Monday, 26 April 2010

Holes that still need to be filled for Seahawks

By Rob Staton
The Seahawks filled a lot of needs in the 2010 draft. They have a long term replacement for soon-to-be-retired future HOFer Walter Jones. Earl Thomas provides an exciting and talented playmaker to the secondary. Seattle drafted or traded for weapons on offense and further added competition to their defense. However, let's review the lasting needs as we look towards the future with a premature eye to the 2011 draft:

The 2010 season will have an impact on Seattle's quarterback situation. Matt Hasselbeck is in a contract year, he'll be 35 and has endured a string of injuries in recent seasons. Will we see any Charlie Whitehurst in 2010? Even after his addition from San Diego, the Seahawks can't be sure he will develop into 'the guy'. Until you can rubber stamp a name on this situation long term, it remains a need.

Top 2011 prospects: Jake Locker (Washington), Ryan Mallett (Arkansas), Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M), Terrell Pryor (Ohio State)

Defensive line
The Seahawks have added a lot of names to increase competition during camp and pre-season. However, you wonder whether this is an area that will be addressed going forward. Aside from Brandon Mebane, there isn't a guy that jumps off the page. Don't rule out Seattle finding production from those currently on the roster, but realistically both defensive tackle and end could be an area targeted in future drafts and free agency.

Top 2011 prospects: Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Allen Bailey (Miami), Robert Quinn (UNC)

Wide receiver
The Seahawks want big, fast guys at receiver. That's why they targeted Brandon Marshall. Deion Branch and T.J. Houshmandzadeh might end up being focal points on Seattle's 2010 offense, but they aren't long term pieces to this puzzle. Rest assured Pete Carroll knows this team needs touchdown scoring, potent receivers of the #1 variety and this will be a position that receives attention until a solution is found.

Top 2011 prospects: A.J. Green (Georgia), Michael Floyd (Notre Dame), Julio Jones (Alabama), Jonathan Baldwin (Pittsburgh)

Interior offensive line
Seattle will build their line around left tackle Russell Okung going forward. Ben Hamilton is a stop gap at left guard whilst we cannot be sure Chris Spencer and even Max Unger will fit into long term planning (they weren't drafted by this regime). Alex Gibbs has a very specific ideology for his lineman, so you can't rule out this becoming a target area.

Top 2011 prospects: Rodney Hudson (Florida State)

Marcus Trufant, Earl Thomas and Josh Wilson provide a nice trio in the secondary. However, you can never have too many good cornerbacks. It seems obvious to me that Pete Carroll, a former defensive backs specialist, wants his secondary to be a highlight for his team. If the New York Jets with their secondary can spend another first round pick on a cornerback this year, then this will remain a possibility for the Seahawks too.

Top 2011 prospects: Patrick Peterson (LSU), Curtis Brown (Texas)


Brian Becker said...

What about the QB from Stanford? @movethesticks ranks him the #1 QB prospect just ahead of Locker

Rob Staton said...

Brian - the jury's out on Luck. I look at it in two ways. For starters, he's basically had a year's starting and he's a red shirt sophomore. If he declares for 2011, it'd be like Bradford declaring last year. It'd take a truly excellent year for him to jump ship for me. The thing is, Luck benefitted a lot having Toby Gerhart last year. Gerhart was that offense, he ran for hundreds of yards, scoring tons of TD's and was a legitimate Heisman candidate. Luck had games last year where he completed 33% of his passess, struggled or was a none factor.

One of his coaches compared him to Brett Favre one week and suddenly everyone was on the bandwago and that continues. He's agile, nimble, has decent arm strength. He's a prospect to watch. However, I need to see that guy lead an offense without Gerhart. Until he does that, he goes nowhere near my top rankings. Locker and Mallett for me will be the centre piece of their entire team next year. Will Luck?

myjackrebel said...

assuming the spaghetti technique we are applying at RB doesn't work out, we still need a legit starting running back.

Anonymous said...


I so appreciate your information and commentary.

I was a little surprised that the Seahawks on day 3 didn't draft one more offensive lineman. Will any of the signees after the draft, such as Jeff Byers, help out? He is promising but has injury concerns. What about strengthening the line through another veteran free agent, such as Chester Pitts, who is also a question mark due to injuries?

