Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Pre-mock draft thoughts

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?

14 comments:

Dan C. said...

Rob,

Any thoughts on Jerrod Johnson from Texas A&M as a late round value pick? I think he is a junior and eligible? Good showing against Texas, but he might stick around...

Rob Staton said...

Hi Dan,

Johnson was very impressive against Texas. I don't think he'll declare, but if he does I think he could actually be more than just a late round pick. He has the tools - no doubt about that - and he did well against a good defense. I think if he goes back and has a good 2010, he should be put in the same bracket as the Ryan Mallett's and Jake Locker's of this world. He tends to hold onto the ball too long and he takes unnecessary sacks - but he also makes a nice range of throws and he's got something. Raw, but with big potential. His stats are very good too considering he's not playing on a great team - 51 TD's and 16 Int's with a completion percentage of over 60% in two years. He also has eight rushing TD's this year.

Anonymous said...

I would really like to see the Hawks take care of the lines first and foremost. With that being said I would want them to focus on the O-line first. I have loved Rob's assesment of Charles Brown. I think that they should wait to see if Brown is able to add a little bulk and keep his athletisism. and then I would love for them to also pick Hudson from florida state with either their second round pick or late first. I think that if they do this and are able to keep either Spencer and/ or sims we could be very strong up front, considering we still have Unger and lock. Lock could stay on the right side and Brown could be the new LT. Sims, hudson and unger to compete for the two gaurd spots and spencer at center with unger as a backup. this would allow a lot of great depth and competition. this would also be indicitive of a ruskel positional rebuild (excluding free agents he might sign)

Anonymous said...

I think that the top pick will be either be Bradford for his amazing accuracy or Locker for his total skill set. The time for the QB of the future is now, when he won't be counted on to play. Yes, there is risk, but there is risk in any player and at every position. The upside of a top QB is too great and to be in a position to take a potential franchise QB is rare. The exception would be if one of the top 2 or 3 players overall slips. I would be thrilled with Suh at #8, but think the chances of that happening are about 0%.

I also think that the next 2 picks will be best available OL, CB, RB, or pass rusher. Of course this totally depends on who is signed as a free agent. It isn't like this team doesn't have needs in just about every position group but linebacker.
TJ

Grant said...

Looking at what you just said and knowing our multiple needs on o-line...What are the chances of us trading down on that first pick? Maybe get two more offensive linemen in the vein of Max Unger instead of one?

Rob Staton said...

Hey Grant - obviously there's always the possibility for trades, but it's nigh on impossible to second guess them especially this early. Seattle could move down if they felt it offered good value, but they'd need a willing buyer. If all or most of the QB's are still on the board when Seattle pick, that could be a chance to entertain a trade - we did after all see New York move into the top five last year to take Sanchez.

I think this will be the toughest mock I've ever compiled from a Seahawks perspective. I can only presume Tim Ruskell will remain GM for the latest prediction. Obviously if there was a complete regime change, it could easily look very different.

Anonymous said...

I think this draft will make or break the Hawks for the next few years. I hear that Charles Johnson (LT for the Colts) is going to be a free agent this year. He is not great but he can play ok. Maybe if we get somebody like him and resign McinTosh, we can at least maintain the line for a year or two. This would free us up to take the best players available and to possibly move back and get more picks. We can plan to complete the team in two drafts if we can at least bridge the gaps in our O and D line till then.

Mike

Patrick said...

I have finally decided I want our top 3 picks to be QB, RB, and OL. In what order, I'm not sure. I say this because this draft has been incredibly hard to predict. I could easily see at least 5 QBs taken in the first round, 2 RBs (maybe 3) and several OL. Charles Brown and Russell Okung are my top OL, Best is my top RB (But I like Spiller and Dwyer a lot) and QB I would gladly take Tebow, Bradford, Locker, or Mallett.

If we were able to grab these positions with our first three picks, I can't see how anyone would see this draft as a failure. I love Curry, but looking back it's easy to question whether drafting a LB with the 4th overall pick was the righ choice. If someone like Bradford is still available at 8, I really don't think we should pass on him. If Bradford is gone but someone like Russell Okung slips, I would be upset if we grabbed him. But if we could grab Bradford, Brown, and then Dwyer in the second (I don't think Best/Spiller will be available and think Dwyer might be a bit underrated and a nice compliment to Forsett) we could possibly have the core of our offense in position for years to come.

If this happens... well... I would be an incredibly excited fan.

1stHill said...

