This week’s update sees a change at the top. You can see the latest projection by clicking here or selecting ‘Mock Draft’ in the title bar.
Jake Locker has done enough since the Nebraska debacle to repair his stock and whilst his last three games haven’t been flawless, he’s flashed the kind of playmaking qualities that initially made him the big tip to go first overall. I already outlined here why I think Locker is better suited to Buffalo than Andrew Luck. I think there’s a good chance Carolina – if they continue to lose – will consider drafting a quarterback early too. There will be major coaching changes with the Panthers at the end of the season and who’s to say Jimmy Clausen’s face will fit with the new regime? It certainly didn’t fit with a lot of other team’s last April which is why he fell so much. I understand he wasn’t on Seattle’s draft board. Potentially there could be as many as 3-5 teams desperately hoping for a shot at the top two quarterbacks.
The Seahawks are not part of this projection as they’re taking a turn to be this week’s winners of the wide-open NFC West. If that happens, they’ll pick no later than 21st overall. Clearly in this situation it would be very difficult to get a shot at one of those two quarterbacks. I do believe it wouldn’t be unlikely this team would consider a bold move up the boards to have a shot at Locker or Luck – similar to what the New York Jets did to get Mark Sanchez. It’s important to remember though that the deal between NY and Cleveland in 2009 went through largely because Eric Mangini was prepared to accept less compensation in terms of picks to secure players he’d previously coached. Seattle would’t have that kind of luxury, meaning a more expensive return in terms of pure picks.
So what would be the alternatives for Seattle if they stayed put in this situation? I don’t think they’d consider Ryan Mallett, who I suspect will not go in round one due to character concerns. There would still be some value at cornerback, in this (early) projection Aaron Williams (CB, Texas) and Ras-I Dowling (CB, Virginia) are still available. It isn’t a particularly good tackle class, but prospects like Nate Solder (OT, Colorado), Joseph Barksdale (OT, LSU), Derek Sherrod (OT, Miss. State), Demarcus Love (OT, Arkansas) and Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin) are players it may be worth monitoring as the year goes on if the Seahawks wish to add a book-end to Russell Okung with Sean Locklear’s impending free agency.
There would also be some possible value at receiver. I’m not convinced any of the ‘big names’ will go as early as originally expected because all have experienced issues this season. Julio Jones (WR, Alabama), Michael Floyd (WR, Notre Dame) and Jonathan Baldwin (WR, Pittsburgh) fit the bill as big targets who can get downfield, but I suspect all would be second round picks in an overall deeper class. Ryan Broyles (WR, Oklahoma) is a smaller, more agile receiver featuring in a much more productive offense who could actually be the second wide-out taken after A.J. Green (WR, Georgia).
Whilst listing these names though, at least to me it just further emphasises the need at quarterback. There are other holes on the team and we can discuss how they can be filled, but none will hold the team back more than future question marks at QB. Matt Hasselbeck remains in a contract year having turned 35 in September. Charlie Whitehurst is only playing on a two-year deal – albeit an expensive one. Whether Hasselbeck plays another year or two or not – it’s still an area that has to be answered sooner rather than later. What is the direction of this team at QB post-Hasselbeck? If the draft plays out like this next April, it may be impossible to answer that question. If one of the top-two QB’s drop even the slightest bit, then you have to wonder if this team will make the kind of statement move the New York Jets managed to do in bringing in Mark Sanchez and quickly establishing themselves as a power-house in the AFC.
To see the latest Seahawks Draft Blog mock draft click here. Let me know whether you agree/disagree and what direction the Seahawks should go if they can’t get a shot at the top QB’s in round one. Leave your messages in the comments section or email firstname.lastname@example.org