We now know that John Schneider will be the new Seahawks GM. The rebuild of the team's front office appears to be almost complete and the real work begins to try and change the team's fortunes on the field. How will his appointment affect the draft? I don't think it changes much in terms of decision making. Schneider's role in Green Bay was mainly evaluating team needs and long term planning with regard the roster, salary cap and more. As a right hand man to GM Ted Thompson, it appears he played a key supportive role. That is what I expect from the relationship between Pete Carroll and Schneider, with Carroll having final say on personnel.
We'll need at least a draft to define how this team will plan going forward and what to look out for in future off seasons. Until now, we're left to guess and project what might happen based on the personalities involved. It is perhaps interesting to note though, that the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers from a strong position with Brett Favre still on the roster. They gave their young QB time to learn and develop and he's made a very smooth transition into a starter. The Seahawks have Matt Hasselbeck approaching a contract year and turning 35 in September. Can we expect a similar situation with the Seahawks drafting a quarterback and allowing them to sit behind Hasselbeck until they're ready to start? It certainly would make sense.
The blog post yesterday asking whether Seattle needed to draft a quarterback has opened up a good debate, with some believing it's an absolute must and others suggesting it would be premature if the right guy isn't available. Both arguments are completely valid. I think it's important to stress that taking just 'any' quarterback in round one wouldn't be a good idea. Investing a lot of money in a failure at QB can set a franchise back years. A signal caller drafted early by Pete Carroll and his new regime will forever be tied together and a case could be made that should the quarterback fail, the new regime may fail too.
However, the position is more important than any other in football. It's not even close. When you look at prospects, it's best not to immediately think, "this guy could be the next Peyton Manning" or, "this guy could be the next Rick Mirer". There's very much a grey area between 'elite' and 'bust'. Finding someone who won't necessarily be elite, but can certainly keep an offense ticking over isn't a bad thing. As I've stated before - I have been as critical about Jimmy Clausen as anyone. However, if you believe he can 'do a job' for this team - even if he isn't going to be the perennial Pro Bowl type - you have to consider drafting him early.
Is it a risk? Sure. But it's always a risk taking a quarterback. The Seahawks will have to roll that dice one day unless they a.) want to start a rookie down in the future or b.) want to consider starting a journeyman. You have to bring in your young quarterback early and give them time to learn and develop. Have the best coaches you can find to help them along and in the mean time, create an environment for that prospect to be successful.
Seattle can afford to 'bank' a quarterback should they wish to do so and have enough picks this year and next to help create that platform so he can eventually start in a better team. It's not that I think they definitely will do this, but they simply have to consider drafting a quarterback early this year. If they think Jimmy Clausen can make this offense tick - he has to be considered too. The Seahawks are running out of time to secure the position in the post-Hasselbeck era and although it doesn't warrant recklessness, it certainly warrants investment.
Chris Steuber updated his two-round mock draft today. It's one of the most aesthetically pleasing mocks you'll find on the internet. He thinks the Seahawks will draft Jimmy Clausen, alongside C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson) and Devin McCourty (CB, Rutgers).