Monday, 19 April 2010

COUNTDOWN: The decision at #6

By Rob Staton
In the countdown to Thursday I'm going to look at the decisions facing the Seahawks front office with each of their first round picks. Tomorrow, I'll talk about the #14 selection. Today, we'll look at the 6th overall pick.

When the Seahawks finished 4-12 in 2008, it awarded them the 4th overall pick last year. Considered a freak due to injuries (particularly at wide receiver), the choice for former GM Tim Ruskell was clear - go the safe route. He opted to draft a high character prospect at a position of minor need in the hope greater health and a change of coaching would improve results. Of course, it didn't quite work out like that. Seattle were horrible in 2009, posting a generous 5-11 record. Ruskell left the team and so did first year coach Jim Mora - in preference of a new beginning and an expected rebuild to an ageing roster.

It's safe to say that moves this off season suggest a different tactic going forward. There have been no band aids placed on the roster with a big free agency move. There's been no searching for the quick fix. Instead, staple veterans have been allowed to leave (Nate Burleson) be released (Deon Grant), traded (Darryl Tapp) or have simply retired (Patrick Kerney). The approach appears to be - blow it up and start again. If that is the case, how will the Seahawks approach this draft and more specifically, the sixth overall pick.

Sam Bradford will be drafted first overall by the St. Louis Rams. That's a given, a total lock. That pick isn't being traded and the Rams aren't looking past the Oklahoma quarterback. When his name is called first on Thursday, there will be four other teams picking before the Seahawks.

I am absolutely positive that Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy won't get out of the top three unless a mind blowing (and unlikely) trade occurs. Given the chance to draft either, the Seahawks won't pass. But they'll go second and third overall, leaving two more teams to pick before Seattle is on the clock.

It appears to be a complete no brainer that Washington will draft an offensive tackle. The question is - which? I haven't mocked Russell Okung fourth overall for a reason - I think he's hugely over rated and a potential liability in pass protection. He switches off, his technique isn't that great and he isn't the dominant force some think. Trent Williams and Anthony Davis have greater upside, with Williams being a superior run blocker and Davis a better pass protector. Questions remain with both (I've heard that Williams' work ethic isn't great and he has some unusual sleeping patterns, whilst Davis is well regarded for owning a non existent work ethic). In that case Okung is better as a grounded, driven individual. But the Redskins aren't there to necessarily draft the hardest worker. I expect Williams or Davis to be the choice, with Williams getting the edge.

If Williams is there at #6 the Seahawks will consider taking him. He's high on their draft board, is capable of playing the zone blocking scheme and has the consolation of being a potential all-pro right tackle if he doesn't work out as a blind side blocker. However, if Williams is off the board at #4 Seattle's front office will be forced to look elsewhere.

In this scenario, the Kansas City Chiefs - like last year - hold the key to the Seahawks pick. Had KC drafted Aaron Curry last year, as a lot expected, the Seahawks would've been forced to draft somebody else (Crabtree? Sanchez? Orakpo?). With Bradford, Suh, McCoy and Williams off the board - I am absolutely positive Eric Berry will be the pick at #6 if he's available. I've voiced concerns about Berry on this blog and they remain. However, I understand he will be the choice at #6 if this is how the board falls.

But will the Chiefs take him? Perhaps the question should be, would they trade down and afford someone else to draft him? Despite a lot of talk Kansas City will target an offensive lineman fifth overall, I actually think they'll draft a defensive prospect. Inside linebacker is their biggest need in my opinion and it makes Rolando McClain a not much discussed option. Did many expect the Chiefs to draft Tyson Jackson last year? They aren't afraid to make a relatively small reach. However, they know full well that they could also move down a few spots and still get McClain. If the Cleveland Browns and Mike Holmgren offered a token gesture to swap picks (in order to steal Berry from Seattle), would the Chiefs bite?

Alternatively, the Chiefs might target Berry themselves - or a nose tackle like Dan Williams. With prospective takers on the way, staying put might be their best case scenario. Either way, their decision will greatly influence what the Seahawks will be able to do.

