Seattle Seahawks: 2022 NFL Draft Class Might Go Down As The Best In Franchise History

Nov 13, 2022; Munich, Germany; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Jaelon Darden (left) and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen pose with jerseys after an NFL International Series game at Allianz Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2022; Munich, Germany; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Jaelon Darden (left) and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen pose with jerseys after an NFL International Series game at Allianz Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Seattle Seahawks traded away franchise icon Russell Wilson this offseason, opting to recoup a package of NFL Draft picks (and players) in return. With the added draft capital, general manager John Schneider pitched a perfect game during the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Seahawks were one of the most successful franchises of the 2010s. Propelled by a legendary defense, primarily built through the NFL Draft, Seattle became a fixture in Super Bowl discussions. Landing Russell Wilson in round three was a catalyst for this run as well, with the Seahawks winning the NFC twice in Wilson’s first three years in the NFL.

Sadly, age and cap space constraints caught up to the roster. The front office became stuck in a no-win situation with Russell Wilson. While there is little doubt how much of a part Wilson played in these playoff runs, it wasn’t because he carried them himself. After locking the star quarterback into a lucrative deal, the franchise no longer had the resources to continue adding to the roster.

Seattle Seahawks: 2022 NFL Draft Class Might Go Down As The Best In Franchise History

These issues were further exacerbated when the Seahawks made a puzzling decision to trade two first-round picks to the Jets for safety Jamal Adams. Adams is a good player, don’t get me wrong, but the Seattle roster needed much more than a pass-rushing safety at the time. Not only did they trade premium NFL Draft capital, but they also were forced to pay Adams top dollar.

Rumblings of Russ and the franchise not seeing eye to eye ramped up during the 2021 season and came to a head after the Seahawks failed to make the playoffs. A divorce between the two had become inevitable. At the time of the trade, Wilson was still at his peak value, so it was a savvy move by Schneider to sell high.

The Seahawks acquired two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and multiple players as a part of the Russell Wilson trade. Due to the aforementioned Jamal Adams trade, Seattle found itself in jeopardy of missing out on the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Now, armed with three picks in the top 41, the franchise took the chance to retool the roster. And that is exactly what they did.

Below is a rundown of every pick made by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Looking at it now is impressive, but wait a few years, and there is a real chance it rivals the Seahawks’ franchise-altering draft class from 2012.

Round 1, Pick 9: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Charles Cross was the third offensive tackle taken in the 2022 NFL Draft, but he has been more impressive as a rookie than Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu. Cross served as the left tackle in a Mike Leach system, meaning he was tasked with protecting the passer at a high rate. He excelled at doing so.

Cross brought a picturesque physique to the league with great length. He performed well in individual drills, showing that his short-area athleticism could translate to blocking in a phone booth in pass protection. It also allowed NFL scouts to project Cross as an elite run blocker in space.

Cross earned the starting role on the blindside before week one came around. So far, as a rookie, Cross is grading out as one of the best in the NFL. The Mississippi State product can still be beaten off the snap by quicker players, but he is improving weekly as a pass protector and is already a better run blocker than most scouts expected him to be in year one.

Round 2, Pick 40: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota

One player that has not quite made their presence felt from this NFL Draft class is former Minnesota pass rusher Boye Mafe. The No. 40 overall selection has only logged more than 50% of snaps on defense one time as a rookie. In limited action, Mafe has three QB hits and two sacks, showing that with added reps, he could be a game-changer on defense.

The development of pass rushers takes longer than most other positions, so do not be too discouraged yet Seahawks fans. Year two will be more indicative of Boye Mafe’s potential in Seattle.

Round 2, Pick 41: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State

Similar to Charles Cross, Kenneth Walker III is entrenched as the starter at his position for the foreseeable future. Rashaad Penny opened the season as the starter at running back and played well before a season-ending injury, but KW3 has taken this offense to a new level.

The former Michigan State ball carrier ranks second among rookies in yards per carry (min. 100 attempts). Walker III is also second in rushing yards for first-year running backs, plus the budding star has more than double as many rushing touchdowns as any other rookie (9). Impressively, seven of those touchdowns came from 10 or more yards out.

The running back position gets the short end of the stick too often in the NFL, but Kenneth Walker III is poised to carve out a long career in the league. Behind this improved offensive line, expect the running back to place high in every rushing statistic going forward.

