Halfway home – what’s the biggest need?

A couple of weeks ago the Seahawks were 4-2, had just defeated a division rival and looked forward to games against Oakland and New York. Today, 77-points later, the team are at 4-4 and it’s a much different picture.

For the last two weeks I’ve had Seattle picking in the 20’s purely because that’s the ‘reward’ for winning the NFC West. The division winners will pick no higher than 21st overall. The simple fact is any of the four teams could be picking in the 20’s next year because of this and at the same time – the other three could be picking in the top 10-12.

It seems obvious to me that the last two games are more a reality check than anything else. This is a team being built on the run, collecting pieces for the longer journey. A few gems have been discovered so far – particularly Red Bryant pre-injury. Chris Clemons and Mike Williams have both surpassed expectations so far, even if production has gone missing the last two games.

However, there isn’t much depth and with a few injuries the exposure is there. This team can’t cope without so many missing pieces right now. The result has been the last two games, when formerly strong areas of the team (run defense, special teams) haven’t been able to carry other less successful parts.

This is the half way stage though at 4-4, so it’s time for a status check. How have needs changed in the eight games so far?

I stand by my belief that Seattle’s greatest need by a long stretch is a quarterback. Last year wasn’t a good year at the position with really one option in round one (Sam Bradford). The depth was poor and no answers were going to be found when St. Louis snapped Bradford off the board straight away. The team instead built other pieces at left tackle and safety.

Until this team sorts out the main position in the game – it’s still difficult to look elsewhere. Every year longer the Seahawks don’t spend a high pick on a QB, it’s just delaying the inevitable. In 2011 I believe three quarterbacks will go in round one – Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Jake Locker. Ryan Mallett also has a chance if teams can satisfy themselves about his character concerns.

I don’t rank any higher than Bradford and it’s not that close either.

Having said that – this team cannot wait around for the perfect quarterback to fall into their lap. Scouting is so good these days we’ll never see the ‘sure thing’ at QB and the ones close to it will be sure fire #1 picks. I’m a big fan of Matt Barkley – but you’ll almost certainly have to be the worst team in the NFL next year (or the following if he stays the distance at USC) to have a chance at him.

Any pick is a gamble, so if a quarterback is there who you feel has the potential to be good – if not necessarily great – you have to consider it. Josh Freeman had flaws – but he’s already shown what solid production matched with physical skills can do for a team that previously couldn’t buy a win.

It won’t be the immediate answer for Seattle or the antidote to avoiding 41-7 and 33-3 defeats. It will merely be the point where the rebuild truly begins – around the quarterback for the future. It’s not uncommon for team’s to hold back their long-term QB prospects for better times – even if we’ve recently seen a spate of QB’s starting very early.

Of course, there’s always the prospect that the top QB’s will go before they even have a chance to pull the trigger. There are others though that believe the teams focus should be elsewhere.

Do the team need to keep pumping #1 picks at the offensive line? This isn’t a great tackle class in my opinion but there could be some value in rounds 2-4. Even so, the Seahawks may feel obliged to act. If they’re sticking by the ZBS – I’m a big fan of Rodney Hudson (OG, Florida State) in the late first or early second round. In the same kind of range, Mike Pouncey (OG/C, Florida) is starting to flash the same kind of talents that made his brother a first round pick. That would be a move away from the ZBS.

Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin) is a mauler limited strictly to the RT position therefore limiting his value. Derek Sherrod (OT, Miss. State) is a fast riser at the moment. Joseph Barksdale (OT, LSU) and James Carpenter (OT, Alabama) are two prospects who are worth monitoring too, Carpenter in particular is a big-time sleeper who could be a steal later on.

This is a strong class for DT’s again – from the staple talents of Marcell Dareus and Stephen Paea to the more recent gatecrashers Nicky Fairley and Drake Nevis. There’s some talent at DE too – led by the brilliant Da’Quan Bowers – and the cornerback class will have plenty of depth throughout the first two rounds.

It’d be unfair not to mention the wide outs too – this is another area for some depth particularly in the second round.

So let me know what you think the ‘Hawks biggest needs are in round 1-2 next April at the halfway stage of the 2011 season. Leave your thoughts in the comments section or email rob@seahawksdraftblog.com


  1. Matt Quarre

    I always look for the seahawks to take a great flashy player, but the more i think they really just need a QB, like you said it all starts at QB, this kinda makes me mad though because there are so many needs for other postitions, CB,DE,DT,OT,OG. But i agree, the hawks need to take a quarterback in the first round

    (some people say jake locker will drop to the 2nd round, is that true?)