My optimistic side may be getting the best of me, but it seems like the last week has put the Seahawks recovery on the fast track.

Thanks again!

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - It wasn't a great draft later on for the offensive line. I liked Jason Fox, but there's injury concerns there. Interior guys went early. I think Seattle's line is set up: Okung, Hamilton, Spencer, Unger, Locklear. If they add anyone else, it'll be depth. I still think Smiley at Miami is an option via trade as we get into camp.

I just get the feeling we're going to talk about Rodney Hudson a lot on this blog over the next 12 months. He is the perfect Gibbs interior lineman, whether it's size, attitude, fight, football smarts. It'd be a great fit for him in Seattle next year.

Chris said...

Rob: Adalius Thomas, John Henderson, Alan Faneca and a host of others are either on the market now or will soon be. I say sign them to the roster and have them compete for a starting position (unless they want more $$ than the market will bear). Faneca, while older, can still provide a strong right or left side G, move Unger to Center and use Thomas as motivation for the younger DT's to try to get that spot. I'm sure it's all a dream though....since Faneca wont sign unless promised a starting position and Thomas most likel the same. Plus it means they have to admit giving up on Spencer (which most of us have already).

Rob Staton said...

Chris - I don't think this team would have any issues 'giving up' on Spencer because they didn't draft him. However, they don't see Unger as a center (system) and they won't sign Faneca because he isn't a good scheme fit for the Gibbs system. I'll be surprised if Seattle make too many moves in free agency now aside from a few camp bodies or extra competition, but when camp rolls round they might make extra moves (eg Smiley in Miami).

Kelly said...

Hey Rob,

Who are some of the more "marque" players in the last year of their contracts this year. I know Matt Hasselbeck is one.

What about Tatupu, Trufant, Locklear, Carlson, Branch, Mebane ect...Does anyone look like they will be franchise tagged next year.?

Rob Staton said...

Kelly - here is a list of Seattle's free agents for 2011:

Matt Hasselbeck
Lendale White
Leon Washington
Ben Obomanu
Ray Willis
Mansfield Wrotto
Chris Spencer
Craig Terrill
David Hawthorne
Josh Wilson
Kelly Jennins
Olindo Mare

A lot will depend on what happens in 2010. Josh Wilson stands out to me as someone who needs to be retained because good corner's are hard to come by. White, Washington and Hasselbeck can put themselves in very strong positions with a good 2010.

Savage said...

I watch a lot of Florida State games and Hudson is one of the most impresive LG's I've seen. The fact that as LG he sticks out while watching and its for good plays, not that bad ones, is really impressive. On many instances I've seen him blocking at least 3-5 yards further up the field than the rest of his linemates.

Florida State runs a true zone blocking scheme and has an OL coach that is very simlair to Gibbs in Rick Tricket. I would not be suprised to see other FSU OL prospects on the Hawks radar going forward. Another one to keep an eye on is Andrew Datko. He is a little undersized right now, but is only a true Junoir and is extremely athletic and has started ever since he set foot on campus. Probably won't come out until 2012 but you never know.

hunter said...

Rob- have you seen either Terrance Toliver or DeAndre Brown play? All i know is they have great height, 6-5 and 6-6 and good speed at
4.52ish each

Kelly said...

Of that list, I would I hate to see Hawthorne leave the team without getting at least some compensation. I mean...let's face it. He was one of our best players last season, and as far as I know, he doesn't get into trouble. If he performs as well as he did last year, he is going to get PAID either by us or by another team.

With Hill's suspension problem (possibly 4 games) Hawthorne could be in line to get ALOT of playing time this year. With another 100 tackle season, we would probably want to franchise him and cut ties with Hill. right? Hill's not worth his contract if he can't stay on the field. As good as player Hill is, is off the field issues are hurting the team. Kind of a dumbass move to get the DV charge after getting put on probation.

Steve in Spain said...

Rob, thanks again for all the hard work with the blog.