Should Suh, McCoy, Williams and Berry be gone by #6 - what are the alternatives? I would suggest looking no further than Derrick Morgan. I don't think the Georgia Tech defensive end has much chance of making it to #14 and is still goo value sixth overall anyway. However, don't expect to see C.J. Spiller or Jimmy Clausen taken as an alternative.

This will be viewed as a gradual rebuild at the expense of short term success. The challenge will be drafting the key catalysts for sustained winning seasons. Other teams - such as Kansas City and St. Louis - haven't been able to rebuild all that quickly and sit levelled in a consistent slump. Others - like the Indianapolis Colts - drafted the right guy at a crucial time many years ago and alongside a well driven scheme have enjoyed years of competitiveness. Seattle won't find that guy this year, so expect the front office to draft the best overall player who fits scheme and can be a long term figurehead when times are better. That'll be the justification when, if available, the Seahawks select a cover safety sixth overall.


Matthew Baldwin said...

I'm cool with Berry at 6 and Brown at 14 (or Williams at 6 and Thomas/Haden at 14), but the 2nd round names mentioned in 'the rumor' aren't very inspiring.

I'm hoping for a playmaker like Ben Tate or Carlton Mitchell at 60. I've heard talk of Mitchell creeping into the 2nd, but do you think that's a reach Rob?

He seems to fit the PC mold more than Gilyard.

Donald Duck said...

I we need to get a left OT, a FS, and a DE with our first three picks.

I would go with Berry at 6, Charles Brown at #14 and the best defensive end available at #60 (maybe Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida or Jermaine Cunningham, DE, Florida). I don’t know who will be available at #60.

It may take 3 years to overhaul the Seahawks.

PS. I would love to get Ben Tate at #60 but we need a DE.

Rob Staton said...

Matt - I think Mitchell could go in that range, maybe early third rounder. He's tall, but not a huge guy. The Seahawks want big guys who can be physical, get deep and also score TD's. Mitchell's production at USF is mediocre so you'd be banking on potential. I wouldn't rule it out at #60, but I've not seen anything to suggest he's likely.

Anonymous said...

Personaly,I don't want to spend my hard earned money this year on a team that’s playing for next year’s high draft choices.(What’s the plan? Repeat as necessary?) Forget UDub's J Locker.. maybe he's going to be great, maybe he breaks his shoulder this year. Pick up playmakers and make everybody’s jobs easier. Building thru the draft and drafting to "win now" don't have to be mutually exclusive.
That said, I read this:

I wish Walt the best, he will be missed. I was hoping we could get him back for one more season, hopefully he is Seahawk Coaching material and he will still be with us

Tim said...

Pioli likes SEC defenders, and even though 2 of these 3 would be a stretch IMHO, I could see Berry, McClain or Dan Williams at 5.

I'm kind of surprised Haden and Wilson aren't getting more talk. It might be a stretch at 6, but I dont think either will be around at 14. Haden is considered by many the best CB in the draft, while guys like Charles Robinson think that Wilson is. Wilson is an athletic freak who can help on special teams. The Hawks have to address more than safety in their secondary and a big time returner would help their morbid return game.

Hawktastic said...

Thanks Rob. Great thoughts, but I have two questions.

1. Have you heard anything about the Hawks liking Bulaga? I thought I read somewhere that they might be looking at him as well.

2. What about the option of trading down from #6? Is it just too unlikely due to the pick being so high?

Thanks for feeding my daily Hawk addiction! :-)

Rob Staton said...

The reason I've been sold on McClain to KC pretty much throughout this process is a mixture of need (KC simply must find a presence at ILB for their new system to work)... and what McClain brings. He's like a coach on the field, his preperation and work ethic off the field is intense. He's intelligent, he loves the game. The only thing is he's a little inconsistent in his effort sometimes, but that can be coached out of him. As a physical specimen, he could be the best linebacker in the NFL. He could make KC's defense legitimate in a way others cannot. Hardly anyone talks about it, but I wouldn't keep mocking McClain to KC every week if I didn't think it was very likely.

Rob Staton said...

