Peter Schrager at Fox Sports has published an early look at the 2012 draft and projects that the Seahawks will be picking first overall. You can sense the level of excitement encompassing Seattle at the prospect of Stanford’s Andrew Luck being the face of the franchise. Let’s take a step back for a minute here.
The Seahawks are probably not going to be picking first overall. I cannot stress enough how difficult it is to ‘earn‘ the opportunity to have the first pick in a draft. I would argue it’s probably as difficult to be the worst team in the NFL as it is to be the best and win the Super Bowl. For starters, you’re looking at a record in the 0-2 wins category. Carolina chose Cam Newton last Thursday following a 2-14 season. The year before, St. Louis took Sam Bradford after a one-win campaign and prior to that Detroit went 0-16. Miami took Jake Long a few months after going 1-15.
I appreciate that the Seahawks face a troublesome schedule in 2011 if the league year goes ahead as planned and questions remain at quarterback, but are they really going to win just one or two games? In the NFC West?
Of course not.
As if to further stress how difficult it is, Buffalo appeared to be a lock for the #1 pick after a woeful start to the 2010 season. They managed a modest improvement and it was enough to end up picking third overall. The 2008 Seahawks were systematically awful, picking up injuries galore in Mike Holmgren’s final season with the team. Koren Robinson was the team’s ‘X-factor’ on offense with Seneca Wallace supplying the bullets. That year a team in the NFC West went to the Super Bowl (Arizona). Despite all of that, they won enough games to pick fourth overall.
Being a bad football team will make it very easy to pick in the top ten. To be the worst team in the NFL takes a special kind of bad.
The Seahawks will add a veteran quarterback whenever free agency opens, almost certainly one of Carson Palmer or Matt Hasselbeck. I doubt they will pay the first round compensation for Kevin Kolb because the gamble using unspecified picks will define the Pete Carroll era. Even if the option is Hasselbeck and he plays as erratically as he did at times in 2010, it’s not going to be enough to pick first overall. Let me run down the starting quarterbacks who played a significant role for the last four teams that had the first overall pick:
Carolina – Matt Moore & Jimmy Clausen
St. Louis - Keith Null & Kyle Boller
Detroit – Dan Orlovsky & Daunte Culpepper
Miami – Cleo Lemon & John Beck
With all due respect to the names listed above, even Charlie Whitehurst is better than any of those options. If Seattle’s future veteran addition goes down with an injury are you really telling me that they’re going to capitulate to the extent that will warrant the first overall pick? I can’t see it.
I look at a team like the Washington Redskins who may have to start with one of Rex Grossman or John Beck throwing to no name receivers and wonder how they win games in the competitive NFC East. The Miami Dolphins may be set for a struggle, having not addressed the quarterback position and with a cluster of other problems such as Brandon Marshall’s health and the shambles we saw at the end of the season which makes head coach Tony Sparano close to a lame duck.
Both play in much tougher divisions than the NFC West, where games will likely be split with mediocrity reigning supreme. I hear those that point out St. Louis managed to earn the #1 pick in this division, but we really need to appreciate just how bad the Rams had to become to put themselves in that situation. It took years of neglect.
So while the prospect of Andrew Luck in Seahawk blue may pique your interest during a period with no draft talk and no free agency, I certainly don’t expect Pete Carroll’s team to become the worst in the NFL. Top ten? Maybe. First overall? That’ll take something special.