Can the Seahawks pick 11th and draft a quarterback?

November 15th, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

Matt Barkley is good, but is he a top-ten lock?

Right now the Seahawks own the 11th overall pick in the draft. That’s probably going to change by the end of the year, but it’s a far cry from the top-five pick many people were expecting before Sunday’s win over Baltimore. Can the Seahawks still draft a quarterback if they are picking outside of the top-ten?

Sure. It’s completely possible.

As things stand, Indianapolis, Miami, Washington and Cleveland are all due to pick before Seattle. It’s assumed all four teams picking above the Seahawks will draft a quarterback, but is that really such a foregone conclusion?

What if the Colts decide to avoid nearly $30m in guarantees by cutting Peyton Manning before next March prior to drafting Andrew Luck? Wouldn’t Dan Snyder fall over his own feet trying to bring Manning to Washington? Would the Miami Dolphins see Manning as a proven veteran fix to their Dan Marino hangover? The Colts drafting first overall brings Manning into play as a possible free-agent option for other teams and while he is approaching the back end of his career, there’s sure to be interest if he can prove he’s fully recovered from neck surgery.

How about if Manning does recover and Indianapolis stands by the man that’s played the biggest part in building that franchise? After all, Manning’s made a few reputations for many other people during his time with the Colts. If they decide to have one last run with Peyton over the next four years remaining on his contract, could they possibly trade the rights to Andrew Luck for a kings ransom? Cleveland has two first round choices in 2012 and could add a third first rounder in 2013 to tempt Indianapolis. Although a deal is still highly unlikely, it could potentially allow the Colts to re-load for a legitimate shot at further Super Bowl success over the next few years without enduring any growing pains with a rookie and a bad roster. This scenario could impact two of Seattle’s rivals for the other quarterbacks.

Last April most people expected Washington to draft Blaine Gabbert when he fell to the 10th pick. The Redskins were desperate for a quarterback and this was a perfect match, right? Wrong. Shanahan traded away Gabbert to Jacksonville and ended up drafting defensive end Ryan Kerrigan later in the first round. With such a refined criteria in what he looks for in a quarterback, Shanahan isn’t going to settle on whatever highly ranked player simply remains on the board. What if the answer doesn’t present itself next April? Will Shanahan draft a quarterback he doesn’t really want? It’s hard to believe.

And then there’s Mike Holmgren in Cleveland – a man who has always trusted the system he works with and made it the true MVP. Is it such a long shot that Holmgren decides to wait it out on a quarterback, or even make a trade for a lesser known player already in the NFL? It worked with Matt Hasselbeck in Seattle and the Browns’ only rookie investment in a quarterback so far was a third round pick on struggling Colt McCoy. The good money is on Cleveland spending a round one pick on a quarterback next April but nothing is certain.

What if teams buy into the Cincinnati way of doing things? Last April, the Bengals drafted AJ Green in the top five and took Andy Dalton in round two. Could a team like Miami realistically see Trent Richardson as a can’t miss prospect? Perhaps they’d draft Richardson in round one before looking at the second tier quarterback prospects at the top of round two? It’s not the way I’d go about building an offense, but the NFL is a copycat league and Cincinnati’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed.

We also have to consider the individuals involved and how they fit into this situation, because every team evaluates talent differently. Last year, some teams wouldn’t have drafted Jake Locker in round one at all – yet Tennessee (and I suspect Washington) would happily draft the guy in the top ten. The player or players Seattle are targeting might be very different from the group Cleveland or Washington are hoping for, presenting a similar dynamic to what we saw this year with Locker, Gabbert and Christian Ponder all going to teams we didn’t necessarily expect. Like Jacksonville last year, there’s nothing stopping the Seahawks making a small move up the board. That five-spot trade into the top ten cost the Jaguars a second rounder – hardly a small fortune if Gabbert works out in Florida.