If the top four defensive lineman were taken ahead of us then I guess it would go a little like the following (using Rob’s explanation of how he thinks the draft might play out);

1. Browns : (DT) Ndamnukong Suh
2. Rams : (DT) Gerald McCoy
3. Bucs : (DE) Derrick Morgan
4. Lions : (DE) Carlos Dunlap
5. Redskins : (QB) Sam Bradford
6. Raiders : The Raiders are the wild card, with Al Davis running the team. They could take one of the following athletic freaks Jake Locker, Taylor Mays, Eric Berry, DT Brian Price, or best available OT.
7. Chiefs : (OT) Russell Okung
8. Seahawks : I would take Locker if he were still available. If Locker is off the board then I would be torn between C.J. Spiller & DT Brian Price (I‘ve been high on Brian Price all year). Today I would probably take C.J. Spiller, he is such a dynamic player for the offensive side of the ball. Spiller would instantly be one of the best kick returners in the NFL. At worst he is a RB that will carry the ball 12-15 times a game, at best he could be the next Chris Johnson (Titans RB). He can split out wide as a WR and defenses will have to respect his speed. Spiller can get a couple of bubble screens each game when he is lined up as a WR. There are very few home run threats in the NFL and we have an opportunity to finally get one in this draft.

With 26th pick in the 1st round (from Denver) I would consider one of the following players,
(DT) Dan Williams, Tennessee
(OG) Rodney Hudson, Florida St
(OT) Jason Fox, Miami
(OG) Mike Pouncey, Florida
(OC) Maurkice Poucey, Florida
(CB) Brian Jackson, Oklahoma : Jackson a big CB at 6-1 202 lbs. He shut down Texas WR Jordan Shipley, in man-to-man coverage, earlier this year.
(FS) Earl Thomas, Texas

fountaindale said...

Who has the best chance to be a star, Spiller or Haden? How significant of an upgrade is Spiller over Forsett? We know Haden would be a huge upgrade over our second CB and maybe better than Trufant. Top corners are probably rarer than good but not elite RB's. I say Haden.

kearly said...

Rob Rang's latest mock has Washington taking Clausen while Bradford slips to the Seahawks. If Bradford can be had without trading up, I'd do that in a heartbeat.

If the board fell the way 1sthill's did, then I'd prefer to trade down. There isn't a "must have" prospect still remaining and there are a ton of options that all weigh about the same to me. I'd trade down and try to get a 3rd round pick. Of course, what makes that #8 pick exciting in the first place is the event that a Suh, McCoy, Morgan, Dunlap, or Bradford fall to Seattle, which is entirely possible. Whether that happens or not has to be seen, but it seems like most years, one elite prospect slips out of the top 5. Last year it was Crabtree. This year it could be Bradford or Dunlap.

If trading down was impossible, then the only player remaining on the board that I'd actually feel decent about taking that high is Joe Haden. Jennings and Lucas may both be gone after this year. Haden is the consensus best CB (a premium position) in the draft, and therefore good value. I should stress that I'd prefer to trade down and then draft an offensive player.

The reason I wouldn't take an offensive player at #8 in 1sthills board is because I don't feel there is a prospect worth taking that high.

WR: Damian Williams is the best WR prospect for what the Seahawks run (he's a terrific route runner), but his college production has just been so-so despite playing for USC. Dez Bryant fits the K-Rob or Percy Harvin mold as the all-tools WR who in general tend to be way too risky to take this early. I like Golden Tate in the 2nd round.

RB: A Gibbs style ZBS is famous for taking anonymous RB's and making them productive. Seattle has half of its RB rotation set with Forsett, and it doesn't necessarily need a blue chipper to fill the other half, just someone that fits the scheme. I'm not a fan of 1st round RBs because of value/impact, doubly so for a 150-200 carry RB. With the teams overwhelming needs at other areas, I'd take the luxury of addressing RB later in the draft and focus at more pressing needs with the higher picks.

OT: I firmly believe Charles Brown will be available in the 20's, and I don't think he's a make or break pick, just nice value if he falls to Denver's pick. Should the Seahawks miss out on Brown, and Ruskell still be the GM, Jason Fox screams Ruskell pick in round 2. Kyle Rota published a breakdown on Fox on this very blog about 6 weeks ago. I think Fox's probable availability in round 2 gives the Seahawks insurance if they chance waiting for Denver's pick to select Brown.

QB: If Jimmy Clausen is indeed 6'1" or 6', that alone scares me away from taking him at #8. I'd consider him in the late 1st or 2nd round, but no way he lasts that long. Locker probably won't declare. McCoy I'd consider later in the draft. No thanks to Tebow, he'll be a 1st round pick by a Florida team anyway. I'd gleefully take Bradford at #8, but other than that, no thanks.

Oddly enough, most of the players I want to draft will probably get taken between picks 20-40. It might be a good idea for the Seahawks to make a few trades down and try to load up in the 2nd round.

1stHill said...

It sounds like Ruskell is going to resign today, so I would add Idaho (OG) Mike Iupati as a player to target with the 26th pick in the 1st round. Iupati probably would not have been a player Ruskell would draft since he does not play at a big time school, but a new GM may not over look players from small schools. I have read that Iupati is pretty athletic for a big guy.

Anonymous said...

Joseph Barksdale the junior tackle from LSU is someone the Seahawks should have on their radar..

Anonymous said...

I would Like the Seahawks to take either Jake Locker with the first pick but if he is not there the top O-line men. Jake makes the most sense because he will need a few seasons to learn the position and Matt has a few seasons left so Jake would learn from him. With the second pick the best O-line or if we got a LT with the first pick than Ryan Mallett for thee same reasons that i stated for Locker.