Seahawks Rumors: SEA Considering Malik Willis at 9; Also Likes Sam Howell in Draft

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 26, 2022

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis throws during the school's pro football day for NFL scouts and coaches, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in Lynchburg, Va. (AP Photo/Kendall Warner)
AP Photo/Kendall Warner

The Seattle Seahawks reportedly have their eye on at least a couple of quarterback prospects entering the 2022 NFL draft this week.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Tuesday on SportsCenter that the Seahawks would consider taking Liberty quarterback Malik Willis with the No. 9 pick if he is on the board.

The Seahawks also like North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell, although they would be more likely to target him on Day 2, per Fowler.

Throughout much of the predraft process, Willis and Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett have been in the conversation for top quarterback in the 2022 class.

While this year's quarterback options are considered weak compared to some previous years, teams are always in search of a franchise signal-caller, which means a few quarterbacks are likely to come off the board in the first round.

Given his blend of arm strength, speed and elusiveness, Willis could be the first quarterback drafted. The Detroit Lions at No. 2 look like the first team that could realistically take him.

The Carolina Panthers at No. 6 and Atlanta Falcons at No. 8 are potential landing spots as well, but if Willis falls past all of them, the Seahawks would make a lot of sense.

This offseason, Seattle traded franchise cornerstone Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for a bevy of draft picks and players, leaving a gaping hole under center.

The Seahawks got quarterback Drew Lock in the trade and re-signed Geno Smith, but neither is considered the long-term answer.

Willis could be precisely that, and it stands to reason that the Seahawks would be willing to gamble on a slightly undersized quarterback with a big arm, just as they did when they took Wilson in the third round of the 2012 draft.

Another option would be for Seattle to fill a different area of need with the No. 9 pick, such as offensive tackle, pass-rusher or cornerback, which are all plentiful in terms of talent in this year's draft.

If that happens, the Seahawks' next scheduled pick is No. 40 overall in the second round. They also own pick No. 41.

Seattle could try to trade back into the first round if Willis falls or if it likes another quarterback enough to do so, such as Howell, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder or Ole Miss' Matt Corral.

Staying put in the second round could give the Seahawks a solid shot at Howell, though, and it's possible he establishes himself as the best quarterback in the class.

Howell was supremely productive in three years as the starter at North Carolina, throwing 92 touchdown passes, including an FBS true-freshman record 38 in 2019.

He also showcased his versatility last season, rushing for 828 yards and 11 scores after rushing for a total of just 181 yards and six touchdowns in his first two seasons.

Whether it is Willis, Howell or someone else, drafting a quarterback this week should be on the agenda for Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.