It’s assumed by some that players like Matt Barkley will be sure-fire top-ten picks, yet there’s such a difference in opinion among scouts, pundits and fans – we just don’t know what will happen. Some view Barkley as an elite prospect, quoting his impressive technique, high football IQ and success this year with USC. Others are sceptical due to a lack of truly elite physical qualities and size. I asked Kevin Wiedl at Scouts Inc where he graded Barkley. “First round for sure, just don’t know how high” he replied, adding, ”I think he’ll go anywhere between 10 and 20.” Even those who see Barkley as a fine prospect are not convinced he’ll be a top-ten choice.

There’s one guarantee in the 2012 draft and that’s Andrew Luck being taken first overall. After that, it’s anyone’s guess how the dice will fall. Perhaps we see another classic rush on quarterbacks comparable to this year’s event when four left the board after the first twelve picks? Maybe it’s less frenetic in 2012? Either way it’s far too soon to write off Seattle’s chance of drafting a long-term quarterback solution in next year’s draft, even if they continue winning.

Seattle hasn’t drafted a quarterback in round one for approaching 19 years. Picking as early as possible gives you a better shot at finding someone you like but picking later doesn’t eliminate the opportunity completely. The Seahawks can pick outside the top-ten and draft the right quarterback for this team’s future in round one.

34 Responses to “Can the Seahawks pick 11th and draft a quarterback?”

  1. Glen says:

    Tampa Bay got Freeman at 17…all said he was the better prospect than Sanchez…I wonder if RG3 declares a FO (hopefully ours) views his skills worthy to be the long term solution.

  2. Alex says:

    The interesting thing though is that the QB position is such an unpredictable draft spot to predict. Mark Sanchez, from my knowledge, was originally touted as early 2nd round prospect. However, as the draft process moved along, he went from 2nd round to late 1st to mid 1st to top 10. And soon enough, he was drafted #6. Matt Barkley may be mid 1st now, but he could make a similar move into the top 5 by the end of the draft process.

    • Rob says:

      It wouldn’t be a surprise Alex. After all, I’d draft Matt Barkley with the second overall pick already and many would agree that judgement.

  3. erik says:

    I like this post. It has lifted my spirits.

    Rob, one thing I would add to your scenario’s is one where the “Luck family” decides that being Manning’s back-up is not an option. While, Luck would certainly learn a bit from Manning as his understudy it can’t compare to playing actual games. In fact I recall Payton Manning being the biggest proponent of that and has often cited his 98′ as critical to his development. There is also the controversy of the Polian’s with the local press pointing to nepotism for the Colts talent holes. Furthermore, Caldwell has not worn well this season. If Luck were to get picked by IND and kept he would be at the center of an ongoing drama. That would not die while both were on the team. Oliver Luck could very well play a role similar to Archie Manning and force a trade to a more stable situation that would provide a clean slate for his son to begin his career instead of having to succeed a hall of famer. I think that the Colts would then be forced to either risk Luck going back to school, trade him, or cut Manning. Your scenario jumped ahead to the Colts dumping Manning so I thought I’d share what I have been thinking would lead to such an outcome.

  4. Jason says:

    I agree with Rob, it will be Luck-Barkley as the top 2.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Cleveland go for Landry Jones.

    Shanahan will pick Tannehill in the second in my opinion.

    If Griffin declares, Seattle should grab him with the 11th pick.

  5. Colin says:

    The major wildcard in all of this is Landry Jones. Really, we need him to win out and play lights out. Get the hype machine going. I’m not worried about him going to Seattle because no matter his success he has very few of the qualities Carroll and Schneider look for. Maybe a Miami or Washington takes him.

    Another big thing that I hope gets involved is Pete’s experience with Barkley. This may be a very large factor. Pete may just be dying to get Barkley in here- maybe. And it should be noted he has final say over personnel decisions.

