I posed the question yesterday – what happens if the Seahawks don’t draft a quarterback?
I’ve long argued that it’s the team’s greatest need. I’ve also looked at scenarios where the Seahawks take a QB whether they win the NFC West or not.
My objective with mock drafts is never to attempt to accurately predict what’s going to happen in six months time. Instead I prefer to examine different scenarios and create a discussion. In this weekly update I have the Seahawks picking 21st overall (the position they will likely hold if they win the NFC West and do not reach the NFC conference game). The four top quarterbacks – Luck, Newton, Locker and Mallett – are all off the board before Seattle are on the clock.
If the team had a firm belief in either Locker or Mallett – in this projection they’d only need to trade up a handful of spots to get their man. That is an option – however – I never include trades in my mocks.
Taking that into account I had a look at the alternative options available.
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As a big fan of Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama) it was a tempting option. The Seahawks still lack playmakers and I believe Ingram has star-potential. The trade for Marshawn Lynch negates the likelihood of this move. Seattle’s run game could use the boost Ingram provides – but a stagnant pass offense (Sunday excluded) and poor blocking is more to blame than a lack of quality at running back.
Cornerback is a position that can always be improved and added to. Jimmy Smith (CB, Colorado) is physical and owns the size Seattle wants at the position. He’s also under rated and could go higher than I have projected here. It was extremely tempting to place Smith with Seattle – with Utah’s Brandon Burton a secondary consideration.
Not, however, as tempting as it was to hand the Seahawks some needed depth to the defensive line. With Brandon Mebane an impending free agent, the roster may look thread bare come April. Stephen Paea (DT, Oregon State) and Drake Nevis (DT, LSU) both fit scheme and would be worthy options. LEO consideration could go to Georgia’s eleven-sack pass rusher Justin Houston. J.J. Watt (DE, Wisconsin) is a solid five technique candidate.
The Seahawks could also look here at Adrian Clayborn and Ryan Kerrigan – to prospects who have fallen considerably in the last 2-3 weeks.
Despite all of these options, I went elsewhere. The pick in this week’s mock draft?
Mike Pouncey (OG/C, Florida).
I’m not one for over rating interior line prospects. Their value is comparatively slim compared to the more premium positions – OT, DE, DT, QB etc. I’ll admit in the past to cringing at mocks from yester-year that placed Seattle with an offensive guard when much greater long term needs remained. If anything – those needs are even bigger today.
Even so – I will attempt to justify my decision making here.
For starters - this is not necessarily the direction I would go in. Let me stress that right off the bat. This team has been forced into a turnstile mentality on the offensive line all year and have invested a serious determination into not only improving the O-line, but also the running game.
The run blocking so far has been abysmal.
I have sympathy for what can only be described as a patched up line with players who are unfamiliar, returning from injury, acclimatising to new environments and learning new schemes. Even so – there may be further changes in the off season. Sean Locklear and Chris Spencer are free agents. We have no idea whether Max Unger is considered a long term staple when he returns from injury. Can Chester Pitts and Stacy Andrews become part of the furniture alongside Russell Okung?
You may know Pouncey’s twin brother Maurkice? He was taken 18th overall in last year’s draft. He’s also been a revelation on a banged up and notoriously disappointing Pittsburgh offensive line.
The other Pouncey stayed in school whilst his brother headed for the NFL. Things started badly – his move from guard to center took some getting used to. His main issue was something so basic – snapping the ball.
Since then he’s worked hard to address that, developed into the heart and soul of his team and his performances have been striking. He looks like a clone, rather than a twin. He’s equally adept at pass protection as he is versus the run.
At 313lbs he’s not over sized for this team (especially since Andrews became a regular feature). His brother plays at 304lbs for Pittsburgh, so he could lose weight to suit more zone blocking tendencies. The Seahawks would have the option of playing him alongside Okung at left guard or as a center should Spencer depart.
It’s a big investment, especially if it was to be made ahead of choosing to trade up for a shot at the QB’s. Even so – if this team is serious about improving the run and the offensive line – I wouldn’t rule it out. He could be BPA and picking 21st might limit the Seahawks options. Of course we wouldn’t be looking at this position if Seattle don’t win the NFC West and pick much earlier. If they do select in the 20′s, it goes to show how things might change in terms of who we project as the team’s first round pick.