Assuming QB Geno Smith re-signs, they won't have to burn this valuable selection obtained in the Wilson trade on another passer — and most likely not on an already solid offense. But reinforcements for a defense that hasn't ranked better than 22nd since 2018 are long overdue. Wilson, a 6-6, 275-pound edge rusher with 14 sacks and 27½ TFLs over the past two seasons, should provide needed pressure that would make a young group of cornerbacks shine even more.
The more you watch of Wilson the more you love his game. Not only what he put on tape at Texas Tech but his upside 2-3 years down the road. He's long, has the frame to add weight if needed, and he's a dominant, high-motor pass rusher who can take over games.
Branch isn't the first name you hear about when the conversation turns to Alabama's defense, but maybe he should be. He's a sure tackler, can blitz off the edge, and is solid in coverage, and if Nick Saban trusts him, that's all you need to know about his NFL prospects.
Many NFL fans were surprised that a team led by Geno Smith and a bunch of rookies was very competitive this season. I believe that the Seahawks continue to add youth and add potentially the best player in this year's draft, Will Anderson Jr. Pete Carroll appreciates defense and Anderson's character and play style will fit right in with the kind of culture Pete Carroll is trying to foster.
This is a classic Pete Carroll pick, taking the QB with high upside that he feels that he can mold into exactly what he needs. Anthony Richardson may have the best tools of any quarterback in the draft and this skill set would be too intriguing for Carroll to pass up to start transitioning into the future at the quarterback position.
After the season, Pete Carroll said that the Seahawks "have to become more dynamic up front." Wilson finished his most productive season with 50 pressures, per PFF, and 61 tackles, 14 TFLs and seven sacks, despite a foot injury that cut it short. He has an excellent combination of size, length and power, and would provide the Seahawks with some inside-outside versatility.
Tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas played well as rookies, and the Seahawks could use this pick to bolster their interior offensive line. I considered Minnesota's John Michael Schmitz here, as well, given that center Austin Blythe is an impending free agent, but Gabe Jackson and Damien Lewis are free agents next offseason, and Torrence would be an immediate upgrade over the 31-year-old Jackson. Torrence thrived following the jump to SEC competition last year and is especially dominant as a run blocker.
Head coach Pete Carroll has stressed the importance of the Seahawks becoming more dynamic up front defensively, especially with division foe San Francisco 49ers so dominant in that aspect. Wilson has the type of frame (6-foot-6, 275 pounds) and athleticism to be the disruptive force the Seahawks need. He recorded 14 tackles for loss last season, a top-30 total in the FBS, which is made more impressive considering he missed the final three games of the season.
We're doubling down on the Seahawks' desire to improve the defensive front. With Wilson, the edge has been addressed. Now Bresee is the pick to cause havoc in the interior. Bresee was rated the No. 1 player in the country during the 2020 recruiting cycle and lived up to that hype as a true freshman. Injuries have hampered him the past two seasons, but there's enough evidence to believe in his pedigree when healthy.
I expect Seattle to re-sign or franchise tag Geno Smith, so quarterback shouldn't be atop its draft-day needs. But Poona Ford is a free agent, and Uchenna Nwosu and Darrell Taylor are under contract for only one more season, so the defensive line could be a major focus. The Seahawks finished seventh in sacks (45), but their pass rush win rate (33.5%, 28th) and pressure rate (28.9%, 21st) were lackluster. Wilson wins with power, totaling 14 sacks over the past two seasons in Lubbock.
I have the Seahawks sticking with defense after drafting Wilson at No. 5, now addressing the secondary. Yes, Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs are both under contract for a few more years, but Branch is versatile enough to play all over, often lining up in the box or over the slot as a nickelback. Plus, Adams hasn't played a full season since 2018 and is returning from a season-ending quadriceps injury suffered in the 2022 opener.
With great instincts and a complete toolbox, Branch did it all last season: 89 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, seven pass breakups and nine run stops.
GM John Schneider is just as likely to trade either of his two first rounders than stand pat and make a selection, especially if QB Geno Smith returns in free agency. If the Seahawks hope to challenge the 49ers in the NFC West, they will have to continue to bolster the defensive and offensive lines. Murphy features very similar dimensions/traits to 2022 No. 1 overall draft pick Travon Walker.
The Seahawks continue to reinforce the trenches. They landed two starting tackles in the top three rounds in last year's draft, but the interior is still in need of an upgrade. Torrence was an elite prospect at Louisiana, and he didn't miss a beat after transferring into the SEC, becoming a consensus All-American.
Wilson's length screams "Seattle edge rusher," as Pete Carroll always seems to find those big bodies to fit up front. The Seahawks were more multiple in their fronts this past season than they were in the past, and Wilson has the versatility to stand up or line up inside.
The Seahawks picked up two starting tackles in the top three rounds of last year's draft, but the interior of their line still needs upgrading. Torrence's power and nimble feet should allow him to step in immediately opposite LG Damien Lewis if the team decides it's time to move on from RG Gabe Jackson. Seattle traded down twice in the first round of the 2017 and '19 drafts, and I could see it happening again this year.