Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Seahawks, Marshall and draft philosophy

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.


A-R-N-F said...

I've got to say this is probably the best (non)move that Carroll has made this offseason. Marshall is, undeniably, a talented player, but giving up two foundation picks for a player with a rap sheet like Marshall's is not the greatest way to develop a young core. After seeing three months chockfull of underselling and overpaying, it's nice to see the front office show some restrain and not enter trade talks with a conclusion already set in stone.

In terms of the hole at WR, I think Pete is going to be able to figure it out without giving much up. It seems like the quintessential Carroll receiver is defined by a lot of characteristics that don't necessarily warrant paying a premium. If you look at all the USC receivers who have come out recently, many in the first round, none have been as effective in the NFL like they were under Carroll's USC system. I think the reverse is probable as well, and well see someone come out of the woodwork who can flourish. The Williams pair is a start.

Rob Staton said...

Mardy Gilyard is a possibility in round two. He's one of the names touted on Seattle's radar and so is Jahvid Best. I expect the Seahawks to run the ball a lot next year, use a lot of two TE sets and probably use Houshmandzadeh and Branch as their receivers. Look at round two potentially as an area to target a wide out. In rounds 4-5, you start to consider a guy like Montario Hardesty.

Savage said...

Passing on Marshall at that price was the absolute right thing to do. I couldn't imagine having only 1 pick in the first 3 rounds next year. I would bet the Hawks offered their 2nd and 4th. If the Broncos could find a btter deal, good for them, but the Hawks weren't going higher.

I do like Eric Berry and think he will be a solid player in the NFL, but I believe the way to win is build a solid offensive foundation and give it time to grow. I think its much easier to build a defense in a year than it is an offense.

I'd like to see the #6 spent on the best LT, most likely Williams or Bulaga, then trade the #14 for a late 20's pick and a 2nd rounder. Crazy as it sounds, I would suggest using the pick in the 20's for Charlse Brwon if he is there. Now you've got your line taken care of, so spend those 2nds on playmakers like Best, Mathews, Benn, Tate(s), Lafell, Gilyard and Williams. Build up that offensive talent base, then in '11 or '12 you get those defensive players. There are currently more talent young players on our D anyways.

am_driver said...

What are the Hawks gonna do about a pass rush though?

Rob Staton said...

am_driver - We'll have to see how the Seahawks adapt their scheme. They could use Aaron Curry more as an outside rusher. They've accumulated guys to fight for roster places in camp. They still have Lawrence Jackson. If Derrick Morgan is there at #14 and they can't initiate a trade, then he's a legitimate option.

Anonymous said...

So far I’m very under-impressed with this FO. I'll agree that the no Marshall trade at that price makes sense. Picking up some special teamers was fine. Maybe I'll even give you the Wallace trade as being OK, in regards that it sent a message. . BUT, the Whitehurst trade leaves me with an uncomfortable feeling. The Trapp trade, (coupled with Kearney’s extremely eminent retirement), plus getting rid of Grant with no replacement in sight, seem like bone-headed moves to me that collectively have just put more pressure on this years draft. I HEAR PC say he wants to win and win now, but I don't SEE any moves yet that will give us that chance.
Rob, you say the FO are somehow enamored with Berry or Williams at 6, you’ve said they would go Berry at 6 and Davis at 14 if need be. You’ve said you’re higher on Brown for this team than any other OL, and Berry is very over rated, Right? So how are we supposed to get excited about a FO that would go Berry/Williams when most of us would agree that those two are not the best choices for us… short term for sure… long term maybe. If the Seahawks want my money, as opposed to just my undying love and vocal support, they better be putting a product on the field THIS year I can get excited about. In a few more days we will see if I should spring for season tickets AGAIN,with all the expense that goes with them, or should just stay home and watch them on the tube.
GO Hawks!


This was the right thing to do. The long term health of the team depends on getting a bunch of quality guys in and using the draft to build the team. However, I am disappointed (as are many Hawk fans). I guess that I was holding on to the hope that this season would be a somewhat exciting one, but due to the roster moves so far, I'm getting more pessimistic about it. It's just hard to see where the team is going. There is no face for this franchise, yet. Hopefully, next Thursday will change that.


Well said. My feeling exactly.

micah said...

It looks like the Hawks have been planning around life without Marshall. I think they've known for a while that he's nice to have, but not at the cost of two 2nd rounders.

I think based on some of the minor moves, we're really starting to see the personnel we are trying to get. Carroll loves the big WR to complement the small shifty guy. If one of the Williams pan out, then we're set there and most likely won't need a WR. Carroll also loves the 2nd gear RB and a power guy. I wouldn't doubt that we either get Spiller, Best, or McKnight and a real bruiser somewhere later and possibly cut ties with J.Jones. Carroll also loves impact safeties, so berry, thomas or mays is not unheard of for us. we know we'll get offensive linemen in the later rounds via Gibb's mold, the question is whether we have targetted someone who is under the radar that can start at Tackle, or if we trully believe we need Williams/Bulaga at 6. As far as the Elephant pass rusher, I like it because it makes our team a lot faster and adds a true pass rusher. we seem to have a lot of people for that position already, so with this deep class i'm sure we can find people for DE and DT depth.

akki said...

