Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Ruskell on draft: "It does not restrict us"

During T.J. Houshmandzadeh's press conference today, Tim Ruskell was asked if his signing restricts Seattle's ability to still consider taking a wide receiver with the fourth overall pick:

"Absolutely.. it does not restrict us. Actually it frees us up and we're in the draft meetings right now and we talked about really there's no position that we're ruling out... and we said from the offset of the off season that we wanted to bolster the receiving crew and it's a good year for receivers as well... so there's really no position that we're ruling out... and coach (Mora) is in there as well... we're looking at everybody hard and it really doesn't put any restrictions on us." - Tim Ruskell, Seahawks general manager

There's not much we can take from this statement. Ruskell plays his cards close to his chest and was never going to flat out say whether or not they still considered someone like Michael Crabtree a viable option fourth overall. It's a question that likely won't be answered until April 25th when the first day of the NFL draft takes place.


Anonymous said...

Any chance that if both OTs are off the board at #4, that we take Crabtree and subsequently try to deal Branch for a mid round pick? This allows us to free up some money and be able to package mid round picks to move back up into the 2nd, which is our bread and butter round. Thoughts?

Rob Staton said...

It's possible anonymous. It may happen regardless of which offensive tackles are off the board. Personally, I think Seattle would be very high on Jason Smith. He has the athleticism to match up well to a zone blocking scheme. He's also got the most upside, but is a little raw. You can justify giving him time to develop behind Walter Jones, although I wouldn't expect him to play guard or right tackle unless there was an injury crisis.

But Eugene Monroe I am less sure about. He has a questionable motor and doesn't, to me at least, seem like an ideal fit for the Seahawks new scheme. He could be an option for the Rams second overall if they want a more 'polished.. play now' option at left tackle. In that case, Smith could fall the Seahawks and would be a realistic option.

But Crabtree has to be considered. His production demands that. Would the team be able to trade Deion Branch? Possibly. There could be teams interested, although it is a deep draft for receivers. You could possibly argue a case for keeping Branch to try and play in the slot. This would allow Nate Burleson to work his way back into the rotation at WR slowly coming off a knee injury, whilst also returning punts and kick offs.

At this stage it's still hard to predict which way Seattle will go in the draft. Anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

We have to address the OL. And that all rests upon drafting Smith. If he's off the board, then you go for the value position player like Crabtree who, I don't think many will argue, will be productive right off the bat.
The Seahawks OL though desperately needs some upgrades. I'm not real familiar for the offensive balance Mora is looking for (for all intents and purposes it sounds like it will be more pass heavy), but with Jones, if we want better production from him, if balance is the name of the offense, we need to upgrade that line.
Jones was nothing stellar last year; do the Seahawks look to address the run, maybe look to adding a breakaway back, via the draft...I don't know if there are very many quality backs up for sale right now in FA.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, Jones-Julius

Rob Staton said...

Hi annonymous, you make some interesting points. It's hard to predict just what Tim Ruskell is planning with the offensive line. Walter Jones is undoubtedly coming towards the end of his career and it remains to be seen if he'll recover fully from very serious microfracture surgery. I can see why a lot of people want to draft a left tackle this year, as a contingency plan should Jones fail to return for 2009 and a long term replacement. However, Sean Locklear's contract suggested to me that the team at least originally considered him an eventual replacement at LT. Things might have changed a year on and with a 4-12 season in the books. It wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility the team will either sign a RT for depth in free agency (Ray Willis?) or look to draft an offensive linemen in the later rounds, with Locklear remaining the heir apparent on the left. That's something to consider, but it may simply be that the team have fallen in love with someone like Jason Smith and intend to draft him.

It's also unclear how highly Ruskell sees his acquisition of Mike Wahle a year on, whether he still intends Chris Spencer to be a long term option at center, and whether one of Sims or Wrotto has done enough to warrant longer term consideration at right guard. There's potential to replace any position on the offensive line, but at the same time reason to suggest Ruskell could - effectively - feel there is no need for dramatic additions.

Which is another reason why the draft is fascinating and with the signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the bag, the Seahawks could go any number of directions with the 4th overall pick.

Anonymous said...

Willis, along with Engram, was invited to KC, so it remains to be seen if he'll stay on.
But what do you think about the running game?

Anonymous said...

I mean, that was the priority last year, but it seems to me it still needs some fine tuning this year, what with Mo gone.

Rob Staton said...

With regard to the running game, the zone blocking scheme should help. The Denver Broncos seemed able to plug anyone in at running back and be productive using the ZBS, I'm sure Seattle are hoping for similar success. A better passing offense should also release some of the pressure on the offensive line as experienced in 2008, effectively improving the running game.

Julius Jones is an interesting one. He started 2008 well enough but tailed off. I think this in part to the bizarre situation Seattle had last year. Both Jones and Duckett had been brought in with 2009 in mind, and Mike Holmgren felt obliged to try and fit them into his offense alongside Mo Morris. The result was a bit messy. It might be harsh to judge Jones, but he certainly needs to start well and be consistent in 2009. The Seahawks may look to improve the offensive line or even running back area in the draft, with a view towards a new and improved running game.

Mind of no mind said...

What kind of contract would Crabtree comand as the number 4 pick? I wonder how that would compare to what we just paid T.J. I also can't help but wonder how T.J and branch would feel about becoming the 2nd and 3rd highest paid recievers on the team (if that would be the case).

If we draft someone on the O-line, I dont think it would be an issue since Walt would probably still have the higher figure for the remainder of his contract, and nobody else on the line is in a position to say that they're worth more than a top 4 draft pick.

Rob Staton said...

Hi Mind of no mind,

Last year Darren McFadden got a $60m deal over 6 years after being taken 4th overall by Oakland with $26m guaranteed. That is the only benchmark we can use.

I believe Walter Jones' deal was 7 years, $50m. To compare, Joe Thomas was taken 3rd overall in 2007 and got a contract worth 6 years, $43m and $23m guaranteed, so it is very likely that drafting a left tackle will mean they are on a bigger contract than Walter Jones - as ridiculous as that sounds.

Mind of no mind said...

Wow, that's insane... Thanks for the info!