A way too early thought on what the top-25 could look like

I’m not labeling this a mock draft, even if it looks like one. I haven’t gone deep into positional need. It’s more an exercise in offering a take on the players I think have impressed this year, for those who give a crap.

The draft order used here is lifted from the current ‘league’ standings on NFL.com.

Yes, Seattle are pinned next to a running back. No, don’t read much into it. I will make this point though. Seattle has two offensive superstars — Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. However much the pass rush looks like a huge need right now, if Lynch does indeed depart next off-season — they can’t pay Wilson $100m and expect miracles. He’s going to need help. They need an impact player to replace Lynch.

Robert Turbin has not done enough to suggest he’s the heir apparent to Lynch. We can say with some confidence he isn’t. I’m not convinced Seattle has ever trusted Christine Michael. Despite his clear potential, he’s constantly been kept at arm’s length. And then this yesterday:

The running backs coach is on the radio saying Michael isn’t “fundamentally sound”. For what it’s worth, I understand his pain. Watch any college football game this weekend. You’ll see running backs with no future at the next level switching the ball from right to left as they head to the sideline. It’s such a basic thing.

The idea that Michael suddenly becomes the feature back appears fanciful. A best case scenario is probably he’s part of a committee next year.

They’re going to bring in a running back if Lynch goes. And I’m not convinced in the slightest they’ll be satisfied going after a mid-to-late round plodder who just adds to the competition. Replacing Lynch will be the toughest thing Pete Carroll does post-Super Bowl. Seriously.

Does this mean they’ll draft a running back in round one? Not necessarily. But I think they’ll consider it for the right player. I bet they’d love to have Todd Gurley — one of the best players to turn pro in several years in my opinion (and I started the season as a skeptic). I can see some interest in Melvin Gordon too. I’m not arguing for this or anything — it’s a take. The defensive line remains the #1 off-season priority unless there’s a major improvement in the second half of the season. But we should at least discuss alternatives.

1 OAK — Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon)
2 NYJ — Todd Gurley (RB, Georgia)
3 JAC — Randy Gregory (LB, Nebraska)
4 TB — La’el Collins (T/G, LSU)
5 TEN — Shawn Oakman (DE, Baylor)
6 ATL — Alvin ‘Bud’ Dupree (DE, Kentucky)
7 STL — Jameis Winston (QB, Florida State)
8 WAS — Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson)
9 MIN — Andrus Peat (T, Stanford)
10 CHI — Shaq Thompson (LB, Washington)
11 NYG — Dante Fowler Jr (Florida)
12 NO — Leonard Williams (DE, USC)
13 CAR — Shane Ray (DE, Missouri)
14 HOU — Bendarick McKinney (LB, Mississippi State)
15 SEA — Melvin Gordon (RB, Wisconsin)
16 SF — Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama)
17 MIA — Markus Golden (DE, Missouri)
18 KC — Brandon Scherff (T, Iowa)
20 CLE — Cedric Ogbuehi (T, Texas A&M)
21 SD — T.J. Clemmings (T, Pittsburgh)
22 PIT — Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (CB, Oregon)
23 IND — Corey Robinson (T, South Carolina)
24 GB — Cameron Erving (T, Florida State)
25 CLE — Kevin White (WR, West Virginia)


  1. Michael M.

    Rob (or anyone who wants to chime in), given the propensity of the Seahawks front office to attack player acquisition on multiple fronts, and the fact that they’re always active in free agency and aren’t afraid to make “splash moves”, what % chance would you give of the ‘Hawks pursuing any of the following names this offseason (obviously not all of these players will actually be available by the time we get there):


    1) N. Suh – DT
    2) N. Fairly – DT
    3) D. Williams – DT
    4) B.J. Raji – DT
    5) J. Pierre-Paul – DE
    6) C. Avril – LEO
    7) J. Sheard – LEO (I thought I read somewhere that they liked him coming out)
    8) J. Houston – LEO
    9) B. Orakpo – LEO
    10) J. Hughes – LEO


    1) J. Thomas – TE (if rumors are true, they certainly have interest)
    2) J. Cameron – TE (ditto)
    3) J. Gresham – TE
    4) S. Wisniewski – C (I can hardly remember what healthy/good Max Unger looked like)
    5) J. Maclin – WR
    6) M. Crabtree – WR
    7) D. Bryant – WR (They’d have to be crazy to let him walk)
    8) D. Thomas – WR (ditto)


    • Ukhawk

      They need to pursue FAs based on the Parcells planet theory – Suh, Thomas, Bryant – these guys are rare and any one of them would have a major impact on the team.

      Conversely, while LEO is important, there are more of them around and thus cheaper/easier to fix

      Unfortunately OL is weak in FA so I think they target this in the draft

      • Arias

        it’s looking weak in the draft too so it sounds like they’re just out of luck.

