Monday, 29 December 2008

New mock draft 12/29

There's a new mock draft published today to represent the confirmed draft order for 2009. The Seahawks will pick fourth overall behind the Lions, Rams and Chiefs.

When the playoffs are finished and all 32 teams know their draft order I will develop the mock into a full first round prediction.

So I should probably explain these picks, right? Click Here for the analysis.

I have decided to put Matt Stafford back at the top of my draft board. The Lions will go quarter back or offensive tackle at this spot. I previously had Andre Smith at this spot, but I think Detroit will want to get a franchise signal caller to move forward after a woeful 0-16 year. The fact Dallas dropped to 9-7 and missed out on the playoffs makes their second first round pick more valuable and I expect they will use that choice to try and find a way to move up to get offensive line help, similar to what Kansas City did last year in picking Branden Albert.

If Smith falls it's a no brainer for St. Louis. As the top rated offensive tackle in this draft he goes second overall.

The Kansas City pick is open to debate. I wouldn't have had them taking a quarter back a few weeks ago, but then they moved on their long term general manager. They will have a new guy in charge at the top in 2009 and possibly a new head coach. Tyler Thigpen has been excellent this year but will a new GM and HC want their own guy? If they do, Bradford is the pick here.

That leaves Seattle. My top four prospects are Stafford, Smith, Bradford and Crabtree. I think after these guys, there is something of a drop off. The value at picks 5-10 is probably the same at picks 10-18. With that in mind I think the Seahawks will select Michael Crabtree.

The fifth overall pick is a tough one to call right now. A lot of pundits are high on Aaron Curry and Cleveland don't need a left tackle. He could go here but such is the situation at the moment it's a tough prediction until we get to the combine.

Of course all these projections are due to be modified as we get into free agency. To have your say on this week's mock click the comments section below and have your say.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice analysis, Rob.

It's early but my gut feeling right now is that the Hawks will trade down to the 8-10 range and try to grab one of the remaining offensive tackles (either Oher or Jason Smith). I have read that Jason Smith might be the most athletic of the OT prospects and that the only thing that keeps him from being the best is that his technique is slightly underdeveloped (from being converted from TE) and that he is very raw. With the right line coach, I think he could turn out to be the best pro from this class and I think Solari is a very good line coach, as is evident by the performance of the second team of guys who have filled in for the starters these last 3 or 4 games.

That being said, if we do take Crabtree, I would not be complaining.

Kurt said...

Sorry, forgot to leave my name. The above comment was mine.

Rob Staton said...

Hi Kurt, thanks for the input. I honestly know very little about Jason Smith personally but have read comments that are very similar to the ones you voice above. The good thing about picking 4th is that I think you do hold the ace if someone wants to move up to get a Crabtree or a Bradford etc. I think it'd be harder to move from 5th or 6th and the value isn't that much better at those spots as it is at 8-10 anyway.

I can see the Hawks going OT especially if the news on Walter Jones' surgery isn't entirely positive. A lot of the scouts are suggesting this is a good class for OT's and although I can't see a Joe Thomas in there I certainly think you can get a guy who will be a franchise staple for years to come.

Alex said...

Hey, this is Alex, I got a question for you. While LT is not a sexy pick it is a necessary position for success, if we can be sold on whoever it is, then that pick will be fine. But what i want to hear is whether Taylor Mays is worth the 4th pick? I hear people debate between Crabtree and Mays, but I'm not convinced that taking a safety at 4 is worth the money. While i cant stand to see Russell get beat anymore in my life I think an offensive play maker is more valuable. How do you feel?

Jesse said...

I would love to see us get Crabtree but I think a outstanding lineman would be good for us as our rushing game has never been the same without Hutch. I think our defensive problems are due to coaching because you can't go from last season to this season with the same team and be that much worse. I am very concerned that it is Mora's fault and that is scary because he is our next head coach. Hopefully he surrounds himself with a great coaching staff and we can get back on the right foot and use this year as a we got a great draft pick year.

Rob Staton said...

Hi Alex, thanks for the question. I think 4th overall is too early for Taylor Mays. He is undoubtedly full of potential and could be a great player, but I think the Seahawks will look elsewhere. The safety class is fairly deep, and there will be good players available in the second or even third round that can come in and help our secondary.

I think the first round of the 2009 draft will be used on an offensive prospect. Ruskell tends to look for guys who are low risk - can start quickly and are unlikely to be 'busts'. His success at achieving this has been mixed so far and this is a big year. He has to hit on this pick. I expect us to take one of the following positions - QB, OT, WR. The first two because they are possibly the most important when it comes to the draft. The latter because Crabtree is extremely talented and something of a need.

