The power of patience and inclusive thinking

February 18th, 2012 | Written by Kip Earlywine

Doug Baldwin's success was improbable, but it wasn't an accident.

Written by Kip Earlywine

Back in the early to mid 90s, I was a young, displaced Seahawks fan growing up in Arizona.  I’d be lucky to see three Seahawks games in any given season, especially since the Seahawks were consistently lousy back then.  While my access to the Seahawks was limited, my access to the NFL draft was no less restricted than anywhere else.  Because of that, the draft took on a pretty big level of importance in my sports-fan life from a young age.

Of course, this being the early to mid 90s, the internet wasn’t really around yet, especially in the small, isolated town I grew up in.  I didn’t watch a ton of college football, either.  Despite the fact that I enjoyed the draft so much, I’d go into it every year a completely blank slate.  As a result, I pretty much hung on every word megastar draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said, and “Mel Kiper’s best available” turned every pick into a developing news story. Being uninformed only deepened my desire to see Mel Kiper’s hyped players slide to Seattle’s picks in each round.  Kiper brought a lot of positive energy with his analysis and it was easy to buy into the hype he was selling.  His coverage made it feel like every pick impacted the Seahawks, even picks by other teams.  It was especially excruciating when Kiper’s best available fit Seattle’s biggest needs.  I was entranced and unquestioning.

Don’t get me wrong, I like and admire Mel Kiper, and I hope that some day he’s in the NFL Hall of Fame as an analyst.  His big hair and bigger personality helped make the NFL draft a national spectacle.  Given how miserable the Seahawks were for the first decade of my fandom, I may not be a Seahawk fan today without all those fun NFL draft seasons he covered.  But that said, by relying so much on Kiper’s lists, I fell into a trap, like millions of other fans.  I’d see a player on Kiper’s best available list twenty picks away from Seattle’s next selection, and root for him to slide.  I’d become completely focused on that one guy, celebrating each pick that he wasn’t selected.  I’d celebrate like crazy if Seattle actually got the player (which almost never happened), and be royally pissed off if that player reached Seattle’s pick and they passed on him (which happened a lot).  It was as if the other 500-1000 draftable players didn’t even matter.  They weren’t on Kiper’s list, so they must be nobodies.  “That” guy on Kiper’s list, the one that’s been his BPA for 20 picks now, he’s almost to us!  Cross your fingers!

I didn’t realize it then, but I know now that building a Superbowl team is about more than drafting Mel Kiper’s top players.  I’m sure most of you have long realized that as well.  But it wasn’t until last night that I realized the reason why this is true.

It occurred to me while I was stumbling through Dan Kadar’s draft site:  Mocking the Draft.  I was reading this six round mock draft someone had posted a couple days back.  I had some time to kill and I was bored, so I looked at each Seahawks pick in this mock draft and replaced his picks with players I would have considered for the Seahawks (my personal choices, as well as my best guesses for the FO’s, are at the bottom of their comments section, if anyone is curious).

While doing the exercise I had a bit of an epiphany moment.  Among players Rob and I have highlighted here at Seahawks Draft Blog, only Quinton Coples had left the board before our first pick (Seattle was picking 12th).  Doug Martin and Ryan Tannehill were there in the 2nd.  Derek Wolfe, Sean Spence, and Chris Polk where there in the 3rd.  Kirk Cousins and Brock Osweiler very nearly reached our 4th round pick.  I went into this exercise with a very large list of players, and as a result, there were consistently multiple good options at every pick.

I’m just an ordinary fan with limited knowledge and resources.  My bright ideas dry up around the 4th or 5th round.  Imagine viewing the draft from the front office’s point of view.  Not only is their base of knowledge of prospects several times larger than our own, they also have inside knowledge into the Pac-12 thanks to Pete Carroll.  That inside knowledge allowed Seattle to get a franchise corner with a 5th round pick last year and a budding star receiver in undrafted free agency.  At every pick through the first four rounds, I actually struggled to choose just one player.  For this front office, they must feel that way too, but where my options die off around the 5th round, they probably have an abundance of options all the way to the end, and even into undrafted free agency.  Suddenly it makes a lot of sense why there was so much urgency in John Schneider’s voice regarding undrafted free agency last year.

Rob has written a couple of articles now highlighting John Schneider’s philosophy of “not panicking” for a quarterback. Today I realized that this isn’t the whole story.  John Schneider doesn’t just fail to panic for quarterbacks.  He fails to panic for every other position too.

In Schneider’s first two years, not once has Seattle traded up for a player.  Trading up has been rare for Schneider’s mentor in Green Bay as well.  This isn’t to say that trading up is stupid.  Seattle’s draft history is full of trade ups that produced excellent results (off the top of my head: Walter Jones, Lofa Tatupu, John Carlson, Max Unger).  However, by having such a broad list of options, trading up becomes a luxury instead of a necessity, since you almost never find yourself having to get “that” guy.  If that player you covet doesn’t reach your pick, there are still many other great options to consider.  Moving up to ensure getting a great player is fine, but doing so comes with a cost.  By taking a broad brush approach, the Seahawks have gotten comparable talent without having to pay anything extra.

And to me, that highlights the real reason why the Seahawks fell apart under Tim Ruskell’s drafting and have thrived under John Schneider.  Schneider is one of, if not the hardest working GMs in the NFL.  If there is talent to be found, he will find it.  BCS schools, non-BCS schools, FCS schools, Division II schools… CFL… out of football for a couple years… he doesn’t care.  Eagle scout, model citizen, leader, loner, donut thief, toker, stealing credit cards, walking out on bar tabs… he doesn’t care.  The only thing he cares about is if you have talent and if you have a place on this team to play.

