Thursday, 4 March 2010

Inside the mock draft

By Rob Staton
The mock I posted yesterday has triggered a great discussion in the comments section discussing the merits of selecting a quarterback early in this year's draft. Please feel free to check out the latest projection and leave some comments either in this article or the original mock. I wanted to offer some insight in to why I made the picks for Seattle, why I could be wrong and what I feel confident about at this stage with less than two months to go until the draft.

To read the rest of the article, click here or select read more.

For starters, a lot of people have shared an opinion on the selection of Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame) with the sixth overall pick. My justification for this selection would be that Matt Hasselbeck is approaching a contract year, he'll be 35 years old in September and has missed eleven games in the last two seasons through injury. Pete Carroll and his offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates have thrown their weight behind Hasselbeck, but that seems like a no brainer if you intend to start the veteran in 2010 whether you draft a potential replacement or not.

We've all heard the expression that new regimes usually mean new quarterbacks. If the Seahawks are going to implement a new offensive scheme - as Carroll indicated in his introductory press conference, it would make some sense to have your quarterback of the future grow, learn and develop that scheme as early as possible.

A lot of people have been quick to link Clausen and Carroll and just recently the Seahawks Head Coach admitted he'd followed the quarterback's career from school at an early age. He admitted to knowing the Clausen family and having attempted to recruit him for USC. Whilst coaching in SoCal, Carroll also had first hand experience of seeing Clausen in action - and game planning for him - when USC and Notre Dame squared off.

Now - this doesn't mean coach Carroll believes that Clausen is a great player who can be a franchise quarterback. It doesn't mean he will draft him for the Seahawks in this year's draft. But what it does mean is that not many people in the NFL know Clausen as well as Pete Carroll. Charlie Weis may be the only one. Therefore, it's fair to say that any decision on the Notre Dame signal caller won't be made without the greatest assessment.

I do believe Pete Carroll will be aware of the Seahawks situation at quarterback. Sure, Hasselbeck will be the unquestioned starter in 2010. If he has a good year, there's the potential for an extension to his contract and if drafted, Clausen, like Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, will be forced to wait. Holding two expensive quarterbacks on the roster will be palatable in an uncapped season and after all - the stingy Arizona Cardinals were able to maintain a veteran and a highly chosen youngster on their roster. It's not unheard of in the NFL and won't be a stumbling block for Seattle.

But the Seahawks also know that another injury plagued season for Hasselbeck without a ready made blueprint for the future will put real pressure on the team to act next year. Having to find a rookie in the draft and possibly start him would be one undesirable scenario. Seattle may also have limited options in that teams will be aware of their need for a QB, making trades expensive whether it's moving up the draft or trying to sign a veteran. They might be able to bring in a short-term-measure veteran, but that's not something you can necessarily plan for and what if the options - as with this current off season - are limited?

That doesn't mean the team will be handcuffed into drafting Clausen, Sam Bradford or anyone else. But it does mean that you have to consider drafting a quarterback. In the mock projection, I have assumed Carroll's opinion of Clausen is a high one. Were that to be the case, I think - if available - Clausen will be the pick at #6. If I am wrong, then this mock draft will be categorically wrong and the Seahawks will go in a different direction. But the Seahawks will only pass on Clausen because they don't believe in him or they simply have to have someone else. If they do think he can be a franchise prospect and he's the best prospect available, they won't pass because they think they can recklessly just wait and see what happens over the next 12 months.

Seattle's success will not be solely based on their quarterback in the future. He'll need weapons. He'll need an offensive line. But creating the perfect storm could take years. Drafting and building your QB, offensive line and playmakers collectively and developing together under the new scheme would be a wise plan of action for this franchise.

In fact, the one thing that troubles me with my latest mock draft is that I wasn't able to give Seattle a 'points scorer' with the first three picks. I don't buy the old adage that 'building in the trenches' is the definitive way to make a winning team. I think you need a good line, sure. But you also need some playmakers. The two go hand in hand. I absolutely believe that you need guys who have to be game-planned. You need a receiver or a running back that the other team just hates having to face - a difference maker. Someone who gets the yards and puts six points on the board. If you don't have that, it just encourages the defense to attack your offensive line through no fear from being punished for that commitment. An offense needs to demand respect. Seattle's hasn't the past two years. Rest assured, an expensive rookie left tackle will struggle to block two guys off the edge just as much as Sean Locklear.

Getting a quarterback and a left tackle, however, remain such defining needs - that's why I slated Clausen at #6 and Charles Brown (OT, USC) at #14. Brown is the prototype blind side blocker for the zone blocking scheme and fits the mantra perfectly for size and agility that Alex Gibbs looks for. He's vastly under rated and isn't a reach this early in round one.

At #40 however, I gave the Seahawks Lamarr Houston (DT, Texas). I'm a big fan of Houston. He tore up the BCS Championship and quietly had a year just as good as the top defensive tackles - registering seven sacks and fifty-seven total tackles. He's a shade over 300lbs and very toned and ran in the 4.8s at the combine. He'd fit in brilliantly to Seattle's rotation on the defensive line, ideally working alongside Brandon Mebane as a three technique (with Mebane potentially moving back to the one).

However, there are some other directions Seattle could go if they just feel they need to find a playmaker for that offense. Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame) would be an option especially if the team draft Clausen. Running in the 4.3's surprised everyone - including Tate himself I think - and despite my own personal reservations, Tate may sneak into round one. If he's there at #40, do you re-unite your long term option at QB with his former favorite target in college?

In my mock, Damian Williams (WR, USC) was available - an excellent route runner with YAC ability. He body catches too much though and lacks elite speed - although he is a shifty return man. He's another prospect who Pete Carroll will know all about. Other receivers like Mardy Gilyard (WR, Cincinnati), Jacoby Ford (WR, Clemson) and Mike Williams (WR, Syracuse) would be there.

