What if…. the Seahawks can’t take a QB?

November 15th, 2010 | Written by Rob Staton

If the season ended today, Carolina would own the #1 overall pick with Buffalo selecting second. Here’s how the top ten would shape up:

1. Carolina
2. Buffalo
3. Detroit
4. Dallas
5. Cincinnati
6. San Francisco
7. Minnesota
8. Arizona
9. Denver
10. Cleveland

The Seahawks of course would be picking no earlier than 21st overall, because they’d be NFC West Champions. I still firmly believe the division is a lottery and that there’s a distinct possibility three teams could be in contention in week 17. I wouldn’t want to try a predict anything right now, even though the Seahawks have a one-game lead over the Rams.

It could be a bizarre situation, with the division winners picking late in the first round next April and the other three teams selecting amongst the top 10-15 picks. The margin of difference could be as little as head-to-head record.

In my updated mock draft tomorrow, I’m going to review a situation I’ve yet to cover – what happens if all the quarterbacks go before Seattle is on the board? Looking at the current top ten order, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to see three or even four QB’s taken. Andrew Luck would be an absolute shoe-in to go first overall to Carolina. Buffalo, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Minnesota and Arizona are all logical QB takers. A case could even be made for a team like Dallas – stranger things have happened.

Previously I’ve had Luck, Jake Locker and Cam Newton going in round one. Ryan Mallett is a first round pick based on his on-field talent. Could they all leave the board before #21?

I’ve long argued the importance of Seattle drafting a QB early. The longer they wait to draft a quarterback, the bigger the issue becomes. Whether the Seahawks win their division this year or not – this is still a re-build. Any re-build – in my opinion – has to start with the quarterback. Look at St. Louis’ improvement simply by drafting Sam Bradford. Tampa Bay have rebounded this year – in large part because of Josh Freeman. Atlanta and Baltimore were 4-12 and 5-11 before drafting Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco.

Atlanta turned a bad situation into a positive by drafting Ryan and putting the LT, RB and TE around him. They already had a #1 receiver. That for me will be the road to extended success – getting your QB and putting the pieces around him.

There is the possibility that a quarterback (or more than one) could fall. We’ve seen it before – Aaron Rodgers being a key example. Projecting the stock of Jake Locker, Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett is particularly difficult right now. Nevertheless if the Seahawks did pick later in round one there won’t be any guarantees any will remain available.

Of course there’s always the opportunity to trade up. If a QB is there you simply must have, then that has to be a serious consideration. In 2009, the New York Jets moved up 12 places to draft Mark Sanchez. Obviously that was a considerable jump. However, it’s not unusual to see teams make minor moves up the board to ‘guarantee’ the quarterbacks they want.

In the same 2009 draft, Tampa Bay moved up just two places to get Josh Freeman. In 2008 - having moved from #8 down to #26 – Baltimore moved back up to #18 to draft Joe Flacco. Last April Denver moved back into round one to get Tim Tebow. It’s not unusual to see teams make these kind of moves. I don’t include trades in my mock drafts, but that has to be considered – particularly when I don’t place a QB with the Seahawks as I will tomorrow.

So what are the alternatives if they won’t or can’t move up?

It’s a good year for cornerbacks – would a player like Colorado’s Jimmy Smith fit the bill? Will Cameron Jordan be available to add some depth on the defensive line – not to mention another Golden Bear on the roster? What about a wild card on the offensive line? I’ll publish my updated mock draft tomorrow.

16 Responses to “What if…. the Seahawks can’t take a QB?”

  1. Andy says:

    “Andrew Luck would be an absolute shoe-in to go first overall to Carolina.” Really? You think Clausen is that bad? He looked decent yesterday before the concussion. Certainly good enough that they will not spend the #1 overall pick on a QB.

    • Rob says:

      It’s a no-brainer for me, Andy. There’s going to be major changes in Carolina in the off season. The new coaches will look at the roster and see that the team doesn’t have a franchise QB and that will be their first target. They’ll have nothing invested in Clausen. Luck is a far superior prospect and to think they’d pass on that to stick by Clausen is unfathomable in my opinion. It’s much less to do with giving up on Clausen – much more to do with seeing a much more talented QB who will be ‘their guy’.

      As an example – Miami spent a high 2nd round pick on John Beck in 2007. He actually went eight places higher than Clausen. As soon as Parcells and co. took over a year later he was on the trade block. He sat there for a whole year before getting cut. When teams make big changes – the go their own direction. The fact the team drafted Clausen 48th overall is no handcuff. His face didn’t fit with enough teams to fall that far in the first place – why will it fit when they appoint a complete new setup?

      If Carolina have the first overall pick – in my opinion there’s only one direction they could possibly go. Andrew Luck.

