We’re just over a month away from the draft and still there’s so many questions to be answered.
Who’s going first overall? Will a new CBA be agreed before the draft, opening up free agency? What are the Seahawks going to do at #25?
We’ve all seen rumours linking Seattle with Carson Palmer and Kevin Kolb. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen this week said he’d be ‘shocked’ if the Seahawks didn’t draft a quarterback early.
With Matt Hasselbeck unsigned and possibly moving on, the position has taken on an even greater importance. Something needs to be done one way or another.
Yet when I sit down to compile a mock draft, I just cannot see how any of the top four prospects fall into the 20′s. Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be top five picks. I still think Jake Locker is a shoe-in for Washington and Mike Shanahan. Even with character concerns Ryan Mallett has too much talent to get past teams like Miami and Jacksonville.
The idea of an unclear situation beyond the draft somehow appears unfathomable when in fact it’s probably a much greater reality than you’d hope. Not finding a QB in round one won’t necessarily mean the team spends the #57 pick on a QB. Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton are not the answer. Colin Kaepernick? That’s a big project. Ricky Stanzi? Perhaps, but not in round two and Seattle will need to get some playmakers. Do they trade up in round one?
April 6th is a huge day for the NFL but perhaps more so for Seattle than most other teams. That is the day the players and owners head to court to discover whether an injuction will be placed on the lockout, allowing free agency to begin. Having that opportunity to bring some one in possibly using the #25 pick can shape the team for years to come. Whether you agree with a potential Kevin Kolb trade or not (I have mixed feelings) if the Seahawks cannot get at the top QB prospects this year something needs to happen.
People will say wait – but this is a QB driven league and you have to be proactive not reactive.
So while I have the Seahawks taking a defensive lineman in round one this week, it somehow feels like this story will have a few more chapters before we get to the twist.
A loose second round projection:
#33 New England – Leonard Hankerson (WR, Miami)
#34 Buffalo – Phil Taylor (DT, Baylor)
#35 Cincinnati – Justin Houston (DE, Georgia)
#36 Denver – Akeem Ayers (LB, UCLA)
#37 Cleveland – Christian Ponder (QB, Florida State)
#38 Arizona – Kyle Rudolph (TE, Notre Dame)
#39 Tennessee – Curtis Brown (CB, Texas)
#40 Dallas – Brandon Harris (CB, Miami)
#41 Washington – Jonathan Baldwin (WR, Pittsburgh)
#42 Houston – Rodney Hudson (OG/C, Florida State)
#43 Minnesota – Edmund Gates (WR, Abilene Christian)
#44 Detroit – Martez Wilson (LB, Illinois)
#45 San Francisco – Ryan Williams (RB, Virginia Tech)
#46 Denver – Marvin Austin (DT, North Carolina)
#47 St. Louis – Danny Watkins (OG, Baylor)
#48 Oakland – Chimdi Chekwa (CB, Ohio State)
#49 Jacksonville – Mikel Leshoure (RB, Illinois)
#50 San Diego – Quinton Carter (S, Oklahoma)
#51 Tampa Bay – Cameron Heyward (DE, Ohio State)
#52 New York Giants – Terrell McClain (DT, USF)
#53 Indianapolis – Drake Nevis (DT, LSU)
#54 Philadelphia – Ben Ijalana (OT, Villanova)
#55 Kansas City – Tandon Doss (WR, Indiana)
#56 New Orleans – Jarvis Jenkins (DT, Clemson)
#57 Seattle – Orlando Franklin (OG, Miami)
#58 Baltimore – Lance Kendricks (TE, Wisconsin)
#59 Atlanta – Torrey Smith (WR, Maryland)
#60 New England – Jordan Todman (RB, Connecticut)
#61 San Diego – Marcus Cannon (OG, TCU)
#62 Chicago – James Carpenter (OT, Alabama)
#63 Pittsburgh – Randall Cobb (WR, Kentucky)
#64 Green Bay – Aaron Williams (FS, Texas)
Notes: I don’t like Christian Ponder that high but Cleveland stopped Colt McCoy falling into round four and may make another gaffe by drafting Ponder this early. If Denver draft Bowers, Ayers and Austin in rounds 1&2, John Fox can be satisfied the league’s worst defense will be improved. I suspect out of the group Jordan Todman may be the one that sticks in the mind long term.
Seattle takes the best available interior lineman. There wasn’t a multitude of options here. People will ask about the quarterbacks but the two realistic options were Colin Kaepernick and Ricky Stanzi – both significant reaches for me. Seattle has the second pick in round four courtesy of the Deion Branch trade and can easily move up using their two 5th round picks to target this pair in round three if they wished. While I rate both quarterbacks ahead of Andy Dalton, I still wouldn’t invest the team’s future in either. This, to me, stresses the difficult situation the Seahawks find themselves in. Upgrading and sorting the quarterback position long term must be the priority.