Of course, there could be options later on in the draft. Seattle may also use free agency - which starts tomorrow - to add some pieces. But neglecting the skill positions at the top of the draft hasn't helped the Seahawks in recent years and it's why I firmly believe Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State) remains a realistic option for the team in round one - especially if Nate Burleson leaves the team.


FWBrodie said...

Excellent piece Rob.

I'm in agreement with pretty much everything you said. I do think that there is a significant chance we could be havng this conversation about the wrong quarterback though. I'd be interested to read an in-depth take on what happens if Clausen is the first QB off the board and Bradford somehow makes it to the 6th pick.

I have a question about your mck though. Whenever anyone mentions the possibity of the Browns taking Dez Bryant in round one, Browns fans scream bloody murder. It makes perfect sense to me, but they seem to think they've spent enough of their draft picks on that position the past few years and it hasn't worked. How would you respond?

Anonymous said...

While I would love to have either Bradford or Clausen on the Hawks, I would me very shocked if either QB were available at #6. I think we should get the best QB available at #40 and try to work on our DE/OT/CB issues in the 1st round.

BTW over 100 comments on the mock draft. Great stuff. Almost as much reactionas a story on Tiger and Elin.

Mike Kelly

Rob Staton said...

FWBrodie - I think the Browns will appreciate that they need more offense. Will they take Bryant? I'm not 100%. If you want my honest opinion, I expect Holmgren to be coaching that team by the next off season and rebuilding the entire offense. Whether that means he starts the rebuild now, I'm not sure. Bryant would work in the Holmgren system. However, I think Berry is an option - it's a team I'm not sure about right now and Cleveland's giving very little away. I also think there's been too much noise about Bradford being the option at #1 if they go QB. Nobody has really mentioned Clausen. I guess the saying is - no smoke without fire.

Annonymous - it could happen. If Washington want to draft a QB now, they could take Clausen. However, call this a hunch - but I expect the 'Skins to draft a left tackle and sit with Campbell for one more year.

Anonymous said...

Like your mock. However by my carefull prosthesis Clausen, Bradford, Suh and McCoy will be gone by round 6.

If so then what? Sure the Hawk's need playmakers but w/o blockers there's no play to be made. The Hawks have so many needs that they will be flying on moulting wings in '10 no matter what they do.

If Matt H wants to keep playing he should would want out of Seattle yesterday. With Clevelands decent offensive line, Matt should be sending boxes of cookies to Holms everyday.

Pete will get a mulligan in '10regardless of its outcome. Now is the time to get young and start building the offense in the hopes of catching up with the defense sometime soon. He's probably got 3 years.

Based on Morgan's analysis, Houston at 40 looks like a great pick as does Brown at 14. But without the two QB's to choose from who goes at #6?

Kuya said...

One thing to note:

STL + WAS are the 2 teams that are most likely interested in the top QBs in the draft prior to the #6 pick.  From 7-13, only SF + MIA won't be interested in a QB.  This means that the Hawks are in a WIN/WIN situation where they can have

1) A Franchise QB for PC + JS
2) A possible trade for a pick between 7-13 AND a 3rd Rd

Now for the 14th pick, I am very happy that you have my boy Charles Brown on there Rob.  I remember a couple months back, we had a conversation about him.  You said that if he shows he can be bulked up by the Combine AND still show he hasn't lost a step, he can be taken seriously in the NFL.  He did, and you stuck by your word.  Good honest, truth, and back up.  

In a perfect world, if we can trade down (again, haha) to picks 17-23 and still get Brown, that would be the garlic butter to my Porterhouse steak!  

We'll talk more about analysis of players when the Pro Days come out.

Anonymous said...

I would love to trade out of #6. I don't really like anybody at that spot for us, especially Clausen. Rob, what possible trade scenarios do you think could be there for us?

I really like either Charles Brown or Brian Price at #14. Again though I would almost prefer to trade out of that spot too as I think both those players will be available later in the 1st.

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - In that scenario Washington would take Clausen. I'm not convinced by that, based on what I've read from 'Skins fans and my own personal opinion on what direction Washington will go. However, for the purpose of this debate - if Clausen was gone then the Seahawks could turn their attentions - in my opinion - to Anthony Davis, Jason Pierre-Paul, Derrick Morgan, Dez Bryant, Bryan Bulaga and Eric Berry. That would in turn influence what they do at #14.

Annonymous - I think the Seahawks would struggle to trade out of #6. A team would have to fear that Cleveland or Oakland would select a guy they want. Again, for the purpose of this debate I'll offer a suggestion - if Cleveland were interested in Dez Bryant or Eric Berry, a team could essentially trade with the Seahawks. If Clausen is off the board at #4, then it would be a complete gift for the Seahawks to move back into the teens were there is barely any talent drop off from the late top ten. I think they'd love to move back if Clausen is gone, but trade's in that region that don't include the drafting of a QB are rare.

Brendan said...

Oh man lot to say here but I will try and hit my main points.

First, I do not disagree with anyone that taking a franchise qb in the first round works. However, this works the best after the team is built. Also, I think that most people discredit the option of FA/ trade and developing a qb far too much. How many times will a FA work for you guys to finally admit that it is not lucky? There is a probability of success and it is alot higher. Now you may not get a franchise qb that you will have for 5 years but you will get a veteran ready to win. A couple examples of franchise - Hasslebeck, Schaub, Brees. Examples of short but extremely effective choices - Warner, Farve. Do not discredit this option as being reckless? These are very good teams. This year a team will get a qb from Philly. FA is a far better chance than people are giving it credit for.

Now back to Clausen. This site has already shown that he is not a special player. At least what we know of him so far is that he could potentially be a good player but he isn't a standout qb compared with other qbs in other drafts. He is not a game changer but he is probably a nice player to add. So if the Seahawks were like the Jets were last year - take him. But we are not. We do not have the Jets line.

Another point. Qbs these days don't necessarily need to develop if they come onto a good football team. Examples, Baltimore, Jets, Steelers, Falcons. You might say those teams got lucky. Once again that is incorrect. I think that if Clausen were in last years drafts and the Jets drafted him then he would have played as well as Sanchez. Once again - a nice player but not a game changer.