    • Rob Staton

      I’d like to see Sheard personally. Orakpo might be willing to do a short term deal after two inujuries. I think the big guy at Denver at DT is also a FA (pot roast).

      Cameron is an easy keep on the franchise tag but if he gets away — then he’d be worth looking at. Can’t see Denver letting either Thomas walk.

      • Cameron

        Another name to monitor (again) will be Henry Melton. Studying their cap situation the only way they can keep Dez is by unloading his salary, which next year would be 8.5 million (only 750k dead money if cut). He’s flashed at times this season and could be that backfield penetrating interior lineman we’ve been looking for.

        • Rob Staton

          He’s exactly the type of player Seattle needs right now.

          • Ralphy

            Plus Seattle was in on him the last time he was on the market

  2. JeffC

    If that is true about CMike, and true about his maturity issues, it really would be hard to see him on this team next year. I was wondering last week why he wasn’t returning kickoffs (although happy to see PRich do the job). Wasn’t CMike a KR in college? They must really be soured on him.

    • JeffC

      I believe Danny Oneill also mentioned this week that he was very disappointed in CMike, that his body language and reaction after the Schilling fumble on 3rd and 1 was inappropriate for the moment when the team needed to hang together in a tight game.

  3. Cysco

    Man, if that’s true about Michael and he truly doesn’t have a future with the team, I would be incredibly disappointed. Essentially, the Seahawks would have received no value out of the first two rounds in 2013. For a team that prides itself so much on building through the draft the 2013 draft is pretty much a complete bust.

    • JeffC

      So…unless Willson (unlikely), Jordan Hill (unlikely), or Simon (too early to tell) become stars, that was a complete disaster of a draft. And very little depth.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Willson is okay, not elite, but solid.

        • Ralphy

          Agree. The Seahawks are living on their 2011 and 12s for their draft reputation. Personally I think they have missed badly lately especially when you add Percy Harvin to the draft day picks.

  4. Ukhawk

    I think all this chatter around CMike is a combo of trying to motivate him to be better/hungry/ready but also is to manage expectations of him vs lynch, etc. Believe the “if he’s good get him in the & game” philosophy doesn’t really extend to RB while Lynch is there.

    Of more concern is his history of niggling injuries. Even if he could be the feature back, how much would he feature??

  5. AlaskaHawk

    Seahawks Injury Report (from Seattle Times)

    Unger was listed as limited in practice as he attempts to make it back from an injury suffered at Washington on Oct. 6. Schilling is also not practicing due to injury. With those two limited or out, the only healthy center Thursday was second-year player Patrick Lewis, who was signed by Seattle to add depth on Oct. 8, after Unger was injured. Lewis, who played at Texas A&M, played one series at St. Louis when Schilling departed briefly.

    Also out Thursday were the team’s top three cornerbacks — Richard Sherman (back), Byron Maxwell (calf) and Tharold Simon (knee). Sherman is presumed to have taken a rest day. Maxwell, meanwhile, has missed the past two games with an injury suffered in the Dallas game.

    Simon has played the last two games after recovering from knee surgery in August. It’s unclear if the injury that held him out Thursday is related.

    Also out Thursday were DE Michael Benette (toe), LB Malcolm Smith (groin), DT Jordan Hill (ankle) and S Jeron Johnson (concussion).

    Smith, injured at Carolina, appears unlikely to play with coaches prepping Brock Coyle for a starting job Sunday and saying rookie linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis will also play significantly.

    Already ruled out for the game are TE Zach Miller and LB Bobby Wagner.

    Apparently Wagner’s turf toe is going to take a long time to heal.

  6. AlaskaHawk

    Seahawks sign former San Francisco player Will Tukuafu to block for Marshawn Lynch. He is 285 pounds and has played at both fullback and defensive end. Tukuafu hasn’t played since he sustained a concussion August 24 in an exhibition game. The 49ers gave him an injury settlement on Sept. 8, making him a free agent.

  7. AlaskaHawk

    My thoughts on what positions we need to upgrade or find quality backups for:
    1 DT
    1 DE
    1 LT
    1 LG
    1 Big WR
    1 Linebacker
    1 cornerback
    1 Running Back

    That wasn’t in any paticular order and isn’t meant to imply that any of our current players aren’t excellent.

    It seems like the big wide receiver and defensive tackle are the hardest positions to fill. Based on amount of tackles the linebacker is the most important defensive position to fill. For offense the big wide receiver is important to fill. Offensive line wise we just need some players that can stay healthy and play well with the rest of the line.

  8. Mylegacy

    Rob, I may have to eat crow about the Hawks getting a RB with their first draft choice in 15. This latest news (which is really a continuation of previous reports) about Michael’s lack of maturity / development / etc. is distressing.

