Friday, 10 April 2009

Draft theory: Seahawks must take Sanchez to have option of moving down

With two weeks until the 2009 draft, one thing seems pretty clear to me - teams are desperate to move down the board. Such is the expense of picking at the top of round one, there's so much risk involved when investing multi-millions on unproven rookies. If the Seahawks stay put at fourth overall, their new addition will likely make more money than Walter Jones, Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu. In recent weeks we've seen reports that suggest the Cleveland Browns are 'smitten' with Aaron Curry, Brian Orakpo, Michael Crabtree and now Mark Sanchez. The tactic is obvious here - enough smoke and mirrors to try and force a trade on April 25th.

The problem is - why would a team sat in the more 'favourable' positions move up to acquire that unwanted pick? As good as the Curry's, Crabtree's and Orakpo's are in this draft I can't see a team moving up unless it's to grab a franchise quarter back. That's the money position in the NFL - the guy you put your faith in (and dollars) to lead your team to glory.

The Seahawks - like the Browns, Chiefs and Rams - would probably like to move down a few places. I've suggested over the weeks that I believe GM Tim Ruskell probably would rather be in a more justifiable position to take one of the top two running backs - Knowshon Moreno and Chris Wells. Ruskell was spotted taking a closer look at Moreno during the Georgia pro-day, whilst it's been reported that Wells will travel to Seattle for a work out. Both backs fit Ruskell's criteria with big production, great character and an ability to have an instant impact on an offense that became stagnant in 2008.

However, it's going to be nigh on impossible to move out of pick four unless the Seahawks really have something tempting enough to offer as trade bait. The only solution I can think of is to take Mark Sanchez (QB, USC) and force other teams in need of a quarter back to deal with Seattle alone.

I doubt very much the team would be reckless enough to actually draft Sanchez purely on the off chance someone will trade with them. They'd have to be 100% sold on Sanchez remaining on the roster and becoming a long term replacement for Matt Hasselbeck in case no deal materialises. But by taking Sanchez they can listen to what other teams might be willing to trade. Considering the importance of the quarter back position, they might just receive an offer they can't refuse.

The Trojan QB's stock has hit it's peak at just the right time. His impressive display at USC's pro day has seen interest sky rocket and with Matt Stafford seemingly destined for Detroit, he could be the last realistic option for a team desperate for a signal caller. I expect Josh Freeman to go anywhere from 17-onwards, but for me the real prize for the teams looking at QB in the draft is Sanchez.

As I said, the Seahawks would have to approach the situation believing that Sanchez is their guy. A tantalising trade offer would be nothing more than a bonus, they'd have to be prepared to take on Sanchez. If they have that level of confidence in his potential it essentially would put them in a no-lose situation. Either they keep a long term franchise QB on the roster, or they have exclusive dealing rights for any team who wants to try and trade for Sanchez.

Either way, I believe if the Seahawks want to even have the option of trading down they'll have to select Mark Sanchez with the fourth overall pick.


Anonymous said...

I think your spot on! Seattle is never going to get a chance to pick a top qb for a very long time (lets hope. THere is no reason to believe Hasselback is going to stay healthy, he hasn't for two years and were talking about a back issue in a contact sport! Thanks to Matt Ryan this copy cat league may just make a Hersal walker type trade to find the next flaco or ryan. This is fun!

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, as much as I like Crabtree and Curry, neither player presents the value of a QB, especially for a team that never picks this high. I am kind of getting sick how everyone is continually hating on Sanchez for no reason at all.

The guys at Seahawks Addicts should just change their name to Crabtree Addicts. Rob Rang is one of the best NFL Draft analysts in the country and deserves more credibility than "sipping the Sanchez Kool-Aid."

Rob, you have done a great job of presenting arguments for many players. I know Crabs is your favorite, but you don't let that bias show in your breakdown of other players. Thanks for the great work and you truly have one of the most credible sites in regards to not letting personal bias skew the draft process in regards to the Hawks.

gonzhawk said...

Don't mean to be a downer but I have heard a lot of people justifying picking a QB based on the arguement "the seahawks won't be picking this high" for a long time...I mean does someone know this for sure? I am not pessimistic but to choose a QB based on this kind of logic is also faulty..Pick the QB because he is the best player, not because we may not be drafting in the top 5-we may have

we may have the #1 overall pick next year?

ps. I like this theory, but it would be a risk of major proportion should the hawks try to do it only for the picks..

Rob Staton said...

