Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SEAHAWKS: What you can expect from the Hawks' draft

The NFL draft is the easiest most cost-efficient way to build a successful NFL team. Think about it. All the consistently good teams (Green Bay, New England, Indianapolis) have traded for draft picks instead of breaking the bank for big free agents, often finding talented players late in the draft (Tom Brady, Donald Driver, etc.).

The Seahawks look to do the same.

Pete Carroll started his Seahawks drafting career with a bang last year, nabbing Earl Thomas and Russell Okung in the first round and Golden Tate in the second round, who all contributed in 2010 (Thomas especially). I mean, Carroll and GM John Schneider kind of got lucky with two first round picks, but nonetheless had a good draft.

The draft won’t be handed to the Hawks this year.

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Schneider will only have one 1st rounder (25th overall), one 2nd rounder (57), zero third rounders, a 4th, two 5th rounders, a 6th, and a 7th. If you’re wondering why the Seahawks don’t have a third rounder, it’s because they have it up to the Chargers in exchange for Charlie Whitehurt last year.

So, because of their low number of draft picks, John Schneider has repeatedly said that the Seahawks will look to trade down. And by that, he means he wants to trade that 1st round pick for possibly two 3rd rounders, a 2nd and a 3rd, a 2nd and two 4ths, whatever. In the end, all Schneider wants is to acquire more draft picks. That’s all.

Alright, so now that you know the Hawk’s draft positions, here’s the big question: What players can we expect from the Seahawks’ draft?

Before we answer that question, let’s look at the Seahawks’ biggest needs (in no particular order).

- Offensive guard(s)
- Another corner opposite Marcus Trufant
- Strong Safety
- Quarterback (If Matt Hasselbeck not re-signed)
- Defensive tackle (If Brandon Mebane not re-signed)

Let’s talk about the Quarterback spot first because, well, it’s the most interesting. The 2011 draft class is rich in quarterbacks, with Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, and Ryan Mallett all potentially getting drafted in the first round. The issue isn’t the QB talent, it’s one stupid word that we’ve all heard for last two months that has thrown a wrench into the Seahawks’ plans.


With the NFL having been in a lockout, the Seahawks haven’t been to re-sign or officially say no to Matt Hasselbeck. So if you’re John Schneider, do you take the risk of drafting a quarterback in the first round, letting go of Matt, and having the new guy and Whitehurst duke it out for a starting job? Or do you NOT draft a QB, re-sign Hasselbeck, and let Matt and Charlie compete for a starting job? But what happens if you DON’T draft a QB, and CAN’T re-sign Matt? That just leaves us with Charlie Whitehurst as the only QB.

So as you can see, Pete Carroll and John Schneider are going to have to make an extremely tough decision regarding the quarterback. The Defensive tackle spot is the same exact way. Brandon Mebane is a free agent this year (but still on the team because of the lockout), so do you risk wasting your first rounder on a position where there is no need (trusting Mebane is signed).

But there are some undeniable positions of need.

Kelly Jennings.
 His forehead is bigger than yours
 Like the corner spot. Kelly Jennings just sucks and has his whole career, and Marcus Trufant is showing signs of slowing down. What the Seahawks need is a #1 corner, but because of how low their draft position is, I don’t see them getting any superstar cornerback. The top two, LSU’s Patrick Peterson and Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara will surely be gone by pick 25, so it looks like we are going to have to sign a free agent or cringe at Kelly Jennings for another year.

As much as I love Lawyer Milloy, he just got burned so often last season, it got tough to watch. So, you would like to think the Seahawks could draft another safety, but unlike last year where Earl Thomas fell in their lap at pick, it’s probably not going to happen. At the very least, expect the Hawks to draft a safety in the later rounds.

Finally, we have the guard spot. This position was a revolving door last season, with Tyler Polumbus being the most consistent performer. Strong defensive tackles picked the Seahawks apart last season, so expect to see the Hawks to possibly draft someone like Florida State’s Rodney Hudson in the second round.

The Seahawks, at a slight disadvantage in the draft with not 3rd round pick, can still make this a productive draft. It won’t be the slam dunk like it was last season, but I don’t see John Schneider pulling an Al Davis move and drafting someone ridiculous.

Here’s my mock draft:

Round 1 (if it’s not traded at this point): DT Marvin Austin I don’t see the Seahawks re-signing Brandon Mebane; he’s going to ask for a lot of money. Austin is the best defensive tackle on the board at this point in the draft.

Round 2: Rodney Hudson Maybe Marshawn Lynch would have more Super Mario Bros. star-styled runs if the Seahawks had better blocking up front. The Seahawks will need a new interior lineman to replace injury-prone free agent Chris Spencer. Hudson is also perfect for Tom Cable's blocking scheme.

Round 4: If we don't take CB Jimmy Smith at No. 25, a corner like Jalil Brown will be an option in Round 4.

After this point, only Mel Kiper Jr. knows.

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