    • Rob

      Hi Matt,

      Locker’s stock is hard to project right now. As much as the hype is in overdrive for Andrew Luck, it’s the opposite for Locker. That’s not hard to understand considering the difference in fortunes this year. Realistically Locker could be one of three QB’s taken in the top-15… or he could easily suffer a Clausen-esque drop. I like him a lot more than Clausen though and I suspect teams will too.

  2. rymong

    Until both lines are fixed, addressing other problems is pointless.

    We need to upgrade the pass-rushing DE spot. But only if a Freeney/Ware type guy is available (I figure they can play 3-4 OLB’s into that spot, too). We need another DT in the rotation, especially if Mebane’s injuries are going to linger. And the new guy could stand to be a dominant player as well, since Mebane and Cole are really above average at best these days.

    We need another dominant offensive lineman. And maybe another starter. And more depth. Locklear is likely gone. Pitts doesn’t likely have a lot of time left. Spencer is a free agent. Is either Andrews or Under the answer at RG?

    Those are my thoughts

    • Rob

      Clearly both lines need work. However – in my opinion – it all starts with drafting your QB. The line has had some success this year – notably in Chicago when Okung was healthy. Hey – against NYG the pass pro was fine. Getting healthy and adding parts will lead to success. They need to draft well on the OL, I just don’t think it’ll be via first rounders in 2011. Pouncey is really growing on me in R2 range. Love Hudson. Round two might be a good area for that position.

      Defensive lineman – we’ve found some gems, but we need to keep reloading. Realistically, you could make a case for adding a player at every position on the DL.

    • Matt Quarre

      This is my line next year

      LT = Russel Okung
      LG = Benjamin Ijalana (2nd round pick)
      C = Chris spencer? I dont now who else
      RG = Max Unger
      RT = Stacy Andrews

  3. Matt Quarre

    I kinda want to see the seahawks take Jonathan Baldwin, because i think they need playmakers and a good line before a QB, i cant make up my mind who i want them to take in the 1st round! As for the second, i think a RT,OG or CB would be the way to go

    • Rob

      The Seahawks need playmakers for sure, particularly at WR. However, I don’t think a team should ever look to build a great team and then draft a QB. It has to be the other way round for me. A good QB can make up for other weaker areas. Sometimes an elite team cant make up for bad QB play.

  4. Matt Quarre

    Haha I CANT MAKE UP MY MIND!!! Are there any QB’s the seahawks could take in the 4th round with talents, Blaine Gabbert (if he declares), Pat Devlin, Christian Ponder (I dont think he will last that long), Greg mclroy, anyone else?

    Please Reply

    • Rob

      I don’t think so, unfortunately Matt. There’s a lot of over hyped prospects praised for their ‘moxy’ but will be unlikely to ever start – at least any time soon. Not a fan of McIlroy at Alabama – awful reads, lacks physical tools, character a bit odd. Gabbert probably won’t declare – he has R2/3 potential but it’s fallen apart the last two weeks. Devlin I haven’t seen because Delaware games aren’t broadcast here. Not a fan of Ponder at al.

      • Matt Quarre

        How about Tyrod Taylor as a 7th round or FA, I hate to try and find QBs in the late rounds because its very unlikly that they will ever start, could we trade for Kolb?

        • Matt Quarre

          OH and do you think Rodney Hudson or Mike Pouncy will be around in the 2nd round? Because i See Hudson as a late first round high second, and i dont know what to think about mike pouncy

          • Matt Quarre

            Last Question, what OL guys will be around in the 4th round and be worth taking and possibly starting?

            • Rob

              I like James Carpenter as a late round pick. He’s an OT from Alabama – raw but potential. Could be a sleeper.

          • Rob

            I’m a big fan of Rodney Hudson. For me he is a top-20 talent if you’re running a ZBS. A lot of teams don’t though and the OG position itself doesn’t get much love in R1. He could land in the late first, or he could be a R3 pick because of the size/specific scheme fit. I love the guy though – love the way he plays.