My whole problem with Clausen is not necessarily his skill level but it is how you build a successful team. This is just too early in the development of this team to draft a QB. Qb's don't really need to sit a year anymore. They come out ready to play. The reason that people think QBs need development is because of bad football teams drafting a qb too early in their development. Example, Tim Couch and the Cleveland Browns.

Point: you can have a good team with a good line and a decent qb, you can't have a good team with a decent line and a good qb.

Point: Qbs come from college ready to play - build a team and you can stick a qb in and be good instantly. Then the qb will develop on a good team in a winning situation.


#6) Jimmy Clausen or
(for example used from trade values and the Mock draft from this site) #16) JPP and (almost) #30) Brian Price (the pick is actually 31 from trade values)

Jimmy Clausen or JPP and Price?

You add in trading down the 14 pick and we could potentially be looking at

#16, #26, #31, #40, #50

JPP, Brown?, Line man or (I would trade this for a 1rst round pick next year say Jax?), Houston, CB/S/RB

A draft like this will begin to set-up our team for the future. There will always be good qbs there is no need to force it.

Brendan said...

obviously I am assuming that a trade is possible at equal trade value based on the scale. Please don't respond with something like - a trade will be difficult.

Also, I would even be willing to give up trade value on the draft scale since this draft is so deep. If the Hawks want to trade down they should be able to

Rob Staton said...

Brendan - let's mock up a scenario here. Say the Seahawks had to choose from the current available free agent QB's that will be on the market tomorrow. What would you do?

CLanterman said...

Not much to explain Rob. Most people agree that a good team needs a QB and a that line play is essential. Most people agree that the best QBs are taken early in the first round. So you have Clausen, a guy who fits the QB problem and a guy that fits our HC's needs, then you take the BPA with #14 and #40 who just happen to be a LT, a position of need and a guy who fits our scheme and HC's likings, and a DT, a position of need and importance as well. That's one hell of a draft in my opinion.
I agree somewhat with Brendan though. If one does not feel that Clausen is the best fit, then one must absolutely trade down.
Perhaps trading down for SF's 13th and 49th picks (Perhaps Haden/Thomas/Morgan and Gilyard/Ghee. Or maybe even a mid-late first rounder this year and a first rounder next year if possible.

Brendan said...

Couple things I disagree with Rob.

One of the reasons you like Clausen here is because we don't have a QB of the future. Why is that so scary? I say you don't have a qb period without a line no matter how good the Qb is. You want playmakers? Playmakers don't exist without a line? What good is a RB if there are no holes? What good is a QB without time to throw?

Another problem. Apparently you believe that you need to develop a QB? Did the Jets/ Ravens/ Steelers/ Vikings/ need to develop a QB before winning?

These points keep popping up in my mind.

CLanterman said...


Slim pickings Rob and Brendan. The best bets are trading for Troy Smith or Tarvaris Jackson. Perhaps signing Kellen Clemens?

Anonymous said...

Now that the Chargers have put the 1st and 3rd round tender on Sproles do you still see them taking Best at #28? If not is there anyone between 29 and 39 that would pick him up? If not would the Hawks pass on him? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Now that the Chargers have put the 1st and 3rd round tender on Sproles do you still see them taking Best at #28? If not is there anyone between 29 and 39 that would pick him up? If not would the Hawks pass on him? Thanks.

Brendan said...

Rob Qbs that are available this year - Philly's qbs. I would also think that a team could trade for Hasslebeck.

I would def. trade Hasslebeck to Minnesota for their first rounder.

There are two legit options.

CLanterman said...

"I would def. trade Hasslebeck to Minnesota for their first rounder."

This is not a legit option for two reasons:
1. Why would Minnesota want Hasselbeck when they have 2 or 3 QBs on their roster better than him (yes, Rosenfels is more valuable at this point).
2. Why would they give up a first rounder? We'd be lucky to get a 4th rounder after his performance the last two years.

Brendan said...

You give Hasslebeck's Minnesota's line and running game and he is a pro bowler. Jackson and Rosenfels are not better than Hasslebeck maybe more valuable but def. not better. Hasslebeck could come in and lead them to a Super Bowl if Farve retires.

My point is still that you can get good QBs via trade or FA.

Rob Staton said...

Brendan - I don't believe Philly are interested in trading their QB Kevin Kolb, or Donovan McNabb for that matter, to another team in the NFC. There's also absolutely 0% chance Minnesota would spend a first round pick on a soon-to-be 35 year old who's missed 11 games in two years.

So what would the Seahawks do if they were going to look at FA/trade for a QB? It just seems to me that whilst we can quote Brees as a free agent or quote trades for Schaub and Hasslbeck, that these kinds of deals are very much in the minority and that this year - there's no obvious solution. Will there necessarily be one in 2011 or 2012?

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - with Sproles having been given the tender, I don't think Best will end up in San Diego. That's something that will change in my next mock.

Brendan said...

I am not saying that the Vikings would do that I am saying that they could do that. There are options.

Also, the way that you can set up a team is by leaving a year or two time frame to pick up a QB. We don't need a QB in 2012 because we won't be good enough to get to the Super Bowl anyways. So that leaves you the draft in 2011, draft in 2012, draft in 2013, FA, trade or develop from within.

What are the chances you find a QB via one of those routes? EXTREMELY HIGH. Be patient there is no need to force something here.

CLanterman said...

Question for you Brendan. If you believed that Clausen could be a top 5-10 QB in the league, would you advocate drafting him at #6? Seems to me like you should. It takes a QB 3 years (at least) to hit their stride. With Clausen, we'll probably be bad next year, and with Houston and Brown, we have a good foundation. We can draft a Safety/corner/guard next year, and load while Clausen learns to play well. An O-line of Brown/Sims/Unger/Filler/Locklear is not that bad, and will certainly look better in 2 years when Unger and Brown have more experience.

Rob Staton said...