Some links of top 2011 prospects:

FYI, in case you haven't seen it, video was leaked of the Cowboys' big board. Here's a screenshot:

They have Clausen as a late 2nd-rounder, Anthony Davis as an early 3rd-rounder and I can't find Charles Brown - was he taken off their board because of injuries?

Nano said...

Great work Rob. I don't think any of those needs should be underscored. In fact, you put them more mildly than I would.

Heading into this year, I have a big of a crush on Julio Jones. I'd love to have him on the Seahawks in 2011. I'm also kind fond of Rodney Hudson, partially due to the write-ups you did on him a while back.

Thank you again for all the hard work. I visit the site daily.

Rob Staton said...

Hunter - I've seen Tolliver. Some weeks he looks great, others he's a none factor. He suffered with the same issues Brandon Lafell had at LSU. He's one to watch in 2011 though.

Nano - Jones needs to be more consistent for me. I've seen him make just the most basic errors and his concentration was all over the place in 2009. It's ok playing on a good team and getting by, but if he wants to be a top pick (and he's got the physical tools to be top 5-10) then he has to want to be great. I don't know if he does.

Rodney Hudson was an absolute delight to watch last year. I think he would've been a first round pick this year and early second round at worst. Awesome.

Kelly said...

If the team has the same general makeup, I really hope we target DE or QB. Obviously this is determined by where we are in the draft. If we are REALLY low, Locker, Mallet ect... if we are in the top 10, I hope DE like Adrien Clayborn would be the pick. But for me its WAY to early for me to look into 2011.

Rob Staton said...

Talking 2011 draft is pretty meaningless right now, because it's impossible to project what might happen or what teams needs will be. However, it's fun to look back and see what we thought 12 months in advance, so I'll publish a ridiculously early 2011 mock draft first thing tomorrow morning.

Anonymous said...

Henderson now please...... best off season in Seahawk history is in reach...... Big John in Seahawk Blue please!

Anonymous said...

Hell, I just like to watch the Henderson/Schmitt pre game warm up drill.
Maybe they both will get into the helmet to the head routine.
Blood will be spilled!!!!

Anonymous said...

in response to the first post:
I have seen Andrew Luck about 3 times last year. I've seen him against the Huskies, Ducks, and one other game.

My impression was that Luck REALLY benefited from Gerhart. Without any concrete #s, it felt like Gerhart ran about 60% of the time and Luck passed when the other team was off guard. Luck, to me, is not ready yet. He is able to manage a game, but he doesn't have the "field presence" of Jake Locker or Mark Sanchez (different production, but same feeling).

Even then, I don't think Luck goes through his progressions fast enough. I thought there was a lot of time that Luck simply decided to run (not the Jake Locker type of run). After the Huskies game, my thought was, "this guy will manages the game well and will be a NFL QB in the future." HOWEVER, that's in the future. Personally, I don't think he's ready and will need at least another year (2012 draft) if not two (2013 draft).

As for his tools. He's not going to blow you with his talent. He's not Jake Locker. He's not Ryan Mallet. He's not Mark Sanchez. Instead, his upside IMO is a Pro-Style version of Sam Bradford. A cerebral and calm QB (a superior version of Sean Canfield). His accuracy or decision making isn't at Bradford's level yet, but I think his upside is Bradford+prostyle (i.e. future top 5 pick). In other words, in 2-3 years, I expect to see a relatively mobile QB who dissects offenses with great accuracy and precision.

As for Ryan Mallet, I honestly haven't seen any of his games. I only know that his tools are up there. However I heard his accuracy and mechanics need major improvements.


Will said...

Great list of prospects you've got going. You may want to add Florida Center, Mike Pouncey to your list of interior linemen to keep an eye on. With another year in school, Pouncey may end up just as good as his brother. With the departure of Tebow and other key leaders from the offensive side of the ball, Mike Pouncey has already taken on the role of an offensive team leader in the locker room. He will be a force in the SEC.

myjackrebel said...

Gotta quote Mel Kiper here. "If locker doesn't go #1 overall its an upset!"

Brendan said...

seems to me that next year's Wide Receiver class is very strong? That could definitely be a point of emphasis moving forward - thoughts?