Contrast that with Tim Ruskell, who screened out character concern players, non-BCS college players, and preferred four year starters.  Tim Ruskell believed that his process would work because it would remove players who were bad bets, but he didn’t seem to appreciate the value in having a large pool of players to choose from.  More than anything else, that is why the Seahawks talent grew thinner and thinner with each successive year during his regime, while the opposite is occurring for John Schneider.  Just look at the draft record of both regimes from the 4th round on.  In just two years, John Schneider already has more mid-to-late round success stories than Tim Ruskell had in five years.  In other words, the more options you have, the more talent you’ll ultimately end up with.  Especially later on when the pickings are slim.

~

Seattle will not likely draft a quarterback early in 2012.  I know plenty of reasonable people who freak out at this concept.  After all, Seattle really should have drafted their quarterback 3-5 years ago, so waiting yet another year feels inexcusable. However, I’m no longer terribly worried about it.  I’ll tell you why.

It may have quietly passed by everyone else, but in Claire Farnsworth’s interview that Rob linked yesterday, there was one quote by John Schneider that shot off the page.  I found it incredibly revealing:

“[Not making a big move for a QB] may disappoint fans, because they want to see an instant guy and have that instant success,” Schneider said. “But really, you’re better off continuing to build your team. Initially when I got here, I thought we were going to plug the quarterback in and we were going built around him.

You catch that?  When John Schneider first came to Seattle two years ago, his initial intention was to grab a quarterback right away.  It was around this time two years ago that Pete Carroll gushed about Sam Bradford, much in the same way that he (allegedly) gushed about Courtney Upshaw in a random pickup basketball game.  Not long after that, it became clear that the Rams had locked in on drafting Bradford, and Seattle never had a chance.  Seattle’s best QB options in that draft were Jimmy Clausen and Tim Tebow.  The Seahawks passed, and were wise to do so.

Andy Dalton was very successful by rookie standards.  But even if he goes on to have a great career- and he probably won’t- that won’t change the fact that drafting Dalton at #25 last year would have been a dangerous and ill-informed decision.  Colin Kaepernick was the only other serious option at that point, and he would have been a reach pick and a long term project quarterback.  Seattle would ultimately get Josh Portis in undrafted free agency, and for the long term project quarterback role, Seattle is not much worse off despite spending their 1st elsewhere.

Its now clear to me that Schneider’s decision to avoid the quarterback position in 2010 and 2011 had nothing to do with the team not being ready, nor was it because he thought quarterback was unimportant.  It was because any quarterback he could have realistically drafted in those drafts would have been a mistake pick.  Drafting Clausen, Tebow, Kaepernick, or Dalton… drafting any of them would have been like a repeat of the Whitehurst trade, except we’d be giving up a 1st rounder instead.  Does anyone really think that’s a good idea?  Personally, I respect the fact that John Schneider isn’t willing to do something stupid just for appearance’s sake.

Rob and I have made one thing pretty clear while covering the draft over the last several months: this was going to be a three quarterback draft.  Then Matt Barkley went back to USC.  Luck remained a #1 overall lock and is going to a team that won’t trade the pick.  Its looking likely that Robert Griffin will be traded at #2 overall, and the selling team hates the Seahawks more than any other team in the sport.  In other words, getting the kind of quarterback we all want this year is all but impossible.  The best quarterback we can draft at #11/#12 this year (Tannehill) is an awful lot like the best quarterback we could draft last year at #25 (Kaepernick).

If you want to blame something, don’t blame this front office.  Blame people like us for helping to overhype the crap out of Robert Griffin.  I know.  It sucks.  It’s like we’re at the final table in a Texas Hold’em Tournament, and we’re a winning hand from the championship, but the dealer just keeps giving us one crummy hand after another.  That doesn’t mean you should go all in when the dealer keeps giving you two-seven off suit over and over.

John Schneider has taken a “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” approach to these situations.  He used the lack of quarterback opportunity in 2010 and 2011 to focus instead on the offensive line and secondary.  I’d say that’s worked out pretty well.  This year, he’s going to spend his energy on the pass rush and running game.  He’s not avoiding the elephant in the room.  He knows perfectly well how badly this team needs a quarterback of the future.  The only thing he’s waiting for is a wide open shot.

Just remember that John Schneider is a master of keeping his options open.  From that philosophy we’ve already seen so many good things happen to this team.  When Seattle had won five out of six games and looked like one of the more physically dominant teams in football last year, did anyone really care that they passed on Kaepernick?  Even Andy Dalton, in a performance that I don’t think he’ll sustain, had a QB rating only two points higher than T-Jack’s last year.

With the inclusive system of talent evaluation John Schneider uses, the Seahawks will always come out draft winners, even when it feels like the universe is conspiring to keep franchise quarterback’s out of this city.  Eventually, John Schneider will get his guy at quarterback.  And in the meantime, he’s going to do the best he can with the hand he’s dealt.  He’s not going to get tunnel vision the way that I did as a young fan watching Mel Kiper, or the way Tim Ruskell did when his short list of screened out players reached a trickle.  And maybe its just me, but I’m thankful for that.  Even if the journey itself is a little frustrating at times.  We all know where this franchise is going and its a very good place.  And the reason we are heading in that direction is precisely because John Schneider has shown patience and inclusive thinking in his process.  I think we’d all be a little smarter (and a bit more sane) if we all did the same.

61 Responses to “The power of patience and inclusive thinking”

  1. Phil says:

    Kip – thanks for the thought-provoking analysis. The only thing I would add to it is obvious, but may deserve mention anyway. It is a lot easier to make good picks when you have a poor team to start with. Not only is there more talent to choose from early in the draft (when you will be picking because your team is lousy), but there is a greater chance that your choices are going to be an improvement over what you already have. For the past few drafts, the Seahawks had so many weaknesses that it was not too difficult to find someone who was better than the incumbent at lots of positions. What has really impressed me has been Schneider/Carroll’s ability to find the more “obscure” guys (Browner, for example) who were picked up without using draft choices.