Brendan - I agree there's no need to force something. I don't think the Seahawks 'have' to take Clausen - I merely project that they will like him enough to take him at #6 and see him as 'the guy' they want. If they believe that, they won't pass on him on the basis they might be able to find someone else for the sake of it. That's really the only thing we're trying to suggest.

Also - in fairness, I could see Minnesota trading for Hasselbeck, but not for anything near as high as a first rounder. I think a 4th rounder at best would be Hasselbeck's limit. Regardless on what he could achieve, there's no guarantees. Favre didn't win them a Super Bowl. They wouldn't spend a first rounder on a 35 year old, let alone a 35 year old who has suffered back and shoulder injuries leading to 11 missed games in two years.

CLanterman said...

If Favre for some reason doesn't come back (and I believe he will), I would love to see a Hasselbeck for Rosenfels or Tarvaris trade (give or take a 5th rounder or later either way). Minnesota will be in 'win now mode' and it would be interesting to experiment with Rosenfels or Jackson for the next two or so years.

Rob Staton said...

Thought I'd just post this as it's on the subject matter... it's courtesy of Mike Sando and it's a quote from Rams VP Kevin Demoff:

"One thing that should be noted is the success rate of quarterbacks drafted in the second round is far worse than that of those drafted in the first round," Demoff wrote. "The only second-round quarterback to make the Pro Bowl in recent memory was Drew Brees, and he would have been a first-rounder if there had been 32 teams in the NFL when he was drafted."

Kordell Stewart (1995 draft) and Jake Plummer (1997) went to Pro Bowls as second-round choices, although neither enjoyed exceptional careers by elite quarterback standards.

"I believe at the end of the year, 18 of the 32 quarterbacks starting in the NFL were first-round picks, and the next most prolific round was undrafted," Demoff wrote. "If you look at the playoffs last year, nearly all of the starting quarterbacks were first-rounders, with the exception of Brees, Brady and Warner, who all could be in the Hall of Fame. The percentages are much better in the first round, but with the reward comes great risk."

Anonymous said...

WTF is going on here? Did I just read "I'd love to see a Hasselbeck for Rosenfels or Tarvaris trade?" You have to be kidding me.

Brendan, we understand that you don't want the team to take a QB but I question a few of your points. First off, assuming that we won't be good enough in 2012 to take a QB now is just ridiculous. If our GM and Coach don't think that they have a chance to win in 2012 then I really hope that they don't last that long. Just because our roster won't look like the 2007 Patriots does not mean that we won't be able to win in 2012 or in the next two years. Look at teams like the 08 Cardinals and Falcons. Football is not all about the talent on your roster. If that were true the Cowboys and Chargers would have been in the Super Bowl the past two years.

Secondly, it has been addressed already but I don't think a trade will be available for either of the Philly guys and Kolb would really be the one worth trading for. McNabb is a choker.

Kuya - Great line: "that would be the garlic butter to my porterhouse"

I've been questionable about Clausen for a while but the more I read the more I like. Check out this link comparing his college numbers to other stud QB's in recent history.

Even if we bust on Clausen or Bradford I still don't think it ruins us especially if the league remains un-capped.

Finally, who do we take if both QBs & DT's are gone? I say Berry for sure if he is there. If not we end up with the #1 Tackle on our board whoever that may be. I hope that doesn't happen because I think Charles Brown is the right guy and can be had at 14. In that scenario what do you think? Maybe Dez, Haden or CJ? What do you think Rob?

Lenny james said...

Hey Rob and bloggers, I would not force the issue of QB this year. There is a strong possibility that St. Louis and Washington will draft a QB this year. The Redskins have increased that liklihood with the trade tender placed on Campbell. I would be looking to trade out of the 6th or 14th spots or both. This is a a deep draft and we could probably address all our needs with the extra picks. My reasoning;

To get the true value of a high pick like 6, it should be spent on a QB, T, D line, or a super stud CB or WR. The best D lineman and QB's will be gone by 6, the top CB Haden ran a 4.6, and there will be good LT's in the mid to the end of the first round. With that said, the only viable option other than trading down would be Dez Bryant at 6. Maybe we could work out a deal with New England who holds three 2nd round picks. If we could somehow aquire picks 6, 22, 40, and 47, that would be best in my opinion. We Could give New England Branch or a LB(Hawthrone or Tutupu) and our 14 pick for the Patriot's 22 and 47 and maybe a 3rd.

6. Dez Bryant
22. Charles Brown
40. Mike Lupati
47. Tim Tebow( I cant help but think he's gonna be great.)
3rd RB( Hardesty, Tate, Gerheart)
4th DB
5th D line

Lenny James said...

Hey Rob and bloggers, I would not force the issue of QB this year. There is a strong possibility that St. Louis and Washington will draft a QB this year. The Redskins have increased that liklihood with the trade tender placed on Campbell. I would be looking to trade out of the 6th or 14th spots or both. This is a a deep draft and we could probably address all our needs with the extra picks. My reasoning;

To get the true value of a high pick like 6, it should be spent on a QB, T, D line, or a super stud CB or WR. The best D lineman and QB's will be gone by 6, the top CB Haden ran a 4.6, and there will be good LT's in the mid to the end of the first round. With that said, the only viable option other than trading down would be Dez Bryant at 6. Maybe we could work out a deal with New England who holds three 2nd round picks. If we could somehow aquire picks 6, 22, 40, and 47, that would be best in my opinion. We Could give New England Branch or a LB(Hawthrone or Tutupu) and our 14 pick for the Patriot's 22 and 47 and maybe a 3rd.

6. Dez Bryant
22. Charles Brown
40. Mike Lupati
47. Tim Tebow( I cant help but think he's gonna be great.)
3rd RB( Hardesty, Tate, Gerheart)
4th DB
5th D line

CLanterman said...

"WTF is going on here? Did I just read "I'd love to see a Hasselbeck for Rosenfels or Tarvaris trade?" You have to be kidding me."

