Seattle with holes to fill starting with 25th pick
Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent, Charlie Whitehurst has just two
career starts under his belt and there are no other quarterbacks
under contract on Seattle’s roster.
No wonder the Seahawks seem to be linked in one way or another
with nearly all the top quarterbacks in next week’s NFL draft.
”I think it’s a good year, I think it’s a really unique year,”
Seattle general manager John Schneider said. ”You go through seven
guys and they are all completely different guys.”
Now, whether Seattle uses its first-round pick – the 25th
overall – or any of its top selections on a quarterback is the big
Seattle’s roster is full of holes and lacks depth in key areas,
especially along the offensive and defensive lines where injuries
to starters caused problems all season.
But all anyone wants to focus on is the quarterback situation,
where Whitehurst remains the only under-contract option for the
Seahawks right now.
Schneider says Seattle is fine giving Whitehurst, who has just
two career starts, a chance to compete for the starting job. One of
his two starts includes the regular season finale when Seattle beat
St. Louis to win the NFC West title at 7-9. But he’s also quick to
point out that his philosophy – built over years of drafts with
Green Bay – is to look at taking a quarterback in every draft.
Hence, the speculation that Seattle will make a run at one of
the likely quarterbacks to be available near the end of the
first-round or early in the second round should Seattle make a
”We will be looking for a quarterback every single year,”
Schneider said. ”I have been blessed to be around some very
talented people and it’s just a philosophy that you can never have
enough of those guys.”
But is taking a quarterback at No. 25 the right move for a team
that needs depth in all areas, except perhaps running back and
Schneider all but put the 25th pick up to the highest bidder
earlier this week, saying he would like to move back and in the
process acquire some more middle round picks. The Seahawks are
without a third-round selection, a fact that bothers the
second-year general manager to no end. Seattle lost that pick when
they acquired Whitehurst from San Diego before the beginning of
Seattle has picks in the second (57th overall), fourth (99th)
and sixth (173), along with two picks each in the fifth (156 and
157) and seventh (209, 242) rounds.
Thanks to Whitehurst and a stingy defensive effort leading
Seattle to a 16-6 win over St. Louis in the regular season finale,
the Seahawks earned a dubious division title and playoff berth, but
lost at least a dozen spots in the draft.
That one victory likely doubled the amount of research needed on
a much deeper draft pool, especially compared to a year ago when
Seattle had picks Nos. 6 and 14 and as Schneider said, ”my sons
could have got a pretty good grade at six.”
If Seattle does stay at No. 25 and goes the route of
quarterback, the likely options will be Florida State’s Christian
Ponder, Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, TCU’s Andy Dalton and possibly
local favorite Jake Locker out of Washington.
But Schneider is quick to point out that panicking is the wrong
approach for quarterback or any position.
”I think you have to go through your evaluation process and
have a feel for what you think of the guy and just move forward,”
he said. ”Some of the worst drafts we’ve had are where you get
nervous like you got to have a guy and maybe you give up something
to go get a guy, or you push a guy based purely on need and that’s
where you can get in a lot of trouble.”
Along with quarterback, the Seahawks would like to come away
with at least one offensive lineman and one defensive lineman. The
Seahawks will be going strictly zone blocking on the offensive line
this season under new assistant head coach Tom Cable and could use
another interior lineman or a right tackle.
On the defensive line, no injury last season was more
problematic for the Seahawks than Red Bryant’s torn up knee in Week
8. Seattle’s run defense went on a continual slide as they
struggled to replace the big body asked to play the ”5” technique
as a hybrid defensive end/tackle.
Seattle could also use a shutdown cornerback that fits the mold
Schneider learned in his years with Green Bay of big, physical
cornerbacks. The Seahawks wouldn’t mind grabbing a wide receiver
with deep speed in the later rounds.
Schneider succeeded in his first draft by grabbing his left
tackle (Russell Okung) and free safety (Earl Thomas) for years to
come. Now comes building on that first time in charge, and this
draft with more time to prepare.
”Hopefully you have a couple guys who are impact players, that
you kept the cohesion of the locker room intact; that you have
added quality people and guys who are going to be quality
competitive guys,” Schneider said. ”Every year you know they are
going to show up and be good pros and be competing with other guys
and setting standard at their position on your team.”