Analysis: What Does Seahawks 2022 NFL Draft Say About Franchise’s Direction?

The Seahawks have been known by their defense for the majority of the last 15 years. The advent of the “Legion of Boom” was built around star safety Earl Thomas with a myriad of late draft picks that hit on a massive level. The likes of Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, and Kam Chancellor all being selected on day three and making multiple Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams is a feat that is difficult to attain. On the surface, it feels like general manager John Schneider might have been able to do it again and he started the defensive rebuild on day two of the draft.

Boye Mafe is an explosive prospect that the Seahawks got at an inherent value. Valued in the top-25 on my big board, Mafe is an athletic freak who garnered a pressure on every six pass rush attempts at Minnesota. The tough part to quantify is how well he will be able to play in a true full-time role. The Golden Gophers prioritized a true rotation in the trenches, leading to their best player having a season-high 480 snaps. Mafe brings immense versatility and potential, as he has the size, freaky athleticism, and power to thrive as both a 5-tech base end and a hybrid outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

The real coup for the Seahawks was the cornerbacks they got on day three. The position was one that they were projected to target at least once in the draft with nobody truly solidified as a long-term starter. Not only did they get two quality prospects at a value, but they drafted two different types of corners with plus-value. Coby Bryant was Sauce Gardner’s running mate at Cincinnati and received a myriad of targets because he was the opposite of the fourth overall pick. It’s safe to say he rose to the challenge. Per Pro Football Focus, Bryant’s 10 interceptions and 37 pass breakups throughout his career was the genesis of him winning the Jim Thorpe Award in 2021. While he doesn’t have elite speed or athleticism, he has the ability to play right away and develop into a quality cornerback No. 2, which was probably highly valued considering the next selection’s projection.

Tariq Woolen is the most unique prospect in the draft class. An absolute freak athlete, he is 6-foot-4 (99.9th percentile height) and 208 pounds with a 40-yard dash time of 4.26 seconds. At UTSA, he was a receiver for the first three years before moving to the cornerback. Because of that, he is still a major project. The flashes of brilliance are on a different level but the lapses show a player that is still a year or two away from being a starter. The key will be refining his instincts and that will come with more reps and coaching at the NFL level. Even with the team transitioning from its previous Cover 3-heavy scheme, this feels like a perfect fit for Seattle and the player.

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