            Pouncey had a rough start to the year. He was moved to center and had nightmares with the snaps – he was a liability there. It got into his head and his entire performance was down. At that stage I’m thinking a R4 prospect at best. However, time is a great healer and he’s shown tremendous development since then. His play is improving every game and he’s starting to look like his brother who was a round one pick. Right now I suspect he’ll get a R2 or R3 grade but he’s rising. He’s a bigger body if Seattle want to adjust more to a man scheme going forward.

        • Rob

          I expect Philly will be open to offers for both their QB’s Matt (if they keep Vick, I think he might be a FA), but the price will put everyone off again. Maybe someone desperate will bite? I’m not sure Seattle would spend a 1st or 2nd round pick on Kolb which is probably the range it’d take.

  5. Blake

    This is kind of wild, but here it goes:

    First off I will say I hope we make a play for Ryan Kalil (C) and Vincent Jackson (WR) in FA. Which would alleviate some of the areas of stress on the hawks and change the way I think about the draft. There are some other names Id like to see us sign too (mankins, maybe even vick depending on our 1st round draft spot) and maybe we will (with locklear, hasselbeck, hill, housh, and branches salaries out of the way, we have a lot of breathing room)

    I am hoping we look into trading trading trufant. I think there is potential to get a 2nd’ish or 3rd round pick for the ‘probowl’ corner (whom we know is sharply declining). I think it is perfect timing to drop his huge salary and pick up a young guy with potential in the backfield. I would like to see that hawks take aaron williams or jimmy smith, but they may very well go outside of our pick range. I dont necessarily think CB is one of the biggest needs on the team right now, but I think it makes a lot of sense.

    I completely agree with you about QB spot. As much as I want whitehurst to man up and be the guy, I dont think it will happen. It is looking more and more like Lockers draft status and our draft spot will coincide come april as well. We pretty much have to address this in the first round.

    If we dont make some big signings/trades I still think we should go QB in the 1st, but probably G/T in the 2nd.

    • Rob

      I think there are some very good suggestions there Blake. I’m not sure what will happen with Jackson – but the Seahawks certainly entertained that idea in the past. He’s due to hit free agency now that’s he’s reported back to the team. Being able to sign a guy like Jackson perhaps on a 2-year loaded deal will give the Seahawks a legitimate weapon at WR without necessarily being handcuffed long term. Jackson is still in his prime – the issue with TJ Houshmandzadeh is that he wasn’t – he’d reached the age where he wasn’t as effective. Seattle needs a greater threat at WR and the draft will only fill so many gaps. The Seahawks need to find that balance between FA and draft that Tim Ruskell never made. He put a lot of ‘band aids’ on ageing veterans to install strict draft methods and it didn’t work. FA can’t be relied on, but it can be used well.

      Kalil’s situation I’m not sure about. Is he a franchise tag candidate? He’s certianly someone to consider if not. Trufant for me won’t get much more than a 4th or 5th in return, even with the Pro Bowl past. With Kelly Jennings a possibility to leave (doesn’t fit strict CB size plan) it might be a tough sell.

      I like Jimmy Smith a lot – had a chance to what some of his tape on the internet and he stood out. For me a sure-fire first rounder.

