Monday, 9 March 2009

Monday morning links

Matt McGuire reviews Seattle's options heading into the 2009 draft. He lists four prospects they could look at in round one - Michael Crabtree, B.J. Raji, Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe. On drafting an offensive tackle, "They are paying Sean Locklear $18.75 million over the next four years. They are paying Walter Jones $6.2 million in 2009. Financially, it doesn’t seem probable that the Hawks go here". The team also recently signed Ray Willis to an undisclosed contract.

Kyle Rota publishes his scouting report on Jason Smith (OT, Baylor). Rota labels Smith "a project" and suggests that although there is elite potential on offer, he's still not a polished product. He was impressed with his nastiness and determination and suggests Smith is a safer pick than Eugene Monroe.

Rob Rang takes a look at Kansas State quarter back Josh Freeman. He's being touted as a potential first round pick. Rang: "The 6-foot-6, 248-pound Freeman might be the finest all-around athlete among the 2009 quarterback class. His combination of size, arm strength and mobility has drawn comparisons to Daunte Culpepper, Jason Campbell and JaMarcus Russell."

Chad Reuter believes Matt Stafford is still the best option for Detroit with the first overall pick. He argues that there's no such thing as a safe pick (a topic I discussed here a few weeks ago). Reuter: "Selecting a tackle or linebacker, no matter how talented, cannot be labeled as a safe pick."

Jeremy Maclin speaks to ESPN about his preparations for the NFL Draft. The Missouri receiver picked up an injury at the combine which hampered his ability to work out. He's still a dynamic wide out with blistering speed - in a strong receiver class this year he could be a top 15 pick.

Football Diner published a prospect profile I wrote for Knowshon Moreno (RB, Georgia). There's no doubting Moreno's talent and infectious personality, but team's might be reluctant to draft a running back in the top 10 this year. With two back system's in fashion and gems found in the middle rounds last year - Moreno could be a bargain in the first round.


Chris said...

Hey Rob,
I have loved the idea of Crabtree on our team since last year, but here's why I'm not sure if he'll be on our radar. With Housh and (hopefully) healthy Branch, Burleson, our receiving corp looks formidable. Through in Crabtree, and it's a serious offensive threat. But Mora and Knapp appear as though they want to instigate a power running game a la Knapp's days in Oakland and Atlanta. With a receiving corp like the aforementioned, it would only seem logical to utilize their talent more than the weaker running game; the pass to open up the run (Holmgrem's philosophy). They appear though that they would like to do the opposite, which is typical in a power running scheme (run to set up the pass). By selecting Crabtree, they would almost be forced to change their offensive scheme as that would be a more logical method to utilizing our offensive talent. I feel though, with our running game being ok but not up to the level to be considered "a power game," wouldn't they want to invest such a high pick to bolster our running game? It just occurred to me that they'll do what they can to make our offensive more compatible with their offensive philosophy. But then the question is, who do we pick to bolster that run game? The obvious pick would be O-line, but then they would be skipping out on the BPA idea.

Rob Staton said...

Hi Chris, you make some very interesting and valid points.

Greg Knapp has spoken of giving the running game a greater emphasis, but essentially that could mean many different things. Mike Holmgren was always traditionally a pass-heavy type of head coach and only really changed his gameplan when he had a back like Shaun Alexander and a great O-line. I am personally expecting a more balanced offense under Knapp with a 50-50 run/pass split. The team struggled badly last year by being too one dimensional - no passing game and therefore increased pressure on the O-line and running game.

I'm not sure the gameplan would have to change too much with Michael Crabtree on board. You would have two very good WR's in Crabtree and Houshmandzadeh, backed up with Carlson and one of Branch or Burleson in the slot. That will demand respect and attention - drawing pressure away from the front line and potentially paving the way for a running game to thrive. They could still get a good balance going, but a perceived strength at WR would dramatically improve the running game.

There is a lot of money already tied up at receiver, but here's why Crabtree might be an option. Branch will be 30 years old in July and has consistently shown an inability to play 16 games in a season. Considering he's seen the bulk of the contract he signed after the trade from New England, he's in last chance saloon. He's probably another frustrating injury away from getting cut. The team cannot rely on him to be on the field which in turn is why they have had to be aggressive and sign Houshmandzadeh.

Nate Burleson is coming off a very serious knee injury. Even if he competes in camp and pre-season, he won't walk into the team at 2007 form. He's also in a contract year - if he does well in '09 he might be difficult and expensive to keep in free agency and if he doesn't do well - the team might not want to renew his deal anyway.

As Matt McGuire points out in the article, there is also a lot of money tied up at OT. The difference is you will see some immediate on the field reward from Crabtree, but not as much from a left tackle who, health permitting, will be sitting behind Walter Jones indefinitely. The worst case scenario with Crabtree is his development is slow at NFL level (which personally would surprise me) and he takes a year to adapt. The best case scenario is he has a Anquan Boldin type impact as a rookie. If Walter Jones is healthy, a young LT won't be on the field but earning $10m.

Taking this into consideration, there's no real reason why the team would deliberately avoid taking Michael Crabtree. If the team want an instant impact player and if they want to aggressively turn a glaring weakness into a key strength for 2009 - he would be a viable option to improve the WR corp. This team has shown it's in 'win now' mode with a strong free agency and they aren't rebuilding. Tim Ruskell has spoken of finding an 'impact' player with the 4th overall pick and Crabtree fits the bill. It's not definite the Seahawks would go in that direction, but I see no reason to rule it out.

Malone said...

If Stafford is there I think the Hawks take him, otherwise you're probably looking at an OT, WR or LB, all 3 areas they have alot of money tied into. Nobody who would play in the secondary is worth taking that high, you took a DE 1st last year and 4 seems high for Raji and a RB is almost never worth taking that high. I still think they'll take Crabtree is available. And though it wouldn't make much sense this year, the idea of adding a OLB who is NFL ready to play by Lofas side for the next 7-8 years would be very tempting with Curry available.

Patrick V. said...

I can't say this enough, but thank you Rob! As a fellow fan of Michael Crabtree, you give me so much hope. I understand that there are many ways the Seahawks can go, and I respect that. But reading you're reasoning behind it make it easier to accept whatever decision they make. So again, thank you!

Louis said...

Hey Rob, i see that u have changed ur mock draft again...and it has CRABTREE TO SEATTLE!!!!!