Until we know the identity of the new Seahawks GM, we won't know the full extent of how this could affect Seattle's 2010 draft. Previously, we'd been looking at 'Ruskell guys' - big school, high character preferably seniors. Not only that, we were assuming certain scheme fits. If the new GM appoints his own coaching staff, we might be looking at completely different prospects for many different reasons.
Here's some examples. Ruskell would never go near a defensive end like Carlos Dunlap who was previously arrested for DUI. You could eliminate him from the discussion entirely. Now - who knows? During Ruskell's tenure, the team preferred to draft offensive lineman in later rounds with a preference for agile lineman who fit the zone blocking scheme. The new regime might change that completely, adjusting to a man blocking system and drafting an expensive lineman at the top end of the draft.
Ruskell was always risk averse picking early in his drafts. Last year, when presented with the opportunity to draft a dynamic playmaker (Michael Crabtree) a long term option at quarterback (Mark Sanchez) or a lineman who didn't fit the teams scheme (Eugene Monroe), Ruskell instead chose to draft a linebacker in Aaron Curry who was deemed to be very talented but ultimately the lesser risk. Seattle already had a lot of money invested in Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill and nobody can argue that right now, having the most expensive linebacker trio in the NFL isn't doing the team much good.
It was admirable that Ruskell put his faith into prospects with excellent character. Essentially, we all want a team full of guys like Aaron Curry who play like each game is their last and mirror than on field attitude in the community. However, there were perhaps times when too much emphasis was placed on character and 'risk' and not enough on what this team actually needs.
Ruskell also did focus on areas of need, but with mixed results. He was aggressive in adding to the defensive line, through cap space and picks. Brandon Mebane was an excellent pick and Patrick Kerney, when healthy, has consistently been Seattle's best pass rusher (albeit at a cost). But Darryl Tapp has been inconsistent, Lawrence Jackson has started both his two seasons in the NFL with promise but faded quickly. The investment in Colin Cole hasn't been justified to date.
So what does the future hold? Following on from my piece yesterday, I think the Seahawks will become a farcical franchise if they think simply replacing Ruskell man-for-man is the answer. An inside appointment or someone who will 'tow the party line' isn't enough. It just serves to make Ruskell a scape goat and retains the status quo. I hope this doesn't happen and whilst I feel for Jim Mora and his staff, I expect wholesale changes. You can't ask a GM to work with Ruskell's tools.
If there are changes amongst the coaching staff, that will signal the beginning of a new era. Under Ruskell I fully expected Seattle's focus to be on the defensive line. Who knows, that may still be the case. The class of defensive lineman in the 2010 draft is exceptional and warrants serious consideration. However, we've seen with many franchises in the past that when big changes are made you need a starting point. That usually means a new quarterback. Will the Seahawks search for a man to lead this team forward under the new regime? This has to be more likely, because it will surely buy time for the new regime. If there's no immediate success in the short term, they can point to the development of a young QB as a justification for fans needing to be patient.
Do they look for a long term replacement to Walter Jones? Remember, it was Tim Ruskell who'd put his faith (and cap space) into the Sean Locklear project as a blind side blocker. Do we now assume that plan will be terminated? Is Locklear 'on trial' through the remainder of the season? The 2010 class doesn't offer much hope for a stud left tackle. I'm not a fan of Russell Okung personally and I prefer Charles Brown. I'm not sure either warrant a top ten pick.
I'm certainly considering these two options a lot more than I did previously. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or email firstname.lastname@example.org