By Rob Staton
There's been some mixed feelings towards my latest mock draft that had, somewhat surprisingly, the Seahawks drafting a running back with the 6th overall pick. I appreciate and acknowledge the counter reasons for why this won't happen. Teams that have Alex Gibbs organising the running attack haven't tended to need such an investment at the position. There are cheaper options later on in the draft, particularly since the Seahawks acquired an extra fourth round pick in the Darryl Tapp trade. Regardless of what people think about them as a duo, Julius Jones and Justin Forsett are not the weakest part of this team.
A lot of fans also believe that building the offensive line is a priority and it almost certainly will be going forward - that's why Alex Gibbs is here. There's no obvious answer at left tackle, other than Sean Locklear, currently on the roster - and the Seahawks will surely consider taking one of the many offensive tackles available in the top half of round one.
However - afford me the opportunity to expand a little further on why I think C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson) might be an option at #6. For starters, this Seahawks offense currently doesn't own anyone with Spiller's dynamic ability to just put points on the board. Rather than simply believe that a good, rookie left tackle will suddenly create enough holes for Julius Jones to become the back he hasn't been the last two years - I think the Seahawks need to find an X-factor. Spiller is capable of finding an edge and making a good gain a long touchdown run. He can run deep routes and is an effective pass catcher. He pass protects better than most rookie running backs. Spiller's also a brilliant return guy who racked up the yards and scores on punt and kick off returns. Simply put - if you're coming up against C.J. Spiller, you need a game plan. There aren't enough guys like that on Seattle's roster right now.
Pete Carroll has talked about getting guys who can score points. That is what Spiller will do. He might not always come up with the 233 yard performance we saw in the ACC Championship game, but he's equally capable on a quieter day to find a way to get into the end zone. He scored 51 touchdowns for Clemson - not including two TD passes he threw. Individually he scored 308 points.
It might be an expensive investment on a guy who realistically will work in a committee - but who doesn't these days? Needless to say, he'd still be the focal point of the rushing attack and Pete Carroll often had a speedy playmaker in his USC teams. Will Spiller have better luck behind a superior offensive line? Sure - but I'm also a firm believer that until Seattle forces teams to respect their playmakers, a rookie lineman will have the same problems blocking two guys off the edge that Sean Locklear has. It may actually be easier for a young left tackle to come onto a team already owning a couple of guys like Spiller than it will be to throw him into the deep end without any difference makers on the roster. If teams don't have to respect your offense, they'll blitz. They'll stack the box. Minnesota had an elite offensive line, but until they added Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Brett Favre - they were a 6-10 team.
I want to stress this isn't necessarily what I would do at #6 given the choice. But I want to cover all bases and whilst I do believe there's a possibility Spiller will go 6th overall - I wanted to express that in a mock draft.