Round 3, Pick 72: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State

Another player that has earned a starting role from the jump is Abraham Lucas. The Washington State alum sets up shop at right tackle, bookending the offensive line with Charles Cross. Entering the 2022 NFL Draft, Lucas got knocked for being a member of the air raid offense.

The Seahawks wisely looked past this and zeroed in on Lucas’ talents instead. The result? A decade-long starter at right tackle. Lucas’ movements in pass protection are silky smooth, which is a stark contrast to his mean streak as a run blocker. So far in year one, Lucas ranks inside the top 10 at his position.

Right tackle is not as coveted as the left side, but it is still one of the most premium positions in the NFL. Somehow, someway, general manager John Schneider found long-term answers on both ends of the line. Following years of lackluster offensive line play, the Seahawks fandom could not be happier.

Round 4, Pick 109: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati

The first of two steals at cornerback on day three is Coby Bryant from Cincinnati. The next player on the list gets more attention, and deservedly so, but the former Bearcat defensive back is having a solid rookie season himself.

Bryant was one of four rookies to earn a starting role in week one. Due to a myriad of injuries at the position during the offseason, Bryant took advantage of the increased reps in practice and made it impossible for Pete Carroll to pull him from the lineup. It has not been all sunshine and rainbows, as Bryant has witnessed a steep learning curve at cornerback.

Seattle has experimented with Bryant in the slot, but the results have been poor for the most part. Although he has obvious things to work on in pass coverage, Bryant has excelled at creating turnovers. He forced four fumbles in the first six games of the season and could have even more if not for a couple of missed calls.

All in all, Bryant has held up well as a rookie when it comes to pursuing ball carriers and receivers after the catch, as well as showing proficiency to punch the ball out. Bryant must become better in pass coverage to truly stick around as a long-term starter, but I would not bet against him taking a step up in year two.

Round 5, Pick 153: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA

The biggest steal of any NFL Draft in years is cornerback Tariq Woolen. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound defender started his career as a wide receiver at UTSA. Eventually, at the behest of a coach on staff, Woolen flipped over to the other side of the ball, and the rest is history.

Woolen was always labeled a freaky athlete, but few knew just how freaky. The NFL Scouting Combine allowed Woolen to showcase his one-of-one athleticism on a national scale. Even with droves of NFL scouts in attendance, the concerns with his technique and relative inexperience at cornerback kept teams from taking the chance.

As you’ve likely heard me say multiple times now, Tariq Woolen should have been a first-rounder in the 2022 NFL Draft. Guys with the size, speed, and shiftiness of Woolen simply do not exist. Projecting was involved with Woolen’s NFL Draft profile, but any coaching staff worth a lick should be able to maximize his potential. And Seattle has.

At No. 153 overall, the Seattle Seahawks selected one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Tariq Woolen welcomes the challenge of covering the teams’ top option outside. He is capable of mirroring every move the receiver makes, and with his past as a wide receiver, Woolen’s ball skills are elite. His five interceptions hammer home the point.

Woolen has not allowed more than 57 yards in any game as a rookie and is second among rookie cornerbacks in passer rating allowed. More times than not, teams make it a priority to throw away from Woolen. A signal of immense respect for the youngster. The Seahawks get to laugh at 31 other times for passing on Woolen multiple times (even though they did too).

Round 5, Pick 158: Tyreke Smith, EDGE, Ohio State

Round 7, Pick 229: Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers

Round 7, Pick 233: Dareke Young, WR, Lenoir-Rhyne

We wrap up the 2022 NFL Draft class with three late-round picks that have yet to make an impact for the Seattle Seahawks. First, Tyreke Smith found his way to the IR due to multiple hip injuries. Smith will not suit up for Seattle in 2022, and his future with the franchise is cloudy heading into 2023.

Next up, Bo Melton is a speed demon at wide receiver. His 4.34 speed shows up on tape, but Melton has not been given a chance to showcase his talents in a deep wide receiver room. Melton has been on the Seahawks practice squad all year, and if he’s not signed by another team, he has a chance to make an impact on special teams in 2023.

Last up is Dareke Young from the little-known Lenoir-Rhyne. Young, unlike Melton, has been with the Seahawks’ main roster for the majority of the season. Young typically only sees time as a special teams gunner, but with four tackles on the season, the speedy wide receiver is making the most of his limited opportunities. Look for Young to challenge for a role in the offense in 2023.