    • Jeremy G

      here’s my thoughts on this: if we sign mike vick, that problem’s solved for a few yrs at least. it solves a bunch of problems immediately. it makes sense in a lot of ways, hear me out. vick is gonna want out of philly i would guess. he’s gonna want to be paid and be “the franchise guy”. seattle can give him that. i’m sure he’d like to get away from the philly media and fan pressures, it’s very intense there. seattle would be a good home for him. he can be the focal point of the offense and they can build it around him. carroll likes and needs a QB who can go vertical and could move in the pocket also, that’s vick. vick’s escapability also helps disguise our problems on the OL. once you solve the QB problem thru FA, you can now focus on surrounding him with weapons on offense and you don’t have to spend a #1 on a QB. as blake said earlier, you go get vincent jackson as your other FA signing. he’s in his prime and won’t cost you a pick. pay the man, he’s a top 10 WR in the league, young, and has the physical attributes carroll desperately wants. you’ve now plugged 2 huge holes without wasting a pick. it’s gonna be a capped year so you need to dump bloated veteran contracts. someone mentioned trufant and he has to go, along with that bloated contract. trade him for whatever you can get for him, it’s not gonna be a 2 or 3, most likely a 4th. hasselbeck will not get resigned so you save money there. i would cut whitehurst also. that trade was a mistake, cut your losses(4mil) and move on. after signing vick, we still need to develop a young QB so we draft 1 using a later rd pick we received in a trade. while vick is running things, the young QB will have time to develop. now during the draft with the #1 pick we see who’s available when we pick. we should be looking at the best available pass rusher or offensive playmaker. if i’m the hawks, i’m looking for offensive weapons in rd 1. this team’s going nowhere until they can score points. that’s the way the league runs now. you don’t compete unless you put points on the board. after that you focus on building up your lines and depth the rest of the way. this team needs bodies everywhere so after rd 1, i’m gonna try to trade down as much as possible and acculate picks by doing that. if we have this philosophy, the hawks have a young, explosive team on both sides of the ball right away. vick and vincent jackson instantly give you a fearsome offense. vick instantly makes you a playoff contender that would scare any team. he did that when he came into the league with atlanta. the whole team fed off of his confidence and playmaking ability. another thing i’d do if i were the hawks would be to change offensive coordinators. bates should be out, norm chow or another AGGRESSIVE playcaller needs to be brought in here. if the hawks do these things there’s no reason they can’t contend for playoffs and maybe better, next year. plus these moves would infuse confidence in the team and fanbase. the opponents would fear us more. my main point is this team’s going nowhere until it has a QB and a good one. they can’t wait around to develop a young one right now, carroll’s not waiting 2 yrs for that. bring in the proven vet who doesn’t play like he’s old. mike vick is a stud still and solves all those problems without using picks. then you have your franchise guy you can build around but don’t have to wait for him to be good.

    • O

      If not a QB, I think we could go CB. Truffant has been playing pretty badly as of late, and he wasnt that good in the first place, if you ask me.
      Next year’s draft seems loaded with incredible CBs, so I wouldnt mind (Amukamara seems to be slipping by the way)

  6. matt

    Have to, have to, have to get a QB. Sam Bradfords hardly ever come around, so waiting for the next perfect QB won’t happen, and when it does, you have to be picking #1 or there’s no chance of getting him (like Rob said).

    Personally, I’m hoping for Locker in Round 1, a big time WR in round 2 (high upside guy, 6 ft+ w/ speed Blackmon, Baldwin?), and then spend the majority of our mid round picks on O-lineman with high upside. I’m thinking bring in 2 or 3 guys. You gotta hope that 1 might be able to play year 1 and then let the other guys develop.

    QB takes the longest to develop and is the hardest to find. You have to get a QB if given the chance. I have no problem getting Locker in round 1 and letting him sit the entire first year (minus garbage time) until he is ready. I think far too many young QBs are rushed and it greatly hinders their ability to develop. Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers are great examples of Round 1 QBs who were rough around the edges, but had talent and were given time to get comfortable. Both hit the ground running. I think there’s a lot to that philosophy.

    • matt

      Not that I want to avoid defense, but this offense needs a huge boost. I think a more effective offense helps out the defense more than any individual defensive player we would draft.

      • Matt Quarre

        Is Blackmon going to enter, and i think Baldwin will definetly be gone by the 2nd round

        • Matt Quarre

          I would love to have the seahawks take blackmon in the first round in 2012

        • Rob

          There’s no clear indication on Blackmon yet. I suspect he might declare though and potentially land in the 2nd round. Baldwin could easily be a R1 pick, but he’s had a tough year with the QB situation in Pittsburgh. He’s a solid second rounder if not a first.

          • Brendan

            If PC thinks Locker is the guy then we will undoubtedly get him. If we pass on Locker understand that PC will have better intel on him than any other scout and/ or coach in the draft. We are in good hands here especially when it comes to Locker

  7. Matt Quarre

    Do you think the Jake Locker could drop to the 20’s therefor the seahawks take him?

    • Rob

      In that scenario the Seahawks would have to win the NFC West and therefore qualify for the playoffs – but yes I think that is a possible scenario.

  8. Guilherme

    Rob, do you think Carroll would wait one more year to grab Barkley at any cost? He knows better what he’s got. But he already passed on Mays this year and if my memory isn’t tricking me (what happens very often, I confess) I guess Carroll said Locker was ‘the best player he ever coached against’. What are your thoughts?

    • Rob

      I don’t think you can ever afford to wait for a guy. After all – Barkley may stay for his senior year. Do you then wait another year to address such a crucial position? Also, there’s a good chance Barkley goes first overall, making it quite difficult to make a deal.