    Now that the Seahawks have some really good, young players, it will be harder to find guys to displace them. So, I kinda think the emphasis will shift a little in the next few years. Instead of the team improving via the draft and via undrafted guys, I think most of the improvement will come via better play from the young guys we already have. On this point, I won’t be too surprised to see further improvement from TJack. I think as he matures, his attitude will change from one where he may be afraid of losing a game to one where he is thinking about winning a game.

    Don’t get me wrong — making good draft picks will be just as important as ever, but I think it’s important for the fans to realize that it will be tougher from here on out.

  2. Pacificsands says:

    This piece was extremely frustrating to read, for two reasons. One, I agree with all of it. And two, despite agreeing with the analysis, I’m still aware that Seattle must draft a quarterback this year, probably high, or everything else they’ve accomplished is meaningless. We can’t draft a quarterback high this year? You think we’re going to have a HIGHER pick next year, or a shot at one?

    If they don’t get a guy, they can’t win deep playoff games, and that’s all there is to it, regardless of how good the rest of the team is. We don’t need a top tier quarterback – a Manning, a Rodgers, a Brady, a Brees, or an Eli. We do need at least a capable game manager – a Roethlisberger, Rivers, Flacco, Ryan, Romo, even a Sanchez. Seahawks fans have been discussing these issues for two years.

    A rookie quarterback won’t be ready to blow the doors off the place in year one, which means, if we draft one this year, 2013 is the soonest we can reasonably expect to contend. In 2013, the draft picks from year one will be entering their fourth seasons, and if we’ve shown no signs of success, we’ll be at risk of losing some of them. To get the window rolling, we have to grab a guy, this year, or there is no future.

  3. OZ says:

    Good read Kip. When it come’s to the Hawk’s FO, I trust in the staff. I think we will have a great draft. trade down? probable….

  4. Vin says:

    Great piece Kip. I have faith that the FO will continue to fill the cupboard with talent. I understand the FOs stance on ‘not panicking’ but at the same rate, QB isnt something you just plug and play. Communication, familiarity, cohesion, ‘being on the same page’ etc….these are all things that take time to develop While they may not panic, I do hope there’s somewhat of a sense of urgency to throw at the wall and see what sticks. Thanks Kip

  5. Fletcher says:

    The way I see it, the plan is to draft well and not panic at any position. Then once they have a good talent base, then they can afford to move up to get their guy at QB, whoever that may be. They won’t spend a lot of draft capital reaching for QBs they are not sure of, but when they find the guy, they won’t hesitate to move up and get him.

  6. Michael (CLT) says:

    I agree the math has not worked for Seattle and drafting a QB. I agree JS has done a great job.

    I would also point out the winning streak included an OL that was better without the 2011 picks in there. I would suggest Dalton and Carpenter constitute two very different ceilings, with two very different intentions and value in football. Football is, like all life, measured risk. Personally, I am willing to fail. Carpenter was safe (he could always play guard if he failed at tackle). Dalton, a risk with having “gone all in” in psychology, has potential massive fail associated. Not my job, but I’d take the QB every year in round one until I found my guy.

    If point guard QB is all we need, then let us end this rent a QB thing and extend Tarvaris. Complete the identity. If we are making lemonade, make it all the way, and extend Tarvaris with a four year contract. Patience discussion is over. QB for this regime is noted. Meandering stopped.

    The challenge of the current rent a QB situation is that is keeps Seattle in “rebuild” mode rather than “all in” mode. I’m ready to end the rebuild and set my expectations higher. I’m ready to “win with the guys we have now”.

  7. jim J says:

    Great piece Kip, I enjoy reading your articles. I get the feeling that all these people saying we need a QB at any cost have a giant disconnect in their brain. They want the steak and lobster dinner with champagne without paying the bill at the end of the evening.

    At a minimum that price would be two #1s and a #2, to beat out other teams that might want to trade up. But to really lock that deal down we may have to trade our entire draft selection this year, and a #1 next year. That should be enough to get us Griffin.

    Unless your willing to sacrifice that much – then you have NO BUSINESS saying we have to get an elite QB now. Instead we are stuck with the time tested method of recruiting QBs in later rounds, training them for 2-4 years, and then throwing them out onto the playing field. And I don’t think anyone beyond the top two QBs this year will be any different in this regard, in other words Osweiler is not superman. He or half a dozen others may be superman in a couple years with proper training, but you don’t know that until you’ve tried it.

  8. Michael says:

    Heres the problem hawks wont draft a qbotf in the draft. Why oh why didnt we see portis in the last game of the season when we were out of the playoffs? Must be analysis of tjac who will have competition this year. We are not just a qb away from a sb or we would still have beaten cleveland and the cardinals in az. Something more is missing. I believe both carroll and schneider will have extentions and we will see some winning football. This season will be a gauntlet and next year will be the same draft pick or higher unless we get amazing d from a team that still lost to cleveland. That just gets me going i dont care about injuries you dont score 3 points in a game you gave 14 days to plan for. Lets build this team up with capable backups and then start worring about starters.

    Btw great site guys!

  9. Nick says:

    I don’t understand this “win with what we have now attitude” and give up everything for a potential QBOTF. Do people really not see the difference from this year to last year in the teams playing ability? We may have the same record but are a far better team. Yes, we still need more quality type players. It takes time. When we went 7-9 PC’s first year, it was a fluke and we shouldn’t have won some of those games, people shouldn’t forget that when they make the claim that we aren’t improving and are mediocre. We were much better this year despite TJ and his terrible play.

