Thinking about the Seahawks draft

by Joe on May 2, 2011

Did the Seahawks have a good draft? Are you happy with the Seahawks draft? Are the players drafted by the Seahawks gonna be studs or duds? Well, I really wish I could tell you but it is SO hard to analyze a draft so soon after and this draft is an even bigger problem than most. Here are a few reasons why it is so hard to jugde this Seahawks draft:

1. We don’t really know the Seahawks plan at QB – Going into the draft many people saw the QB position as a huge need for the Seahawks. Currently they only have Charlie Whitehurst on the roster and not too many people think he is a viable option as a starter. Because of that a lot of fans and sports writers wanted the Seahawks to take their QB of the future in this draft but rarely will a team draft a QB and have him start right away. Yeah, players like Sam Bradford¬†can occasionall step right in and shine but more often than not it turns into a JaMarcus Russell situation where the player is a total bust or even an Alex Smith situation where the guy is just in over his head.

If the Seahawks had a solid veteran signed as their starter and they could have drafted someone in the later rounds (I was thinking Greg McElroy would have been good) and have him learn for a couple years that would have been a great situation. Blaine Gabbert has that in Jacksonville and he was a #10 pick. So when the Seahawks picked there really wasn’t anyone they could expect to be a starter this year.

That makes me think they want to trade for a veteran or have Hasselbeck come back for another year or two. Kevin Kolb and Carson Palmer are the two names thrown around the most but other valid options like Kyle Orton are out there as well. But with the lockout the Seahawks couldn’t do any trading or signing of free agents so that kind of handcuffed them during the draft. The coaching staff says they have a plan and apparently that plan didn’t include drafting a QB.

So when a lot of the fans and experts look at this draft and see that the Seahawks didn’t draft a QB they are angry and assume Pete Carroll and John Schneider screwed it up. It is easy for people to look at the draft, see there was no QB selected, and assume it was a failure but I don’t think that is fair.

2. Anything round 3 and beyond is pretty much a crap-shoot - For the most part when you get to the 3rd-7th round of the draft you are talking about players most fans have never heard of or players they know nothing about. But there are a couple familiar names (usually QBs or RBs) that fans see and they want them just out of familiarity. For example, looking at the 5th round this year there are only a few names that are really familiar and they are Ricky Stanzi (QB), Jacquizz Rodgers (RB), and Dion Lewis (RB). Since these are the people you hear about watching college football these are the names you remember. If I were to look at the bios of the other players they might ring a bell but just looking at the list of names there aren’t too many that are really familiar.

So when you see your team pass on these players you know and they select someone like Mark¬†LeGree (a safety from Appalachian State) it doesn’t really get anyone too excited. Yeah, LeGree could end up being a great player and when you look at his bio you can see some impressive stuff but did anyone know who he was before the Seahawks drafted him? Not too many. But there were other names familiar and when you don’t hear those names it can worry fans.

Also at this point in the draft I don’t think teams are really expecting anyone to come in and compete for a starting job. There are exceptions of course but if you can get 4 of 5 of these guys to make the roster, work hard on special teams, and maybe help the team when starters get injured you are doing pretty good. Rarely are there any rookies that are game changers in these late rounds. It takes a couple years to see if these guys can actually play and contribute to the team.

3. No free agency – We talked about this with the QBs but without being able to sign free agents it is really hard to know what players you need to draft. If the Seahawks could have signed a free agent like Robert Gallery before the draft maybe they could have looked elsewhere with the 3rd round pick. If Brandon Mebane could have been resigned before the draft there would have been less chatter about the Seahawks not drafting on the D-line. If Hasselbeck would have been signed for another two years then yeah, you can take a project QB and let him sit and learn. This affected a lot of teams and not just the Seahawks so it isn’t like there is an uneven playing field or anything like that. Every team is dealing with this issue. If Arizona could have signed Nnamdi Asomugha maybe they look somewhere else with the 5th pick than Patrick Peterson. If Atlanta could have signed a good free agent receiver maybe they don’t trade up to get Julio Jones. If Tennessee could have traded that #8 pick to Philly for Kevin Kolb that would have changed the rest of the draft.

There are many other factors to look at also but those are three that came to mind while writing this. So how can we judge the Seahawks draft? Are the draft grades for the Seahawks accurate? Well, here are a couple thoughts:

The Seahawks reached on a few players - Pretty much the consensus is the Seahawks reached on their first 4 picks. James Carpenter at #25 was ranked as a second rounder by most people, there were other more highly ranked players on the board (same goes for John Moffitt), Kris Durham would probably have been around later in the draft, and K.J. Wright was probably taken about a round early.

James Carpenter Seattle Seahawks

6'4", 320+ James Carpenter is huge and should be a great addition to the O-line

How much should this concern us though? There were other teams that really liked Carpenter and he probably wouldn’t have been around by the time the Seahawks picked in the second round. Yeah, Carimi was rated higher than Carpenter but the Seattle coaching staff really liked Carpenter and he was who they wanted. If you look at the draft strictly from a numbers perspective and getting the maximum value at any certain pick the Seahawks probably reached a bit on a lot of these players. But these are the players the Seahawks wanted on their team. The coaching staff liked Carpenter more than Carimi. They liked Moffitt more than William Raclkey or Clint Boling.

Yeah, they did reach but I am happy with the players they did get.

No “sexy” picks for the Seahawks – There were no real playmakers or impactful skill position players taken by the Seahawks. No big name QBs, RBs, or WRs. Nobody who will put up 10 sacks. No shutdown corners. None of the Seattle draft picks will sell a ton of jerseys this year. Nobody drafted by the Seahawks will jump out of the box score. So that makes it easy to look at the draft as say it was a failure.

But James Carpenter and John Moffitt will probably be starters this year. And many people are thinking Mark LeGree in the 5th round could turn into a good safety in the future. The Seahawks also drafted two bigger corners who can start replacing some of the smaller Seattle secondary. So while there were no really sexy picks the Seahawks could have 3 or 4 starters out of this draft.

So looking at those two factors it would look like the draft could be considered a failure. But the Seahawks got some players they really wanted in Carpenter and Moffitt who will both add some size and toughness to the O-line. And they added depth in the secondary and LB positions. Was this draft a home run? No, I don’t think anyone would say that but overall I don’t think it was as big a disaster as many would have you think. If I were to give a letter grade to this draft I would probably say a B- or a C+. Not bad but there is still room for improvement.