    • Carl

      Maybe not the best player, but the best QB he ever played against (in college).


      “That’s the best quarterback we’ve played in nine years here,” Carroll said when told Washington has beaten only Idaho and USC the last two years. “Jake Locker has ridiculous talent, and had he remained healthy last year, Tyrone [Willingham] would still be coaching there.”


      “I’m not saying he played the greatest game ever against us,” Carroll said chuckling. “I think the guy from Texas did.

      “But I just think he’s one of the really, really fine complete athletes. I don’t know why I’m blowing him up all the time, but I just really like the guy.”

      So, Locker over Young?

      “I think this guy is the best quarterback we’ve played against,” Carroll said. “I thought Vince played the best game I’ve ever seen anybody ever play.”

  9. denamin

    I admit it, I’m a UW grad and I bleed purple and gold. Can I still be rational about how I rate Locker: probably not. That being said, I think that Jake Locker is still the QB we saw winning games and looking so improved in 2009. Sure Locker is looking lousy this year along with most of the 2010 Huskies. The great thing about that is the chance that the Seahawks might have to reel him in. I love your continuity re. Locker in your Mock.

    After that I think we need to draft two OL. I am sick of seeing Locklear getting beat over and over. He has to hold so much and he is soooo obvious. I hope Stacey Andrews is a viable replacement at RT. He certainly doesn’t fit the bill for a ZBS type. I find myself confused, is the ZBS still our scheme? If it is, then like so many others have said, Rodney Hudson is my hope for R2. When Okung was in there, we not only had fewer sacks, but our running game was terrific. He coupled with Hudson on the left side would be great to watch. I have never been quite sold on Spencer at C, but we need a double dip at OL whether C or RT. Then we can start to get the continuity that every good OL needs.

    I think our DL has been better than I have seen for the last few years. I hope Mebane, Cole and Bryant can come back from injuries and we don’t have to devote a high draft choice there. We can cross our fingers that Clemons can hold up for a while longer. The wealth of DE’s in R1 is impressive, but the Seahawks need to grow the offense right now.

    I think the next higher needs are at WR and CB.

    I have given up my paid Draft Web Sites because I like what you and yours are doing so much, Rob.

  10. Brendan

    Couple things come to mind here. (first you might remember me from around the time of the draft because I was adamantly opposed to drafting Clausen)

    1. You said it yourself in the post – this team has a lack of depth. I think that is the first problem to address. Ideally, I would try to accumulate as many draft picks as I could. If that means trading down then do it.

    2. I couldn’t disagree more with your assertion about getting a QB early on. I think that building the depth and the rest of the team is more important. However, I do agree with you that if the QB of your dreams comes along then you got to take him BUT don’t force it especially at this stage. Also, who is to say that Charlie W. isn’t the answer. Way too early and it looked like he had the arm to play the part.

    3. What is nice – I have full confidence in this GM and coaching staff to maximize the draft. Especially with regards to Locker. PC will have more incite than anyone because all he has to do is call up Sark and get his opinion. My opinion right now is that we will not take Locker (unfortunately). It just doesn’t seem to me like he has the natural intangibles that make a great QB (understanding game flow, touch, reads etc.) It has nothing to do with stats and I am a huge Locker fan but that is what I think.

    Depth, Depth, Depth this rebuild has more years to go. But a great start! Very excited about the moves this GM and coaching staff have made. One thing that is clear – we are going to compete no matter who is on the field.


    • Rob

      Hey Brendan,

      I don’t disagree, but I think drafting a QB early and acquiring depth are two seperate things. I agree that getting a lot of picks will be crucial for improving depth, but I’m not sure how drafting a QB in round one stops that. Therefore I’d find it hard to distinguish how one is more important than the other. For me, QB is the team’s greatest need – but there’s a general need to get greater depth everywhere. Drafting a QB doesn’t stop Whitehurst getting a fair shot because ideally, you don’t start the rookie QB in year one and maybe not in year two either. If, in that time, Whitehurst becomes a franchise QB – then that is a good problem to have. What would be much worse however, is to ignore the QB position and find out Whitehurst isn’t the answer. Whitehurst deserves his chance, but I think the team still needs to draft a QB early.

