The Seahawks fell to 2-5 with defeat in Dallas yesterday and only the NFC West's inability to pull away is keeping the premature draft talk going into over-drive. For starters, here's my thoughts on the team right now (and I'm sure many will disagree). Call me crazy, but I think we're one 'statement' game from turning it around. We have to go on the road and beat a good team. If or when that happens, there will be something to build on going forward. Until it does, we'll continue to lack any kind of momentum or identity. As strange as it seems after yet another loss, if we can match the Cardinals until our trip to Arizona we could be competing to get within one game of the NFC West lead. Sure it's optimistic, but that's what the team have to be saying - there's no point throwing in the towel. An 8-8 record can win the west, but you have to win at least a couple of those road games.
Having said that, I've decided to publish a mock draft today and it will be processed under the assumption Seattle are going to finish with only 5-7 wins. Officially it's my first mock of the year and next April I'll revisit it with interest to see how things have changed after the completion of the college season, the combine and pro-days etc. The idea of this mock isn't to truly guess what will happen in the 2010 draft - that's impossible at this stage. Rather, this is an opportunity to see what could happen and how the Seahawks (if they do finish with just 5-7 wins) can plan for the future.
I've compiled the draft order using current records and my own personal feelings on how I think they'll work out by the end of the year.
The top five
#1 Tampa Bay - Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
#2 St Louis - Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
#3 Cleveland - Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
#4 Tennessee - Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
#5 Oakland - Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida)
This is how I think the top five could work out. The only one I'm not totally sold on is Tennessee - they're not as bad as they have been this year (sounds familiar) and I think they could win enough games to be picking a bit higher up, if not that much higher. If they do pick at #4 - and with the top two QB's off the board - they could look for a stud replacement for Albert Haynesworth.
Tampa Bay on the other hand, were awful when I watched them at Wembley. That franchise is a complete mess, although I suspect even they won't botch the chance to draft Ndamukong Suh. St Louis could look for a new start at QB and I still believe Sam Bradford is BPA at that position. Carlos Dunlap has Al Davies written all over him, whilst I expect Jimmy Clausen to declare and become the next sitting duck in Cleveland.
The rest of the top ten
#6 Kansas City - Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
#7 Detroit - Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
#8 Washington - Jake Locker (QB, Washington)
#9 Buffalo - Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma State)
#10 Jacksonville - Tim Tebow (QB, Florida)
Kansas City are a tough one to predict. They pulled one out of left field when they took Tyson Jackson last year, nobody had him pinned as a top three pick until a couple of weeks before the draft. They have so many holes, they could do a ton of things here. However, call this one an early hunch - but maybe they look at adding a playmaker. I'm not that big a fan of Bryant - he has great size, long arms and passable speed - but he makes too many basic errors for me. He's productive for sure, but I think he's a class below Michael Crabtree last year.
Derrick Morgan is one of my favorite prospects, love the guy. Top ten pick for sure if I'm a GM in the NFL. I don't think Jake Locker will declare but until we hear either way, I'll include him here. I don't expect the Redskins to keep Jim Zorn or Jason Campbell, meaning a new start at HC and QB. I expect to see both Russell Okung and Tim Tebow drafted about 20-30 picks higher than they should be based on need and hype respectively.
#11 Seattle - Charles Brown (OT, USC)
#12 San Francisco - Joe Haden (CB, Florida)
#13 New York Jets - Damian Williams (WR, USC)
#14 San Francisco - Eric Berry (S, Tennessee)
#15 Miami - Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama)
If this is the position from which Seattle drafts, what are the options? Four quarterbacks are off the board, virtually eliminating the chance they draft at the position in round one. The four best defensive lineman are gone - another position Seattle will seriously consider. The two highly (over) rated safety's (Eric Berry and Taylor Mays) are still on the board. I can see an argument that suggests both are very realistic targets here. The Seahawks have a need at safety and Mays (four year starter, USC prospect, Seattle born) and Berry (productive, played in a system similar to Seattle, Monte Kiffin as tutor) both appear to be good fits from a Ruskell-methodology stand point.
Make no mistake, in this situation - Seattle could easily take either of the two safety's. I've gone with Charles Brown though, because I also think eventually Tim Ruskell will feel he has to invest a high pick on the offense at a core position. He's spoken in the past about being able to find lineman later on, but this year's struggles on the offensive line should be an eye opener. Like Mays, Brown is from USC and a senior prospect. He's a perfect scheme fit for the ZBS and could be used as a right or left tackle as a rookie. Sad as it is, it does seem unlikely Walter Jones will ever return and although Sean Locklear is tied to an expensive long term contract the Seahawks could use a talented, long-term addition to their offensive line.
Briefly looking at the other picks, both Joe Haden and Eric Berry seem like Mike Singletary picks to me and that'd be a cracking double whammy for the 49ers defense. Mark Sanchez will no doubt rally for the brilliant Damian Williams to be drafted regardless of the potential re-signing of Braylon Edwards and Miami could go linebacker - although I'm unsure at this stage whether Rolando McClain isn't a bit over rated.
#16 San Diego - C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson)
#17 Green Bay - Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers)
#18 Denver - Jerry Hughes (DE/OLB, TCU)
#19 Baltimore - Jermaine Gresham (TE, Oklahoma)
#20 Arizona - Trent Williams (OT, Oklahoma)
I'm a huge fan of C.J. Spiller, he's a playmaker every time he has the ball and I expect he'll go right in the middle of the first round. Denver could be looking for a replacement for star pass rusher Elvis Dummervil who hits free agency at the perfect time in 2010. Baltimore always seem to get great value and Jermaine Gresham would be a steal there. Arizona and Green Bay could be looking at offensive lineman or new components as they adjust to 3-4 defensive schemes this year.
#21 Atlanta - Travis Lewis (OLB, Oklahoma)
#22 Houston - Taylor Mays (S, USC)
#23 Cincinnati - Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, USF)
#24 Dallas - Brandon Spikes (LB, Florida)
#25 New York Giants - Everson Griffen (DE, USC)
#26 Pittsburgh - Brandon Graham (DE/OLB, Michigan)
#27 New England - Arthur Jones (DE, Syracuse)
#28 Seattle - Rodney Hudson (OG, Florida State)
#29 Philadelphia - Sean Wetherspoon (LB, Missouri)
#30 New Orleans - Sergio Kindle (LB, Texas)
#31 Minnesota - Greg Hardy (DE, Ole Miss)
#32 Indianapolis - Earl Thomas (S, Texas)
A word on Seattle's second pick. Hudson is a junior left guard who might stay with the Seminoles for his senior year. In this situation, Seattle will have missed most of the top defensive lineman that fit their scheme. I have to think there's a slight chance the Seahawks won't let that happen. I also don't want to beat the drum too much for the offensive line - yes - it's been a problematic area for Seattle. Some will say this is overkill and too high for an interior lineman. Not for me, because Hudson is that good. He fits Seattle's scheme perfectly considering his size and agility, but he's still as strong as an ox. With Brown and Hudson, they'd solve two huge holes on the offensive line for 10 years.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section or email firstname.lastname@example.org