Seahawks can still pick 6th… or 32nd

The NFL regular season is one week away from completion. We will soon know how the first 20 picks will shape up for the 2011 draft.

Following Minnesota’s victory over Philadelphia last night, the Seahawks would currently own the 11th overall pick. It also means Seattle can pick as high as 6th overall and as low as 32nd overall depending on upcoming results. No other team has potential for such a dramatic swing in terms of draft position. 

The Seahawks go into week seventeen with a 6-9 record. Victory against St. Louis on Sunday will guarantee the NFC West title and an automatic playoff spot. This would also mean (even with a one-and-done post season) Seattle would select no earlier than 21st overall. That would prove true unless the Seahawks made it to the NFC Championship where they would select 29th overall (defeated in NFC title game), 31st (defeat in the Super Bowl) or 32nd (Super Bowl winners). 

What if the Rams win on Sunday, putting the Seahawks at 6-10? 

There are six teams with a 5-10 record: Arizona, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston and Detroit and Cleveland. 

With the Cardinals and 49ers playing each other, one is guaranteed to finish 5-11. In defeat, this team would select before the Seahawks. 

The Cowboys take on the Eagles. Will Philly rest Michael Vick and other starters? Will Dallas want to end a disappointing year on a high? This could be a much closer game in the aftermath of Minnesota’s win in Philadelphia. 

Houston will face Jacksonville – a must win game for the Jags if they are to have any chance of winning the AFC South. They are missing QB David Garrard and RB Maurice Jones-Drew – arguably their two best players. 

Detroit travels to Minnesota in the midst of a three-game winning streak. 

Cleveland entertain Pittsburgh. 

Should any or all of these teams win and find themselves level with a 6-10 Seahawks outfit, it will be Seattle who selects first due to strength of schedule. Of all the teams picking in the top ten currently, only Arizona (.458) has faced a weaker schedule than Seattle (.488). 

Should all the teams on 5-10 win (excluding whoever loses between Arizona or San Francisco) the Seattle Seahawks will own the 6th overall pick for the second year in succession. 

Some fans will be split on what the best result actually is on Sunday. I imagine the majority will believe victory against the Rams (a division rival) and a playoff spot trumps any thoughts about an event that won’t happen for another four months. There will be some, however, who feel picking fifteen places higher in the draft could have a greater long term benefit.

Personally, I believe it’s essential the Seahawks identify a quarterback to be a long term starter and do what it takes to bring that person to Seattle. This can be achieved via trade, but a more obvious route is through the draft. With as many as five quarterbacks with a potential first round grade for 2011 – this could be a rare opportunity. Last year – I gave one QB a first round grade (Sam Bradford). This year, there are three certainties (Luck, Newton and Gabbert) and two others (Locker, Mallett) who could easily be drafted amongst the top-15 picks. 

Using my most recent mock draft as an example – only Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas) could be left on the board at pick #21. 

This is all conjecture and speculation at this point, which weakens any argument for preferring draft position over victory. The deadline for underclassmen to declare isn’t until January 15th and of the names listed above – only Locker is guaranteed to be present next April as the sole Senior prospect.

It’d be wrong to suggest there are no benefits to winning the division and making the playoffs. It’d also be wrong to claim there’s no way the Seahawks could manipulate their way into drafting the quarterback of their choice (or any other prospect for that matter) even if the team’s draft position warrants a greater expense by trading up.

Even so, we can’t simply ignore that this is a unique situation we may never see again in the NFL. Has there ever been a team that could own a pick in the top six or 32nd overall going into week 17?

Would it be akin to sweeping dust under the rug and hoping it’ll go away to think this team doesn’t need more top-ten talent after a largely disappointing season which could end with an unlikely flourish?

Current 2011 NFL Draft order after week 16 

*Strength of schedule (opponent win percentage) is in brackets.