    If Pete and John want a certain QB this spring, I believe they are going to do what’s necessary to get him. Being aggressive is their MO. And the way they have drafted so far, I fully trust their decision making.

  6. Kip Earlywine says:

    I agree Rob. While things can and often do change, the quarterback hierarchy after Luck isn’t set in stone, and with the continued emergence of Robert Griffin, that quarterback order could actually become murkier near draft day.

    I’ll probably have an article up about this soon, but the 2012 draft strikes me as being in the 2009 or 2005 side of the draft spectrum. In other words, drafts that were regarded as weak and less top heavy. You know what else those drafts had in common? Despite being perceived as a weak crop, the best quarterback from the 2009 group wasn’t drafted until #17 (Josh Freeman). The best quarterback in 2005 wasn’t drafted until #24 (a guy you might have heard of: Aaron Rodgers).

    Similarly, while I don’t want to predict anything too bold for Barkley, I have to say that the bizarre doublespeak regarding his draft stock is the strangest and most disconnected I’ve seen since Aaron Rodgers. Draft Pundits everywhere struggle to find substantial negatives, and yet they grade him in the mid to late 1st round for no apparent reason. Similarly, people didn’t have anything negative to say about Rodgers, other than that he was a “Tedford” QB. Like Barkley, Rodgers was punished by evaluators by association. Rodgers was associated with guys like Kyle Boller. Barkley has been associated with Jimmy Clausen. Both associations were/are lazy and far, far off the mark, but at least in Rodgers case, the damage was done. It could be the same for Barkley. And some very lucky team could end up reaping the benefits of that.

    • Rugby Lock says:

      Here’s hoping that the Hawks are the ones who benefit!!

    • Tom says:

      Kip, there aren’t substantial negatives on Barkley because he plays such a conservative game managing position but does that make him worthy of a top 5 selection? I like him but don’t see the NFL upside to his game. He doesn’t go anything that says, that’s a guy I’d like under center with the game on the line. Barkley is a safe and conservative selection.

      I’m not sure why nobody had any Barkley comments in the you tubes I dissected of his play vs Colorado and U.W. Everyone seems to love him but won’t spend a few minutes looking at the tape and telling the world “why you like him.”

      http://seahawksdraftblog.com/matt-barkley-qb-usc-game-tape-vs-washington#comments

      Or the Colorado game

      http://seahawksdraftblog.com/matt-barkley-qb-usc-vs-colorado-game-tape#comments

      I like Barkley and believe he’s more NFL ready today than RG3, but if you put me in a Seattle war room, I’d break down the tape and believe RG3 has a higher ceiling than Barkley.

      Call me crazy but I watched a lot of Warren Moon in Houston with Givens, Hill and Jeffries and RG3 throws that same effortless ball like Warren used to chuck.

      I’m still surprised that NOT 1 person spent a few minutes to evaluate Barkley tape but then those same guys talk like Barkley should go #2 or #3. I hope Barkley isn’t an option and we get a blessing and go RG3 instead.

      • Rob says:

        Tom – we’ve broken down Barkley many times on here. All you have to do is click ‘archives’ and search for ‘Matt Barkley’. At one point this place might as well have been re-named MattBarkley.com. Eventually we have to look at other players. Our projections are based on tape only. It’s why we don’t talk about players we haven’t scouted.

        I don’t agree that Barkley plays in an ultra conservative offense or that he himself is conservative. He makes several low percentage completions, he’s asked to make a wide range of different throws. Every quarterback in college runs a lot of screens, it’s succesful and therefore works for a lot of teams. It’s the throws Barkley is asked to make that are low percentage that are key. Every throw doesn’t have to be in that category, just enough to judge whether he can do it every week on a Sunday.

        • Tom says:

          I’m not talking just about you, Rob, just the many other viewers who claim to love Barkley but didn’t give any critique in the Colorado or U.W. game. It was silence of the lambs.

