On Sunday, Steve Wyche (Senior Writer from NFL.com) suggested the Seahawks were looking for an offensive playmaker in the first round of the draft. In a live Q&A today, he mentioned it again and touted the possibility of Seattle trading down.
"I have been told they want another playmaker and that could mean they want somebody to stretch the field, like Crabtree. T.J. is more of an intermediate route receiver. Chad J-O-C was the deep ball threat. I think the Hawks are in a great spot to trade back in the first round, pick up a mid-round pick in the process and, and nab a playmaker with the latter first-round pick." - Steve Wyche
Different cases can be made as to what Seattle's biggest need actually is heading into the draft. Some argue it's a long term replacement to ageing veterans Matt Hasselbeck and Walter Jones. Others believe the team needs to add another dominant defensive prospect such as Aaron Curry. You could also argue that perhaps more than anything the Seahawks need a young offensive playmaker.
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Ranked 28th in yards per game, 25th in total points scored and 28th in yards per play in 2008, the Seahawks' offense was decimated by injuries and poor production. On average, Seattle averaged over seven minutes less than their oponents in terms of time-of-possession. The response in free agency was to make a big splash on T.J. Houshmandzadeh. With Bobby Engram moving on to Kansas City, his presence on the roster will certainly be felt.
But is there room for another talented playmaker? Most definitely.
As Wyche reports Michael Crabtree could be an option with that fourth overall pick. With Nate Burleson coming off a serious knee injury and Deion Branch proving unreliable with his health - Tim Ruskell won't want to go into next season relying solely on Houshmandzadeh and tight end John Carlson. Having said that, the team are still sitting on Burleson and Branch's large contracts and might feel another hefty cap hit might be a stretch too far. Reports have also surfaced recently about Crabtree's character although nothing has been made public.
If the team did decide to look in a different direction, what are the chances of trading down in order to find that playmaker? Probably pretty slim, as Mike Sando reports:
"Three teams have traded into the top 10 picks since 2003. No team since 2003 has traded into the top five picks from lower in the round." - Mike Sando
Clearly it would take something extraordinary for Seattle to move down. Teams don't usually like to give away picks unless there's an elite talent to be had. Even then, if that was the case surely Seattle would be better served taking the 'elite' prospect? For argument's sake let's play fantasy football for a moment. Say a team did trade up into the top five allowing Seattle to slip down a few spots, who might they target?
Step forward Knowshon Moreno.
Not only a superb playmaker, he has the vibrant personality and humble character that Tim Ruskell looks for. Running backs tend to offer that instant gratification, there isn't the great learning curve you get with other positions. The team might be higher on Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett than some of the fans, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't explore the possibility of adding another back to the roster.
In a zone blocking scheme Moreno could thrive. He has great vision and cutback ability. Although he hasn't got that elite breakaway speed, he's fast enough. Always finishes his runs and has plenty of value as a catcher out of the backfield - Moreno could be the most under rated prospect carrying a first round grade.
If I had to but a wager on who the Seahawks would target if they did 'somehow' find a partner to trade down, my money would be on Moreno. If Steve Wyche's sources are correct and Seattle are looking for an offensive playmaker, the former Bulldog fits the bill.
Anyone want to trade?