Bill, we're in rebuild mode. An injury prone 35 year old QB doesn't do us much good. I honestly don't think Hasselbeck has more than 2 or 3 years in him left. Whether those years are even at a serviceable NFL starter level are debatable. At least Jackson an Rosenfels can improve, and they also don't have an expensive contract.

Rob Staton said...

I think Atlanta can be used as a strong basis here. A team that looked hopeless, but drafted Matt Ryan and revolutionised their franchise. He made their under achieving wide outs look good. They drafted a tackle to help him out and added a running back in free agency. Their defense was still relatively poor, but by just signing the QB, OT and RB they were able to turn a miserable season into a playoff campaign. They're now set for years and didn't need to spend numerous drafts accumulating talent before drafting a QB they believed in. Seattle has enough picks to do something very similar if.... if... they think Clausen is their guy.


Brendan, I totally agree with your approach by trading down. Clausen is not worthy of the 6th pick. Too much of a high risk investment. Trading back and acquiring additional draft picks in this years draft is a very good approach. The draft is at least four to five deep in each position with a minimal talent drop-off. The hawks gotta build the OL and DL first. Its a lot easier to insert a rookie QB into a stud OL than inserting a franchise QB into a weak OL. I understand that this approach only works if there are other teams interested with our 6th and 14 pick. If the approach does not work then start drafting OL/DL.

However, I don't necessarily agree that we our in a rebuilding phase. With the right key acquisition the division is ours. WE PLAY TO WIN THE GAME...period :-)!!

Brendan said...

First off - I don't mean to seem so negative on the hawks. I just think that the reality of the situation is that the hawks are missing talent in many positions. But of course they could be good next year.

Also, Rob you asked about FA this year? Even if the Eagles don't let one of their QBs go you still have Pennington, David Carr, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson. People like that. I am not saying these guys are franchise qbs. However, a couple of them are ex first rounders.

trade down our draft could look like:

JPP, Brown, Iupati, Houston, Hardesty (or S/CB/BPA)



We do that we could add a WR through FA.

I think that we could definitely compete if we did something like that for next year and years to come.

ChavaC said...

The thing you have to remember when thinking about trades is that this draft class is being considered the deepest in a very very long time. Every team is going to want to trade down. And with an impending rookie salary cap, teams are less likely to be trading up. This is especially true of teams like NE who stock pile 2nd/3rd round picks. Just because you can work out a trade on the point chart doesn't mean it's remotely likely.

If we do move down this year, I have a feeling we are going to take less in return than what the points say.

ChavaC said...

Also, for everyone who thinks taking a QB is too much of a risk... what position isn't a risk at 6? Anyone one position can and will bust. Walterfootball just ran an article on comparing the bustability of DTs and QBs and found them basically even, despite most people considering DT a safe bet. Just because the world keys off on the Ryan Leafs and Tim Couchs, it doesn't mean other positions are safe bets.

Brendan said...

Chavac - I agree with you that you probably won't get the picks the chart says that you will. But still I would rather trade back and loose some value there since this class is so deep. Or I would take future draft picks.

I agree with you about every pick being a risk. That is another reason you trade down and diversify your risk. Spread it out over two picks instead of just one.

akki said...

I like Clausen but I keep thinking that he's going to be a Chad Pennington type - he can win you games, put up decent numbers, but he won't be a superstar and defenders won't have nightmares about facing him.

The thing I fear is getting into a rut at the qb position where you're willing to bring in free agents, and draft some with late 1st, 2nd, or 3rd rounders. Consider Miami, which since Fiedler has been through...
-traded 2nd rounder for A.J. Feeley
-free agent Gus Frerotte
-traded late pick for Sage Rosenfels
-traded late pick for Joey Harrington
-traded 2nd rounder for post-injury Daunte Culpepper
-traded Feeley for Cleo Lemon
-traded late pick for post-injury Trent Green
-2nd rounder for John Beck
-free agent post-injury Chad Pennington
Now they're hitching their future to Chad Henne, which may or may not work out, but that's already 6 years that they've been trying to patch the qb position without really laying it on the line.
Honorable mention for qb disaster goes to Cleveland and Buffalo.

That's not to say there aren't also success stories like Hasselbeck and Brees. But it might be enough to spook me into taking Clausen or Bradford if available, even though you might be settling for something less than you'd ideally have.

Anonymous said...

Its a bit frustrating to keep hearing that the Hawks must draft a 1st round QB because they are more likely to be successful, therefore we must take Clausen or Bradford. Fact is, there may be no successful QB's from this draft. Just because Bradford and Clausen are ranked highest in most Big Boards doesn't mean they should be taken at 6 or at 14. For a long time Scouts Inc had Clausen in the late 20's on their top 100 list. For all the reasons Brady Quinn slipped in his draft, so could Clausen AND Bradford. I've heard too many ex-NFL QB's say Clausen doesn't look like a franchise QB. I believe them. If he's there at 14, gotta think about it, but no way at 6. Buy low, sell high, don't panick, keep your head and DO NOT draft Clausen at 6 because of stats on other QB's from other drafts in other era's. A safety hasn't gone higher than 9 in like, forever, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't consider Berry at 6. He's not like prior prospects and the game has changed with safeties becoming more important. If we take Clausen while Berry, Morgan or Okung is still on the board, I'll erupt.

neurocell said...

First of all, I'd like the Hawks to trade one of their first round picks for lower picks. I won't go into that scenario because it brins about too much conjecture at this point. I also won't go into too much depth about trading Hasselbeck (two thoughts though: he's too valuable to trade due to his mentoring abilities. Second Quinn and Anderson are the only quarterbacks that can be had that haven't peaked.) I do believe that the Seahawks should take a quarterback with their first pick. I'd prefer Jake Locker, but I hope the Hawks don't draft anywhere near the top of the first round next year.

