A couple of weeks ago the Seahawks were 4-2, had just defeated a division rival and looked forward to games against Oakland and New York. Today, 77-points later, the team are at 4-4 and it’s a much different picture.
For the last two weeks I’ve had Seattle picking in the 20′s purely because that’s the ‘reward’ for winning the NFC West. The division winners will pick no higher than 21st overall. The simple fact is any of the four teams could be picking in the 20′s next year because of this and at the same time - the other three could be picking in the top 10-12.
It seems obvious to me that the last two games are more a reality check than anything else. This is a team being built on the run, collecting pieces for the longer journey. A few gems have been discovered so far – particularly Red Bryant pre-injury. Chris Clemons and Mike Williams have both surpassed expectations so far, even if production has gone missing the last two games.
However, there isn’t much depth and with a few injuries the exposure is there. This team can’t cope without so many missing pieces right now. The result has been the last two games, when formerly strong areas of the team (run defense, special teams) haven’t been able to carry other less successful parts.
This is the half way stage though at 4-4, so it’s time for a status check. How have needs changed in the eight games so far?
I stand by my belief that Seattle’s greatest need by a long stretch is a quarterback. Last year wasn’t a good year at the position with really one option in round one (Sam Bradford). The depth was poor and no answers were going to be found when St. Louis snapped Bradford off the board straight away. The team instead built other pieces at left tackle and safety.
Until this team sorts out the main position in the game – it’s still difficult to look elsewhere. Every year longer the Seahawks don’t spend a high pick on a QB, it’s just delaying the inevitable. In 2011 I believe three quarterbacks will go in round one – Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Jake Locker. Ryan Mallett also has a chance if teams can satisfy themselves about his character concerns.
I don’t rank any higher than Bradford and it’s not that close either.
Having said that – this team cannot wait around for the perfect quarterback to fall into their lap. Scouting is so good these days we’ll never see the ‘sure thing’ at QB and the ones close to it will be sure fire #1 picks. I’m a big fan of Matt Barkley – but you’ll almost certainly have to be the worst team in the NFL next year (or the following if he stays the distance at USC) to have a chance at him.
Any pick is a gamble, so if a quarterback is there who you feel has the potential to be good – if not necessarily great – you have to consider it. Josh Freeman had flaws – but he’s already shown what solid production matched with physical skills can do for a team that previously couldn’t buy a win.
It won’t be the immediate answer for Seattle or the antidote to avoiding 41-7 and 33-3 defeats. It will merely be the point where the rebuild truly begins – around the quarterback for the future. It’s not uncommon for team’s to hold back their long-term QB prospects for better times – even if we’ve recently seen a spate of QB’s starting very early.
Of course, there’s always the prospect that the top QB’s will go before they even have a chance to pull the trigger. There are others though that believe the teams focus should be elsewhere.
Do the team need to keep pumping #1 picks at the offensive line? This isn’t a great tackle class in my opinion but there could be some value in rounds 2-4. Even so, the Seahawks may feel obliged to act. If they’re sticking by the ZBS – I’m a big fan of Rodney Hudson (OG, Florida State) in the late first or early second round. In the same kind of range, Mike Pouncey (OG/C, Florida) is starting to flash the same kind of talents that made his brother a first round pick. That would be a move away from the ZBS.
Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin) is a mauler limited strictly to the RT position therefore limiting his value. Derek Sherrod (OT, Miss. State) is a fast riser at the moment. Joseph Barksdale (OT, LSU) and James Carpenter (OT, Alabama) are two prospects who are worth monitoring too, Carpenter in particular is a big-time sleeper who could be a steal later on.
This is a strong class for DT’s again – from the staple talents of Marcell Dareus and Stephen Paea to the more recent gatecrashers Nicky Fairley and Drake Nevis. There’s some talent at DE too – led by the brilliant Da’Quan Bowers – and the cornerback class will have plenty of depth throughout the first two rounds.
It’d be unfair not to mention the wide outs too – this is another area for some depth particularly in the second round.
So let me know what you think the ‘Hawks biggest needs are in round 1-2 next April at the halfway stage of the 2011 season. Leave your thoughts in the comments section or email firstname.lastname@example.org