I’ll admit, I am a sucker for the NFL draft. It’s a top 5 sporting event for me. I know lots of people don’t understand the hype, and so many of these first-rounders turn into busts, but for me, it’s a holiday. A lot of people must agree, because the draft has exploded into must-see TV, which is why it is now a prime time event beginning this Thursday evening. If anyone asks me why I care so much about a bunch of rookies being drafted, getting boat loads of money, and often not living up to the hype, my answer is simple. In 3 days, my favorite NFL team is going to add roughly 10 players, and it is entirely possible that 3 or 4 could be immediate starters. That doesn’t happen in other sports. So, if you are as excited as me, and the Seahawks are your team, perhaps you’re interested in knowing who the future stars of Seattle might be. Let’s take a look at the Hawks draft.
Needs (in order)-
1- Offensive tackle: This is the most obvious, glaring need for Seattle. Walter Jones will likely announce his retirement in the coming weeks, leaving Ray Willis and Sean Locklear as the starting tackles. The Hawks, and especially Tim Ruskell, got burned last year by not addressing the offensive line with the 4th pick. This team is rebuilding and if Hasselbeck is to stay healthy, he needs left tackle protection.
2- Defensive end: Not far behind the need for a left tackle is the need for an impact pass rusher. The Seahawks were horrible at getting to the quarterback last year, tallying just 28 sacks. The Seahawks best ends from last year, Patrick Kerney (retirement) and Darryl Tapp (trade) are gone, leaving a gaping hole at the position. If the season started tomorrow, your starting defensive ends would most likely be Chris Clemons and Lawrence Jackson…ouch.
3- Safety: The Seahawks defense is in better shape than the offense, but safety is definitely a concern. Seattle released Deion Grant recently, leaving Jordan Babineaux and Jamar Adams as the top starting candidates. Seattle hasn’t had a good secondary since 2005, and a big reason could be that they haven’t drafted a safety since Ken Hamlin in 2003, and have instead opted to fill the position through free agency. (i.e. Brian Russell, Deion Grant, Lawyer Milloy)
4- Running Back/Wide Receiver: Anyone who has watched Seattle the last couple years can see this team desperately needs a game breaker, someone who can score on any given down. Burleson was the closest thing to this, but he is in Detroit now. Many thought Seattle would acquire Brandon Marshall to be the playmaker this offense desires, but Miami won his services. Players like Julius Jones, Justin Forsett, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh can all be solid contributors at the skill position, but none provide the true #1 talent that puts fear into opponents. (i.e. Chris Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, DeSean Jackson)
Notable Picks- and more after the jump!
“Mike Lombardi from the NFL network compared this spot to playing pool: The Seahawks also pick 14th, so they want to make this ‘shot,’ then have the cue ball bounce to a spot where they’ll have another easy shot. This analogy works splendidly unless it’s 2 a.m. and you have some chain-smoking drunk dude trying to pull it off. And I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Pete Carroll might be the chain-smoking drunk dude.”
OT-Russell Okung (Oklahoma State); OT- Trent Williams (Oklahoma); S-Eric Berry (Tennessee)
QB-Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame)
OT-Russell Okung (Oklahoma State)
If Berry is here at 6, he might be too enticing to pass up. However, I think Berry goes to Kansas City at 5, thus making it tough for Seattle to not pick the tackle, Okung (or Williams). This will be a great pick because it addresses tremendous need at a value position. It’s possible that the tackle could be a bust, but the odds are in Seattle’s favor. Considering Carroll and Schneider must get this pick right, it makes sense to go the safest route. Carroll would love to make a splash, and Jimmy Clausen would certainly be that, but even he must realize how crucial it is to build up this offensive line.
RB-CJ Spiller (Clemson); DE-Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech); OT-Bryan Bulaga (Iowa); OT-Anthony Davis (Rutgers); S-Earl Thomas (Texas)
WR-Dez White (Oklahoma State)
TRADE-Seattle sends #14 overall to Philadelphia in exchange for the #24 pick and #70 overall.
I really think the Seahawks want, and will, get out of this pick. I believe Spiller is who they want, but he will probably be gone by now. Derrick Morgan would provide good value at 14, but the gap between the top defensive end and the next best in this draft is not big, so it makes sense to trade back into the 20’s, while also getting another 2nd or 3rd round pick. If one of Earl Thomas, Joe Haden, or Jimmy Clausen have slipped to here, Seattle may very well have a trade partner. If a trade is not available, I see the Hawks taking Derrick Morgan or Earl Thomas, whichever is available. If Spiller has fallen to 14, he is their pick.
S-Taylor Mays (USC); RB-Ryan Matthews (Fresno State); DE-Everson Griffen (USC); DE-Jerry Hughes (TCU); DE-Jason Pierre-Paul (South Florida); OT-Charles Brown (USC)
RB-Jahvid Best (California)
S-Taylor Mays (USC)
If Seattle is successful in moving back in the first round, all signs point towards Taylor Mays coming home. There are so many connections here between Pete Carroll coaching him at USC, Mays growing up in Seattle, and the Seahawks need for a play making safety. If Seattle takes Berry at 6, then obviously this won’t happen. And if that’s the case, offensive line will have to be addressed here, perhaps with Charles Brown; another USC product.
S-Nate Allen (South Florida); WR-Damien Williams (USC); DE-Austin Lane (Murray State); DE-Alex Carrington (Arkansas State); QB-Tim Tebow (Florida)
RB-Joe McKnight (USC); RB-Toby Gerhart (Stanford); RB-Montario Hardesty (Tennessee)
Seattle has serious needs everywhere except maybe Quarterback, Tight End, Linebacker, and Kicker/Punter. That’s the bad news. The good news is this draft is absolutely loaded. Experts are saying even in the 4th and 5th rounds, teams may be able to land starters, which is good news for a team with this many holes. This draft is crucial to Seattle’s rebuilding process. Carroll and Schneider absolutely must hit on 6, 14, and 60. Good drafts can significantly shorten the time that rebuilding takes, and with 7 picks in the first 5 rounds, the Seahawks have an opportunity to fill needs and turn this thing around.
If things play out like I have described, with Russell Okung at 6, a trade down at 14, and Taylor Mays at 24, then I am buying a lottery ticket immediately. Of course, these things are pretty impossible to predict. What Seattle does at 6 will greatly impact their pick at 14, and so on. It is possible they won’t go offensive line with their first pick, especially considering offensive line coach Alex Gibbs’ history of doing more with lesser talent. What can be taken from this is that of the names I have rattled off, a couple will be Seahawks in the next day or two. If we knew how Carroll and Schneider graded the prospects, we might have a more accurate guess, but of course we don’t. We also don’t know the tendencies or patterns on how this new regime will draft, because this is their first in Seattle. For me, this is even more reason to tune in and watch this thing unfold. Happy Draft Day!