Matt in Ballard said...

Personally I hope we don't go with Crabtree. This isn't as much me thinking Crabtree isn't going to be a fine WR, but rather we need more immediate help. The Seahawks aren't one of those rebuilding teams that can wait for a player like Crabtree to mature. We want help now.

That said, O-line help as well as a solid long term replacement for Walter Jones for when the wheels finally fall off. Jones can still hang with everyone and is still, IMO, top 5 at his position. But taking someone raw like Jason Smith and letting him learn from a future HOFer would be our best plan, along with strengthening our line right now.

Crabtree is a knee-jerk reaction to 2008's problems which were mostly due to freak injuries.

jjhsix said...

I think it's best to reserve judgement on Crabtree until after his private workout (seeing as he is unlikely to be at the combine). The only geniune concern about him is his speed and if he impresses at the workout he could move up draft boards. I haven't seen a tonne of footage on him but what do others think about his game speed? Is he a deep threat or simply a possession receiver in the NFL?

Rob Staton said...

I agree to an extent Matt. I think the need for receiver is extended mainly because of our horrific injury situation at the position. But at the same time, serious questions have to be asked about Branch's ability to play 16 games next year. Burleson likewise coming off a very serious injury, and Bobby Engrem may not be with the franchise next year. It's a position that could do with improving and getting younger. Whether that means spending the 4th pick is yet to be seen.

I agree with you that the 'Hawks are not a team in need of a major rebuild. Like Baltimore last year, I think some new coaching and a good draft can make Seattle very competitive. However, I disagree that taking Crabtree would be an indication of long term planning. I think he is as close as anyone to having an instant impact in the NFL. He is a smart guy, he is extremely talented. He is going to be a star in the NFL and if I were a betting man I think he is a potential rookie of the year candidate.

However, it's all about Tim Ruskell and his scouts rank the players. There is definitely something to be said for taking an offensive tackle to plug in as a franchise player for the next 10 years. If a Jason Smith is graded out highly, he could move up the board and go behind Smith who should be the first tackle taken.

jjhsix said...

I remain unconvinced that Smith is not a very good Left Guard or a very average Left Tackle in the NFL. It would surprise me a great deal if he doesn't struggle mightily with speed rushers at the NFL level. My money is on Monroe being the best pure left tackle in this years draft.

Kurt said...

jjhsix,

Why won't Crabtree be at the combine? If he declares for the draft, wouldn't he be invited? I can't think of a reason why he wouldn't go unless he's hurt. Not representing himself at the combine would hurt his stock, in my opinion, and would make scouts wonder why he chose not to attend (especially when he has nothing to hide and would most certainly outshine the other receivers there).

And yes, I do think he brings a downfield threat which is something the Hawks haven't had in a long time. I watched 3 Texas Tech games this year and while he benefits from a pass-happy offense and a conference that doesn't play much defense, he routinely draws double coverage in obvious passing downs and routinely beats that coverage. I don't think he's as good as Calvin Johnson was when he came out (not as strong, not as fast) but I've heard people draw comparisons to him and Larry Fitzgerald, which I think are legitimate.

Rob Staton said...

That could be the case jjhsix. After all, he was the reason Branden Albert was only playing at guard at college level. Monroe is highly rated by some but others have questioned his engine.

I like Smith. I think he can be a bona fide guard from day one, a talented run blocker at tackle from day one and has the potential to be an all round dominant LT. That needs work though, he might have to watch his size too. I see your concerns though.

jjhsix said...

Kurt - for many years the top rated prospects have skipped the combine on the advice of their agents. I imagine Crabtree will do the same and instead opt for a private workout.

seabeckg said...

I think Crabtree should be good but if a stud LT is available that's probably where we'll go. We need that big anchor because even when healthy Jones was/is aging and early picks, hopefully, will be rare. What I want to know, Rob, is what does free agency look like for DEFENSIVE playmakers because unless I wasn't watching the same games it seemed big STOPS just didn't happen this year. thanks, great blog..

footballfan said...

I agree 100% with those that say we should trade down; unless Smith happens to fall to us. Here's why:
*we will be able to pick up quality players at both Safety, WR and OLine just a few picks later or deeper in draft.
* WR's have a notorious history of being 1st round busts. The draft is also riddled with stories of WR's being taken in the 3rd-6th round and becoming franchise players. Find a WR that fits your system, NOT simply b/c they are packed with hype.
*Dallas will be going crazy to get Crabtree (b/c he's from Texas and they desperately needed to get rid of T.O) and will be the likely candidate to give up their two 1st round picks to Seattle for the rights to Crabtree.