I do think getting Whitehurst hurt our ability to get Marshall, mainly because we can survive down one high draft pick next year, but two is hard to swallow. We're don't want to be the Redskins here. Not that losing Marshall partially due to Whitehurst is a bad thing - the goal *should* be addressing the QB position before everything else. None of us will know if Whitehurst is that solution until next season, and I can't say it looks great right now, but the front office at least is showing the right priorities.

I agree with Savage on addressing mainly the offense this year. Defensive players are more likely to provide immediate impact, whereas most rookie WRs struggle learning routes and beating press coverage, and most rookie RBs can't pass block worth beans. 2010 would be painful, but then in 2011 you can have young players ready to make a difference on both sides of the ball. Berry and Morgan, we'd better really think they're future superstars to make an exception.

I think that in terms of pass rush we could survive on middle/late picks to acquire depth. I'm definitely higher on most on Chris Clemons' prospects. I see a lot of Tully Banta-Cain in him. Banta-Cain was productive in a pass-rush specialist role in New England, struggled on the 49ers when he was asked to be a 3-down player, and then was productive again when the Patriots got him back and told him to rush the passer. I feel we're doing the same with Clemons - Philly tried to make him into a standard 4-3 end, and it didn't work. Either sticking Clemons in the elephant role allows him to better stick to his strengths, or if he's strictly limited to just pass rushing, we could draft a mid/late-round guy like Jeffrey Fitzgerald to rotate with him.

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - a very passionate and informed point. However, I think this front office has decided that there won't be any more 'quick fixes' in free agenct and that they're going to build through the draft and through competition. Seattle will put a team on the field in 2010 that will compete. They might not win many games, but they'll compete. That, in my opinion, is what fans expect and can only realistically ask for. A team cannot just start winning again. But this team will give it's all - it might lose a few - but it's a means to an end. This draft similarly is a means to an end. They'll take the guys they like with a long term focus and not feeling like 'which guys help us win tomorrow' but more 'which guys help make this team a contender in 2-3 years? You are right - I have been critical of Berry and Williams. My own opinion hasn't changed there. But this team feel Williams, given time, can develop into a long term left tackle. They feel Berry is a special talent who might get washed away as a rookie behind a bad pass rush... but in 2-3 years could be hitting his peak when the team gets good.

It will take patience from the fans, but I think it'll be worth it. I'd buy those season tickets.

Anonymous said...

Rob, thanks for your response. My father and I had 4 season tickets ever since the Patera/Zorn/Largent era. He and my young son would be at every home game cheering our Hawks on. We didn’t enjoy the games because of wins so much but because of the excitement of Zorn to Largent etc. Beating the hated Raiders or Broncos was just a bonus. We watched every player in our Ring of Honor play ball. Now, my Dad is gone and I have a grandson. The tradition has lived on. Of course we would love to see our team be the best and win.
Not long ago, you had a great thread here on why the Hawks should draft playmakers. It was very a very spirited debate. You convinced me that it would help the OL because it would keep the enemy from stacking the box and blitzing, stuffing the run, and allowing their DB’s to jump the quick routes our receivers had to run etc. You convinced me that it would help our D by keeping them off the field because 3 and outs etc.
My point is that my Dad and I didn’t enjoy the “old days” so much because of wins, we enjoyed them because of the excitement of the playmakers. Zorn/Krieg to Largent.. Curt Warner ripping one off.. Kenny E flattening some poor sob.. Green or Kennedy getting a big sack.. or more recently Hass to Carlson, a Forsett scamper, or a Tapp crushing sack. Anyway, I care more about the excitement then the win column at this point, and hope this team, this year, can provide some for my son, my grandson and myself
Go Hawks!

Anonymous said...

PS. What I forgot to say is that I don’t understand why if we are going to build thru the draft, which I am fine with, that picking Berry/Williams/Davis is somehow better than building thru the draft picking ,say, Spiller/Brown/Morgan/Haden/Clausen/Wilson/Thomas etc. It’s not like they would be a quick fix either. If Gibbs strength is his ability to take later round draft choices and make a serviceable to superior OL, why wouldn’t the Hawks say “do it” and pick Offensive playmakers to make it that much easier for him to accomplish it?
Also, I may be in the minority here, but for all his faults, I liked Ruskell insistence on high moral fiber out of his draft picks. I have enjoyed NOT having to explain to my grandkids why our stars are getting arrested for beating their wife/girlfriends or taking drugs or acting like Prim Donnas. I also like the opt-out clause like he put in Hills contract to deal with the players if they do decide they can pull that crap. I hope this FO is wise enough to continue down that road.
Anyway… the ranting of an old die-hard
Go Hawks