Now their first pick should be used on a quarterback. I have several reasons for this thought. I'll take a roundabout fashion to get to them. First Demoff was correct when he said that the second round success rate for quarterbacks was not as good as first rounders. The rest of his statement was full of holes. Two second round quarterbacks played in the title games (Brees and Favre), along with two of the seven first round quarterbacks (Manning and Sanchez). Other playoff quarterbacks come from the sixth round (Brady), and two that went undrafted (Warner and Romo). The other first round quarter backs in the playoffs were Palmer, Flacco, Rivers, McNabb, and Rogers. Teams are more successful with first round qbs. 2 of the 3 non-playoff winning teams had first round quarterbacks. Three of the five .500 teams started first round quarterbacks. six of the 12 teams with losing records were led by first round quarter backs, with two of those being rookies and two who are out right busts. So, nine of 15, and 12 of the 20 teams with .500 or greater records (both 60%) were led by first rounders. Yes 50% of losing teams were led by first rounders, but one of the reasons that these teams have first round quarterbacks is because many these teams have a recent history losing. First round quarterbacks have a greater chance of success in the NFL. Yes first round qbs can bust, but they do have a higher success rate than quarterbacks from all other rounds combined (60% vs. 40%). Basically this paragraph states the reason that first round quarterbacks are not only more productive, but more likely to be productive, and if we don't choose one we're doomed to remain in the lower half of the league.

I believe that you build from the trenches out. So does Pete Carroll. That's why he hired Alex Gibbs. I just can't see Carroll and Gibbs using their top pick on a player that doesn't fit their scheme (Okung), or chosen too high (Brown or Baluga). After watching Gibbs unleash Denver's line and running backs on us during the 90s, I have faith that he'll take what we have, add to it with free agents and picks other than their top pick. I was hoping that Charles Brown would fall to the second round, but after showing up at the combine at 303 pounds, and not losing any discernable athleticism, the Seahawks should use their second 1st round pick on him.

I'd prefer Jimmy Clausen over Sam Bradford. Clausen still worries me. The biggest knock against him is his arm strength. There wasn't as much zip on his short and medium passes, but was that due to mechanics or actual arm strength? Mechanics can be corrected. He took most of his snaps from under center, which helps with the timing of west coast offenses. He was able to read and adjust while dropping back. Bradford was never asked to do this in the spread. Clausen is the most "ready" quarterback available in this draft. If Carroll feels the need to draft a qb this year, then Clausen should be his choice.

micah said...

Regarding Clausen, I thought I read somewhere that drafting underclassmen qbs decrease your chances of success. Also, I just flat out don't think he is worthy of a #6 draft pick. I am also curious on some of the stats from yesterday. Of the qbs drafted in the first round, how many were top 10 picks, and what is the success rate of that. There's a huge difference in how players are regarded between a late first round pick and a top 5/10 pick. Another point I think some people have made is how good the team around the qb is. I think some people look better because of those around them. Matt Ryan does have Roddy White, who is a legitimate deep threat. He also had Michael Turner, who was a difference maker too. I'm not sure we can say the Hawks have that. I think Rob makes some really valid points and it's good for him to throw it out there.

micah said...

I was wondering, how many 1st/2nd round draft picks denver used on olinemen while Alex Gibbs was there. He is supposed to work wonders on linemen, so is it possible we don't draft any olinemen in the first round. it was also mentioned that a running back isn't necessary to draft until later rounds also under Gibb's ZBS. Kind of makes me wonder, who is even worthy of a #6 pick. Is it possible for us to trade for Brandon Marshall for Deion Branch and swap our pick with denver's pick?

ChavaC said...

It's amazing how many people hate Clausen for different reasons. More amazing is how little any of them make sense.

One person says he's too small... then he goes and measures taller than expected at the combine (taller than Sanchez).

Another says he benefited from the talent at WR... but they ignore the sub-par oline he had to work with. (his top WR was a towering 5' 11")

Another says he lacks arm strength... I can link a dozen different scouts that praise his arm strength. Elite? No. Does it need to be? Ask Kurt Warner or Drew Brees.

Another dings him on his attitude... despite interviewing like a stud at the combine.

The guy has been in the spotlight since high school, been faced with ridiculously high expectations and exceeded them all. He has matured by leaps and bounds both off and on the field. And his stats last year were amazing. Furthermore he is widely praised for elite accuracy, and football intelligence... someone remind me the most important characteristics of a west coast QB (hint: I just listed them).

The only legitimate knocks I have seen are that he feels pressure when its not there (tends to happen when you can't rely on your o-line) and his mechanics and not picture perfect (despite the fact he is very accurate and gets the ball out quickly). Someone please give me a hands down reason why he is not a top ten quarterback.

thomas said...

rumor on seahawks addicts that we gonna get aaron kampman via fa. therefore trade 6th pick for marshall and trade down 14th pick to get third rounder and charles brown. seems like a win/win situation

Kip Earlywine said...

Well said Rob. Reading your essay- it hit all the right notes for me. It was a very frank, critical, and fair self evaluation. I especially liked the point you made about Carroll. His relationship does not guarantee that he drafts Clausen, but what it does mean is that Carroll knows Clausen better than almost anyone else in this draft.

Nick said...

Burleson to the Lions.

Nick N.

micah said...


Not everyone agrees Jimmy Clausen is super accurate. Some people say he lacks touch.

as for his receivers, remember, in the beginning of last season Golden Tate wasn't even the number 1 guy, there were 2 legit WRs. Also, I don't think WRs need to be towering in NCAA to be successful. He had the tools to work with man. Notre Dame had top recruiting classes for all of Weis' tenure. They had their share of 3, 4, and 5 star oline athletes within the past 5 years. it's not like he was running for his life on every play.

Also, I don't know if you remember his record at Notre Dame, but it definitely wasn't a winning one. His stats were also good this year. He was pretty erratic the other years. Aren't other players questioned for having one good year? I would think it would be the same for him.

And, what does him being taller than Sanchez have to do with anything? Sanchez is short for an NFL QB. Clausen is short as well. It's not like Sanchez lit it up. I don't agree height is everything, but he doesn't fit the prototypical build of an NFL QB. I think that's all people are saying.

I just think there are too many question marks in his game to warrant a #6 pick. if we're going by interview skills, why not pick tim tebow in the later round. he's an interview star. he had a ton of pressure on him. he tested well at the combine and is a physical specimen. he's a winner. kind of like vince young.