          I wish there was a way jmpasq could do a split screen video of Barkley and Sanchez at the same time. Watching the Jets vs Broncos in the 1st qtr right now, it’s the same guy. Sanchez throws everything short, then hits Holmes on a really nice slant when the cb is off. Then on the next play, Sanchez shoulder pump fakes exactly like Barkley, moves his feet in the pocket exactly like Barkley and finds his receiver short of the first down with a similar throwing motion from the same 6’2″ QB like Barkley. omg…

          It’s not a negative, either, just a pretty accurate observation. ha ha. I like Barkley but if you’ve read my past 2 dissecting write ups, the middle of the field and anticipatory stick throws aren’t there or aren’t good and that’s against poor Pac 12 secondaries.

          I’ll take RG3 and his upside all day long.

    • shams says:

      Freeman over Stafford for best QB of 2009? I can’t agree.

  7. Jim J says:

    Assuming that 3 QBs go off the board before we can pick, and that Trent Richardson is available, what would be the advantage to picking Trent Richardson in round one and the fifth plus QB off the board in round two?

    • Jeriod Klovas says:

      Kinda reminiscent of the Minnesota Vikings taking AP early and going with Tavaris Jackson as QB, I don’t dislike this strategy. Get a fresh all around back with game breaking speed with size and power to be an all down back. Would fit in nicely with young O line beginning to gel.

      • Meatwad says:

        Man, this is stressing me out. I want Seattle to win, and I want to attend the games and leave happy. However we all know the niners have the division and the more they win the worse seattle is off.

        Luck, Barkely. I would hope they are able to move up and don’t miss out. :(

  8. Ryan says:

    We can also hope that Holmgren will remember his success with one Alabama RB in Seattle, and start building his offense with Richardson in R1 (instead of a QB).

    • Jim J says:

      It would be interesting. If we can’t get the top 3 or 4 QBs, there is a whole field of QBs to evaluate. Case Keenum anyone? How about Weeden or Foley in the 3-7 rounds? Arizona has a fifth rounder playing this week.

      • David says:

        If Weeden wasnt nearly the same age as Whitehurst at this point (28 I believe) then i think he might be projected higher. He is older though and will be 29 when he comes into the league.

  9. Ryan says:

    I just don’t see Indy picking a QB. Most likely, they’ll trade the #1 to somebody else. Yay, because:

    1. Seattle could get him.
    2. Miami/Washington/Cleveland could get him.

    While I don’t agree that Luck is the best QB prospect of our generation (we saw in the Oregon game how mortal he looked when he had pressure on him), he’s still probably the best QB this year, and therefore a legit #1 pick. If we get him, hooray, though it’d be extremely expensive from a high-med draft position (10-15).

    IMHO, Miami, Washington, Seattle, and Cleveland are the only teams in that range that will be thinking QB. St. Louis, Minnesota, Arizona, and Jacksonville might take Luck if they backed into the #1 spot, but I don’t see them giving up the king’s ransom to trade into it.

    That leaves four teams (MIA, WAS, CLE, SEA) for four probable first round QBs (Luck, Barkley, Jones, Griffin). As Rob says, there’s still a good chance at least one of these teams skips QB. The odds are good we’d get one if things break this way, but is it the one Carroll & Co. prefer?

  10. Nick says:

    What about Ryan Mallett? He isn’t even on the active roster for the Patriots and could be shopped around at the end of the season. I realize that he isn’t the most mobile fella in the world, but his arm strength is better than any of the QBs being mentioned above, and he might be available for a lot less than what it would cost to move up and select Barkley.

    Having said that, I would prefer if the Seahawks let the draft come to them, which would set things up perfectly for the ‘Hawks to draft RGIII (should he come out). Of course, he has questions too (has he ever taken a snap from under center?), but really, who doesn’t?

    • David says:

      I would love to draft RGIII, I love his game, I think he will blossom into something good.

