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4 late-round draft options for Seahawks' backup quarterback job

Since selecting Russell Wilson during the 2012 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks haven't drafted another quarterback to develop behind him. Instead, the Seahawks have opted to roll with an experienced veteran backup behind Wilson for most of his NFL career.
Nov 4, 2017; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Luke Falk (4) waves to the crowd while walking off the field after a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Since selecting Russell Wilson during the 2012 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks haven’t drafted another quarterback to develop behind him. Instead, the Seahawks have opted to roll with an experienced veteran backup behind Wilson for most of his NFL career.

During his first four seasons, former Vikings starter Tarvaris Jackson provided a steady insurance policy holding a clipboard on the sidelines, while Austin Davis served the role adequately last season.

Trevone Boykin proved to be the one exception to the rule in Seattle, as the undrafted quarterback out of TCU emerged with a strong preseason in 2016 and won the backup job. But after regressing last season, he landed on the Seahawks’ practice squad and lost his roster spot to Davis.

With Boykin released a few weeks ago following his latest arrest and Davis visiting with other teams in free agency, the Seahawks don’t have a backup on the roster currently. While the team still has plenty of reasonable veteran options to consider, uncertainty about Wilson’s status beyond the 2019 season could spring Seattle into action looking for a young quarterback during this month’s upcoming draft.

If the Seahawks decide to draft a quarterback for the first time in six years, which late-round prospects could be worth a flier to mold behind Wilson?

Luke Falk, Washington State

A familiar name in the Pacific Northwest due to his success in Pullman, Falk established new Pac-12 career records for completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns as a four-year starter for the Cougars. From 2015 through 2017, he posted three consecutive seasons with 30 or more touchdown passes and at least 3,500 passing yards. In 42 games overall, he completed 68.3 percent of his career pass attempts.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound signal caller doesn’t have the arm strength or athletic ability of Wilson, but he’s an accurate, reliable pocket passer armed with one of the quickest releases in this year’s deep draft class. He also played behind a shaky offensive line for much of his collegiate career and still provided elite production while under duress, which would be a valuable asset for any backup in Seattle.

Nic Shimonek, Texas Tech

Far less experienced than Falk, Shimonek started his college career at Iowa before transferring to play in Lubbock. Once he arrived at Texas Tech, he then had to sit behind current Chiefs starter Pat Mahomes during his first two seasons with the school. When he finally earned a shot to start as a senior, he took full advantage, throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 33 touchdowns in coach Kliff Kingsbury’s air raid offense last season.

While his lack of snaps as a college quarterback doesn’t help his draft stock and will push him into the later rounds, Shimonek performed well when he finally became a starter and enjoyed a strong outing at the NFL scouting combine. He has prototypical NFL quarterback size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds), a naturally strong throwing arm capable of making NFL throws, and can create big plays while scrambling away from pass rushers.

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

If Seattle wants to draft a quarterback with a similar skill set to Wilson, a dual-threat option such as Barrett would make a ton of sense. In four seasons with the Buckeyes, he nearly eclipsed 10,000 passing yards while rushing for 3,263 yards and scoring a combined 147 touchdowns. He also completed over 63 percent of his passes while playing under Urban Meyer, indicating he’s more than simply a college read-option quarterback.

While Barrett remains inconsistent as a passer and becomes too reliant on his running ability at times, he’d be an exciting player for the Seahawks to add as a seventh-round project. He’s a hard-nosed prospect who will throw dimes while taking big hits in the pocket, brings great leadership skills to the table, and offers similar elusiveness to Wilson as a runner. If forced into the lineup, Seattle wouldn’t have to make major adjustments schematically.

Quinton Flowers, South Florida

Much like Barrett, Flowers is a dynamic playmaker who can beat opponents with both his arm and his legs. After barely playing during his freshman season, the 5-foot-10, 214-pound quarterback shattered school records with over 8,000 passing yards, 3,600 rushing yards, and 112 combined touchdowns for the Bulls. He also earned All-AAC honors during his final two seasons on campus.

A far more erratic passer than Barrett, some scouts have questioned whether or not he’ll be able to play quarterback in the NFL. He completed only 53 percent of his passes as a senior, and given his stocky build and success running the ball in college, most scouts view him as a running back at the next level. However, he has adequate arm strength and takes good care of the football, so Seattle could consider him as a priority undrafted free agent as it once did with Boykin.