    No matter how badly we need a new QB I do not understand this let’s throw away picks not only this year but next year and maybe more in order to move up. That makes us have less picks next year which hamstrings us again next year. No thank you. I for one am loving the way we are building our team and am fine if they draft a developmental QB. I think this is our best option without hindering our future drafts. Patience will build us a quality franchise that will last. Mortgaging everything for a potential QBOTF that quite possibly won’t be elite anyway doesn’t make any sense. There’s a lot of top tier QB’s that fail, we shouldn’t forget that fact.

    Thanks Kip and Rob for your sane and rational thoughts! Love reading your stuff.

  10. Dave says:

    “…the Seahawks fell apart under Tim Ruskell’s drafting and have thrived under John Schneider. Schneider is one of, if not the hardest working GMs in the NFL.”

    Trust that we are doing the right thing. I am SO glad the Ruskell era is gone. That guy sent us back so far, we are completely rebuilding because of him. Seahawks are developing into a major player in the NFL. It is happening. JUST BE PATIENT. As we have been told. I would hate to be in the position the Colts are in now, because we sold the farm to get the QOTF. Can you imagine if we did that and it became a colossal disaster?!! The thing we have to realize is we have already begun our rebuilding process. We are almost there. This season will be much like last years but better. We will have even more Pro Bowl caliber players. The dynamics of the team will become stronger. We have more time to mesh and develop. We won’t have the off season drama we did last season with the lock out. We will see more competition, and we will be better for it in the end. Lets save this draft up for the future Quarterback conversation for next season please. I’m sure at that point we will have a clearer path to that happening at that point. I’m sure EVERYONE even Seattle’s FO will agree at that point.

  11. jim J says:

    I’m not sure what to think about the Colts. They gave Manning a big salary and that affected the veterans they could retain. But they didn’t give away draft picks. So they should have been able to post a better record than they did last year.

    If the Seahawks had just kept Tevaris out to heal his pectoral muscle, and we had kept playing Whitehurst to really try him out, we might have a record close to them. PC just wouldn’t play that game – and the Colts will.

    The team that I would pick on for mismanagement is Oakland. Do they even have a draft pick this year? Maybe one? That’s crazy! Too many trades that didn’t work out. To many veterans with high salaries. They are going to do a major cut back this year, and with no draft picks they won’t have a decent team. Maybe they are setting up to go for Barkley in 2013?

  12. cliff says:

    Kip,
    Since you and Rob have insider information did they tell you they aren’t going to focus on a QB this year? Robs recent piece seems to hint the same thing, that pass rush and RB (hopefully LB) are the main wants this off season. Cousins in the 4th still sounds good to me, but i want Tyler Wilson next year.

  13. Ryan says:

    Even in the Mocking the Draft mock that you linked to, Kip, Griffin went 4th overall. Doesn’t it seem like a small move up from 11 to 3 to get him? (If it does indeed fall that way?)

  14. Mike says:

    Ryan –

    Most mocks will have RG3 going at 4 because they don’t mock trades and people aren’t sold on giving up on ponder. Also, the cost to move from 11 to 3 will probably be at least our 1&2 this year and our 1 next year if not more, which is pretty expensive…

  15. Mr Fish says:

    It seems to me that the inclusive, “keep your options open” strategy applies to the QB position as well. We shouldn’t get locked in on any one prospect, but instead keep bringing in guys to compete for the backup slots. Eventually the numbers game pays off and we have our own Matt Flynn to work with.

    So my prediction is that we’ll draft at least one QB in the later rounds, and sign one or two more as UDFA’s. None of which precludes us from also going after a FA like Flynn.

    Is it March yet?

  16. Mr Fish says:

    “Why oh why didnt we see portis in the last game of the season when we were out of the playoffs?”

    Maybe because they didn’t think they needed to see him in a game just yet? You can ruin a young QB by pushing him into action before he’s ready.

  17. kevin mullen says:

    Any thoughts on the possibility of just trading our 1st round pick entirely for a future 1st round in 2013? How would that work? Could we pick up an additional mid to late round pick in this year in the process?

  18. Rob says:

    It’s very unlikely, Kevin. I think Seattle will simply spend their first round pick this year. It’s very rare that teams spend future first rounders to move within 10-20.

  19. tom page says:

    Good piece Kip. You are singing the same hymn I have been singing for weeks, the draft board does not setup for us to get a QB. I can see one possible exception which is Tannehill. If Tannehill is there at 11/12 and the team’s scouting say this is a potential long term starter. Scouting reports I have read on this site and other sites suggest he is not an elite talent, but the team has more information than draftniks, so there is a chance they are high on him. To me the intersection of talent and need is D-line, linebacker, wide receiver, or Trent Richardson in round one.

  20. Jarhead says:

    I don’t advocate at all for Griffin. That ship has sailed. I don’t hear near as much about that anymore as I once did. I DO hear much more of ‘We should not talk about about trading up because of…’ insert reason. I guess I might be missing the all in for Griffin talk. I personally am all for Seattle building this team the way it is. And we don’t necessarily NEED to draft a QB in the first round to be making an impact at the position. If we use a second, a third, or even a fourth to draft a QB, he will still be able to compete with Jackson for the QB job. As long as it is a player that fits our system and the FO deems he is a player of value. But that is true of ANY position we draft a player for for every round. And I thought this could be my last safe haven from the Matt Flynn nonsense. So one last time- Flynn is going to demand at least 5 years, and at least $50 million. Period. And he will NOT go to a team that tells him, yeah you can compete for the starting job, and if you’re the best, it’s yours. And he will NOT go to a team looking to draft a hot young QB in 2013. He will want to be the guy. He is not a player you can bring in to encourage competition, he is a player you bring in to be the “franchise”. But of course he has the potential success rate of a Rob Johnson, AJ Feely, Frank Reich as opposed to a Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, Matt Schaub. So no Flynn, and no Cousins for us this offseason, and that will make me a happy fan. No matter what else we do.

