Seahawks picking first in 2012? Don’t bet on it

Peter Schrager at Fox Sports has published an early look at the 2012 draft and projects that the Seahawks will be picking first overall. You can sense the level of excitement encompassing Seattle at the prospect of Stanford’s Andrew Luck being the face of the franchise. Let’s take a step back for a minute here.

The Seahawks are probably not going to be picking first overall. I cannot stress enough how difficult it is to ‘earn‘ the opportunity to have the first pick in a draft. I would argue it’s probably as difficult to be the worst team in the NFL as it is to be the best and win the Super Bowl. For starters, you’re looking at a record in the 0-2 wins category. Carolina chose Cam Newton last Thursday following a 2-14 season. The year before, St. Louis took Sam Bradford after a one-win campaign and prior to that Detroit went 0-16. Miami took Jake Long a few months after going 1-15.

I appreciate that the Seahawks face a troublesome schedule in 2011 if the league year goes ahead as planned and questions remain at quarterback, but are they really going to win just one or two games? In the NFC West?

Of course not.

As if to further stress how difficult it is, Buffalo appeared to be a lock for the #1 pick after a woeful start to the 2010 season. They managed a modest improvement and it was enough to end up picking third overall. The 2008 Seahawks were systematically awful, picking up injuries galore in Mike Holmgren’s final season with the team. Koren Robinson was the team’s ‘X-factor’ on offense with Seneca Wallace supplying the bullets. That year a team in the NFC West went to the Super Bowl (Arizona). Despite all of that, they won enough games to pick fourth overall.

Being a bad football team will make it very easy to pick in the top ten. To be the worst team in the NFL takes a special kind of bad.

The Seahawks will add a veteran quarterback whenever free agency opens, almost certainly one of Carson Palmer or Matt Hasselbeck. I doubt they will pay the first round compensation for Kevin Kolb because the gamble using unspecified picks will define the Pete Carroll era. Even if the option is Hasselbeck and he plays as erratically as he did at times in 2010, it’s not going to be enough to pick first overall. Let me run down the starting quarterbacks who played a significant role for the last four teams that had the first overall pick:

Carolina – Matt Moore & Jimmy Clausen

St. Louis – Keith Null & Kyle Boller

Detroit – Dan Orlovsky & Daunte Culpepper

Miami – Cleo Lemon & John Beck

With all due respect to the names listed above, even Charlie Whitehurst is better than any of those options. If Seattle’s future veteran addition goes down with an injury are you really telling me that they’re going to capitulate to the extent that will warrant the first overall pick? I can’t see it.

I look at a team like the Washington Redskins who may have to start with one of Rex Grossman or John Beck throwing to no name receivers and wonder how they win games in the competitive NFC East. The Miami Dolphins may be set for a struggle, having not addressed the quarterback position and with a cluster of other problems such as Brandon Marshall’s health and the shambles we saw at the end of the season which makes head coach Tony Sparano close to a lame duck.

Both play in much tougher divisions than the NFC West, where games will likely be split with mediocrity reigning supreme. I hear those that point out St. Louis managed to earn the #1 pick in this division, but we really need to appreciate just how bad the Rams had to become to put themselves in that situation. It took years of neglect.

So while the prospect of Andrew Luck in Seahawk blue may pique your interest during a period with no draft talk and no free agency, I certainly don’t expect Pete Carroll’s team to become the worst in the NFL. Top ten? Maybe. First overall? That’ll take something special.


  1. Nick J

    I agree. The Seahawks may not be good this season, but that doesn’t mean they will be monumentally bad. It just doesn’t work that way. And let’s not forget that the running game is getting a big upgrade this year. Solid rushing is good for at least a few wins..

  2. Alex

    My point is simple. You don’t bet being “last” next season. It’s bad for the young talents in the team. It’s bad for the culture. The coach will feel the fire (where’s Peyton’s first coach now? Out of a job). And most important of all, there is no guarantee that you will be last. What if Luck declares and everyone else goes back. Luck goes 1 and Seattle picks #2. What now? We just wasted a season.


    • Rob

      Exactly. You never base any plans for the 2011 NFL season around what might happen in the draft. Teams never think that way.

  3. TonyB

    The fact that we have to play the AFC east gives me hope that we can tank this year for the opportunity to get Luck(y). I also think every team in our division took a bigger step forward except us…which offers even more hope for a total organizational failure.

    Don’t think for minute that any of the teams you mentioned above went into the season thinking they going to be the worst team in the league…I am 100% certain every single team thought they could win enough to be respectable just like we are thinking now.

    Wheels can fall off pretty quick as we have seen locally if anyone here followed the UW football program through the TW anything and everything is possible, no matter who ends up QB-ing our team.

