Monday, 6 April 2009

Rang on draft: Seahawks key to top 10

Rob Rang has written an interesting piece for his blog at CBS Sportsline which looks at the importance of the Seattle Seahawks in this year's NFL Draft. A lot of teams will be interested to see who GM Tim Ruskell settles on fourth overall and for differing reasons will be hoping certain prospects 'fall through the net'. Whether it's Aaron Curry, Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Eugene Monroe or others - the Seahawks will have a big say in how the top ten pans out.

For example, you have to believe the Cleveland Browns would love Aaron Curry to fall to number five. The Bengals, in serious need of pass protection, will be hoping Eugene Monroe falls into their laps sixth overall. But perhaps most importantly, a number of teams will be hoping to that Seattle doesn't feel the need to draft a long term option at quarter back.

With Matt Hasselbeck set to work out at mini-camps (beginning tomorrow), Rang believes his ability to show no side affects from the back problems that dogged him in 2008 could determine how much Seattle considers taking a QB fourth overall.

"Ruskell will be able to make a much more informed decision after this week's mini-camp. The 33-year old Hasselbeck is expected to participate in the mini-camp, after missing 9 games last season with a bulging disk in his back. Though there won't be anything even remotely resembling the physicality of a regular season game in this week's mini-camp, how Hasselbeck performs could be a critical component in the Seahawks' decision on draft day."
- Rob Rang, CBS Sportsline

Interestingly, Hasselbeck himself has today talked about the possibility of Seattle taking a QB high in the 2009 draft. With a mix of humour and self confidence, Hasselbeck talked about a rookie having to "sit on the bench for a while". Whether or not the Seahawks are willing to invest that kind of confidence in their starting quarter back will surely depend on his ability to prove his health. Even then, the possibility of Tim Ruskell drafting the future face of the franchise remains strong.


Anonymous said...

It's an unpopular move, but get Sanchez at #4. I'd rather give a young QB too much time rather than not enough and then you take into account that Sanchez has run this system since his sophomore year of high school and I see a win-win situation.

Hass' health is volatile enough that the mantra of "wait til next year" could truly bite us in the back side. We are staring our future QB in the face and don't have to make moves to get him. Sooner or later we will have to get a QB and we are looking at a guy with serious physical tools, but even better mental makeup in regards to intelligence, intangibles, and leadership.

It's an unpopular idea, but at the end of the day, we will never be looking at a better fit at a better position in the draft at QB than we do now.

The only negatives I've ever read/heard about Sanchez is 16 starts. Nothing about accuracy, arm strength, decision making, intelligence, leadership, or system he runs. His inexperience can be nullified by given time to learn from a vet and many could view his limited experience and great success as a testament to him being a quick learner and performer. I love the fact he has risen to the occasion in every facet/event leading up to the draft. You can't teach cool/calmness under pressure and that aura simply oozes out of him every time he steps on the field or in front of the camera.

Sorry for the long post Rob, I just read too many Hawks fans hating on the guy for no rational reasons at all. Keep up the great work.

Rob Staton said...

No need to apologise annonymous, you make some extremely valid points and I'm more than happy to read long posts.

As you say, there aren't many criticisms of Sanchez when you put on the tape. Personally I'd like to see a slightly higher release, but watching him throw at the USC pro-day he appears to have begun to try and work that out. Sanchez himself is quick to point out that his 16 starts were 'meaningful' - he argues that they were part of a pro-style offense against good opposition and that he practised with the talented USC defensive prospects every day. His performance in the Rose Bowl, what proved to be the biggest of his career to date - was almost faultless.

If I were Seattle I'd want to get his background issues checked out. We all know about what has happened to Sanchez in the past (alleged rape allegations that were eventually dropped). We all know that Ruskell values a clean record when it comes to character red flags - at least when he drafts rookies. Sanchez has worked hard in interviews to try and create a good image and it has certainly worked. However, I still do my homework and I'm sure Ruskell and co. have.

His 16 starts issues decreases slightly when you consider that he likely won't start as a rookie at all, and may not become the starter until 2011. The question then is can you afford to invest a big contract (Matt Ryan pocketed $72m to go 3rd overall) in a guy who won't start for two years? They would need to backload it, meaning Sanchez would be getting a lot of money when he eventually starts. Further evidence that the team need to be 100% sold to draft him or Matt Stafford.

