By Rob Staton
Long term thinking or a short term shot in the arm? Do you use the 2010 draft to plan ahead or do you use it to enhance what you already have and try to get an immediate boost? Is it a combination of the two or can you not afford to think like this - is it too manufactured when a draft board needs to be respected purely based on BPA? What are the potential pitfalls of either?
Let's say the Seahawks go quarterback and left tackle in round one. This would very much be a long term solution, building an offensive core for tomorrow. However, Pete Carroll's new regime would also be left facing a 2010 season that could potentially be described as a 'lame duck'. A holding position until the rookie's are ready. Current starters at either position would be left holding the fort - and it could lead to disharmony between the present and the future. Even if everyone acted very professional about the situation, you'd be asking the same troops who struggled in 2009 to suddenly produce the goods if you wanted to enjoy a competitive season upon your (Carroll's) return to the NFL.
Of course, even taking that into account, the long term benefit that there's a direction when ageing veterans do retire - is huge. The old adage goes, "fail to prepare and be prepared to fail." The Seahawks have to embrace that the Hasselbeck/Jones/Alexander era will soon be a distant (yet fond) memory. Finding the next batch of franchise players and preparing them sufficiently would likely be welcomed by fans, pundits and coaches alike.
The short term solution doesn't possess that kind of support. It's often seen as the quick-fix. Drafting a running back early has it benefits in that there's a short learning curve - and the Seahawks do need a running back. However, it's unlikely to win you a post season berth consistently if you continue to neglect key positions that may need a year or two to develop and prosper.
Having said that - if the Seahawks want to avoid another bitterly disappointing season in the mold of 2008/2009, they have to find some form of immediate contribution. Whether that's a pass rusher who can finally get to the quarterback, a running back capable of keeping a defense honest or a wide out who gives Matt Hasselbeck a true #1 threat. Transitioning from one era to another needs to be planned with tomorrow in mind - but introducing inexperienced young men into a losing culture is never a good idea.
These are all questions facing Pete Carroll and his new regime. If he were to draft Jimmy Clausen at #6 and Bryan Bulaga at #14, many would rejoice at locking up two key positions for the future (quarterback and offensive tackle). However, would these same fans remain supportive if the Seahawks struggled to another 4-5 win season? What impact would drafting those prospects have on incumbent starters like Matt Hasselbeck and harmony between currents veterans and the younger future?
If the new regime decided to draft Derrick Morgan and C.J. Spiller, some fans would (perhaps correctly) ask where is the long term planning? What is the plan post-Hasselbeck considering his contract year status and age? But would these same fans not appreciate it if the more short term thinking got the new coaching staff up and running on the front foot, creating a platform for younger prospects to brought in perhaps in a better (winning?) culture and atmosphere?
Not that a plan like this was ever likely to be formed, but if you draft one pick for the future and one for tomorrow - do you run the risk of making a token effort that really neither does enough for the future nor enough to win now?
Ultimately decisions will be made based on talent and how the front office set up their draft board. But if there are prospects bunched together of a similar grading, this short or long term thinking could become a discussion point. What do you think the Seahawks have to consider going into this crucial draft for the franchise? Let me know in the comments section.