By tomorrow, we'll be officially 32 days (one month) away from the 2009 NFL Draft. Much has been debated since the close of the Seahawks latest 4-12 season which gave them the fourth overall pick. But are we any closer to finding out who Tim Ruskell and the front office are likely to select? Convincingly, no.
I took a sample of twenty mock drafts using Walterfootball.com's database. I found the following results:
75% thought Matt Stafford would go first overall to Detroit
65% thought Jason Smith would go second overall to St Louis
90% thought Aaron Curry would go third to Kansas City
A consensus opinion has formed about the first three picks. So what about the Seahawks and the fourth choice?
To read the full article click here.
45% said the Seahawks will take Eugene Monroe.
20% thought Michael Crabtree and 15% Jason Smith.
B.J. Raji, Matt Stafford, Everette Brown and Brian Orakpo all received 5%.
It appears opinion is a little less confident on the direction the Seahawks will go. It's no surprise, Tim Ruskell has worked hard in free agency to fill obvious needs leaving the Seahawks in position to take the best player available. Before the signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh a similar sample could easily have shown 90-100% in favour of Michael Crabtree. A lot has changed.
The fact 60% think Seattle will take an offensive tackle shows the shift in opinion. Without a high profile addition to the offensive line during free agency, many still consider a lineman in the first round a possibility. So can we assume this is how the team will draft?
I wouldn't make that assumption. For starters, there's no guarantee Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe will even be there with the fourth pick. On the other hand, the Seahawks invested heavily in Sean Locklear with incentives to play left tackle. With Ray Willis re-signed in free agency, the team may feel they have sufficient depth in case Walter Jones fails to recover sufficiently from microfracture surgery. It could certainly be enough to make them think twice about adding a $60m insurance policy.
So what do the experts and high profile pundits think?
Rob Rang, NFL Draft Scout & CBS Sportsline
Aaron Curry: Trading OLB Julian Peterson creates a gaping hole at the strong-side position in Seattle's defense. The Seahawks could plug Curry in immediately and, considering they'd be getting the player many believe is the draft's top talent at the fourth pick, the team would be getting optimum value.
Chad Reuter, NFL Draft Scout & CBS Sportsline
Jason Smith: Walter Jones' age and injury situation, as well as the loss of versatile Pork Chop Womack, makes left tackle a priority need for the Seahawks.
Steve Wyche, NFL.com
Michael Crabtree: The Seahawks supposedly are looking for a "playmaker" who can stretch the field. They can get that with Crabtree here or trade down and take a deep-ball threat, like Hakeem Nicks, between picks 20 and 32. They possess the ideal trade position. They also could go with Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe.
Pat Kirwan, NFL.com
Matt Stafford: Players under consideration include Brian Orakpo and Aaron Curry. Seattle has needs beyond a future quarterback and it is always hard to pass up those needs to look down the road, but the Seahawks may have Stafford fall in their lap. If they pass, there's no guarantee they see a quarterback like him again in the next few years when they select. Trading for Cory Redding resolves the defensive line issue, but opened up an issue at linebacker.
Charles Davis, NFL.com
Eugene Monroe: Seattle might go DL here (B.J. Raji), but keeping Matt Hasselbeck upright is a priority.
Peter King, SI.com
Brian Orakpo: I think there's no consensus on the first round in the draft, with the draft 33 days away. But the lobby guesswork after a long Sunday of pigeonholing NFL people and agents leaves this top five: Detroit, Georgia quarterback Stafford; St. Louis, Baylor tackle Jason Smith; Kansas City, Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe; Seattle, Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo; Cleveland, Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.
Six different opinions, all with Seattle taking a different prospect. What can we conclude from this? Probably that as far as the Seahawks are concerned, we're none the wiser as to which direction they'll go in the first round. All of the views above offer perfectly plausible justifications. I'd hazard a guess that on the eve of April 25th we'll still be guessing who goes fourth overall.