      Of course at the same time it’s not about drafting any old QB. It has to be someone you believe can be a good starting QB in the NFL. I also think it’s unwise to look for the perfect candidate because they’ll never exist – at least not after the #1 overall pick. Guys like Locker have their faults, but they also have great ceilings and potential. A coach needs to back himself to enhance the good and limit the bad – same as any position.

      I do think this regime will help improve depth by continuing to find scheme specific role players and a few hidden gems. That’ll come in FA, the draft and probably further trades too. They’ll also make mistakes because nobody is perfect. It is a longer rebuild with no obvious quick fix – but I do firmly believe if you can get the QB position sorted long term, you’ll find the rebuild will be a lot easier when you build round that QB’s skill set.

      • matt

        Completely agree with you on this Rob. Have to solve QB and if the worry is having 2 franchise QBs (CW & drafted QB), then that’s a pretty damn great problem to have.

        I have to disagree with Brendan about Schneider & Carroll not wanting Locker. Look at the 3 QBs that they have brought in thus far in their short tenure…Whitehurst, Losman, Zac Robinson. All 3 are athletic guys, 2 of which have big arms. Locker fits that mold perfectly and would have the added guidance/reference of Carroll having a close relationship with Sark and his staff, as well as the seahawks having a representative/scout at practices all the time (logistically makes sense). It’s also been reported that Schneider has been to quite a few UW practices. So, despite Locker being rough around the edges, the FO has a pretty good grasp on the rest of his game and can get a great feel for things like work ethic, intelligence, and leadership at a day to day ground level.

        Let’s also remember, that Locker has been a “QB” for less than 2 years (Wing T, and Spread Option guy before Sark). And many of the improvements Locker needs to make are teachable things. We are not looking at a freak athlete who needs a complete mechanical overhaul as well as not knowing what he can do in a pro-style offense.

        I agree that depth is important, but I think that comes after you address clear holes on the roster. Sure, it would be great to have depth on the O-line, but we need talent at the starting spots first before we worry about how great our #2 on the depth chart is. Get the QB now, let him develop for a year or 2, and build the rest of the team in the mean time. The last 2 first round QBs (from what I remember) who basically had a redshirt year or 2 was Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers, who were both seen as high upside, but rough around the edges type QB prospects. I think there is something to the idea that they were not thrust into the starting lineup day 1.

        Right now, I’d rather be the Rams than the 49ers (as in having a QB to build around vs having great pieces everywhere except QB).

  11. Brendan

    Couple things

    The Rams are a clear example of taking the other route! The route that I would prefer. – as in not getting a qb early unless the perfect fit is there. But rather waiting til the right opportunity comes along and building the rest of the team first. The rams have a lot of pieces in place before Bradford got there. I think and thought this before the season that people were grossly underrating this team. Look at their last 5 drafts – no qb no real skill positions.

    I think that you are misunderstanding what I said about Locker. I think that he is missing some intangibles. But that is just my opinion from afar. What I do know is that if Locker is the right guy for us – PC will know because he has more information and tools than any other scout and Coach in the World. So I will be very happy if they draft Locker because that will mean that they believe in his ability and skills. I just don’t know if that will happen from what I have seen but I hope it does!

    Hope that makes sense


    • Matt

      The Rams got their Left Tackle (Rodger Saffold) the same year as Bradford and there Right Tackle the year before. The Rams had been losing consistently until they got Sam Bradford, and consistently picking high in the draft with the team not improving year by year (evident by picking high every year). They still don’t have any top notch WRs or TEs. So, to say they have all these pieces in place prior to drafting and playing Sam Bradford is not entirely accurate.

  12. Brendan

    Ha! – Forgot to mention that the 49ers are the exact opposite of the Rams! and they are the exact team that you are suggesting the Hawks become! The 49ers chose the QB with the first overall pick early on in their rebuild – look at where that has got them.

    • Matt

      What would have happened if the 49ers drafted Aaron Rodgers? Or perhaps had let Alex Smith sit a year and have the same offensive coordinator for more than 12 months? Might this have affected his development?

      The Seahawks have a Left Tackle (Okung), Marshawn Lynch (power RB), as well as a good TE (Carlson) with some young WRs with upside (MW, Tate, Butler). All good pieces for a young QB. Sure, the O-line needs to improve, but that can be addressed in FA as well as rounds 2 – 4.

