Last time the Seahawks owned the #25 pick in 2008 they traded down. Will history repeat this year or could Pete Carroll and John Schneider consider moving up the board?
For the basis of this article I’m going to refer to my latest mock draft (updated yesterday) which you can view by clicking here.
Ever since the playoff defeat to Chicago, I’ve really thought there’s a strong possibility the Seahawks will attempt to trade up in the 2011 draft. This is a 7-9 team and by rights would be picking in the middle of round one in any other NFL season. This is the first team with a losing record to make the playoffs and one magical performance against the defending Super Bowl Champs doesn’t change the fact that this is a roster needing to add impact and quality.
It’s important to stress that I don’t think moving up is anything like a formality. Fans will always tout the possibility of moving down – it’s classic ‘rosterbation’ (to coin a Field Gulls phrase) to want as many selections as possible and to assume you can hit on any extra picks you collect. In reality, the quality market becomes thinner the lower you select. In winning the playoff game against New Orleans, it’s almost like Seattle already traded down. They swapped a pick in the teens for a memorable night of playoff football – and I doubt anyone regrets that trade.
But will the team be pro-active in moving back up the board?
I see no evidence to suggest Carroll and Schneider won’t strongly consider that possibility. They were certainly pro-active in the Charlie Whitehurst trade, taking a gamble on finding a quarterback solution. The various trades involving Leon Washington et al were all pro-active decisions. The continuos roster turn over? Pro-active. To some degree the players they chose in last year’s draft could be classified as ‘pro-active’ – especially players like Earl Thomas and Golden Tate who were viewed as playmakers although obviously enjoyed contrasting rookie years.
Courting Brandon Marshall was a pro-active move. Trading for Marshawn Lynch was pro-active. Whether you believe the talk or not, both Carson Palmer and Kevin Kolb have been heavily linked to the Seahawks in expensive deals. Would you rule out any truth to those rumors?
While Schneider has openly talked about the value of picks, this is a team that has left no stone unturned in improving the roster and they’ve been anything but conservative. Why wouldn’t they move up in the 2011 draft if the situation was right?
One stumbling block could be a lack of valuable stock. With no third round pick the Seahawks really only have the #25 and #57 to barter this year in order to make a big jump. They have the option to throw in future picks and as we saw with the Whitehurst trade, this is something they won’t shirk away from. As an example, Seattle’s #25, #57 and 2012 second round pick would be worth 1195 points in the draft trade chart. That could be enough to move up as high as the #12 or #13 pick.
It’d be a steep cost – making day two of this year’s draft a non-event in Seattle and leaving the team without their second round pick next year. You’d have to say that such a move would likely be made for a quarterback.
I wouldn’t rule out such a move (especially given Seattle’s great need at QB) but it’s impossible to project. Let’s not forget how cheaply and aggresively New York moved to acquire Mark Sanchez in 2009. How many people imagined Denver would trade one of their 2010 first round picks to the Seahawks to draft Phonso Smith only to cut him a year later? Trades are as much of an inexact science as the draft itself.
A smaller move up the board is surely a possibility? Trading #25, #98 (round four) and one of the team’s 5th round picks (#153) could get you into the #20-22 range. If my last mock draft proved true that could be enough to target a player suffering a surprise fall, the top offensive guard (Mike Pouncey) or a rough diamond like Jimmy Smith. Some could argue the logic in trading three picks to move up just a handful of spots, but the team essentially gained the 4th and extra 5th round pick in trading Deion Branch and Josh Wilson – two players who were unlikely to stay with the team beyond the 2010 season anyway.
It’d be an aggressive move to get a more preferable prospect than, for example, a Muhammad Wilkerson type player. This front office has been consistently aggressive and my own personal view is that if you can move up three spots to draft Jimmy Smith, you make that move.
The draft trade chart is sometimes thrown out of the window as I touched on earlier. Dallas’ trade with Seattle in 2008 involved moving up three places (#28 to #25) for a 5th and 7th round pick. In this scenario Seattle were happy to collect additional picks knowing Lawrence Jackson would still be available at #28. A team’s determination to move down (as witnessed by Cleveland’s significant move south in 2009) can dictate the value of a jump up.
I’m willing to be proven wrong here and really this is just an example of ‘thinking out loud’ but I cannot envisage the Seahawks going along quietly in the 2011 draft. The idea of this front office waiting until #25 and just taking whoever is left atop their board seems almost unrealistic. Can you imagine Pete Carroll pacing around that war room knowing ‘his guy’ is there at #20 or #21 and not getting something done? Perhaps that’s a great disservice to the HC’s restraint.
But I keep coming back to the pro-active nature of this front office. This is a rebuild that’s had a solid start and that needs to keep ticking along. There are so many key areas of need, least of all quarterback. I suspect if free agency was open for business, they may have already traded that #25 pick. Will the Seahawks be aggressive on April 28th? That remains to be seen but I wouldn’t bet against it.
Thursday draft links
Dan Kelly is the new lead writer at Field Gulls. I urge everyone to support Dan in this move and check out his articles. He’s a talented writer and I’m looking forward to seeing his reputation develop in front of a wider audience.
There were two key pro-days yesterday at Washington and USC. Jake Locker had a good work out watched by the majority of Seattle’s coaching staff. Tyron Smith was the star of the show in SoCal. Fellow Trojan and Seahawks Draft Blog follower Malcolm Smith also worked out and will visit with the Seahawks soon. For those not aware, he’s the brother of New York wide out Steve Smith.
Walter Cherepinsky’s updated mock continues to place Colorado’s Jimmy Smith at #25. That would be a steal for the Seahawks.
McShay also discusses Clemson’s pro-day (see video below) which will feature Da’Quan Bowers. He missed the combine through injury.