  21. Mr Fish says:

    Just to be clear: I’m not advocating that we go after Flynn. But I’m not opposed to it either. I’ll trust the FO’s assessment of his value.

    My real point is that I want us to be the team that discovers the players that all the other teams eventually want. Schneiders approach is how we will get there.

  22. Michael (CLT) says:

    What if this team is good enough to win the SB in two years aside from QB. A new QB will take time.

    The reason you sell your soul is because you are ready to win now, with what you have now. How many 1st round draft picks won seven games this year:

    Trufant: No
    Curry: No
    Thomas: Yes
    Okung: Yes
    Carpenter: Kind of
    Lynch: Doesn’t count – trade
    Gallery: Doesn’t count – FA

    Ah, that’s all of the 1st rounders that originated from the Seahawks on the team in 2011. And they were a much better team. Strange.

    Let’s see how many true 2nd rounders were there:
    Tate: Yes
    Unger: Yes
    Carlson: No
    Alan Branch: doesn’t count FA
    Jackson: doesn’t count FA

    So, that is 2.5 first rounders and 2 second rounders out of a potential 68 players that participated with the Seahawks in 2011 that were 1st or second round original Seattle picks.

    That is 4.5 first rounders and 4 second rounders total of a potential 68 players. That comes out to 6.6% and 5.8% of the 2011 roster respectively.

    So, the team that was much improved consists of late round draft picks and UDFA.

    My point is, people way overvalue draft picks. Way overvalue.

    So, yes, give away two ones and two two’s. So what. That is four players, with an aggressive 50% success rate, that is two players of a total 53. And if you are buying D line, we are talking 30 snaps a game times two.

    If you have a team now that you can win with. And Carroll stated in the papers this year, “We want to win with the guys we have now”, then you make the deal.

  23. Kip Earlywine says:

    Fletcher, your quote here:

    “The way I see it, the plan is to draft well and not panic at any position. Then once they have a good talent base, then they can afford to move up to get their guy at QB, whoever that may be. They won’t spend a lot of draft capital reaching for QBs they are not sure of, but when they find the guy, they won’t hesitate to move up and get him.”

    I feel the same way. It wouldn’t shock me at all if Seattle made a Julio Jones type deal for Matt Barkley next year. Seattle has avoided making a desperate move at quarterback so far because they’ve had the luxury to. After this offseason, I don’t think that will be the case anymore. They will HAVE to get a QB early next draft. I get the sense they feel the same way.

  24. Kip Earlywine says:

    Cliff,

    Seattle will draft a QB, it just won’t be early. There’s a reason I’m doing so much work covering mid to late round QBs. ^ ^

    Its possible (speculation) that Seattle could sign/trade for a vet QB too. Seattle is going to add 1 or 2 QBs. They just won’t be doing it in round 1.

  25. Michael (CLT) says:

    So, the Barkley scenario will be different than the Luck scenario how?

  26. Michael (CLT) says:

    Trust me. We will be having these same conversations next year. They will pick between 11 and 18, and have no shot at the top QB’s unless they sell their soul. Then the QB may suck, JS/PC get fired, and we get a new regime that wants “their” guy at QB.

    And round and round we go.

  27. Kip Earlywine says:

    Mr. Fish,

    I think you nailed it. If Seattle stockpiles QBs with talent who fit the system, its only a matter of time before you find a Matt Flynn type contributor. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of Matt Flynn specifically. I don’t want Seattle to sign him, and I think he’s a little over-rated all things considered. But even with that opinion, I wouldn’t deny that Flynn is a useful quarterback. He’s never going to be as good as Aaron Rodgers, but is he good enough to start in this league? For the right team, I think so. If someone like Josh Portis or Kirk Cousins, or Russell Wilson can be that next Matt Flynn, that helps soften the blow of our long wait for a franchise QB.

    The analogy I’d use is Jon Friesz in the 90s. Friesz was a 6th round pick by the Chargers who would bounce around the league before landing in Seattle. Over 4 seasons, Friesz started 11 games and posted a passer rating above 80 during that time. He wasn’t a savior and he didn’t even have a huge impact, but he was part of the reason why the mid to late 90’s Seahawks were mediocre, but never awful. There is some value in that.

    I look at what the Seahawks are doing and I think at the very least they will get a Jon Friesz level contributor. At the very best they might get the next Tony Romo. Seattle still wants to draft a QB early, but while they wait to do that, they are basically buying some low cost insurance.

  28. Kip Earlywine says:

    Barkley is still possible while Luck is not. After the 2012 draft is over we’ll start looking at 2013 QBs. Bottom line is, Schneider knows that he can’t wait forever. I think Seattle will actually play their hand next time. Lets just hope the dealer gives them something decent to work with.

  29. Misfit74 says:

    I would absolutely take Dalton over Carpenter or any other of our draft picks last year. I don’t understand how Dalton would have been a ‘mistake pick’. Imagine having your franchise QB (yes, he’s still young in his career – I get it) and lacking the much-easier to fill Right Tackle spot heading into this draft?

    I do enjoy the idea that our FO will procure talent with a wide range of picks and get good value for many of them, but that only goes so far if key positions remain un-addressed. While I do think Tarvaris can improve his decision-making and he has many of the other desirable skills you would want in a QB he melts down in the clutch and under pressure much like Blaine Gabbert did as a rookie. Tarvaris may only grow so far and I’m not ready to bank next season on it.

  30. Michael (CLT) says:

    With the 13th pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks select: Landry Jones.

    Sorry, the snark in me is hard to contain.

  31. Dave says:

    Yeah Micheal (CLIT) you’re pretty negative. I’ve been reading your posts and they are pretty whack. Try to see the positive for the future of our franchise. Don’t throw a tantrum because we aren’t going to give up everything to draft RG3 this season mmmk?. I think we are doing pretty good, and we will bring in even more talent this season building on something great. We will pull the trigger by next season I’m sure. And your take on the coaching staff getting their pink slips next season won’t be happening either. Just suck it up and enjoy the journey to greatness!