1. Carolina Panthers – 2-13 (.575) 
2. Denver Broncos – 4-11 (.508)
3. Cincinnati Bengals – 4-11 (.579)
4. Buffalo Bills – 4-11 (.583)
5. Arizona Cardinals – 5-10 (.458)
6. San Francisco 49ers – 5-10 (.492)
7. Dallas Cowboys – 5-10 (.521) 
8. Houston Texans – 5-10 (.525)
9. Detroit Lions – 5-10 (.550)
10. Cleveland Browns – 5-10 (.575)  
11. Seattle Seahawks – 6-9 (.488)
12. Tennessee Titans – 6-9 (.504)
13. Washington Redskins – 6-9 (.513)
14. Minnesota Vikings – 6-9 (.513)
15. New England Patriots (Oakland) – 7-8 (.471)
16. Miami Dolphins – 7-8 (.538)
17. Jacksonville Jaguars – 8-7 (.450)
18. San Diego Chargers – 8-7 (.458)
19. New York Giants – 9-6 (.454)
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 9-6 (.479)
21. St. Louis Rams – 7-8 (.442)
22. Indianapolis Colts – 9-6 (.475)
23. Green Bay Packers – 9-6 (.521)
24. Kansas City Chiefs – 10-5 (.408)
25. Philadelphia Eagles – 10-5 (.483)
26. New York Jets – 10-5 (.496)
27. New Orleans Saints – 11-4 (.463)
28. Chicago Bears – 11-4 (.467)
29. Baltimore Ravens – 11-4 (.488)
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – 11-4 (.504)
31. Atlanta Falcons – 12-3 (.488)
32. New England Patriots – 13-2 (.504)


  1. tom page

    Very interesting article Rob. I am going to the game so whatever happens I’ll have a reason to be happy. We need elite players and those types of players are not available at #21, but I expect to win games at Qwest Field.

    Another thought I had was the change in draft position effects all rounds not just the first round. To pick 10 spots or more earlier in every round makes a big difference in the quality of players you can get. If you add up the draft value, I bet it is close to a second round pick in draft value. I don’t have one of those draft charts to figure it out, but that would be interesting to calculate.

    • Rob

      It’s an excellent point Tom. The difference will certainly be felt in each round and it all adds up.

      By the way – the Jack Russell in your avatar is almost idential to mine.

    • Blake

      That theory is a good one, but it really does not apply to us. We only possess 3 of our own picks (1,2,5). The difference would still be roughly 687 points. I calculated it with us picking 8th, then 14th when the order flips based on the multiple teams with tied records (Loss vs STL), and 21st after getting booted early in the playoffs (Win vs STL). 680 is the 27th overall pick and 700 is the 26th overall pick. It is quite a bit of draft capital, as the difference from 8th to 21st is worth the 31st overall pick alone. Again, I think the Patriots could be a good trade Partner if they want to move up to get Green or Dareus. They will possess roughly the 16th, 32nd, and 33rd picks. 8 is worth 1400. 16 and 32 are worth 1590. Close enough, or swap a late pick with them as well.

  2. Kelly

    Its interesting to note that of the top 10 teams that are currently ahead of Seattle, 6 of them could justify taking a QB in the 1st round.

    1. Carolina (Jimmy Clausen…)
    2. Cincinatti (Carson Palmer…)
    3. Buffalo Bills (Ryan Fitzpatrick…)
    4. Arizona (Derek Anderson…)
    5. San Francisco (The two Smiths…)
    6. Cleveland (They may be poised to go with Seneca, Mccoy and Delhomme, but thats still a pretty weak trio especially against there division).

    I could see Arizona, San Francisco, Cleveland or Cincy go after a veteran (Palmer, McNabb, Kolb, Leinart) but I wouldnt count any of them out on looking at a future young arm to lead them into the next decade. Definately 3-4 QBs could be taken in the first 10 picks.

  3. Jeriod Klovas

    I don’t think I am in the minority when I say they need to/will lose the game Sunday night. We Seahawk fans would be kidding our collective selves if we thought we had any chance in the playoffs. The need for talent on this team is evident every time we get stomped on by 20+ points. I agree we need a QB, I personally am hoping for a free agent like Carson Palmer, he could have a Kurt Warner-esque renaissance. And is at an age where he can be serviceable for 4+ years so we can build the rest of our team. Mainly OL and DL, but also CB, every week Trufant looks weaker and weaker. He was embarrassed against Tampa, almost every TD thrown by Freeman was at Truf. If we have pick #6 and Patrick Peterson is there we take him and get FA QB. That is my feeling now, after Sunday night I may feel even more passionate.