  2. Matt Quarre says:

    Do you like Pat Devlin at all? i keep thinking jake locker will fall to us at 21, but i think someone has to take him before then, so should they even try a mid round pick on a QB or just wait till next year. And what round do you think Ras-I-Dowling will land in?

    • Rob says:

      I’ve no access to Delaware games so can’t judge Pat Devlin fairly – only seen various highlights. I’ll strive to get some tape before the end of the season. There’s a chance Locker falls. Even if he doesn’t, if he’s lingering around in the teens it’s not a giant leap to move up 5-6 spots. It just depends how much the team want a certain player badly enough. Last year there were some quite big moves (Philly>Graham, SD>Mathews). The Seahawks don’t have a lot of spare picks with which to move around. When a QB is at stake though, you can certainly justify being creative.

      Ras-I Dowling is falling. He’s missed almost his entire senior season with injury. He was only OK when he did perform. He’s got good size and decent speed given that size. Right now I’m thinking round three, it depends on how teams judge his injury situation. He could fall lower, similar to Walter Thurmond.

  3. Jeriod Klovas says:

    I agree, if we win the division, I doubt there will be a QB available. Maybe Mallett who I personally like. He has shown a lot this year with his accuracy and he has a cannon. Maybe some questionable personality issues, but sitting 2-3 years behind a resigned Hasselbeck, could help. Remember how Trent Dilfer tutored Hasselbeck. I love when the Seahawks win, but part of me cringes at the thought of dropping down in the draft. I feel like we are imposters on the field, and each win is lucky. In the end I have put my faith in Carrol and Shneider.

    • Rob says:

      It’s difficult to judge right now. Locker’s stock has bounced around all year. It only takes one team to make him a high pick. Some people have told me not to bank on him being around in the 20′s, others have said he could fall into round two. Mallett’s the same. I really like Mallett on the field – always have. His personality and all the talk about his character and work ethic worries me. Maybe he walks into a dressing room full of veterans and mans up? Maybe he can’t handle that situation. If he impresses everyone at the combine in meetings, then he could be a high R1 pick. He might fall down the board if he doesn’t.

  4. matt says:

    Tough call if no QB is available. Gotta go BPA, but hopefully an obvious talent slips (ie Dez Bryant type, not necessarily a WR).

    When in doubt, I think we gotta go for the trenches. That said, the only OTs I’d have interest in Round 1 would be Sherrod or Love. Nothing wrong with book ending the line if no one else sticks out by a whole lot. Perhaps Mike Pouncey? Having a Okung/Pouncey left side would be nice.

  5. jason says:

    What about taking a flyer on someone like Mitch Mustain in a later round? He has been stuck behind sanchez and barkley.

    • Rob says:

      I can’t offer much opinion on Mustain because obviously he hasn’t played. Pete Carroll will know better than anyone if he’s good enough – so we’ll see.

  6. Patrick says:

    Great discussion Rob, and one that is very valid. The emergence of Cam Newton has made me feel very encourgaed about this situation. I say that because I am very intrigued by Cam Newton and what he brings to the table. I also believe that between Cam Newton, Jake Locker, and Ryan Mallett, there’s a very good chance that at least one is still there at #21. Now here is the real dilema, what are the odds that Seattle sees all 3 of these as potential QBs of the future? What if after Jake Locker, they decide Mallett doesn’t fit and that Newton is too much of a project. Do they skip the QB issue again? I personally would be very dissapointed if Mallett and Newton are not selected, but I also could easily see that happening. I also know that I have lost almost all of my faith in Charlie Whitehurst and a 1st round QB seems like an even larger need than before.

  7. Alex says:

    It’s more than just “choosing” a QB. You have to choose the right one. Just as Matt Ryan, Flacco, Freeman, and Bradford can lift teams, you also have QB busts like Jamarcus Russell or David Carr who can set the team back 3-5 years. If you miss, you usually spend 2-3 years to give him a chance before you decide that you just need to start over.

    For me, Newton is not a franchise QB and there are FAR too many red flags floating around. Even if it’s someone purposefully releasing information that shouldn’t be released, what’s done is done. Mallet supposedly has some character issues though I want to see what it is specifically because his performance shows a potential franchise QB (Newton on the other hand is a project).

    My favorite is still Locker and then Luck. Luck will certainly go in the top 3 on hype alone though I still don’t think he is worth a top 5 pick. Locker is the big mystery. People like McShay has him in the top 10, some have him in the mid 1st round, and some have him in the 2nd round which I find ridiculous. If needed, I wouldn’t mind trading up for a QB. I do agree it’s a need now. If Hasselbeck is resigned, well Locker can spend a year polishing up.