      I was also thinking of this scenario though. Richardson in the 1st and A. Davis in the 2nd.

      and as for Mallet, I dont think Pete would be interested due to his lack of mobility. I believe Pete said before he wants a Mobile QB which is why we got Tarvaris among other reasons.

      • Tom says:

        I would like RG3, too, but Richardson in the 1st and a 3rd – 5th round QB prospect in the 2nd? I’d get sick.

        I don’t want a 1st rd running back selection under any circumstance when we don’t have a QB, don’t have a bonafide pass rush and still need another CB and their shelf life and overall impact isn’t that great.

        • Meatwad says:

          Many teams do not invest a high or even a first round pick on RB’s anymore. The past few years we saw 1-3 RB’s in the first round for a variety of reasons. Average life span of a RB is what, 3 years? Please correct if that number is way off. Also, Good RB’s can be picked up in 2nd and later rounds.

          Seattle needs a franchise QB and a quality pass rusher. One sack or less per week! Ugh. More depth in our lines too.

  11. kevin mullen says:

    I live in San Diego and listen to the ESPN affiliate here and all they talk about Barkley 24/7. Word is that Barkley is thinking about staying for his last year so that he can put his team in a bowl-worthy plus possibly national championship contention. Not sure how legit this is but look at his roster: Woods (WR) possibly the best WR in country by next year, Curtis McNeal RB, a semi-Bush/Lendale White-esque type runningback. Defense is legit and stout…

    This team will be stacked in 2012 and all the reason for Barkley to stay to cement himself as a true #1 overall pick, assuming Luck leaves in 2011. I’d almost be surprised if Barkley leaves for 2012 Draft…

    • kevin mullen says:

      corrections:

      *Luck leaves AFTER 2011 season, as a true #1 overall pick.

      **Barkley stays for 2012/2013 season

      • Rob says:

        At the same time, Matt Kalil is turning pro and Barkley has been there three years already and is ready for the NFL. I doubt he’s made a decision yet and that a positive grade from the draft committee could have some influence. There is some talent at USC but the more I watch Robert Woods the less enthused I become with his play. I wouldn’t say he’s that good to bring a guy back to school. Barkley has a tough choice, but either option is still open. And I just can’t see USC being National Champ contenders next year.

        • Meatwad says:

          I listend to an interview on ESPN a week or two ago. He mentioned a Bowl game is not a reason why he would stay at USC another year. He mentioned, his words, that a bowl game is just one game. He said it is 50/50 right now, and he is more concerned about whether or not he is ‘ready’ and if he can improve more before moving to the nfl

          • Rob says:

            In my eyes he’s completely ready. I’m not sure how his game can improve any further at USC – he’s ready to move on and test himself in the pro’s.

          • PatrickH says:

            I remember Barkley said similar things before the USC vs Cal game, which was about a month ago.

  12. darnell says:

    If they really like one of the QBs I’m not opposed to trading the draft capital it would take to get their QB. Anything short of trading any of our young players that have value (Okung,Unger,Moffitt,Carpenter,Miller,Rice,Baldwin,Mebane,Red,Heater,Sherman, Thomas or Chancellor) though if I’m trading with Seattle I’m asking about those guys.

    • Meatwad says:

      I am loving or young DB’s. Chancellor should be in the pro bowl, I voted for a lot of Hawks. Baldwin is legit too. Richard Sherman has been a pleasant surprise too!

  13. Rugby Lock says:

    Mike Sando wrote an interesting article where he breaks down the chance of QB success based on draft position.
    http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/51625/on-the-seahawks-winning-too-many-games
    Enjoy!

  14. Tom says:

    After looking at all of the Barkley and RG3 tape, I think Barkley is the more conservative selection. If you’re typically conservative and play things safe in day to day life, you’ll like Barkley.

    If you’re more of a risk taker that sees things as they can become and are willing to take some risk for a greater reward, then you’ll like RG3.

    Where’s your beta?