    • Rob

      The issue I’d have there Jeriod is that you’re finding a stopgap at QB in preference of improving the CB position long term. Would it not be beneficial to tie up QB long term and try to find a veteran corner?

      • Blake

        Agreed Rob. Johnathan Joseph, Champ Bailey, and Chris Houston are all free agents, with Joseph and Houston restricted I believe. I think Joseph is worth a long term deal, but Champ realizes he is in his twilight years and Houston is a meh type player. Any of these guys would be fine for a few years while a franchise QB is groomed.

        If we get say the 7th pick with CAR, DEN, CIN, BUF, ARI, CLE in front of us, I expect two QBs to be gone + Bowers, Fairley, Peterson, and Green. Its possible that only one QB goes, and Dareus is chosen, or that someone chooses Quinn over either Peterson or Green. If Peterson or Green is available, I would much rather have them than choose one of the three iffy QBs. At least trade back into the teens, get an iffy QB while picking up a 2nd rounder. I would imagine NE would be interested in trading up. Usually Belichick stockpiles picks, but with 7 in the first 128, he could try and maneuver for stars more than depth. Green, Quinn, and Dareus will likely be on his radar while Oakland’s late teen pick and their 33rd overall is comparable value to the #7 pick. Both are about 1450 gay hippie chart points.

        Who would rather have Green, Dareus, or Peterson and who would rather have Locker, Gabbert, or Newton? Ugh what if we pick 9th and the BPA is Prince Amukamara? Carroll will be infatuated with his size and may not see his obvious athletic flaws.

  4. Alex

    With that many QBs, I can still see us drafting a QB with the 21st pick and I can still see one dropping to 32 if we by some holy nature win the Super Bowl.

    As a seahawks fan, I’m advocating for a win. Yes, we could be done in the playoffs in the wild card round, but a playoff team (as bad as it is) is a better sell for free agents. So if we’re in the playoffs, we can get a future QB, and also have a higher chance of getting some of the top free agents. If we lose, we can probably get 1 elite player from the draft or even a QB, but have a lesser chance at the free agents. I say go for it since there is a good chance that the QB at #6 and #21 isn’t that much different. Essentially, since QB should be about the same in the draft, we should actually be fighting for the free agency attractiveness.


    • Matt

      I don’t know why a free agent would be more attracted to come to a joke of a playoff team. It’s not like they wouldn’t understand how bad the Hawks are, despite being a “playoff” team. Not to mention, it’s a bidding war. Your life can change on one freak play in the NFL, so guys will go for the $ 9/10 times. Picking in the top 10 will be so much better for the Hawks next year and down the road. We can get a top. Itch QB in round 1 and still be looking at a very good talent in the top of round 2.

      I am hoping we offer the world to Jonathan Joseph in FA. I think we are poised to be big spenders this offseason. I expect 2 major signings.

    • Rob

      I’d disagree with the suggestion that the QB at #6 won’t be much different to any that may fall to #21. I’d actually be surprised if anyone other than Ryan Mallett falls to #21 and I can’t place him in Seattle. As for free agenct – prospects might be swayed by the regular competitiveness of a New England… but they aren’t going to see anything but a 7-9 team in Seattle. Money talks with free agents, simple as that.

  5. Frankfrog

    Hate to lose to the Rams but we need help to be competitive and the draft is why we got Carrol. I really hope we don’t get Locker or Newton though, this would tell me PC is still trying to play college ball a little to much. I’d like to see a DB and a five tech drafted after the first, I trust PC to really nail it on the defensive side of the ball. For all the press how many great offensive players did USC send to the pro’s?
    list all USC players that are in the pro’s. The list for defense looks like the pro bowl rooster, the list on offense is a who’s who of first round busts. I love having PC building the D but he scares me on the offense.

  6. Mr Fish

    People who are arguing for a loss and a higher draft pick couch their argument as forgoing short-term satisfaction for the sake of long-term gains.

    Well, consider this:

    If the Seahawks win against the Rams and therefore get a lower draft pick, it means they’re probably not going to be able to draft the kind of player who will have an immediate impact on the team’s fortunes. In other words, it means we’ll probably suck again next year and will have another shot at a high draft pick.