  32. Ryan says:

    Kip, I have a hard time believing that Barkley will be any more available in 2013 than Luck is this year. I think we’ll be weighing Tyler Wilson, Landry Jones, and Logan Thomas next year. And of course, if one of them gets RG3-like hot, we’ll probably lose out on them as well.

    You also say “Schneider knows that he can’t wait forever,” but that darn interview makes it sound a little like he thinks he can; that the organization will be OK without that elite QB; that their system can work around that hole; and that he’ll never panic and will just take what comes to him. And that’s a tad troubling to me.

    I may sound all Negative Nancy here (I’d rather be that than Pollyanna), but I do love the stimulating conversation here and all the diverse viewpoints both in the comments and the articles. Keep up the good work.

  33. Rob says:

    Things to consider with Matt Barkley…

    For starters, there’s a long history of NFL QB’s seeing their draft stock take a negative hit when returning for a 4th year in college. This usually happens because players get more benefit of the doubt with inexperience. Problems seen in Year 1-2 as a starter are considered ‘fixable’, yet when scouts and GM’s see the same guy doing the same things in Year 4, it’s sometimes considered a habit or an issue. Barkley will be under major scrutiny next year.

    Secondly, his stock – IMO – peaked at the end of the 2011 season. He’d beaten Oregon with a brilliant performance, USC were winning frequently and he was playing at a high level. In order to maintain that, he’s going to need to go beyond what he’s achieved so far. He’s going to need to beat the Ducks again, the Huskies again – he’s going to need to put up similar numbers and probably get the Trojans to a BCS bowl, if not the Championship. He’s set difficult targets now in terms of his stock by deciding being one of the greatest Trojans means more than maxing out his draft status.

    Luck had a lot more hype than Barkley ever has. Andrew Luck would’ve been the #1 pick in two successive years – Barkley may never be the #1 pick. That’s not to say he won’t be next year, but the two aren’t comparable in terms of hype and publicity. Luck’s been considered an unmissable player for a long time, while I’ve seen people grading Barkley in the 50’s on their big boards before he chose not to declare

    He’s not physically a generational talent. He’s not got the same athletic potential as Luck even if he IS technically brilliant. I could easily see a guy like Logan Thomas leap to the front because he is the prototype for NFL QB’s – athletic, runner, big arm, character. As good as Barkley is – he’s not got that ceiling that makes him a can’t miss type. There will also be good top-end competition next year. A lot of people like Bray at Tennesee, I like Thomas, Wilson and Barkley. We could be looking at 3-4 high first rounders. Landry Jones will be a mid-rounder at best IMO.

    And we also have to remember that people may be sceptiple of big-name USC quarterbacks after Sanchez and Leinart – neither of which went #1 overall.

    I am a huge Barkley fan, I will put him at #1 overall in my first projection for 2013 after this year’s draft. Yet I could foresee a situation where he’s available at #10 overall. Luck never got lower than #1. So I think they are two very different situations and I think planning to go big on Barkley will be a lot more achievable than going big on Luck or even RGIII.

  34. Tarry says:

    What a great piece, and so true. I have read the Schneider piece about QBs 3 times and then trying to keep that in mind when I look at fans posts or articles about trading up for Luck or RG3. I have to keep reminding myself that Schneider and Carroll only need to look for competition for Jackson. I am not a fan of Tannehill or Matt Flynn as being the best options for us (but they are options). If what Carroll and Schnieder say holds true about competition, they would have to bring in a QB that they think could compete with TJack right from day 1.

    Kyle Orton has to be a consideration in FA, draft wise, my favorite is Kirk Cousins for him being the QB of a run first system at Michigan State and doing it well. I read and really enjoyed the piece on Oregan QB Darron Thomas and the video I watched of him afterward. Osweiler and Foles would also have to be considered, like them or not.

    Patience is always tough when you are a fan, but Schnieder and Carroll are going about this the right way. I do trust in them. If they drafted Jim Abbott to be the next QB, I have to and will believe they see something there that will give TJack a run for his money as the starter. They wont draft another Portis project, that I know. Every fan and every analyst has his or her opinion this crop of QB, I mentioned Cousins and Thomas as my top 2 choices (3rd round options)… that is the fun in this part of the off season. Thanks for the great read.

  35. OZ says:

    Right on Rob! Jeez you already have me looking forward to next year’s draft.
    By the way, I wonder if we could get a peice on cousins vs. B.J. Colman, whom I like a lot for the Hawk’s in the latter round’s. I have noticed Colman is moving up in most Mock’s recently.

  36. Ryan says:

    If true where the Seahawks QB plan lies, is it too early for a 2013 QB article, to help divert our QB desires in a constructive direction?

  37. Jarhead says:

    Wow for as many people that knock Andy Dalton on here, I see so many willing to give up a 3rd rounder on Kirk Cousins. He is the exact same ‘his ceiling has been achieved, this is it’ player that Dalton was and is. Oh aside from the fact that Dalton always WON his big games in college. If the Seahawks are legitimate considering having some talent at QB then they should go Osweiler, or if they are looking for someone who can be had past the third round B.J. Coleman is a great option. He’s big, has the size, is more than just a game manager- if we could fix his accuracy issues he could be good. If the Seahawks just want a jersey to be filled and a roster spot to be kept warm until they legitimately chase down a true franchise QB next year, then Cousins will be fine. I’m just saying, quite frankly I’d rather get a speed LB/backup LEO with a 3rd rounder (whichever we didn’t address in the 2nd round) someone who could actually see significant playing time (WITHOUT the potential disastrous results) than another walking jersey clipboard stand. Hell, even Trumaine Johnson and Dwight Bentley will be available there- a couple of big physical corners. If we’re going to wait until 2013, then let’s by god really shore up this defense and close the book on it like we did the O Line last year

  38. Rob says:

    Oz – I will do a BJ Coleman piece today. Stay tuned.

