Pete Carroll held his end of season press conference yesterday and amongst other things the discussion turned to ‘priorities’ for the continued building of the roster.
The Seahawks head coach was quite vocal in his desire to improve both lines, an area he felt suffered due to depth and injury issues during the 2010 season.
On the defensive side – Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole and Red Bryant all missed time during the regular season. The absence of each was certainly felt.
The need amongst the interior defensive line may be increased knowing that Mebane is scheduled to be a free agent – although the unknown future of free agency and the CBA makes projecting what will happen a complete non-starter.
My initial reaction to the press conference was mainly not to read too much into anything that was said. Teams never show their hand this early in the post season and intentions can certainly change based on circumstance.
Carroll also spoke about the importance of improving the quarterback position for the long term – and it’s still difficult to imagine this isn’t an area of major priority even if it means potentially needing to make a significant move up the board.
Most recently I’ve been projecting the Seahawks could consider taking a receiver like Jonathan Baldwin (Pittsburgh). Following advances for Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson last season – it’s hard to believe the Seahawks have ended such interest in getting a sizable playmaker who can get downfield purely because they’ve re-signed Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu.
Indeed I’ve already received tweets claiming the fact receiver wasn’t a need named by Carroll in his conference as a sign that this is unlikely. In reality – it may mean the exact opposite.
Even so, my intention with these mock drafts is not to make inch-perfect accurate projections months before the event. I want to cover all bases and use the mocks as discussion starters. Who might the Seahawks consider? Would this be a good move? What alternative options are there?
The picks that stay the same are the ones where I feel strongly about their possibility and don’t see the projections made elsewhere. My continued decision to keep Jimmy Smith (CB, Colorado) in the top ten has stirred some debate. I often read comments saying this is unlikely because no other mock is making the projection.
I really believe Smith will be on everyone’s minds come the combine next month and while I’ll not be so stubborn to prolong the projection if I’m proven wrong – I’ll also continue to mock him in the top-ten until that moment.
In this latest mock draft I have the Seahawks taking Corey Liuget (DT, Illinois).
I’m not that familiar with Liuget, although ESPN’s Todd McShay recently commented that he isn’t far behind Nick Fairley and Marcell Dareus in another strong class for first-round defensive tackles.
Courtesy of the excellent Aaron Aloysius I’ve located tape on Liuget when he faced Ohio State:
He’s not as explosive as Fairley, who often breaks into the backfield with consummate ease. He also doesn’t do as good a job as Dareus disengaging blocks or flash the same kind of range. They’re both top ten picks though, so you can’t expect the same level of pure quality at #25 overall.
Liuget appears to have potential as a lighter alternative to Colin Cole in the one-technique role but also operate as a three technique spelling Brandon Mebane. That’s the kind of depth the Seahawks may be looking for on their defensive line.
Even so – it begs the question that with so many needs on the roster, can you justify a rotational cog on the defensive line with a first round draft pick?
You may notice I have Ryan Mallett falling out of the first round – not for the first time. Concerns with his character linger and while this may prove to be insignificant come the combine – you have to believe meetings conducted in Indianapolis will define the Arkansas quarterbacks stock.
Then again – can the Seahawks afford to roll the dice on Mallett given that they’re picking so late in the first round? The possible cost of only $11.5m as a first contract with only around $6-7m in guarantees limits the risk factor. The risk/reward of a quarterback for the future at that stage in the first round is much greater than a rotational defensive lineman.