Hawktastic - I've not seen anything other than a lazy link that the Seahawks GM 'likes' Bulaga via Peter King. I think he'll be an option at #14 if he's available there and Seattle a.) takes Berry at #6 and b.) doesn't trade away the #14. But I'll be stunned if he's taken at #6.

I also think it'll be nigh on impossible for Seattle to trade the #6 pick and I'm not sure the Seahawks want to deal it anyway. They want to deal #14 though and that's something I'll discuss tomorrow.

Kelly said...

Great post Rob!

I am going to be VERY nervous watching the Chiefs on the clock.

If the Redskins go Trent Williams, I might even passout and pray that the Chiefs do indeed go ILB at 5.

Here's something to chew on as well. Tyson Jackson last year slid up to the #3 spot at around 48 hours before being on the clock. Before then, very few/ if any picked him to go that high. Many had Curry a lock to go KC. It is my opinion that KC could have traded back last year and still have gotten Jackson. Instead they got their man early, paid him big money and didn't look back.

Because they are trying to fill a specific system, I don't see them moving down and shooting themselves in the foot unless they 100% know that the move won't effect their decision too much.

Your example of Clevland-KC Swap scares me because that would obviously be fore Berry. Then again, if Washington goes Davis/Okung, Williams will still be there and we would probably go ahead and draft him.


Matthew said...


I've never liked your McClain pick, and I think it's by far the least likely of your "outside the box" picks to happen. He's an ILB.

While the Chief's Jackson pick last year shows some willingness to reach, why were they reaching? Most people seem to think that the reason why the Chiefs took Jackson over Curry last year was not because they didn't need a LB last year as much as they do this year. So many mocks had Jackson to the Chiefs precisely because they needed an ILB last year. However, they went for a player who plays a position that offers greater value. Pass rushers tend to get paid much more than ILBs.

This year, I don't know what the Chiefs will do. They may not go OT, as you say, because there may not be anyone there worth #5. But if not him, then who? They're not really in the market for a QB, and they got their pass rusher. It seems like the next possibility outside of OT might be CB, and Haden, or even Berry if they see him that way, might actually fit the bill while being only modest reaches. This is likely why the Chiefs are so looking to trade down: there doesn't figure to be a talent available at #5 who plays a particularly important position worthy of #5 that they think will be available.

Rob Staton said...

Matthew - that's a very valid point. I will add though, I never much liked Curry as an ILB in the 3-4. I thought he was a pure OLB for the 4-3 and wouldn't have been a good scheme fit for KC. Sure, they could've plugged him in at that position, but there would've been question marks and that played some part in it. McClain on the other hand is a prototype 3-4 ILB and just fits what the Chiefs would want from that position in terms of his work off the field and preperation. He will be a coach on the field. In all fairness to Curry, he's not got that and he's more of a get out there and play type.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob great post.
If williams and Berry are off the board at 6 would there be any chance they would take Charles Brown at 6? my thinking being. They would insure that they get a left tackle and it would make it a lot easier to trade the 14th. In particular if charles brown is a target of theirs.

Anonymous said...

dude, Charles Brown at #6 is WAY OVERDRAFTING.


Charles said...

tyson jackson as a 3-4 defensive end can't be considered as a pass rusher. DE's in 3-4 defenses have a 2 gap assignment, and usually have to hold stout against the run and watch both sides of their man to plug the hole if needed. They aren't generally paid anywhere near what 4-3 defensive ends are.

Michael (NC) said...

Morgan at #6 would make me sad. Let Miami have him. We already have an non-explosive left defensive end. Ends are a dime a dozen. Derek Harvey could be had for a 6th rounder this year if we asked. Even Mario Williams is fairly tame when compared to Demarcus Ware and others.

I just don't see it. But I'm a banker. I hope I'm wrong.

I don't like Morgan until the 2nd round. Jason Fox, a 5th round projection now, dominated this dude. Bulaga, the most over hyped lineman in the draft, dominated him as well.

An over sized Tapp. I hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Some of the more legit-sounding rumors state that if Berry and Williams are gone at #6, Clausen will indeed be the pick.

Rob Staton said...

I've been told otherwise.