    Ryan – With the combine coming up the focus is going to be on that this week and probably next too, but I will do a small preview soon.

  39. Doug says:

    Another far reaching possibility the boys might be playing is a two-sided reverse psychology(sp?) ruse.
    Portis might be their guy this whole time, and what they are doing is pretending to not be interested in a QB, to make other teams drafting in front of them THINK that they really ARE interested in a QB, by saying they’re not. This will in return force Washinton to take Tannahill, therby ensuring that either Coples or Upshaw fall to us. It will also force Miami to grab F>A> Flynn, which will also leave Super Mario open to us in FA.
    The ever deepening levels of trickery are are blazing away behind the scenes at massive levels, but most people aren’t even aware they are happening….
    It’s all one huge conspiracy!! Don’t look behind you right now… DOH!

  40. jim J says:

    Rob you brought up some interesting points about Barkley’s potential draft status. It seemd like going into last fall there were a lot of QBs that were considered pro prospects. I remember someone writing that this would be the best draft for QBs ever. Then it shook out into a top three (and Seattle still wouldn’t have had a shot unless they moved up), and now a top two.

    It seems like that happens every year? Last draft there was Cam Newton, and perhaps one other first rounder. The rest were reaches- yet it happens.

    If we end up drafting in the middle next year, how many good QBs would there have to be to have one fall to us? I am thinking at least 3.

  41. Doug says:

    Jarhead-

    +1 for going big on D this draft and FA. If we can get just 2 new starters, a speed LB’er and a pass rushing specialist to compliment the LEO, and slide Red inside, we be bad!

    Another reason to bolster the D, is because if we can alter the TOP, reduce their drive count by 2, and increase our drive count by 2, that creates a 4 drive swing. I don’t have the mathamatical analysis of a point differential that this could possibly create, but it HAS to swing things our way to some degree…
    It gives TJack two more chances to not screw up, and also takes two possessions away from Brady and whoever else we will be facing next year…

    Having a kick-a$$ defense is like having a tough big brother showing up when you are just about to get your butt kicked by the neighborhood bully… WHEW!

  42. jim J says:

    I agree with Doug and Jarhead, we need to improve our defense. If we can get a defense as good as the Ravens or San Francisco, then we will always be in the game. I would like to see a DE/OLB and a DE drafted first two rounds. Upshaw or Hightower, and then Branch or Curry, would be perfect. I wouldn’t mind Coples or Ingram.

    We still have a lot of holes to address, including backup RBs and another WR. We don’t have a deep threat WR – but they will probably be gone by the end of the second round.

    Late round QBs it just depends on who is available. No use falling in love with any of them until one gets picked. Coleman or Thomas would be fine with me. Maybe Russell Wilson if it is in the 6th or 7th. There are probably a lot of shorter QBs who were never given a shot at the NFL because they don’t fit an image. Well neither does T-Bow, but he does know how to win.

    And that is what I don’t understand – why the scouts pick a 6-8 basketball player over a 5-11 proven game winner. It’s easy for them to say the skills don’t translate because they will never give the person a shot at playing. Then they complain that they can’t find an elite QB, when they won’t even look at half the field. I’m not saying they will all make it – just that they should be given the same chance as other draft QBs. Last time I looked being accurate, reading the defense, and completing passes were the most important skills of a QB.

  43. Mr Fish says:

    So, if Barkley’s draft stock does fall, doesn’t that also mean that us Seahawks fans will be less excited about the chance to draft him?

  44. Rob says:

    I guess we’ll see. If he falls from being a possible #1 overall pick to a clear-cut #8-12 pick it’s not much of a fall, but a lot easier to make a deal to move up.

  45. Kip Earlywine says:

    Misfit, I understand your perspective. That said, I think Dalton’s rookie season was pretty comparable to Rick Mirer in 1993. Very small playbook, very little improvisation, tons of 1 read stuff. Mirer was the AFC rookie of the year. But as soon as the next season, he failed to grow and NFL teams figured out how limited he was and the results were disastrous. So in other words, I’m not changing my mind on Dalton just yet, though I’m certainly open to it a year or two from now if Dalton grows. I would bet against it though. I also think that Carpenter clearly played below his potential last year. He looked nothing like the guy Seattle drafted out of Alabama and the labor dispute had a big impact there. Max Unger didn’t have the excuses Carpenter had and played a less athletically demanding position, and was destroyed his rookie year as well. He’s since become a real asset to this team. I’d say lets wait 3-5 years and look back before we judge that 1st rounder.

    Michael CLT, believe me I’ve felt frustration myself. Before hearing some of the insider info I was also very upset at the notion of letting another year slip by. I’m not at liberty to discuss specifics, but let me just say that this FO “gets it” and that a big move at quarterback IS coming, just not in the 2012 draft.

    Rob, good points on Barkley. I still think he goes #1 next year, but you are right that its far from an ironclad lock. I’m not worried because as you said, there are multiple 1st round QB candidates next year and even if that group disperses, Seattle may rate certain QBs high enough to draft early because of scheme (Tyler Wilson for example).

  46. Kip Earlywine says:

    Tarry, I feel much the same way you do. If Seattle truly wants competition for the 2012 starter, the list of realistic options is pretty small. I’d love to see the team sign Orton- he’s the epitome of unremarkable efficiency- but that’s a good match for what Seattle is looking for. I was a little surprised that Seattle showed zero interest in Orton last year when he was a free agent mid-season, but maybe that was because they didn’t want to hurt T-Jack’s confidence? Jason Campbell is another guy I’d like to see get a shot.

