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Seattle seemed to be in a prime position to select a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft, especially with their depth chart consisting of Geno Smith, Drew Lock, and Jacob Eason.
But they opted to pass on a signal-caller with their nine picks in the draft after trading Wilson to the Denver Broncos earlier this year. The team went offensive tackle in the first round and had the chance to select North Carolina’s Sam Howell at No. 109 overall, but they elected to grab cornerback Coby Bryant instead.
Coach Pete Carroll was asked about his team’s quarterback situation on the final day of the draft Saturday.
Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks reacts after defeating the Detroit Lions 51-29 at Lumen Field on January 02, 2022, in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
“We’re always competing. That’s all we know how to do around here. We’re always checking out everything that’s possible,” Carroll told NFL Network host Rich Eisen during the broadcast. “Right now, really excited about seeing these guys for the first time, and we’ll see what happens in the time to come. But we’re always competing. We’re always looking.”
The team expects Smith and Lock to compete for the starting quarterback job, though Smith currently has the edge after the draft.
Smith, 31, served as Wilson’s backup over the past three seasons in Seattle, throwing for 702 yards, 5 touchdowns, and one interception in three starts last season.
Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Geno Smith (7) before a game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks on October 7, 2021, at Lumen Field in Seattle, WA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Lock, 25, a former second-round pick of the Broncos, arrived in Seattle as part of the Wilson trade. In three seasons with the Broncos, Lock threw for 4,740 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. He made 21 starts with Denver and earned an 8-13 record.
“He has come in to compete with our guys here,” Carroll said of Lock. “Geno Smith is the guy that did the most playing for us and has the most background. So Drew is in the catch-up mode right now. We’ll get on the field for the first time Monday and get a chance to see what he looks like.”
Drew Lock #3 of the Denver Broncos passes against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half at Empower Field at Mile High on January 8, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
“I love the potential,” the coach added. “We loved the guy coming out. I’m liking him in our culture and the way we’re going to approach things. We’re gonna support this kid and give him every opportunity to find the best he has to offer. And I think he’s really going to take to it. We’ll see how far it goes.”
The draft was believed to be a weak one for quarterbacks, with only Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett going in the first round at No. 20 overall. Malik Willis, who was projected as a first or second-round draft pick, was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the third round at No. 86 overall.
But the Seahawks did take steps to protect whoever ends up winning the quarterback job. Seattle selected a pair of offensive tackles in the draft, grabbing Charles Cross at No. 9 overall and Abraham Lucas at No. 72 overall to sure up their line.
They also took running back Kenneth Walker III in the second round to pair him with Rashaad Penny, who finished with 749 yards rushing and six touchdowns last season (6.3 yards per carry). After the draft, the Seahawks reportedly signed undrafted free agent quarterback Levi Lewis from Louisiana.
“We’re going to run the football with some real high-powered guys in the back end,” Carroll added. “We’ve done some good stuff up front to help him … whoever wins this thing in the competition is going to have a good surrounding, supporting cast, and Drew will try to take advantage of that.”