By Kip Earlywine
Wow. This is a deep, deep draft. The looming threat of a 2011 rookie salary cap enticed a lot of talented underclassmen to declare early and man... does it show. The 2nd round this year saw several legit 1st round talents, including a potential top 10 pick QB. Even at #60, a pick we assumed would be table scraps, the Seahawks options were headlined by Golden Tate, Damian Williams, Brandon Lafell, Bruce Campbell (!), Everson Griffen (!!), and Charles Brown (!!!)... all of whom had been mocked in the 1st round at some point by most experts. Going into the 2nd round today, Seattle was hoping to target Gilyard and Atkins, but with such a buffet line of 1st round talent staring them in the face, it was like having a 3rd first round pick... at #60.
Not to begrudge Deion Butler, but if I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell Tim Ruskell NOT to pull the trigger on the trade that brought Butler here. I could explain in great detail why that pick was probably unwise at the time, but I've got a lot to cover tonight so instead I'll just say that losing the 3rd this year caused a lot of problems.
Firstly, it complicated the Charlie Whitehurst trade. AJ Smith put John Schneider over a barrel due to the Seahawks lacking a 3rd round pick. Schneider also failed to negotiate properly, which didn't help- but if we had that 3rd rounder, the most we would have paid would be the 3rd, and given the way RFA trades usually go, it definitely could have been for even less. But since we didn't own that 3rd, and because Schneider was so eager for Whitehurst, the result was a 20 pick drop in the 2nd round in addition to a future 3rd.
It was reported today that the Seahawks very nearly took Jimmy Clausen at #14. The Hawks had Earl Thomas #1 on their board, and Clausen was #2. When Philly traded up, they assumed it was for Thomas, but when Graham was selected instead, the Seahawks celebrated and nabbed the Texas safety. Jimmy Clausen amazingly reached the 40th pick in the draft, meaning if the Whitehurst trade had never happened, or if the Deion Butler trade had never happened, Jimmy Clausen could be wearing Seahawks blue as we speak. I know many of us (myself included) badly want Jake Locker to get that honor, but potentially missing out on Clausen with such great pick value is a bit of a bummer, especially after seeing his arm strength improve recently.
Seattle could have traded up for Clausen, but with the price tag probably being the #60 and both 4th rounders in such an insanely deep draft, I think the Seahawks did absolutely the right thing staying put. And while I'd take Clausen over any of the options that reached #60, Golden Tate is a terrific pick. It wouldn't shock me at all if in 5 years, Tate has the most NFL receiving yards of this draft class.
Anyway, here's my thoughts on the rest of the 2nd/3rd rounds, bullet point style:
- Brian Price needed to go to a 4-3 team, specifically one that rotates DL much like Seattle does. In that sense, it was justifiable for Tampa to select Price in the early 2nd even after taking McCoy 3rd overall. Justifiable, but still odd.
- Al Davis must only be a figurehead nowadays. Rolando McClain and Lamarr Houston? Those are not Al Davis picks. It looks like there may finally be a ray of hope in Oakland.
- The Broncos have run zone for well over a decade, but on a whim from team dictator Josh McDaniels, the team blew up its existing zone line and will convert to man scheme this offseason. So what does he do to build his new man scheme line? He drafts a classic ZBS guard in Zane Beadles, then drafts a pure ZBS center in JD Walton. I love Walton, but Walton has never played a single snap in a man system. Both weigh 305 lbs; puny by man scheme standards. This combined with the Tebow selection makes Denver the front runner (along with Jacksonville) for the most puzzling 2010 draft to this point.
- The steal of the draft, obviously, is Jimmy Clausen to the Panthers. As stupid as any future 1st for a 2nd rounder trade can be (they traded for Everette Brown last year, a pick that became the 17th overall this year), Carolina has to feel like they got off scot free this time. There are going to be a lot of regretful teams 5 years from now. Among them the Vikings, who somehow believed that Toby Gerhart was worth a 2nd round selection, but Jimmy Clausen was not. Unbelievable.
- Taylor Mays was apparently led on by Pete Carroll, and he completely expected to be the pick at #14. That's actually pretty understandable- until we were blessed with that FO leak a few weeks back, I thought Mays was as good as a Seahawk at #14. Mays ended up a 49er instead, a calculated move. Mays wasn't just a good value pick for them, but came with the added value of knowing Pete Carroll and Jeremy Bates playbooks at USC. I don't think that's going to be a big deal, but it could be something. He also has a massive chip on his shoulder and has already publicly lashed out against his former coach. I smell a rivalry brewing.
- What is it with teams swooping in front of the Seahawks this year? At both #14 and #60, two different teams traded up immediately in front of Seattle to take players at positions Seattle was believed to be pursuing. First it was Ryan Mathews and Brandon Graham at #12 and #13, then it was Ben Tate and Montario Hardesty at #58 and #59. Thank goodness none of those teams read this blog, because none of those players were being seriously considered by the Seahawks. I was a little bummed to see Hardesty go though. I was starting to become optimistic he'd reach the 4th.
- Charles Brown was nearly a 3rd rounder. Wow. I know he had a neck/back issue that came up at the last minute, but seriously? The New Orleans Saints won the Superbowl, and without moving picks, they ended up with Patrick Robinson and Charles Brown. Say it with me: this is the deepest draft in years.
- I was disappointed to see such a big run on interior linemen today. Jon Asamoah and JD Walton were expected, but Zane Beadles, Mike Johnson and Shawn Lauvao (!) were not. I was really hoping for Lauvao in the 5th or 6th. Seeing him go in the 3rd was pretty surprising. Mitch Petrus is the only guy left that makes perfect sense for Gibbs. Render could be a fuzzy fit, but I don't know if Gibbs will completely sign off on him. Seattle has a tough choice ahead of them, with some incredible value staring them in the face at #104 (Gilyard, Atkins, etc), do they take BPA or do they take a guard before its too late? This may be a deep draft, but its not deep for zone guards, and the well is almost dry.
- The Titans have to be thrilled with Derrick Morgan at #16, but nearly as big a coup was getting Damian Williams in the mid-3rd round. Too bad they blew the hat trick by wasting their 3rd pick on Rennie Curran.
- I can't help but wonder about what probably would have happened to Daniel T'eo Nesheim or Donald Butler if not for Steve Sarkisian and Nick Holt's impact at UW this year. Both were expected to be future UDFA's last September, and here they are both going in the 3rd round. Butler actually deserves it, and DTN almost does, but still, good for them. And good for you, Sark.
- The Seahawks potential options at #104 are almost as loaded as the options at #60. The Seahawks could very well be choosing between the same two players they hoped would reach #60.. at #104. Seattle is catching a lot of breaks in this draft, but credit where credit is due, John Schneider does not miss lay-ups. I'll have a post up later about the Seahawks top options the rest of the way.