    In the “Hawks system” we’ve been spoiled with Lynch – because he’s a uniquely exceptional ball carrier, an exceptional blocker and an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield: he is pretty much the perfect scheme fit. So perfect in fact that were he to be finished as a Hawk it’s unlikely we’d be able to continue our “scheme” and would need to redesign the signature scheme of our offense. Always a very risky undertaking.

    So perhaps – if there was an individual in the draft (or perhaps free agency?) who the team’s leadership believed would flourish in our scheme – he might be a worthwhile pick up.

    Gawd, I hate eating crow. Fortunately, it can make quite a tasty sandwich with 12 grain bread, lettuce and a dollop of fine Dijon mustard – which as you no doubt know uses the acidic juice of insufficiently ripe grapes rather than just vulgar vinegar.

    • Rob Staton

      I think they’ll have a mini-obsession over Todd Gurley. He aint Lynch, he’s different. But he’s their best shot at another sensational talent at the RB position in this draft. Seattle cannot just have Wilson as the only star on offense. He needs help.

    • Arias

      why what did christine michael do now?

  9. dave crockett

    Ahmad Green was a right hand-only ball carrier. It drove Holmgren crazy, and was the source of some ball security problems.

    • Cameron

      Interesting. Any idea on if Green learned how to hold the ball with his left hand after he was traded to G.B and lit it up?

    • Arias

      to be honest that sounds a lot like Holmgren making excuses as to why he would trade the caliber of Ahman Green.

  10. Jeff C

    Today’s injury report is pretty distressing. Basically, we’re getting down to third stringers playing key roles everywhere. I’ll just be happy with a win at this point. Don’t even care about getting a blowout. These next two games are must wins. I’m not one to believe in the “mathematically in it” or “control your own destiny” scenarios as things to rely on. When was the last time you saw a football team “control their own destiny” while coming back from a sizeable “games behind” deficit and actually pull it out? Bill Parcells was right: “You are your record.” These next two games are must wins before heading into the brutal stretch and getting key guys back.

    • AlaskaHawk

      Maybe we will get some of our players back by Thanksgiving. Until then we just need to stay competitive and hope that Arizona slips against Dallas. We still have to face Arizona twice and San Francisco twice. Lots of chances to run the table on them. It would be difficult but with our starters back it could happen!!!

  11. Dan

    I think your moral compass clouds your judgement on Winston. I’m not saying it as an insult, I would hate to have Winston on my favorite NFL team. But there’s no way he makes it past #2. He might not beat out Mariota for #1 but he’s just too talented. Someone is taking him 1 or 2. In this case, you’ve got to assume the Jets would take Winston in a heart beat.

    • John_s

      There’s absolutely no guarantee that a GM and coach will put their job on the line to draft Jameis #2. It’s all going to come down to his interviews and background check. He’s gotta ace his interviews and a team is going to have to be willing to accept all the negatives that will come from the background check.

      He’s an incredibly talented but extremely immature or boneheaded person. I would not
      Be surprised at all if some teams take him off their board because
      The risk vs reward is too great

    • Rob Staton

      There’s quite a severe background check required on Winston. Some teams probably won’t touch him. I don’t want to really go into that too much given the nature of the issue, but we all know what it is. And in the current climate you can bet the NFL is going to be on edge about anything to do with that subject matter. It’ll take a team and a coach willing to take a risk. STL and Fisher are the type of team who would.

      • Dan

        Good point about Fisher. I still think whoever takes Winston is trading up to get him.

  12. Adog

    It’s time to change the offense. Lynch cannot be replaced…in other words the identity of this offense needs to change. Maybe this signals the end of bevell…or perhaps they keep him. The hurry up no huddle offense fits Seattle personel perfectly. Their best reciever is a slot guy, their offensive line is underwhelming, and their qb is unique and gifted. I would like to see them hand this over to Wilson alla Brees and Rodgers. If so I think a joker tight end and a dynamic run/pass 3rd down back become priorities.

    • Rob Staton

      Pete Carroll has always used a run-first identity. I don’t think we should expect that to change.

  13. Radman

    Well, to hear Cable tell it, his glorious system can make a productive runner out of any NFL RB as long as they follow the system. So, if we’ve been tolerating crappy pass blocking in exchange for this system, it’d be nice if we didn’t have to spend a high pick on a RB to boot. At some point I’d like to see some actual payoff for Cable’s system and reputation, beyond excuses and explanations. Other teams using this system have found productive runners late in the draft. I expect this team do so as well. Otherwise, Cable has an even harder time justifying his paycheck, title, and reputation, imho.

  14. jake

    Screw RB, they need OL help badly…like round 1, 2,3 badly

    • Rob Staton

      Come on Jake, don’t fall into that trap.

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