    • Rob says:

      Absolutely it’s about taking the prospect you feel can be a regular NFL starter and not just ‘any’ player as long as it’s a QB. Absolutely there’s an element of project about Cam Newton – I also think he’s perhaps a little better than some are giving him credit for. He’s extremely talented with big potential – but he will have to learn specific reads, develop his footwork not just in how he sets to throw but also with different drop backs, manage his ability to look off targets and not focus in on one guy. All of these are things are substantial – but I also think he’s got enough talent to make up for some growing pains. He won’t be a day one starter – but I could easily see him coming into the position midway through next season and surprising a lot of people.

      Agreed on Mallett – I will always promote his on-the-field talents. When people were ultra crtical about him last year – I argued his case. He hasn’t received enough credit for a much improved season. Is he mature enough for the NFL? I’m not sure. He has a lot of developing to do as a man. It’s the only thing holding him back from being a very high pick. If he was 50% the character of Luck or Locker – everyone would be talking about him. He deserves a lot more praise. I’m putting him back in round one in my mock this week.

      • Alexander Hsie says:

        The things that you noted about Newton are basically all the fundamentals of the QB position. I recognize his leadership skill, his arm strength, his athleticism, and physical tools, but the overall lack of polish makes me question whether he is worth a 1st round pick (hypes aside). Despite Tim Tebow’s case last year, he was overdrafted. Plain and simple.

        The biggest thing I want to see is his intelligence though. Luck’s intelligence may be overhyped, but I can at least see that he understands things and will be fine in the NFL schematic wise. I want to see more on this aspect from Newton especially with all the recent reports about his academic things.

        Truthfully, Mallet didn’t overly impress me in the Bama game (two interceptions at key moments in the game), but he won me over in the other games. I’ve seen enough to say he can be a potential franchise QB, but as we’ve both said, character seems to be an issue. Of course, character is important. It was one of the key traits that made the difference between Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning. That said, I feel Mallet wouldn’t be the best fit for the Seahawks just simply because the system asks for a mobile QB rather than one that needs to stretch the field (one in Mike Martz or Norv Turner’s offense).

        This is actually one of the reasons I prefer Luck and Locker. Luck in particular impressed me with a throw last week when his OL broke down, he stepped up, was getting sacked, but still got the long ball out. That was a dagger.

        Alex

  8. John_S says:

    I guess my preference if no QB is available would be 1) OL/DL 2) CB 3) BPA

    The lines are need desperate help. I don’t think you can pin anyone on the O’line as a lock other than Okung. All the other line positions need an upgrade. D’line the Giants have taught us you can never have enough D’linemen and with the injuries that have ocurred on the D’line we need depth. It would be nice to pressure the QB with just the 4 D’linemen instead of constantly having to bring extra guys.

    I think this year has showed that Trufant is a a good corner not a great corner and he’s getting to the point where he’s a good second corner not a #1 corner.

    BPA – Watching the Eagles just made me salivate for big play receivers, running back and a QB. What you saw from Vick, you hope that is what Locker turns in to. Desean Jackson and Maclin must be the fastest pair of wideouts in the league and Lesean McCoy is explosive as well.

    1) Akeem Ayers, In your mock you have him going 22. I love the kid and Ayers and Clemons would be spectacular in the Leo Role

    2) Jeremy Beal or Ryan Kerrigan

    3) Rodney Hudson, Gabe Carimi, Derek Sherrod

    4) Jimmy Smith, Brandon Burton

    5) Ryan Broyles, Justin Blackmon, Bruce Carter

  9. Jim Kelly says:

    I don’t see the similarity between Michael Vick and Jake Locker. Yes, both are athletic guys that at times couldn’t hit the broad side of anything. Vick’s accuracy has improved because he finally matured. Locker is already mature.

    When the Seahawks played the Falcons, Vick never looked away from his primary target until he would look for his running back. And that was only if he couldn’t run. I’ve watched Locker go through his progressions. The only time that he won’t is when he becomes truly flustered. And it takes a lot to fluster him. He was horrible in the UCLA game. If his ribs were affecting him that much, he shouldn’t have played at all.

    The most important aspect of the west coast offense is accuracy, and Locker just doesn’t have that. Unless Pete Carroll thinks that Locker can improve on his accurracy, I don’t see the Seahawks being interested in him.

    Before the 1992 season, I remember Mel Kiper saying that if Drew Bledsoe fumbled away every game, he’d still go number one overall. I felt the same about Locker if he improved as much as he did last year. It didn’t happen. If Locker can post 65-70% completion rates over the next two weeks, he’ll go in the top ten, easily. If he Has another game like tonight… second round.

    If Locker had similar PASSING numbers to Sam Bradford (his rushing stats would never compete with Locker’s), then we wouldn’t be having this conversation because every pundit would compare him to Bart Starr and Steve Young.