Rob Staton said...

Pennington, David Carr, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson - doesn't that make you shudder with fear?

This is essentially why the Seahawks will consider QB at #6, to avoid having to sign one of these guys. If they think Clausen is a potential franchise quarterback, I'd use the names above as a reason why they will almost certainly take him at #6.

ChavaC said...

"I just think there are too many question marks"

Like I said... what are they? All I see are generalizations and arbitrary criticisms over and over. Does it really make sense to rip on him because he had to single handedly pull every win from the jaws of death(aka the ND defense)? Or because he didn't burst onto the scene as an elite college QB in his first year as starter? He was pedestrian his first year, very good his second year, and flat out off the charts his third. It's the type of progression you hope to see in a good prospect.

As noted, his height is fine to play in the NFL (he was actually taller than half the playoff starters) and I agree you don't need Jamarcus Russel height to be a great QB. I cited Sanchez because no one really docked him for being small, and he's shorter than Clausen. Sanchez was drafted 5th. So far should we realistically drop Clausen due to measurables? And obviously no one drafts on personality, but my point was Clausen showed at the combine that his is not a problem. Yet people still say they don't like his personality.

As for his accuracy... who doubts it? Todd McShay? Every football site I have seen lauds his accuracy.

Maybe I'm just too stubborn to see it, but I've yet to find a reason he is not a top 10 quarterback.

FWBrodie said...

Does anyone have a good read on Brady Quinn's game (an up to date scouting report)? If Mike Holmgren offered up Quinn for Matt, would you pull the trigger? There is something to be said for a few years of NFL seasoning and he really didn't have much to work with in Cleveland. I don't feel like I have enough resources to properly assess Quinn, but imagine scoring a QB and still having two top picks to build around him (LT, WR).

FWBrodie said...

Rob, was it your blog where I came across the scouting report on Clausen about a month ago that said he only made 4 bad decisions all season? Football Outsiders maybe? I remember reading that, but have never been able to find it since.

Steve in Spain said...

Generating Football Outsiders' Speed Scores for the RBs based on Combine results:

speed score name 40-time weight
114.2 Ben Tate 4.43 220
111.2 Ryan Mathews 4.45 218
111.2 Jahvid Best 4.35 199
110.7 Montario Hardesty 4.49 225
107.8 Toby Gerhart 4.55 231
107.5 C.J. Spiller 4.37 196
106.3 James Starks 4.50 218
105.0 Lonyae Miller 4.53 221
99.2 Joe McKnight 4.47 198
97.5 Charles Scott 4.70 238
97.2 Javarris James 4.57 212
97.1 Anthony Dixon 4.68 233
96.3 LeGarrette Blount 4.73 241
95.5 Jonathan Dwyer 4.68 229
93.8 Chris Brown 4.60 210
91.7 Joique Bell 4.68 220
89.7 Shawnbrey McNeal 4.56 194
88.5 Stafon Johnson 4.69 214
88.5 Andre Dixon 4.64 205
87.3 Keith Toston 4.70 213
85.7 Pat Paschall 4.70 209
82.7 Darius Marshall 4.63 190
78.2 Dexter McCluster 4.58 172

A Speed Score of 100 or better is an indicator of a quality NFL starter.

Interesting to see Ben Tate the big winner, since he doesn't make Rob's two-round mock.

What Speed Scores are:

Rob Staton said...

Steve - I did reference the absence of Tate in the comments section and admitted I absolutely wanted to put him in there. However, I think he's a very solid early third round pick who could easily be taken in the late second.

FW Brodie - it wasn't me personally who said Clausen only made four mistakes in 2009. That's clearly not the case. He's not completely perfect with his decision making, but compared to a lot of other young QB's he's right up there. He doesn't force much, he throws a lot of high percentage passes. I'm not a fan of Quinn personally and trying to work him into a franchise QB.

I've been a Clausen critic. I questioned his height - he showed up 6'3". Question answered. I questioned his side arm release - not as much of an issue now we know he's 6'3". I still have issues, but I also appreciate what Clausen does well. The question will ultimately be if the Seahawks feel the same way.

Steve in Spain said...

"Interesting to see Ben Tate the big winner, since he doesn't make Rob's two-round mock." Let me re-phrase. I'm *not* saying I'm surprised that Ben Tate isn't in the top two rounds of Rob's mock. He's a mid-rounder for sure. I meant to say that, given that Rob has the Seahawks not drafting a RB in the first two rounds of his latest mock that it would seem rather serendipitous that the guy with the highest Speed Score might fall to us in Round 4. Hope that makes sense.

Anyway, any thoughts about Ben Tate? What about James Starks and Lonyae Miller, sitting just between Spiller and the 100 point threshold? Who are they?

Brendan said...

Rob said - "Pennington, David Carr, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson - doesn't that make you shudder with fear?"

Yes!!! because I think Clausen is gonna be those guys in 4 years!!! Quinn and Carr both first rounders very similar to Clausen.

I actually think that a David Carr type Qb might have a little value considering he hasn't played on a good football team yet. Or I guess I should say started on a good football team. I would much rather get Carr who is still relatively young that now has NFL experience. He comes with a much lower price tag and may even be better than Clausen.

micah said...

IF, we're going to go after a guy like Clausen, why not just trade for a back up like Colt Brennan (Washington). Colt Brennan statistically had one of the best college seasons ever, and it wasn't even his heisman finalist year. He's the same height as Clausen, has 2 years under his belt in the NFL, and has a quick release. At the combine he threw a perfect score. Granted, he played in a pass happy offense that inflated his stats and took most of his snaps out of the shotgun. but with 2 years of experience at washington and 2 more as hasselbeck's backup, i would think those crinks would be fixed. plus, he learned how to pull out the close games his senior year, so he's fairly clutch. granted, he played in the WAC, but not every good NFL player needs to come out of a BCS conference. also, his sugar bowl performance was non indicative of the kind of player he is because georgia used a 3 man rush and dropped 8 defenders and got to him almost every play. What makes Clausen so much better than Colt? They both are "accurate", both have 3/4 release, both don't have rocket arm, but adequate enough, both went to prestigious high schools, both had good college stats, both are similar builds, both rely on high percentage throws. Colt was a 6th rounder by the way. I am a UH fan, so I think highly of Colt Brennan. In my opinion Colt B has many of the same things Clausen does, but he was not even close to warranting a first round pick.