      If we continue to wait for all the pieces to be “set” in place before getting a QB (as you mention, high in the draft), then that means our supporting pieces are not very good (as evident by a poor record) or just reinforcing the fact that a football team means little to nothing without a QB.

      So, if you have the chance to draft a potentially good NFL QB, you get him and let him develop. There’s no rule saying said player has to play year 1 or even year 2. San Diego sat Philip Rivers year 1 despite being picked #4, and Green Bay sat Rodgers for multiple years (they drafted him in Round 1 despite having Brett Favre). In the meantime, you continue to build your team around that QB and once the pieces are in place, and the QB is comfortable, you let him take the reigns.

    • Rob

      You could also argue Brendan – that the 49ers have all the other pieces in place, plenty of depth – but they’re an awful 2-6 because of poor QB play. Likewise – the Rams were a one win team until the day they drafted Sam Bradford. Their plan has never been to build a perfect position for a rookie QB, they simply put too much trust in Marc Bulger and neglected to draft for the position. You can’t tell me they wouldn’t have been better off drafting Matt Ryan instead of Chris Long. They had to wait until it got so bad – one win away from a 0-16 season – until the light switched on and they realised they absolutely could not afford to do anything other than draft a QB. The 49ers big mistake was drafting the wrong guy. They busted on Alex Smith and passed on Aaron Rodgers. Again – that’s an issue they have with scouting. Put Rodgers on that 49ers team and they’re leading the NFC West right now.

      The plan for this Seahawks franchise cannot be – continue to be awful for the next 3-4 years, accumulate a series of top five picks and then eventually we might be bad enough to draft a QB first overall. That is the plan St. Louis have essentially put into place – and it’s Bradford’s impact, improved defensive schemes and not the depth of that team that is winning through right now.

  13. Matt

    As much as I don’t want to “force” the issue, there has to be a way to get either Luck, Locker, Newton, or Mallett on the roster next year. Has to happen.

    Yes, all have their flaws and some have more “risk” than others (Locker, Newton), but the bottom line is that there is potential for all to be good NFL QBs.

    Depending on what QB you draft, you let that QB sit for year 1, all the while evaluating every practice, workout, you name it, to determine what that QB needs around them to be successful. That not only includes what type of supporting cast, but what type of offensive scheme fits them best. If you draft Luck, then you have to build a power run game. If you draft Mallett, you have to find a nice bookend RT and some down field threats. If you take Newton or Locker (both fit Bates system well), then you let them get comfortable in that system before forcing them on the field, while providing some more offensive weapons.

    Bottom line, we cannot afford to wait for the perfect QB prospect to come along. All come with their flaws, so you might has well grab one you like early on, and mold them and season them before you throw them to the wolves. That, in no way, means you cannot continue to build around them all the while learning what they will need to succeed.

    I think far too often, coaches try to fit square pegs in round holes, meaning they take a QB and try to make him something he is not. Whoever you draft, you tailor everything you do offensively, to take advantage of their talents/strengths. There’s no fool proof, prototype QB that is guaranteed success. All successful NFL QBs are in systems that play to their strengths.

    • Brendan

      I agree with much of what is being said here. I think that a strong QB is the most important aspect of a team. I think that for every Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers there is an Alex Smith and a Ryan Leaf. We already have a QB with all the tools and years of NFL experience (obviously not game). We don’t need to force a QB. If the coaches/ GM believe in Locker or Mallet then by all means get your guy but if there are doubts than why? You already have a potentially capable if not very good QB option learning Bates’ system already.

      • Rob

        I agree Brendan – it’s important not to force the issue and take ‘any’ QB. However, I think it’s also important not to set the bar impossibly high at the same time. Every QB has their issues. Matt Stafford had a tremendous arm, but continued to throw into double coverage in his final year at Georgia and didn’t always show the required touch you’d look for on short/medium routes. Sam Bradford was coming off a season ending shoulder injury, came from a pass-friendly system and barely faced any pass rush at Oklahoma. Josh Freeman had size, arm, mobility – but you put on the tape before that draft and saw a guy not making the right reads, relying on his arm too much and missing wide open receivers.

        All have entered the league and had some success. The team cannot force the issue, but the grass is rarely greener the following year and without having the #1 overall pick (like St. Louis last year) it’s impossible to guarantee getting the ideal prospect when he’s available. Locker – as an example – has his issues. There’s also a high ceiling. You could make the same argument for Newton and Mallett. If they think that any of the prospects available have long term starting potential – they have to roll the dice. If not – they pass and look elsewhere.

