Where do we start? Seattle has so many holes left by the Tim Ruskell/Jim More regime, dug deeper by Pete Carroll and John Schneider, it would make a mole jealous.
What we do have, however, is two picks in the top 15 in a draft that is considered very deep at the offensive line. And Brandon Marshall is no longer a possibility for one of those picks being traded away.
The first problem always lies in figuring out what you have before determining what you need. Obviously the Seahawks have needs all over the field. Linebacker was a possible strong spot until Leroy Hill got arrested for allegedly beating his live-in girlfriend. Lofa Tatupu bulked up so much he is a constant injury scare.
Offensive line questions start with the status of Walter Jones. He tweeted that he was retiring, but nothing has been filed at league headquarters and Jones is notorious for his preference to miss training camps. While I’d love to see big Walt back on the left tackle spot, I don’t want him out there at the detriment of his future and his legacy. If he can’t play then he should retire and relax while waiting for his ticket to the Hall of Fame.
A lot of stock is being laid at offensive line guru Alex Gibb’s feet right now in Hawk Land. I’m curious if he really can put together a completed jigsaw puzzle out of the mishmash of pieces currently on the roster. Sean Locklear played average, at best, in replacing Jones at left tackle but he’s more naturally a right tackle. Chris Spencer, a Ruskell first round pick, hasn’t settled in at center and looked better at guard. Max Unger played decent at center but is still very raw. Recently signed nine-year veteran guard Ben Hamilton from the Broncos could solidify things nicely. The best lineman drafted by Ruskell (Rob Sims) was traded to Detroit.
I’d love to see Russell Okung of Oklahoma State fall to the sixth pick but I don’t see him getting out of the top 5. If he doesn’t, Seattle could take Trent Williams from Oklahoma or Bryan Bulaga of Iowa there. But I’d rather see them go a different direction if Okung isn’t there. Anthony Davis of Rutgers and Charles Brown of USC would be definite reaches that high.
D-Line, particularly at end, is another set of problems. Patrick Kerney retired and Seattle traded their best lineman, Darryl Tapp, to Philadelphia for Chris Clemons — this is not an upgrade at all. The team could use another edge rusher, possibly Derrick Morgan from Georgia Tech. I’d like them to take a long look at Jerry Hughes from TCU. He scored well at the NFL combine and has numbers comparable to Kerney, Elvis Dumervil, and Dwight Freeney. Not bad company at all.
Safety Eric Berry from Tennessee, if he lasts to the sixth pick, would be the definite favorite if Okung is gone. I’m not sold on Taylor Mays with the 14th pick and he won’t last to the second round. Seattle cut Deon Grant and has nothing in cupboard for a safety. Jordan Babineaux is better as a nickelback than a safety. The corners have been pretty blah thanks to the Kelly Jennings and Josh Wilson picks. Seattle needs a tall corner that can run but who doesn’t? None of the top prospects this year touch six feet tall.
Running back CJ Spiller out of Clemson could be a nice fit with the 14th pick. He would complement Justin Forsett very well and hopefully end the Julius Jones era in Seattle.
Swapping second round picks with San Diego for Charlie Whitehurst gave me more questions than answers with the quarterback position. Trading Seneca Wallace to Cleveland cleared a spot on the bench for Whitehurst and reunited Wallace with Holmgren in Ohio. Conventional wisdom — i.e. me and my drinking buddies — seems to say that Seattle is sticking with Hasselbeck for at least this season, while seeing if Whitehurst and Teel are the future and, most importantly, not drafting Jimmy Claussen or Tim Tebow. If Hasselbeck goes down, and his recent history says that’s more likely than not to happen, and Whitehurst and Teal don’t produce, Seattle is in line to possibly get Jake Locker from the University of Washington in the 2011 draft.
The wide receiver position is a mess. You know it’s bad when Nate Burleson jumped ship to the Lions the day free agency opened. That’s why the Seahawks flirted with Brandon Marshall.
I don’t know if the flirtation was serious but it showed how the Seahawks were as desperate as a teen aged virgin at a school dance. Golden Tate of Notre Dame and Dez Bryant from Oklahoma State are the top prospects at receiver. Tate isn’t rated high enough to be worth either Seahawks pick, but Bryant could be good at 14. Seattle picked up Reggie and Mike Williams of Jacksonville and Detroit/Oakland fame respectively off the free agent wire for a look in camp. Hopefully one or both will realize this may be their last chance and respond accordingly.
The wild card in the whole equation is that no one knows what the strategy is for the Seahawks front office. Who’s in charge? Paul Allen is not a Jerry Jones/Dan Snyder type owner, so he won’t be trying to run the show if he’s there at all. He’ll leave all the details to his top men, that’s what he pays them for. Pete Carroll sure seems to be but the word is that the team went after Whitehurst on John Schneider’s recommendation.
My dream draft, barring any trades, would be Okung at No. 6. If he is gone than Berry should still be there. Either player immediately upgrades their position and are the kind of talent to build around. From that point, I would be happy with Spiller at 14 and then using later picks to build depth on the lines.
The draft rarely goes the way anyone predicts, particularly the talking heads with massive hair. I’m going to be intrigued to see what happens. Carroll, Schneider, and the Seahawks have a lot riding on this draft and a lot of holes to fill. Getting it right will go a long way towards rebuilding this franchise.
Getting it wrong? Well, we all remember Rick Mirer, Dan McGwire, and Brian Bosworth, don’t we?