Amongst well sourced speculation this week that the Seahawks would like to choose between Eric Berry and Trent Williams at #6, there was also talk of trading the #14. The idea was to earn a 2011 first rounder and getting something like a 2010 second rounder this year too. Essentially, you are milking a single first round pick over two drafts but running the risk of it being lower than the 14th overall selection. When you own two first round picks, it's easier to gamble moving one of them to next year.
It's unclear which teams, if any, would be interested in such a trade. Teams don't like to cough up first round picks without knowing their true value. It does happen of course - as we saw with Denver and Carolina last year. In hindsight though, the Broncos and Panthers would've been picking considerably higher than the positions they selected Alphonso Smith and Everette Brown. Would a team in the midst of a major rebuild run the risk of losing a valuable pick next year? Are you more likely to see a contender picking later in round one thining they can work out a deal to get a top prospect this year that they won't find later in 2011? We can merely speculate as to who might be interested or what 'extra' they'd give up.
The question perhaps should be - if this is a strong draft - why might Seattle be entertaining the prospect of coughing up the #14? The simple answer would be that there's a prospect/prospects that they're seriously interested in that is approaching their senior year. It's premature, but quarterback could be a position of strength in the 2011 draft.
We all know one name - Jake Locker - who would make sense as an example for the purpose of this speculative piece. Pete Carroll has praised Locker as the 'best' quarterback he ever faced in college. That may or may not be true - especially considering Locker recently helped Washington defeat USC. However, Locker is a local product who will have been coached by Carroll's former offensive coordinator - Steve Sarkisian (now the Huskies Head Coach).
When Charlie Whitehurst was signed - Carroll praised his ability to move around, throw on the run and how much of an athlete he was. He could've been describing Locker - and clearly the new system in Seattle will feature a quarterback who is at least agile enough to run a good boot leg. Perhaps it's all a bit too much of a film script to imagine Locker in Seattle - but let's take the ball and run with it for this piece.
If Locker has the senior year he's hoping for he'll be a favorite to go first overall. Seattle (barring a catastrophic 1-3 win season) will not be selecting that high. Owning two first round picks next year might offer enough ammunition to grab Locker. To use a precedent - San Diego drafted Eli Manning in 2004 but he refused to play for the Chargers (forcing a trade). The Giants drafted another quarterback (Philip Rivers) fourth overall and then traded Rivers, a 2005 first round pick (used to select Shawne Merriman) and a 2005 third round pick (used to select kicker Nate Kaeding) for Manning. Essentially, the total package was two firsts and a third - the standard market for getting a highly rated quarterback via trade (as witnessed in the Jay Cutler deal). Having two first round picks next year would allow the Seahawks to be creative if they felt they simply had to have Locker or anyone else for that matter.
There's a certain element of long term planning involved in such a scenario. Let's say the Seahawks drafted Trent Williams this year. He's still developing and as Kip reported in his excellent Alex Gibbs piece - Seattle's new offensive line coach likes to mould his guys and make sure they're ready. However, the intent is to find your long-term blind side blocker. You have Whitehurst as a potential starter in 2011 who has the physical criteria you want to implement a new system. You can put things in place in preparation for the day you hand over to, potentially, a highly drafted quarterback.
As I've mentioned, this is all incredibly speculative. But if the Seahawks are in a precise rebuilding process it makes trading the #14 more understandable should it happen. You get what you can for it in 2010 but essentially look to recoup a 2011 first rounder. That is of course, if you have that one prospect in mind for next year. Pete Carroll will get time to create his vision. It may not be a quick fix - but the 2010 draft will certainly offer some hints as to exactly what the thought process will be as the new regime look to rebuild this franchise.