    If you factor in the number of players on the current roster who aren’t already under contract for next year and who might be leaving for greener pastures, this scenario becomes even more likely.

  7. Mr Fish

    Also, #21 is a good spot to draft offensive guards or right tackles 🙂

  8. Mr Fish

    I wish I could edit my comments. Immediately after clicking “submit”, I have an additional thought.

    In my opinion, the offensive line is our biggest need. But we already have our LT, and a top ten pick is too high for any of the other o-line positions. If we’re picking in the top ten, Carroll and Schneider will be almost forced to pick a player at one of the more glamorous, high-salaried positions. But at #21, they can get the best guard or right tackle in the draft without over-reaching or over-paying.

    Putting a top-ten rookie QB or an elite RB behind our current line would be a criminal waste of talent, imho.

    (The Rams, you’ll notice, built their line BEFORE they drafted Bradford.)

    • Rob

      Hi Mr. Fish,

      I disagree with that thought process. I think in Seattle we have become obsessed slightly with believing that the offensive line has to be filled with high draft picks to be productive. If you look at the most succesful lines currently in the NFL, that isn’t the case. The team has invested a top-ten pick on the premium position amongst the line – and that for me is sufficient top-level investment. Right tackle’s are essentially limited left tackles who aren’t athletic enough to play on the blind side. They are a guy you can give TE blocking help to. To draft a prospect like that in round one with so many huge needs on the team would – IMO – be unforgivable.

      I don’t see an elite guard worthy of a first round pick in this class. Pouncey should play center in the pro’s – and it’s one of the positions Seattle should be OK at (Spencer has had a good year for me). Overall Seattle’s pass protection has also been pretty good for the most part with only a few exceptions. The run blocking has been poor, but the line in general has protected the QB well.

      The Seahawks cannot afford to waste any more time not-drafting a long term option at QB. There won’t be many more years forthcoming with 4-5 first round prospects at the position.

      And I will also stress regarding your point about the Rams – what they actually did was sign a center and draft a right tackle… and for years neglected the QB position because they were paying Bulger so much and couldn’t cut loose. As soon as they could, they drafted Bradford #1 and then after that drafted a LT.

      Let’s remember that the Rams have basically been one of the laughing stocks of the NFL until they drafted Bradford. Rather than build up their line, they slumped around without a QB. There was no conceivable plan in place to a.) build the line and then b.) be so bad that we win one game and then draft a QB first overall.

      The Seattle Seahawks and their fans should never use a 1-15 St. Louis team as a case for a blueprint.

      • Frankfrog

        Yes and kinda. The Rams had a lot of high draft choices that would eventually grow into their potential and they did, same with the Raiders. Rookies suck, sometimes for years Curry and Tate will be studs someday when they get it. Since we have a couple of good young building blocks Okung, Unger, we may want to pass on more youth on the O-line this year and fill some spots where our players are on the down hill slide like DB, QB, DL. Our oline is young not talentless. I’d Love to see a big time veteran free agent Guard but not another rookie unless he is a late round guy that sits for a year.
        I don’t really look at the Rams as the front runner for teams that have made a team first then brought in a QB. However the Steelers, Raven, Jets, Falcons, Buccaneers all spent considerable effort protecting their young QBs with either better protection or more weapons.
        I like a young QB but he has to have targets and a run game to be successful in this league unless you want to have another Mark Bulger. Then we really can have followed their blueprint.
        We need a real RB someday and a fullback. Forsett and Washington are great third down guy’s, but Lynch is just too small to push the pile. I like most defenses am unmoved by the big gold grill.

  9. Mr Fish

    I wasn’t really proposing that we take the Rams as our model, only that a rookie QB needs a better line than the one we have.

    That, and suggesting that the idea that a loss to get us a high draft pick might not be thinking long-term _enough_. 😉 I think we’re going to need more than one draft to turn this team around.

    Besides, I have this crazy suspicion that Carroll and Schneider intend to start Whitehurst next year, no matter what happens this weekend or in a possible playoff game. A lot of fans have given up on Charlie, but I don’t think the Seahawks have.

    If you don’t think there are any guards in this draft worth the 21st pick, what about right tackles?

    Oh, and, um, I hate to break it to you, but we’re _already_ one of the laughingstocks of the league.