From a purely physical analysis he is as talented as they come. Good arm strength, accuracy, decision making, leadership and he's sneaky athletic - capable of making a play with his legs if needs be. In the right situation and given time Sanchez could be a very good NFL QB. Is Seattle the right situation? We'll find out on April 25th.

Patrick said...

Great response Rob! April 25th cannot come soon enough. I've noticed that although I am still 100% for Crabtree, my opinion for who would be my 2nd choice is constantly changing. Last week I wanted anything BUT a QB. Now, it seems like anything BUT an OL. Really, I just want this draft to come once and for all!

Wes said...

The first thing I thought when I read the things that Hasselbeck said was Tim Ruskell with his head in hands just saying, "I KNOW I KNOW, BUT SHUT UP!!! TELL THEM YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP!!"

I think the Hawks are doing a great job of of scaring the other teams, which is all we can ask as fans (if we like the idea of trading down, that is)

Personally, though, I both do not trust Hasselbeck that he will be fine, and i certainly do not trust our O line to keep him from getting crushed. If we can't trade down, I'm pretty much pro Sanchez at this point, though my top choice is still Crabtree, I think

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response Rob. I always respect your opinion and insight because you back it up with great points. Way too often people respond with "he sucks" or "bust."

And I totally agree with all of your points. The money for any player at #4 is awfully tough to justify, no matter the position. I can understand the argument of money on the bench. I guess my view on the draft (at any position, not just QB) is that you draft for the future and you utilize Free Agency for the here and now. Sanchez on the bench for 2 years is a lot of money not playing, but we are also talking about investing in a seamless transition into the next era of Hawks football. I view this as an investment that sacrifices a little bit here/now for a big payoff in the long term.

I don't think any of us want to get into the position of needing a QB. I never want to be a team that starts a rookie at QB. It's too big of a crapshoot and it's the best way to destroy a potentially big time investment.

I guess my stance is (and always will be) if you are saying to yourself "wait til next year," then this year is the right time to make the move. Too often people assume that the best will happen and all of a sudden are thrown off by the worst (last year is a prime example). I don't want to sound like a pessimist, but we are a Walt and Hass injury away from being in a real pinch if we don't prepare now.

As much as I love Crabtree, I just have a hard time swallowing the idea of missing out on a big time future QB, especially considering our current QB is 34 and coming off a bad back injury, which every doctor will tell you, never truly heals. Our WR corps needs help and a youthful injection, but I would argue not at the expense of the opportunity to address a more vital position that requires more time and patience to succeed.

Thanks again Rob for the great work and insight into all that is Hawks football.

Anonymous said...

Hasselbeck is a terrific competitor who will feel great and ready to win..... right until he doesn't which could happen on the next play.

The 'Hawks will never be in a better draft position than this year. They need to take Sanchez and then have him sit on the bench while Matt wins the SB and then steps aside.

Rob Staton said...

I think it's a great point about having that long term option at QB. As a Seahawks fan, I don't want to be in the position of the Jets, Buccs etc almost 'hoping' something works out. If the Buccs don't draft a QB, who is going to be their starter next year?

QB is the most important position in football by a country mile, and if you have the chance to draft a franchise QB who can be developed in the immediate to be a capable starter long term - it's something you have to consider.

Brian McNeeley said...

Is there any chance Freeman will still around when the Hawks pick in the second?

What's your take on the kid from Michigan St?

Rob Staton said...

Hi Brian,

I would be very surprised if Freeman was around in round two. With so few quality QB's in the draft this year, I don't even think he'll make it into the 20's of round one.

I'm not sure which prospect you mean from Michigan State (Javon Ringer?). If you want to email me at I'll try and get some information to you.

Brian McNeeley said...

Thanks Rob for the response.

His name is Brian Hoyer. I know his stats weren't impressive but he has a good arm and size. I guess I'm
Hoping the Hawks wait a few rounds to peg a QB unless
somehow Freeman is there. Do you see any sleepers or
Dark horses? (QB)