Thursday, April 25, 2013

Expectations For Seahawks 2013 Draft

You mean there is more? After gorging themselves on NFL free agency, and stocking up on elite talent the past three drafts, the Seahawks front office bellies up to the table once again and asks for dessert. The draft has always been among the most hopeful aspect of any NFL calendar. There are unknown trades to be made, players to be selected, and reactions from every direction. This draft is going to be very difficult for the Seahawks to navigate. Their starting 22 are quite possibly the most talented in the NFL and nearly every one of them is young. The quality of talent in this draft is not high compared to other years. Think 2009 without Mathew Stafford. Seattle has already traded away their first-round pick, putting that much more pressure on hitting it with picks that do not start until 55 players are already gone. It is a daunting concoction of risks that would overwhelm most front offices. John Schneider and Pete Carroll will stick to their guns, and it should be fascinating to see how they approach this gauntlet.

Seattle enters tonight with ten selections. Davis Hsu adroitly pointed out on our podcast that the Seahawks have never selected fewer than nine players since Schneider has been the GM. Assume that they will take at least that many again this year--despite my hope that that turn 2013 picks into 2014 or 2015 selections--and use those selections to buttress areas of the roster that are more risky than others.

NEAR LOCKS
Nothing is a lock with Schneider at the helm, but these are as close as it gets given the state of the roster and the positional value in this draft. I would be shocked if these positions are not drafted.

Offensive Tackle - Will take 1-2
The team needs someone to push Breno Giacomini and provide tackle depth in case of injury. Ideally, this would be a guy who could swing to guard, which would also allow the team to potentially move out from under Paul McQuistan's contract.

Edge Receiver - 1-2
Sidney Rice has a significant price tag in the coming years, Golden Tate is in the last year of his deal, and this draft is stocked with edge receivers. The team is well covered at the slot position.

Defensive Tackle - 1
The defensive line is the oldest position group on the roster. It is also among the most expensive. Run defense eroded at the end of last year, and their are largely unknown replacements for Alan Branch on the team. They need a guy 315+ lbs who can compete with the like of Mike Iupati.

HIGHLY LIKELY
These are positions just short of locks to be drafted, with the only risk being a player they like not falling to them.

Quarterback - 1
Seattle just signed Jerrod Johnson, and now have four quarterbacks on their roster. Expect it to be five after this draft. Every back-up on the squad right now has major question marks. That is not a position to leave to luck.

Cornerback - 1
Walter Thurmond and Antoine Winfield hit the free agent market after this season. There is other depth at the position, but nobody with clear aptitude for the nickel corner role.

Safety - 1
Kam Chancellor just got an extension. Earl Thomas should get one this year as well. Still, the depth behind them is thin. This, more the other positions in this grouping, depends on who falls to the team.

Tight End - 1
There are some nice options at this position in the draft, and the team will want to add some competition for Darren Fells as the third tight end.

IT DEPENDS
The team has some needs at these positions, but selections will rely largely on what they do with the above positions and what talent presents itself on the board.

Linebacker - 1
Finding good linebackers is just not that hard, and the team could use another player to battle at the WILL spot even if K.J. Wright is moving there.

Offensive Guard - 1
Ideally, the team selects a tackle that can swing to guard. Tom Cable cross-trains all his lineman for multiple roles anyway. It is possible they choose to select a guard that could swing to tackle, but only if he is a steal at the point they draft him. The tackle skill set is more important to this roster.

LEO Defensive End - 1
Chris Clemons is injured. Cliff Avril is a two-year signing. Michael Bennett is one year. Bruce Irvin is already 26. They will never shy away from taking a guy they believe can rush the passer, even if he sits for a bit.

IN SUM
Here is my best guess at a draft recipe for 2013:
2 - Offensive Tackles
2 - Wide Receivers
1 - Defensive Tackle
1 - Quarterback
1 - Safety
1 - Tight End
1 - Linebacker
1 - Defensive End

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