I'm going to publish an updated mock draft before the end of the week. If the season finished today, the Seahawks would own the eighth and twenty-sixth picks in the first round. You can see a full run down of the current draft order by clicking here. I thought I'd share some thoughts before I sit down to compile the mock.
For starters, I know this is a quarterbacks league. Bad teams picking at the top of the draft usually look to draft a new signal caller first overall - especially if they've recently changed coach or GM. It's a way to kick start the franchise, lay out a blue print for future success and buy yourself some time - after all, if you've invested in an expensive young QB you're likely going to get the chance to work them up to scratch, even if you eventually fail.
The Cleveland Browns would own the first overall pick in the draft in this scenario. Eric Mangini is essentially a lame duck coach - it seems almost certain he won't be there next year. Names like Mike Holmgren have been touted to be anything from VP, GM or even head coach. There's going to be big changes at Cleveland whoever moves in.
That franchise is essentially a depleted mess. The QB situation is like a revolving door between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, the defense does nothing and they have no weapons on offense. They do, however, have a very good offensive line filled with young talent. A lot of people will expect them to go QB next year and start out. I'm not convinced, because I'm not convinced in this class of quarterbacks. Who out there would get more from that pathetic 'arsenal' than the current hapless duo? With no stand out rookie QB, it wouldn't surprise me if they went BPA and took one of the stud d-lineman - possibly Ndamukong Suh who is a good fit at 3-4 defensive end.
This could essentially trigger a run on d-lineman. The Rams could go QB - but Steve Spagnuolo knows he could get Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma) who is a much greater prospect than the QB options. Tampa Bay would pick third and they've just drafted Josh Freeman. Would they look at going defensive line with Derrick Morgan, Carlos Dunlap and the rising Brian Price available? Detroit pick fourth overall - another team who won't go QB and would probably entertain taking a top young d-lineman. It could be that Washington - who round off the top five - will have the pick of the quarterbacks (and I'm almost certain they'll be drafting a QB in 2010).
Maybe it is unrealistic to see no QB go earlier. However - Matt Stafford went first overall last year not because he was the best prospect, but because he came from a productive pro-style offense and had prototype size and arm strength. He could make every pass and his technique was good, even if his accuracy and decision making wasn't always top notch. Mark Sanchez was in a similar position. There's nobody that fits that mantra this year. Sam Bradford? Injury concerns and comes from a spread offense. Jimmy Clausen? Over rated and has shown a restricted range. Tim Tebow? Mechanically very suspect even if the intangibles are other worldly. Jake Locker? Ryan Mallett? Very raw and nobody knows if they'll declare.
If there is a rush on defensive lineman (clearly the strength of the 2010 draft) it could force the Seahawks to look elsewhere with their 8th overall pick. What would be the options? Well they could go quarterback. There's a lot of talk about Tim Ruskell's future right now. If he stays, he could very easily buy himself some time by drafting a young quarterback - stating he's the future and then how could you make big changes after that? Even if Ruskell was replaced, the new regime might feel it's time to look beyond the Matt Hasselbeck era and likewise buy themselves some breathing space by drafting a young QB. Rex Ryan and the disappointing NY Jets are certainly not facing the same backlash as Ruskell and co right now simply because the fans know it's a slow process with Sanchez.
Alternatively, they could invest an early pick in the offensive line. Walter Jones' future is, unfortunately, seemingly not in a Seahawks jersey. Sean Locklear hasn't done enough to warrant unquestionable support as the future at blind side tackle, although there's still time to impress enough in the last five games. The thing is though, this isn't a great draft for offensive lineman. I'm not a big fan of Russell Okung, he doesn't warrant a top ten pick for me. Charles Brown is my highest ranked senior, but he's playing at 285lbs for USC. He needs to add bulk and not lose his athleticism. Apart from that, there isn't a lot else to debate.
What about the other needs? Is it too high for the skill positions? Should a Dez Bryant or Damian Williams warrant consideration at receiver? How about C.J. Spiller? Defensive back could also be an option, with Joe Haden (CB, Florida) the clear prize there. I'm not buying the hype for Eric Berry or Taylor Mays - but should they be considered?
I'll publish the mock this week so stay tuned. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts in the comments section. If the top defensive lineman are off the board - what should the Seahawks do?