russell Wilson told Chris Russo on Mad Dog Sports Radio and NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe that he wants to stay with the Seattle Seahawks. But that hasn’t stop the trade speculation around the signal caller.
On Feb. 21, a new mock draft from Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus had the Seahawks shipping Wilson to the Washington Commanders for two first-round picks (2022 and 2023) and a 2022 second-round choice.
Then with the 2022 first-round pick from Washington (No. 11 overall), Gayle’s mock draft has the Seahawks selecting North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell.
This is the second time this month a mock draft from Pro Football Focus had Seattle drafting a quarterback with a 2022 first-round pick gained through a Wilson trade. Michael Renner of PFF had the Seahawks dealing Wilson to the Philadelphia Eagles for the No. 15 selection and then drafting Ole Miss signal caller Matt Corral.
Gayle’s mock draft included the second round as well. With the 2022 second-round selection acquired from Washington, Gayle had the Seahawks drafting Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary.
ALL the latest Seahawks news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Seahawks newsletter here!
Sam Howell Compared to Chase Daniel
Gayle’s mock draft is controversial for a couple reasons. First, there are plenty of Seahawks fans that don’t want to see Wilson traded.
Secondly, Gayle has the Seahawks drafting Howell in his mock draft despite every other quarterback still available at No. 11.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has Howell ranked as the 40th-best overall player, including the No. 4 quarterback in the 2022 draft class. In Bleacher Report’s End-of-Season Top 150, the BR NFL Scouting Department ranked Howell the No. 92 overall player in the upcoming draft.
“Stocky, three-year starter who plays with admirable confidence despite inconsistencies in important areas as a passer,” Zierlein wrote. “He flashed impressive dual-threat talent in 2021, which should work in his favor.
“The 2021 tape was bumpy, but his makeup is really good and improvement is likely with better pieces around him. Howell isn’t wired for or suited to a ball-control passing attack and might need a vertical passing scheme capable of creating explosive plays in order to succeed.”
Player comparisons typically work as a way to indicate a prospect’s playing style more so than their career potential. Still, NFL.com’s prospect grading system placed Howell in the “good backup who could become starter” tier.
But the PFF draft grades have Howell as the top quarterback in the 2022 class.
“Howell watched his top receivers and top running backs go onto the NFL while he stayed back at Chapel Hill, and he still managed to earn a 90.0 PFF grade in 2021,” Gayle wrote. “The drop-off in talent with his supporting cast took a baseball bat to UNC’s chances in the ACC, but Howell still showed out as one of college football’s top signal-callers.
“He has a rocket arm with plus mobility for the position, enough for Seattle to pull the trigger on his talents at No. 11 overall.”
Seahawks Improve Secondary After Russell Wilson Trade
The Seahawks also gained an extra second-round pick (43rd overall) in Gayle’s proposed Wilson trade. Therefore, Seattle drafted back-to-back players at No. 42 and 43 in the second round of Gayle’s mock draft.
With Washington’s second-round choice, Gayle had the Seahawks address their secondary with an Auburn cornerback.
“Seattle essentially enters rebuild mode with Wilson off to the nation’s capital,” Gayle wrote. “While Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf both stand out as top-end talents at the wide receiver position, the Seahawks enter the offseason with offensive line, pass-rushing and secondary units that all arguably rank outside the top 20 in the NFL right now.”
Zierlein compared McCreary to 2019 second-round choice and Indianapolis Colts cornerback Rock Ya-Sin.
“Press-man cornerback with physical limitations that could create occasional roller-coaster matchups on Sundays,” Zierlein wrote. “He has average starting talent as a CB2/3 but needs to operate in a scheme that allows him to play hugged-up coverage, limiting operating space for wideouts.”
With their other second-round pick, the Seahawks drafted Penn State edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie in Gayle’s mock draft.