  4. Jim Kelly

    One thing no one is considering is a rookie wage scale. With a wage scale in place, you’ll actually see teams trying to trade into the first pick, and the top ten. The financial concerns of the first pick could no longer be prohibitive, so teams might trade up to get a shut down corner, pass rushing defensive end, or the last piece of their puzzle.

    As TonyB said, the Wheels could come off. I don’t see that happening. The Seahawks play the NFC East, so they will be facing Washington, the AFC North, so say hello to Cincinnati and Cleveland. With a good running game, and playing in Qwest, the Hawks will be able to have a shot at winning half their games. Even if the Hawks lose all their away games (I don’t see them losing at Cleveland), and only half of their home games, then the Hawks will have gone 4-12. That won’t be bad enough for the top pick.

    There are too many variables that have to fall in perfect harmony for the Hawks to be able to “earn” the top pick. Predicting the Hawks getting the first pick is just too hard months before the season starts. It actually is easier to predict where lightning will strike.

    Hoping that the Hawks tank the season? Eff whoever thinks that, and hope that they stop supporting the Seahawks, because we DON’T need them.

    • Alex

      totally agree with the last part.

  5. Mike in OC

    Pete doesn’t play for the draft pick. That was made very clear when we beat the Rams and got into the playoffs. I still say I’d rather have that than to “try” to get a better pick.

    I personally think (I know, I’m biased) that if the Seahawks get Palmer, they go to the playoffs again, and I’m all for that! Then we can do a blockbuster trade to get the first pick and get Luck anyway.


    • Don

      There is no way the Seahawks could trade for the #1 pick when Luck is there. Seattle doen’t have anything that another team would want to give up Luck. In fact, you could trade all of your draft picks and still a team wouldn’t trade with you. I am all for sticking with Whitehurst and see what we spent a 3rd rd draft pick on, and hope to get the best pick we can. Think long term. .

  6. Derek

    I think the Hawks will finish around 7-9 or 8-8, and then be picking next year where an 8-8 team SHOULD be picking. NOT in the 20s. I definitely think it is possible we take the NFC West again although I think it will be a close race excluding Arizona. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 49ers took it though. HAWKS all the way! I would never count this team out in the playoffs!

  7. kevin mullen

    Great read Rob, good point on strength of division: the NFC South. Look at that division, the three teams took in 34 wins. 34 wins!!! That division is ridiculous right now, by far blows away the over-rated NFC east. What’s even more ridiculous, that division could probably do it again. Each team has a franchise QB and they’re in their primes, or at least getting there. No way we pick #1, even with Charlie. In my opinion, Carolina could be the #1 pick again.

  8. Billy Showbiz

    We’re going to win the NFC West again. The Niners are spineless and have zero veteran leadership…chokers. The Cardinals have Larry Fitzgerald…that’s it. The Rams will be our competition again but they still don’t have enough weapons on offense and that defense is questionable. It’s not like we don’t have our own holes but I truly believe that our team has more backbone and resilience than any of the other teams in the division which will be enough for us to win it again.

    Go Seahawks!

    • Billy Showbiz

      I see Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Minnesota, Denver, Cincy & Washington as the favorites for the #1 pick.

  9. T-Town

    What always cracks me up about thinking its “smart strategy” to tank an entire season to get some super pick at #1 is that they completely forget that the players are professionals who are COMPETING for a roster spot so they can get paid and secure a spot for next year.

    Why would Whitehurst or whoever is playing next year purposely play poorly so that he can hand his job off to someone else? The same goes for every position.

    No pro player is in the business of playing like garbage so they can get replaced. Its completely illogical and it’s never going to happen. Tanking one late season game is unlikely. Tanking an entire season is Madden stuff. Its fantasy.

  10. Jim Kelly

    Andrew Perloff had the Hawks picking first in his projection LAST year. They were to take Ryan Mallett. Shows how “right” someone can be in projecting the worst team. He did have the Vikings taking Ponder, though. That was kinda amazing.

  11. m.d.

    I’m no expert, but wasn’t Locker projected as a number one pick if he came out his junior year? So who’s to say that Luck is the quarterback that everyone is lusting over at the end of the season? So maybe, we won’t have to have the number one pick to get Luck.

    • Rob

      There’s quite a difference between Locker though and Andrew Luck. You’re talking about a high ceiling athlete with big play potential but accuracy issues, against a guy who doesn’t have the big time physical qualities but his all round game is already at a high level. I think it’s almost certain Locker would’ve gone 4th overall last year to Washington, so #8 wasn’t a big drop in the end. Luck will be the #1 pick barring any major injury or slump in 2011.

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