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Analysis: Who Holds Edge in Seahawks' Impending Quarterback Competition?

With OTAs set to kick off next week and training camp drawing closer, all signs point to Drew Lock and Geno Smith duking it out for Seattle's starting job under center.

To the surprise of many, after making the stunning decision to trade long-time starting quarterback Russell Wilson to the Broncos in March, the Seahawks haven't made any notable additions to the quarterback group through the draft and free agency.

Despite rumored interest in Liberty's Malik Willis and Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder, Seattle bypassed multiple opportunities to select both players in the second and third round of last month's NFL draft. With Cleveland dangling former No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield as trade bait, general manager John Schneider hasn't bit on that opportunity either, refusing to consider trading away assets for a player carrying a near-$19 million guaranteed salary.

Instead, the Seahawks plan to roll into the 2022 season with Drew Lock, who was acquired from the Broncos in the Wilson trade, and veteran Geno Smith, who re-signed on a one-year contract shortly before the draft, competing against one another for the right to succeed Wilson. Though both players have ample experience in the league, neither succeeded with their original teams as hoped and posted losing records as starters.

Assuming Seattle doesn't make a move to acquire Mayfield or another quarterback before the start of training camp in July, who should be viewed as the favorite to start?To help reach a verdict, I broke down their respective games into six categories for comparison, including quick passing, third down productivity, vertical passing, and play action proficiency.

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**All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Focus unless otherwise noted.

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Final Verdict

Based on extensive film study and combing through numerous statistics, Smith looks poised to push for the starting role after performing well in three starts for the Seahawks a year ago. He's the more polished passer and as Carroll has indicated multiple times this offseason, his familiarity with Waldron's offense will only further benefit him. For that reason, nobody should be counting him out of this competition, as he will have an immediate advantage from the outset working in his favor.

With that said, now entering his 10th NFL season, Smith likely doesn't have much room to develop at this stage of his career. The same can't be said for Lock, who arguably has better physical tools to work with and won't turn 26 years old until November. If he hits it off with Metcalf and Lockett and learns Waldron's scheme quickly - which is possible since it's similar to the one he played well in as a rookie in 2019 - he has a chance to make up ground quickly in OTAs and training camp.

Due to his untapped potential, there's a sense of mystery surrounding Lock and considering Schneider and Carroll were both high on him coming out of Missouri, he will get every opportunity to prove himself worthy of a starting gig. At the same time, Smith earned the respect of teammates in the locker room last year and did an admirable job orchestrating the offense amid tough circumstances. This battle will go down to the wire and a decision likely won't be made until deep in the preseason.