        • Matt

          I think the best point you continually bring up Rob, is the fact that every player is flawed. Even the best of prospects, can have something against them that can create doubt. QB is the biggest victim of this, not only because of the spotlight given to the position, but truly how dependent the success of that individual is on the supporting cast of his team.

          I really like Tampa Bay as a good example of taking a calculated risk on a QB, and subsequently playing to his strong suits. Freeman has a big arm and is very mobile. I’ve seen a lot of his success this year come off down field passing and getting out of the pocket. Just because Josh Freeman is nothing like Peyton Manning, doesn’t mean he can’t be a successful NFL QB.

          For every Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, ie prototype pocket passer, you have a Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers who are more unconventional due to one thing or another (ie size, athleticism, creativity). Heck, look at any position in the NFL and you see all sorts of players having success at the same position despite huge discrepancies in their style of play. It’s just a mtter of playing to one’s strengths.

  14. Brendan

    I would just like to point out that Rob was also vehemently advocating picking Jimmy Clausen in last year’s draft for the same reason – “but the grass is rarely greener the following year”. Well here we are talking about the following year – is the grass greener than Clausen?

    I think we would all say yes.

    Instead of Clausen we got two outstanding players in the first round that are game changers. If Locker is the game changer then get him – I would love it. But I will love it not because the hawks need a Qb – they don’t, I would love it because PC and staff would know that he is our guy.

    Don’t need a QB but if PC and Schneider believe Newton/ Locker/ Mallet is our guy then I believe in them and support the decision.

    • Matt

      Vehemently advocating or against?

      All I remember is Rob saying he had to be a consideration, not that he should be a pick. As a matter of fact, I believe Rob saying that he didn’t believe Clausen could succeed, but that if the FO thought he could, then they sincerely need to consider drafting him (which I agree).

      The fact that there is even a QB debate in regards to the Hawks, really does reinforce the idea that we in fact do need a QB. Otherwise, there would be no reason to debate such an issue.

      The problem is, half of the Seahawk fans are clamouring for more Hasselbeck, when the best course of action would be to let CW play out the season to see in fact, whether or not we need a QB. Sadly, the rest of the division is not allowing us to play that card right now, which unfortunately, could be a big set back for the rebuilding of this franchise.

    • Rob

      I was very critical of Clausen Brendan – my point with Clausen was the same as it is now with the Locker’s/Mallett’s etc. If the team feels like he can be a legit starting QB they have to pull the trigger, accept the flaws and work on the positives. Clearly they didn’t feel that way about Clausen. I wrote many articles voicing why I had serious concerns about Clausen. I don’t have the same concerns with Luck, Locker or Mallett. They have different issues, but are much greater overall prospects. If the regime in Seattle don’t see a franchise QB – they look elsewhere. In that case you do wait. But if you believe in any of those guys, you don’t avoid them in an attempt to create the perfect platform for the perfect QB.

  15. Brendan

    My apologies – vehemently was a little too aggressive and inaccurate.

    I think that we are actually saying very close to the same thing. You are more aggressive when searching for a QB while I am more patient.

    • Rob

      No need to apologise Brendan – you were absolutely right in that I did say the Seahawks should consider Clausen if they felt he could secure the position. However – if they had made that choice – personally I would’ve felt it was a bad one. I was never a big Clausen fan and didn’t include him in my initial first round mock draft. I wish I’d stuck by my instincts throughout, but it was about exploring different scenarios.

      My first 2010 mock last year:


  16. Blake

    what are peoples thoughts on taking a QB, just not in the first round?

    Say Blaine Gabbert? (where is he projected these days anyway?) Are there any later ‘diamonds in the rough’ at QB the hawks might look at? and if so, it makes you wonder who we would choose in the first round instead of one of the ‘top’ qbs.

    • Rob

      I’ve only seen Gabbert once so unfair to make a definitive judgement. I initially thought R2-3 prospect, certainly a level above Christian Ponder but not on a level with Ryan Mallett either. Since then however, he’s had a couple of bad weeks. There’s something there for sure – despite mobility given his size, strong arm, accuracy not a problem if not elite. I think he’ll return to Missouri for 2011, but we’ll see.

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