We've talked enough about which direction the Seahawks might go in round one, but a subject we haven't discussed nearly enough are the options later on. Although Seattle has a good chance to find an instant starter with the fourth overall pick, the chances are they will again be relying on Tim Ruskell's knack of finding starter's after the first 32 picks. Today let's have a look at some of the prospects who might be on the team's radar in the second round. We'll review the third round on Friday and the fourth/fifth round over the weekend.
2nd round (Seattle selects 37th overall)
Much will depend on the Seahawks first round selection as to which direction they go in round two. If they were to take an offensive lineman fourth overall, then they might consider taking a wide receiver here (Brian Robiskie for example). Regardless of need they might prefer to go the best player available route with some good value remaining on the board at the top of the second round. Last year, the Seahawks drafted John Carlson with the 38th pick after trading up, whilst effective offensive playmakers were found even later in the form of Eddie Royal (Broncos, 42nd overall), Matt Forte (Bears, 44th overall) and DeSean Jackson (Eagles, 49th overall).
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Sean Smith (CB/S, Utah) is the prospect I currently have the Seahawks taking 37th overall in my latest mock draft. At 6'4" and 214lbs, he ran a 4.53 at the combine and a 4.47 at Utah's pro-day. Perhaps more impressive was his wing span, his arms measured 34 5/8 inches. His performance in Indianapolis provoked Mike Mayock to draw comparisons to Hall of Famer Mel Blount. He had a superb final season for the Utes, registering five interceptions (one TD), 45 total tackles and nine pass deflections.
If the Seahawks want to add some height and speed to their secondary, Smith could be their target. There are some negatives in that nobody seems able to decide if he's better suited to corner back or safety. It might not matter so much as a rookie, in Seattle he'd be able to spell both positions. Eventually though, he needs to nail his colors to the mast which may lead to a permanent role at safety - Smith says he'd rather play corner back. He's also been described as cocky and a trash talker. I don't think it's necessarily a character red flag though and it could be argued the Seahawks defense requires a bit more 'swagger'. This guy could be a dream for new head coach Jim Mora.
Alex Mack (California), Eric Wood, (Louisville) and Max Unger (Oregon) are three interior lineman all slated to go in the late first, early second round. There's good value at pick 37 and the Seahawks need to add to their offensive line in this draft. The general quality of the position increases further if you throw Jonathan Luigs (Arkansas) and Antoine Caldwell (Alabama) into the mix. All of the above are generally known as center's, but have the athleticism to move inside and play guard.
Chris Spencer, current Seahawks starting center, is facing a contract year. His career in Seattle has been hindered by injuries and when he has played, he's struggled to convince. Tim Ruskell's original first rounder as Seattle's GM faces a make or break year in his career and the team may look to bring in a young, versatile interior lineman should Spencer's health problems persist. Alex Mack is my particular favourite amongst this group and he has the intelligence, strength and versatility to play anywhere in the interior. He could play right guard as a rookie, moving inside if needs be. The Seahawks would find an immediate starter as a rookie who provides long term insurance at center.
The question could be availability. Center's rarely get drafted in the first round and this could give the Seahawks their 'pick of the bunch'. However, Mack is a top 20 talent and could easily go in the first round. Mel Kiper has this week touted the possibility of Eric Woods going in the late first. The Seahawks may wish to draft an interior lineman at #37, but doing so may depend on which guys remain on the board.
Depending on their choice in round one, the Seahawks may also be looking at offensive tackles. A premium at the position may see the top prospects go in round one, that includes guys like Eben Britton (Arizona) and William Beatty (Connecticut). That may restrict their options in round two to one guy - Jamon Meredith (South Carolina). Athletic enough to play in a zone blocking scheme, he has decent size (6'5", 304lbs) and ran a 5.03 at the combine. As with Britton and Beatty, it wouldn't be a total shock to see Meredith sneak into round one. Simply put - teams desire quality offensive tackles due to their general rarity.
One way to combat that issue of course, would be to take a top ranked offensive tackle fourth overall. If that was to be the case, they might look to fill another need in round two - playmaker on offense. That could mean a running back, with Seattle giving greater emphasis to their running game in 2009. I don't expect the top two RB's (Knowshon Moreno & Chris Wells) to make it out of round one and both could go earlier than expected on April 25th. In my latest mock I also have Donald Brown going 23rd overall to New England. I would be surprised if he is available at #37. This limits the Seahawks in round two and for that reason they might wait till later to add to the position.
The one realistic option could be LeSean McCoy (Pittsburgh). I don't really understand why his stock has fallen recently, he seems to be a victim of his own hype. By not registering the expected eye catching work out numbers, he's fallen in many mocks. However, put on the tape and watch the guy perform. He's good enough to go early second round.
There could be value at receiver, however. It's a good group of wide receivers this year and if the team don't draft Michael Crabtree, they should be able to find a solid pick later on. In my latest mock Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina), Brian Robiskie (Ohio State) and Derrick Williams (Penn State) are all on the board. One way or another, I expect Seattle to draft a wide receiver early in 2009.
On defense, don't be surprised if Louis Delmas (FS, Western Michigan), Michael Johnson (DE, Georgia Tech) and Connor Barwin (DE, Cincinnati) are in Seattle's thinking. I would be surprised however if the Seahawks target strong safeties like Patrick Chung and William Moore. Chung in particular is an exciting prospect, but is badly suited to Seattle's cover-2 defense. Moore played a lot at outside linebacker with Missouri and would largely be used as a nickel linebacker for the Seahawks - not great value in round two.
There's also the chance that someone drops into round two unexpectedly and the value is too good to miss. This could be the case for guys like Darrius Butler (CB, Connecticut), James Laurinaitis (LB, Ohio State), Brandon Pettigrew (TE, Oklahoma State), Alphonso Smith (CB, Wake Forest) and D.J. Moore (CB, Vanderbilt).
Tomorrow we'll look at Tim Ruskell's options in round three, with good value to be found in the form of two offensive tackles and a speedy rush linebacker.