Anonymous said...

You are spot on with this one. If Clausen is avalible, I beleive PC will take him at 6. He almost has too. I remember how ND and this little QB with all his "faults" beat my Huskies last year.The Dogs may not be the best team out there but they played some very good teams extreamly well.
The boy don't rattle easy and makes the throws when he needs too. He was 23/31 422 yards with 2td's and 1 int and 13.6 avg ypc in that nail biter game. The kid is a winner. What players are worth a #6 pick? Someone will be the 1,2nd 3rd, etc pick in this years draft. Some will pan out some won't. Big deal, we need a QB of the future and this year is probably the highest we will draft for a while because we are going to win... this year.

Brendan said...

Frye/Gibson/Unger/Sims (FA)/Locklear

This is the line you guys think can win? Even putting brown in there.

Brown/ Gibson/ Unger/ Sims/ Locklear

Yikes. With Jones running the football.

Yikes. With no clear number one wideout.


Look I think that Clausen could be a nice player in the NFL on a good football team. I just think that there are bigger needs sooner. No question QB is a concern but I think that it is far less a concern than having a good o-line.

You can't build a house without a foundation. And right now we have no foundation and no plans for a foundation. Brown is great. But he needs help. Ungar I believe will be good. You got two you still need three more.

Bringing an average rookie Qb and then starting him in year two with a bad o-line and running game is death. It will destroy him. This has been proven time and again in the NFL.

Brendan said...

Many people have referenced the probability of success when drafting a rookie qb in the first round.

I agree. That is a fact.

The best way to get a franchise qb is through the first round. I get your point.

Here is my point.

Let's take a look at some of those first round Qbs that played in the playoffs last year.

Rivers, Sanchez, Flacco come to mind. What is the common variable between those guys and that is not the same as the Hawks? Baltimore, Jets, and Chargers all had good o-lines BEFORE they drafted a rookie QB.

Now the rookie is good.

JohnnyB said...

"Maybe I'm just too stubborn to see it, but I've yet to find a reason he is not a top 10 quarterback."

Read up on Rob Staton's past evaluations of him in this very blog. Start with this one:

Anonymous said...

"Bringing an average rookie Qb and then starting him in year two with a bad o-line and running game is death. It will destroy him. This has been proven time and again in the NFL."

- Paging David Carr...

Anonymous said...

You know what funny, most draft gurus say that there are several players that are clearly rated higher than the either quarterback. But that the quarterback position is a primary position and requires teams to over draft.

If we take either quarterback this year are we drafting, and possibly reaching, to fill a "need"?

CLanterman said...

"Brown/ Gibson/ Unger/ Sims/ Locklear"

That doesn't look that bad. I don't think Gibson will be there, but a FA.
Brown = projected to be average to above average LT.
Sims = solid guard, perhaps above average already.
Unger = top 3 center taken in his draft
FA RG = guards aren't too hard to find. Perhaps Willis can play RG.
Locklear = Was good as a RT when we went to the Superbowl, just not a spectacular LT
Add to that Gibbs is the best Line coach around and his scheme does not require all-world talents but rather guys who can do a few things well, and that is an average-ish offensive line.

Anonymous said...

Locklear is crap. Forget Locklear's '05 year - that's long gone.

If you really watched his play at right tackle the last couple of years (prior to '09) you wouldn't be capable of saying anything close to "Locklear = Was good as a RT"

At this point I'd rather have Tom Ashworth than Locklear!

Anonymous said...

I hate to admit it but I agree about Lock

Rob Staton said...

Steve - I'm a big fan of Tate. Has the size you want from a NFL back and showed at the combine he has the speed. In five years time it wouldn't surprise me if people say of Tate - 'how did he make it to round three?' He's ready to start as a rookie.

Rob Staton said...

Seattle will almost certainly not have a line like listed above unless they suffer injuries - and injuries can happen to expensive rookies and free agents too.

Based on my mock, the line could be: Brown, Sims, Unger, Spencer, Locklear. You can use Willis as an alternative at RG. That's not an elite line by any means, but I don't think it's any worse than having to start a Derek Anderson type at QB.

Brendan said...

What you are failing to remember is that Clausen is a David carr, a Brady Quinn potentially. So while you are talking down about Quinn and Carr you are forgetting that a couple years ago Carr and Quinn were in the same position as Clausen!

The thing I really don't get is that a couple weeks ago your analysis was that Clausen is not a top ten quarterback. What has changed?

Rob Staton said...

Brendan - this has nothing to do with my own personal opinion or review on Clausen. I'm looking at what the Seahawks might be thinking and the situation at QB in general.

Brendan said...

Oh - if you are asking the question what do I think the Hawks will do. I agree there is a good chance that we will take Clausen. If you are asking what do I think the Hawks should do - there is no question you trade down the pick.

Steve in Spain said...

A Brown-Sims-Unger-Spencer-Locklear line, coached up by Gibbs, looks like an average OL to me. Which is a damnsight better than what Clausen had - and succeeded behind - at Notre Dame.

Lenny James said...

Hey Rob, looks like Burleson signed wiyh the Lions. If Bradford or Clausen are not available which I suspect they wont be. What do you think about the Hawks taking Dez Bryant at 6. They could trade down to 22 with New England and snag one of there 3 2nd rd picks. That would allow us to take Charles Brown at 22. Our picks could be 6, 22, 40, 47.

Rob Staton said...

Even without the trades, the prospect of drafting Dez Bryant (or another receiver) becomes significantly more likely. I've written a blog post about this (see above).