    I agree that Seattle probably won’t draft a project quarterback unless they acquire a veteran first. That logic fits in with them reaching out to Cousins and Wilson at the senior bowl. Wilson is a long shot, but he’s hardly raw. I could honestly see him competing with T-Jack. I doubt he’d win and start as a rookie, but I could see him pushing Jackson.

  47. Turp says:

    I definitely agree about Orton – he *seemed* like the ideal competition for Tjack, at little cost. At midseason, Orton was claimed off waivers by KC, and never became a FA. At the time, KC had the #9 waiver, and the Hawks were #13 – does anyone know if we actually put in a claim for Orton?

  48. JB says:

    Great article Kip. One minor point I am wondering about (and I stress the word minor). You mention the Rams would consider the Seahawks the single most hated team. While I still believe dealing a potential Franchise QB to a division rival will never happen, I am wondering if Pete and Jeff Fisher’s deep USC Roots might thaw things slightly between STL and SEA. With a certain ex Stanford Coach raising his team to prominence last year, I would suggest they are currently Public Enemy #1

  49. Ryan says:

    For those of you with some hints of inside information, are you able to discuss whether the postponement of the quarterback selection was due to general philosophy of how to build a team, or to how the particular pieces and positions fell in this year’s draft?

  50. Brad Q says:

    No way Barkley drops past #5 in 2013 and likely #1 as QB importance is at an all time high with rule changes. Forecasting where we’ll likely draft in ’13 it will cost less now than the panic state John and Pete will be in next year. It will be desperation mode. Plus, this year, teams at 2 and 3 lack QB demand. Philly trades with Dallas and the skins so it’s not 0% with Stl and the Vikes need an overhaul so the right mix of picks and a SB caliber could be taken this year. The 2013 QB draft situation via trades looks to be worse. It’s not panic but due diligence in building a championship team. John needs to quit talking like he has a lifetime contract. I think it’s all posturing and the gullible hawk fans are taking his interviews like they’re gospel.

  51. Kip Earlywine says:

    We weren’t told the reasons explicitly, but I’d go on a limb and say its the latter.

  52. Rob says:

    It’s too early to make statements like that about 2013, Brad. A lot can happen in 12 months.

  53. Brad Q says:

    I believe with our improving youth and cap space, we’ll field a solid team that should draft between 15-19 in 2013. Mix in the fact that Barkley returns the best WR tandem in college with Woods and Lee equals a monster year and top 3 selection in the 2013 draft. Now we’re hoping for big years and improvement at va tech and arkansas. 2014 is fast approaching and I expect to hear that Pete and John made a bonafide offer to move up the board, successful or not. You can’t wait for pocket rockets to make a play at kip’s texas hold ‘em tournament. I would question their forecasting ability if they wait until year 4 to really address the paramount position of our organization on their 5 yr plan. Barkley will have a monster year and will be farther out of our range than where we sit today in 2012. I don’t find it difficult to forecast that for 2013 no matter how much potential change could happen.

  54. Brad Q says:

    Kip/Rob, if the hawks don’t significantly address the QB position and Irsay releases Manning, who checks out physically with velocity, what % chance would you give us for making that short term move for Peyton? I just can’t believe they’re going to send TJack out as our 2012 starting QB. Talk about waving the white flag before the season commences. %?

  55. jim J says:

    If we get Manning we will make the playoffs but will lose our draft position. And he will only be available for 3-4 years.

  56. Turp says:

    The Hawks play to win, not to win the draft. Our draft position has always been irrelevant. The last two years are good examples of that. If they think Manning fits, they will test that avenue.

  57. 1sthill says:

    Whether it is this year or next year we are going to have to move up in the 1st round to get a franchise QB. There are too many unknowns about next year’s draft at this point…if RGIII falls to #3 then this is the perfect opportunity to move up and get our QB.

  58. Rob says:

    That’s the issue though, 1sthill. He’s unlikely to make it to #3 and if he does, he’s very likely to be a Viking. Griffin III is going to be the #2 or #3 pick and it won’t be to Seattle.

  59. Brad Q says:

    Rob, you keep using the words unlikely and likely in reference to RG3 at #2 or #3. I don’t know why you believe the Vikes would take RG3 at #3. Spielman will want to develop Ponder and getting more assets to rebuild Minny means pick #3 is up for auction. Who Stl deals with at #2 is anyone’s guess and do you really believe there’s any source that really knows? I don’t. As far as trading within the division, we’ve seen Philly deal Mcnabb to skins for draft picks and Dallas traded up for Philly’s 1st rd draft pick a few years ago. The % chance may not be large in your view but to keep saying there is no chance is giving P&J a free pass and disservice to our fanbase. Waiting until rd 3 or 4 this draft or year 4 of rebuild next year to focus on a franchise QB is unacceptable in my eyes. I expect foresight, planning and due diligence from our executives and now is the time to deliver. Not QB desperation in 2013 or 2014.

  60. Rob says:

    I can only relay what I’ve been told, Brad. There are front offices in the league that believe RGIII would be drafted by Minnesota, which is why a team like Cleveland are being touted as having to make deals up the board to #2. There’s also a world of difference between trading an old QB like McNabb in division when you have a guy waiting in the wings and dealing a potential franchise QB to a division rival for a deal not considered to be extremely lopsided. Like I said, I can only tell you what information I have and that information says forget Griffin III because it’s simply not possible. The big hitters like La Canfora and Lombardi also believe RGIII goes second overall – almost certainly for the same reasons I’m relaying here. It’s not my desire to tell people want to think, but if you hope for Griffin III or think it’s remotely possible you will be disappointed.

  61. Ryan says:

    If there’s unequivocal belief that Griffin cannot be had, it may perhaps be that inquiries were already made with STL/MIN, and with negative results…