    • Rob

      I would never give a right tackle a first round grade. What are right tackles? They are essentially… guys who aren’t good enough to play left tackle. They aren’t athletic enough to play the premium position, so they move accross. That type of prospect (strong against run, good size, not elite quicks or agility but capable of matching up and getting TE help when needed) can be found every year outside of the first round. I’d look at a guy like James Carpenter or Joseph Barksdale and say – why waste a first round pick? Gabe Carimi? I give him a R2-3 grade. A team without many needs may take him higher – but it’d e a luxury and it won’t be a luxury the Seahawks take.

      I also disagree that this line isn’t good enough and that it needs to be better for a rookie. Pass protection wise… this line (despite all the injuries) has been more than good enough. There have been some games where it’s not been great, but for the most part it’s been succesful keeping the QB clean. As I said previously, I think a lot of people have been caught up in needing to invest multiple high picks in the offensive line to guarantee success. That simply isn’t true and the teams with the best offensive lines haven’t done that.

      On Whitehurst I also disagree. He’d have been starting a while ago if the Seahawks had any faith in him. Hasselbeck has had a very poor year and Whitehurst has never been able to stake his claim to start. They took a flier on someone John Schneider rated. They needed a backup QB anyway. It hasn’t worked out. That’s not giving up on a guy, it’s being realistic. If Whitehurst was good enough, Hasselbeck would’ve been benched by now.

  10. Matt Q.

    Will Gabbert be around in the 20’s?

    • Rob

      If he declares, no.

      • Matt

        Rob, I definitely think you are right about Mallett being the only guy available at 21. Way too many teams without a QB and it should be clear to teams that you NEED a QB to win and with consistency. It’s cliche nowadays to use the old offensive line excuse. Not to mention, a bad team would be stupid to draft a RT or Interior lineman in round 1. The chiefs and giants are a great example of not having highly drafted O lines, but have effective run and pass games because of their QB play as well as playmakers at WR and RB. Defenses key on QBs and playmakers, not a good RT. It’s time forvSeattle fans to drop the O line excuse. Get an effective QB who can threaten other teams and you will see a world of difference.

        • Rob

          I couldn’t agree more, Matt.

          I don’t mean this in a patronising or offensive way – but too many people are concentrating on the offensive line. It is a need for the Seahawks, of course. The run blocking has been awful this year. It’s another area that needs to be gradually improved. However – there are much greater needs right now. Drafting a right tackle in the first round simply will not happen. The line can be improved gradually. The time has passed to ignore the QB position. It needs to be addressed now… allowing the team to then concentrate on finding offensive weapons, improving the quality and depth of the defensive line and adding talent to the secondary.

          The Seahawks have virtually no offensive playmakers. They have nothing at quarterback and the jury’s out on the running backs. You can’t expect to draft a right tackle and see the guys we have at those three positions suddenly ignite. There needs to be a concentrated effort on drafting a quarterback and giving him some weapons. That’s what Atlanta did – they drafted Ryan, got a running back and a tight end. They had the wide out. They drafted a left tackle. Right now Seattle has only the LT and a solid #2 wide out who has enjoyed a bounce-back year.

          It’s going to be more than a one year rebuild, but this team cannot wait any longer to draft a QB. Simple as that. If the Seahawks pick 21st overall that will clearly be much more difficult to do, but not impossible. Either way it has to be done. They cannot sleepwalk at the position any longer.

          • Matt Q.

            Am i sensing a Justin Blackmon pick at 21?

            • Rob

              If St. Louis pick there, maybe. He’s not a #1 though. I think the Rams are in position to draft for BPA.

  11. Matt Q.

    You gotta admit, Blackmon is a playmaker and thats what the seahawks need – (asuming there is no QB worth taking)

    • Matt

      I love Blackmon. He’s very sudden and strong. I would not be shocked if he ends up a better pro than Julio Jones. Everything he does looks very natural (hands, routes, Hand usage off the line, subtle nuances/actions). He probably won’t set the combine on the fire, but he looks like a guy who doesn’t lose a step when he puts the pads on, unlike cough gOlden Tate cough. he does play in a pass happy system, but he just looks like a guy who will do well in the pros.

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