Rob Staton said...

Hi Seabeckg,

I believe there are three big defensive playmakers who are scheduled to hit free agency. Julius Peppers (DE, Carolina) Albert Haynesworth (DT, Titans) and Nnamdi Asomugha (CB Oakland). The second tier of prospects available are Terrell Suggs (Baltimore) and our very own Leroy Hill.

Of course these guys are susceptible to the franchise tag. I believe that only Haynesworth is unlikely to be tagged because of a clause agreed last year. Those who make it to free agency will be extremely popular and expensive.

Rob Staton said...

footballfan...

Dallas don't have a first rounder this year after trading their selection to Detroit for Roy Williams. They had two first rounders last year.

twasuperstar said...

Hey Rob,

How does our salary cap situation look for next year and how do you think that will play into the Hawks' plans for FA signings and/or signing a top 5 draft pick? I know the bonus $$ won't hurt Allen's pocket book but the kind of contract money high draft picks are getting these days is mind blowing.

I'm sure Rocky is gone next year and I've seen a lot of people say we need an upgrade at safety, with Russell as the odd man out because of his poor play this season. I would imagine Leroy is gonna get good money in the form of a new contract or franchise tag (albeit at a big cap hit). Any other big names I'm missing?

Rob Staton said...

I can't offer any figures when it comes to cap room. If I had to guess I'd say we were in the middle of the pack compared to the other franchises. That's only based on conversations I've had with others who seemed to know more about it. We'll probably find out more about cap space now the regular season is done.

Rocky Bernard has actually said today he doesn't expect to be with the Hawks next year. His problems last off season haven't helped, but he is going to be 30 in 2009 and only managed four sacks this year. Leroy Hill says he wants to test free agency, but that means little because Trufant said the same thing. I think he could be franchised or re-signed but it will be costly.

Last year, Darren McFadden was taken 4th overall by the Raiders. He signed a 6 year $60 million deal with $26 million in guarantees. That's a big hit, drafting early will come with a big price.

Louis said...

I'm hoping that the Seahawks go out there and get Crabtree with that 4th overall pick, and then either go after Haynesworth or draft DT with our 2nd round pick. Although it's highly unlikely that we will be able to land Haynesworth, he's worth a try. With a big DT, you just stick him into your D-line and watch the DEF get better. That presence right in the middle will wreck havoc and would make our CBs be more effective since the opposing QBs would have less time to throw the ball.
Everyone is talking about drafting OL right now, but I do not think that is one of our most pressing needs. Walter Jones isnt getting any younger, but if you have been watching the past couple of weeks our O-Line has been terrific even with 5 backup O-Linemen! With everyone being healthy next year, I think our O-Line will be almost as good as in 2005. The only big difference was that now we dont have Steve Hutchinson at LG, but Mike Wahle is still a very good O-Lineman. People were ripping him for his costly penalties, but the facts are the facts, he was still an upgrade at the LG position. Crabtree, welcome to Seattle =D

Anonymous said...

I think this year was a wake up call that our offense needs some attention. WR, OL and RB are all needs. Possibly even QB in the later rounds.

NorthVanMan said...

The defense this year was the same as last year but not effective. Perhaps when thew juniors declare we can find a powerful DT or DE. Our system works with pressure on the QB. We need more pressure.

Does anyone know which juniors are considering coming out?

Rob Staton said...

Hi NorthVanMan, I think the consensus at the moment is that a lot of juniors will be declaring for 2009. It is a weak senior class and the underclassmen have a chance to take advantage and get paid big money. Some may have been pursuaded to stay after Roger Goodell said there won't be a rookie 'salary cap' until after 2010, but I still fully expect a lot of juniors to come out.

I firmly believe that the top of the second round is going to present great value at the defensive positions. The first round is going to be dominated by offensive talent and guys are going to fall into the Hawks lap. A quality D-linemen or a safety could be sat waiting for Seattle at the top of the second round.

djpinksweatshirt said...

I really think that the defense is where the attention needs to be paid. I may still be having Koren Robinson (mach 1) fatigue, but the track record for highly rated WRs in the top 10 is not great. If the hawks can drop down a few spots and pick up another 2 or 3 in the process while picking the top (and hopefully tallest) player in the defensive backfield it would be a solid draft. Add in a big DT (BJ Raji of BC preferably) in the early second and a receiver in the 3rd and you've got 3 big holes filled.