Pete Carroll and John Schneider say they aren’t locked into a position this year like they were with the left tackles in 2010. That’s just common sense really, given that the Seahawks are picking 25th overall and not 6th. It’s easier to target a specific position or player when you know that only five will be off the board before your choice. Then again, would you admit to the world if you were planning a big splash?
In his end of season press conference, Carroll contradicted himself slightly. Initially he said improving both lines was crucial during the off season and through the draft, yet at the end he also said re-signing Matt Hasselbeck was the priority. That hasn’t happened, obviously, so does quarterback automatically become the biggest need? Personally I’ve always felt it was by far the biggest need because Hasselbeck will be 36 this September – almost certainly making him the oldest starting quarterback in the league. The team can look at stopgaps and hope solutions appear once a CBA is finally agreed (or the injunction forces free agency) but it’s high time this team invested in a quarterback for the long haul.
I have no idea what the Seahawks are planning for April 28th. I suspect if they are leaning towards one position – such as the quarterback – they could be aggressive in acquiring the guy they want. I don’t think any of the top four quarterbacks will make it past the middle of round one, so I’d at least look to see how far up the board I could get using the team’s second round pick (#57 overall). When all is said and done, one second round pick to try and secure the quarterback position long term is small change. Yes the team has major needs across the board, but you need to be aggressive sometimes – particularly with quarterbacks.
It doesn’t always have to be a big move either. Tampa Bay moved up two spots in 2009 – from #19 to #17 – in order to guarantee they’d draft Josh Freeman. It only cost the Buccs a 6th round pick, which in hindsight was an absolute bargain. Teams will take a chance moving down, so it makes sense to see what is out there. Let me ask you this… if the Buccs had spent a second round pick instead to get further up the board and draft Freeman, would you say that was a bad move now?
That’s not to say any of the 2011 quarterbacks will have the impact Freeman has had in Tampa Bay and obviously if you don’t believe in Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett (the two quarterbacks I believe the team could logically target via trade) it’s not a move you’re considering at all. If you do look at these guys and see franchise quarterback potential – I would argue you should do what it takes to get them. The Seahawks can’t fully rebuild until they have their long term quarterback on the roster. Build to their strengths, limit the weaknesses. This is the time to make the investment, don’t set out a scheme today with the new offensive coordinator which may need to be modified in 12 months time.
How easy is it to trade up these days? Let me refer you to my recent article on the subject.
We can also look at last year’s draft – the best starting point for considering big trades up the board. San Diego went from #28 all the way up to #12, trading with the Dolphins. The deal included Miami receiving a second round pick (#40). The two teams also swapped fourth round picks (to the benefit of San Diego) and the Chargers also received a sixth round selection.
Obviously Seattle’s second round pick is 17-picks lower than the one San Diego traded to Miami, but then the Chargers also received compensation in later round stock for sacrificing the #40.
The very next pick, Philadelphia traded #24 to Denver for the #13 selection. It cost the Eagles two third round picks (#70 and #87) worth approximately 415 points according to NFL Draft 101′s updated trade value chart. The chart says Philly over paid slightly, but Seattle’s #57 pick is worth around 350 points. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that teams in the 10-16 range will be willing to move down to acquire another second round pick.
I know a lot people do not rate Locker and Mallett as highly as me (I have Mallett ranked very highly on my big board). I’m not the only one who believes Ryan Mallett can have a Philip Rivers-style impact on the league and manage an offense similar to the one we see in San Diego. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted this today:
Phil Simms with Tim Ryan and Pat Kirwan on QB Ryan Mallett: “If he’s not a top 10 player (in this draft), then I quit.”
NFL Films guru Greg Cosell also chipped in on the debate:
Studied more Mallet. Best NFL skill set in draft. Physical pocket presence. Delivered in muddied pocket. Willing to make stick throws. Know nothing about off-field. On film, possesses more NFL traits than Gabbert or Newton, plus NFL pass concepts in college. Mallet pocket mobility a concern. But after 400 snaps saw a number of plays in which he moved, re-set and delivered accurately.
Like I said, I know people will disagree completely with the suggestion of moving up and the guys I’m touting as the motive. If I can trade up and take a shot on Ryan Mallett based purely on the tape, I’m doing it. We hear all about the character problems, yet nobody has ever gone into details and shown hard evidence. I’ve never met the guy, I can’t judge him. Maybe my opinion changes after several meetings, work outs and dinner’s? Watching the tape I’m seeing the physical tools, the pro-concepts, the ability to diagnose a defense, progress through his reads and be accurate enough to make the big arm effective. He’s not flawless, I know every argument that is critical of his game. Even so, if I can secure Mallett using the #25 and the #57 I’m doing it.
For people wondering about scheme – I say adapt it. Mimic Norv Turner’s offense in San Diego. Task Tom Cable to create a clean pocket – why else do you make the big splash on an offensive line coach? Of course you need players too, so go get a Gallery or a Joseph to play guard, consider re-signing Chris Spencer and find the way to upgrade the right tackle position without needing to spend the top picks (it is possible, believe it or not). Kansas City turned their offensive line from a major negative into a great positive in a short space of time, it isn’t impossible if you have the right plan.
Is this realistic? I have my doubts, not only because you’ll need to find a willing trade partner – but I also remain unconvinced Pete Carroll and John Schneider feel the way I do about Mallett. That’s just a hunch.
When EA Sports were looking for a Seahawks star to put in the cover competition for Madden 12, they chose the fans. Such is the dearth of playmakers and star quality on the Seahawks roster. That can change very quickly with the right investment at quarterback - just ask Atlanta, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Baltimore. Sure they all have better supporting casts than the Seahawks right now (borderline re: St.Louis) but they were all bad enough at one point to draft a quarterback early. Tampa Bay are the exception, but they were 3-13 before Freeman took over as the full-time starter. Atlanta and Baltimore had four and five wins respectively before drafting Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco in 2008. St. Louis were a one-win team.
To win in this league, you need a quarterback. If the Seahawks see a franchise quarterback available in round one, they need to be pro-active.
I’d like to draw attention to some design changes for the blog which will be in place shortly after the draft. I’m going to incorporate a new ‘home page’ which will largely be used to highlight articles that have moved off the front page and are not time sensitive. It’s also a chance to incorporate an on-going poll and some YouTube tape. It’ll also mean modifications to the menu bar. Obviously this will mean needing to click a link to get to the actual blog, so I want your feedback on that. You can see a teaser for the new look by clicking here.
I also want to test the water for perhaps running a live chat programme on the blog during the first two days of the draft. Is this something you’d be interested in?