I agree gonzhawk, essentially the theory holds no credibility unless the Seahawks are sold on the abilities of Sanchez. My theory isn't that Seattle has to draft Sanchez to negotiate a trade, rather they need to draft him to have that option available.

I struggle to envisage any other scenario which would put Seattle in position to entertain realist offers to trade down. By taking Sanchez, any team who wants to draft him will have to deal exclusively with the Seahawks. If they get an offer they can't refuse then they have the choice to either keep Sanchez or get a treasure trove of picks.

Anonymous said...


Left out half my argument on why a QB, not just solely on the idea of picking in the top 5.

My point is that Hass' health is volatile enough that a QB (who happens to fit our system perfectly) will be available at #4. I don't want to be like so many teams who put off the notion of getting your future QB. It's the toughest position to find and we are staring at one without having to move up to get him. I feel like banking on a project QB at this point is too late/irresponsible. Hass might have looked "good" in mini camp, but I would sure hope so considering he is wearing a bright red jersey and nothing but a helmet.

I've heard way too many arguments against a QB at #4 based on "wait til next year," or "he sucks, he's a bust." "Wait til next year" is the kiss of death. After all, look at what can happen in a matter of 1 year, playoffs to 4-12. I never want to become a team who is scrambling to find a QB and trades the house to get a rookie QB.

Michael said...

Great comment:

Two thoughts:

1) Crabtree, most likely, is not an option. Thus, I do believe Sanchez is in play... and maybe Oher.

2) Hasselbeck cost the Green Bay Packers a sixth round pick. Hasselbeck cost Seattle a 1st rounder. Granted, not exactly the same scenario, but the point is, QB's are expensive and damn hard to find.

This wait till next year stuff is for the birds. Wait for what? Tim Tebow, system QB McCoy. Trade the entire draft for Bradford. Pray like hell Jevan Snead comes out?

Play to win.

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - I agree with you 100% regarding quarter backs. The simple fact is it's the most important position in football and if you have a chance to lock down the future you have to do it. Now - the decision Seattle has to make is whether or not Sanchez is that guy. If he is, then he's very much a legitimate option even if the team won't see an immediate impact for their investment.

Michael - I think it's very premature to rule out Michael Crabtree. I've read one article that insinuates that he isn't the hardest worker and might be a prima dona. However, I've read many more which argue to the contrary. Up until today, I had not seen anything which suggested he wasn't a very humble, hard working individual.

If we're going to rule out Crabtree for that PFW article, surely we have to do the same for Mark Sanchez who in fairness, has a number of potential background red flags? We've also known about them for some time in a public manner, as opposed to one article two weeks before the draft.

If I was a betting man, I would say that Crabtree will very much be on Seattle's radar. That doesn't mean they'll take him, though.

Michael said...

I agree that Sanchez and Crabtree are two players with red flags. So let's just drop them both from play. If Sanchez has flags about his behavior, Crabtree has flags about his behavior and his work ethic. Perhaps it is time to put Crabtree to bed.

However, I kindly disagree with the assessment that the only negative feedback on Crabtree is PFW. Kiper has him slipping, Mayock has him slipping, McShary has him slipping; all mentioning "character" concerns. Many have spoken to his aloofness. Now, I can only go by what I read, (alas we all are stuck there, it seems) but his public speaking has given me the willies.

If what PFW also says is true, that Ruskell is in a "Win or Else" year, then I would have to bet the house on Curry, Smith, Monroe, or Moreno at #4.

I will also kindly point out that Robiskie is making moves into the first round. Character, strong route running, good height, work ethic, knowledge and passion for the game go much further than acrobatics.

I digress.

Mind of no mind said...

I have to admit, I really do like this idea. If the FO is sold on Sanchez as a quality QB in a few years, I think you have to pick him. I'm not 100% sold on drafting a QB, but I'd rather have Sanchez over Stafford.

Rob Staton said...

Kiper has Crabtree going fifth overall and McShay has him going to Jacksonville I think. The only mock I've seen him out of the top ten is Mayock's.

In the article above this, Rick Gosselin has him going to Seattle. Being based in Texas he might have a good idea of Crabtree's behaviour traits. He clearly doesn't think it's enough to rule him out completely and I tend to agree.

Anonymous said...

I think your thinking in this matter is right on. I think Sanchez has the tools that fit the Seahawks future requirements for a replacement at QB. The kid is pretty sharp and should only improve under the wing of Matt H. As to Crabtree, I have one burning question. If Graham Harrell, the Texas Tech QB is not considered a top QB prospect, even with his SUPER stats - because he is a system QB who ran a spread offense, why doesn't the same thing hold true with Crabtree?

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