Within an hour of news breaking Wednesday that backup quarterback Trevone Boykin was accused of domestic violence, the Seattle Seahawks released him, leaving Russell Wilson as the only passer on the roster.
With Wilson, 29, under contract for two more seasons, the cash-strapped Seahawks are unlikely to spend much on an available veteran quarterback from a list that includes last year’s backup Austin Davis, as well as Mark Sanchez, who played under Pete Carroll at Southern California.
So add Seattle to the list of teams expected to select a quarterback in the 2018 draft. That is noteworthy considering Wilson is the only quarterback the team drafted in the nine years with Carroll and general manager John Schneider calling the shots.
Schneider attended recent Pro Day workouts by Sam Darnold and Josh Allen, but the Seahawks — who do not have a pick in rounds two or three — are not in position to trade up for either quarterback from No. 18 overall.
This year offers a deep class of quarterbacks, however, and there are two candidates who could qualify as the best player available if still on the board at No. 18, as well as plenty of Day Three options.
Here are the five quarterbacks who from a scheme, personality and talent perspective would fit in best in Seattle.
–Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, 6-1, 215, 4.84
No. 4 QB, No. 13 overall on NFLDraftScout.com’s board, 1st Round
At first glance, it would appear near lunacy for the Seahawks to eschew other needs and make a quarterback their top priority on draft day with the durable and productive Wilson still in his prime. Clearly, he is the current face of the franchise. Of course, it wasn’t long ago that fellow icons Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett (as well as Earl Thomas) appeared untouchable. If Mayfield were still on the board, the Seahawks might see him as the perfect backup to Wilson. Competitive, accurate and at his best improvising, Mayfield is the closest thing in this draft to Wilson, potentially giving Seattle insurance should its starter get injured or seek to break the bank when his contract comes up again following the 2019 season.
–Lamar Jackson, Louisville, 6-2, 216, 4.42 (est.)
No. 5 QB, No. 17 overall on NFLDraftScout.com’s board, 1st Round
Like Mayfield, Jackson would seem a longshot to wind up in Seattle as the Seahawks have plenty of other needs and the QB-needy clubs picking earlier are unlikely to let either slip to No. 18 overall. Under Carroll and Schneider, the Seahawks have shown a willingness to gamble on special athletes and no one in this class offers more of that than the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner. Carroll has spoken adamantly this offseason about improving a running game that sunk from No. 1 in the NFL during Seattle’s back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl to 23rd last season, tying the Miami Dolphins with a league-worst four rushing touchdowns. Injecting Jackson’s athleticism into the attack would make a lot of sense if new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s strategy is to lean on his quarterback(s) to help spark the running game.
–Mike White, Western Kentucky, 6-5, 224, 5.07
No. 8 QB, No. 122 overall on NFLDraftScout.com’s board, 4th Round
White is much more of a traditional pocket passer than the others on this list, but he is viewed by some longtime scouts as the best of the so-called second-tier quarterbacks, a notion reinforced with his steady performance amid top competition at the Senior Bowl. White possesses a prototypical frame and arm for an NFL quarterback and still comes with some untapped potential after spending most of his youth focusing on baseball. White also comes with the intangibles required of an NFL quarterback, getting voted a team captain after transferring from South Florida, and he was one of 30 candidates nationally for the Senior CLASS award, which is given annually to the player who best exemplifies community, class, character and competition. A possible Day Two selection who could fall simply because there are so many intriguing quarterbacks in this draft, White would offer good value at No. 120 overall, currently Seattle’s highest pick outside of the first round.
–J.T. Barrett, Ohio State, 6-1, 224, 4.70
No. 14 QB, No. 264 overall on NFLDraftScout.com’s board, 7th Round
In terms of experience, style, intangibles and the point in which he’s likely to be drafted, perhaps no quarterback better fits the Seahawks (on paper) than Barrett. He played in and won a lot of big games for the Buckeyes, completing 63.5 percent of his throws with nearly a 4-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio (104/30) and another 43 scores on the ground. Further, no quarterback in this draft is more respected for his intangibles. He is the only three-time captain ever at Ohio State. To be clear, the tape isn’t as kind as the numbers for the Buckeyes’ all-time passing leader, with Barrett showing Jekyll-and-Hyde decision-making and accuracy from the pocket that could earn undraftable grades for some teams. Seattle and other clubs built around mobile passers, however, could see Barrett as well worth a Day Three pick.
–Quinton Flowers, South Florida, 5-10, 214
No. 37 RB, No. 485 overall on NFLDraftScout.com’s board, 7th Round-UDFA
Smaller than ideal and possessing a career 57.7 percent career completion percentage, Flowers is viewed as a potential running back convert by some (including NFLDraftScout.com), but his dual-threat potential, big arm and intangibles could make him a good (and cost-effective) backup candidate for the Seahawks. Flowers is a former four-star recruit who guided South Florida to a 29-9 record over his three seasons as a starter while throwing 71 touchdowns against just 23 interceptions. Flowers is a gifted runner, showing the vision, agility, speed and toughness. He also possesses plenty of arm strength to make every NFL throw and has the kind of mental toughness Schneider and Carroll have looked for in the past, excelling at USF after losing both of his parents (father to an accidental shooting, mother to cancer) at an early age.