By Rob Staton
In this article I want to talk about the Brandon Marshall trade and go on to how the Seahawks are approaching this draft. For starters, Marshall has been moved to Miami for the 43rd overall selection this year and a second round pick in 2011. People will ask if Seattle had a better chance of getting Marshall had they not made the move for Charlie Whitehurst which saw a switch from #40 to #60.
My thoughts? This was a rare opportunity. One of the best receivers in the NFL, someone who had worked with Seattle's new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and was available for a discount price. Of course the Seahawks were going to show interest. However, this is also a team in the midst of a big rebuild. I don't think they'd ever have been able to out-bid Miami. Their best hope was to wait until draft day, hope nobody else was interested and get him for a bargain. As soon as other teams showed interest, it was over. The Seahawks move on. People will talk about the Whitehurst deal, but Seattle as a cumulative gave up one pick - a third rounder - to get him. The simple fact is - the Seahawks couldn't match the Dolphins and wouldn't have spent their 2011 second round pick.
But this is where I want to go on to draft philosophy. As I said - Marshall was a rarity that the Seahawks felt they had to entertain. Their inability to land the receiver though doesn't mean attention now turns to other offensive weapons in round one. I stand to be corrected here - but I am absolutely sure the Seahawks won't draft Dez Bryant or C.J. Spiller in round one. That's what I've read, that's what I've been told. As I said - I'm willing to be proven wrong.
The new regime in Seattle are not making quick fixes. Marshall would've been a bonus at the right price. The Seahawks will not trade the #6 pick unless someone makes a blockbuster deal which is highly unlikely. Therefore, they'll take whoever is top of their board. The two guys they're deciding between are Eric Berry and Trent Williams (barring any unexpected falls). If either is gone before #6, it makes it a simple decision. However, I expect Berry to be there and if he is - he will be the pick.
People will call it a luxury. Others will say it's bad value. I've voiced my own concerns about Berry often and I too would counter the decision with some reservations based purely on Berry the player - not on so-called positional value or cost. But it's not me making the pick and others see the Tennessee defensive back as a rare gem. I don't see it that way, but like I said - not my choice. The Seahawks won't fight their board. They'll accumulate talent at that #6 spot with a long term plan in mind. But they'll absolutely take their favorite prospect at #6 and bank that pick.
At #14, it's a different scenario. I think the team feel there is potential to do a deal there, either for a 2011 first round pick or to move down in round one. Finding a team willing to make a deal is tough. Would Carolina - without a 2010 first rounder - look to tap into a deep talent pool? They've traded away their last two first round picks. They might look to add to a defensive line minus Julius Peppers, draft a quarterback post-Jake Delhomme or consider even a guy like Dez Bryant. Alternatively, would a team close to the big one make an ambitious move to get over the finish line?
It's impossible to say just over a week before the draft, but the Seahawks would like to turn the #14 into more picks. A 2011 first rounder and a 2010 second round pick would be snapped up. That way, you pick twice in a deep second round class but have a year to access the teams situation and maybe make better use of those two first rounders next year. As we've speculated on this blog - the Seahawks might also be eyeing up their long term options at quarterback with an expected deep QB class in 2011.
Brandon Marshall is hitting his peak and would've been a nice acquisition. In reality, his talents may have been wasted in Seattle but will really benefit a Miami team expecting to challenge now. The Seahawks, on the other hand, are evolving. It'll take some time. Patience is the order of the day for the 12th man and that may include initial reaction to what happens on April 22nd.