The past few days have been difficult for Seattle Seahawks fans after hearing that their top cornerbacks are facing four-game suspensions and dealing with another close road loss.
Before the game against the Miami Dolphins, I provided some early predictions for who the Seahawks could take in each round of the 2013 NFL draft. At the time it felt somewhat early to look that far ahead, but now it feels more like a welcome escape while we wait for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.
Following the loss to Miami, I found myself wishing I had been more reticent about the Seahawks needing another option to challenge Leon Washington for his job. He showed that he still has what it takes to get it in the end zone on any given return.
But the Dolphins game did solidify the idea that Seattle needs to look at the offensive line, particularly at right tackle. They can also stand to add depth at guard, tight end and wide receiver.
On defense, stopping the run was an issue along with not getting enough pressure on the quarterback. Dolphins rookie Ryan Tannehill was efficient, completing 18 of 26 passes for 253 yards. The Seahawks were able to force one turnover, but they bypassed a potential 53-yard field goal and ended up punting, instead.
After watching Pete Carroll send punter Jon Ryan onto the field instead of Steven Hauschka on two different occasions, I found myself wishing that the Second Coming of Sebastian Janikowski would be available in the first round of the draft and wondering if the late Al Davis could somehow convince Carroll and general manager John Schneider to make that move.
Since that is a fantasy that makes no sense, I went forward with a list of seven more reasonable players for the Seahawks to consider on April 25, 2013.
OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
The more I see Breno Giacomini pick up unnecessary penalties, the more I want to find a replacement at right tackle.
Ideally a veteran right tackle could shore up this position right away, since none of the rookies drafted by Schneider and Carroll on the offensive line have looked nearly as sharp as their draft picks on defense.
Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan could be that exception. Though Lewan has been projected by some as a top-10 pick, he’s also been projected as low as the bottom third of the 2013 draft.
I’m choosing to believe he’ll be available by the time the Seahawks draft.
Lewan was named the Big Ten’s offensive lineman of the year this week, and the following day reports were that he had filed with the NFL Draft advisory board.
Considering his success at left tackle, he’s expected to stay at that position. But with injury issues to Russell Okung, he could provide a much better option if Okung were to go down, and maybe even create some competition at the position.
DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
Though this last game has swayed me to lean slightly toward the Seahawks needing help on the offensive line, it doesn’t change my feelings toward Alabama’s Jesse Williams. He’s still my favorite player in the draft right now.
It wasn’t as though the Seattle defense showed they didn’t need any help. They could definitely have used a physical presence in the middle of the defense against in the Dolphins. Alabama has allowed only 2.3 yards per carry and a total of rushing 924 yards over their 12 games.
His game off the field is just as good as his game on the field—maybe even better. He tells his coaches he wants the ball (via al.com); he can bench 600 pounds (via Yahoo! Sports); his Twitter handle is @ThaMonstar.
Jason Jones and Alan Branch are unrestricted free agents after this season, and it’s possible that neither will come back. If they don’t re-sign, that would leave rookie Jaye Howard and Clinton McDonald, a restricted free agent, to fill in next to Brandon Mebane.
Williams could certainly fill a need for the Seahawks.
TE Zach Ertz, Stanford
Earlier, I had Zach Ertz listed as a player I liked for the Seahawks in the second round of the draft. I’m not completely convinced he’s going to be available when it comes time for Seattle to select their pick in the second round. He could go ahead of Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert.
Seahawksdraftblog.com writer Rob Stanton has Ertz going to the Rams with the 13th pick in his latest mock draft. So I’m considering him as a potential option for the Seahawks in the first round.
The Seahawks need a tight end to complement Zach Miller, and Ertz would fill that need more than Eifert. I also like the idea of Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman lobbying Carroll to bring in another Stanford guy.
Ertz has more than adequately filled the shoes of former Standford TE Coby Fleener, who reunited with Andrew Luck in the NFL. Ertz has 15 touchdowns and has eclipsed 1,200 yards during his four-year college career, with more than 700 yards this year alone.
The Seahawks aren’t going to be looking to replace Miller here. Ertz would fill the Seahawks need to add a versatile tight end—a position the Seahawks were hoping to fill when they brought in Kellen Winslow, Jr. in the preseason.
DT Will Sutton, Arizona State
Will Sutton is another player I featured as a potential draft pick the Seahawks could look at in the second round.
But I sense Sutton is the type of unique player similar to Bruce Irvin, whom Seattle took in the first round this year. Prior to the draft, Irvin had been projected to go from the low part of the first round all the way to the third round; the Seahawks taking him in the middle of the first was considered a “reach” by some.
Maybe Sutton is a reach here, but has the potential to provide the inside pass rush the Seahawks were looking for when they picked up Jason Jones. Though he hasn’t produced a lot of sacks, Jones has put pressure on the quarterback. But considering that Jones will be an unrestricted free agent after this season makes a guy like Sutton someone you need to look at.
Sutton knows how to get to the quarterback. With 10.5 sacks, Sutton is as good as any defensive tackle in the FBS at getting in the opposing team’s backfield. He’s only two sacks behind the top spot overall.
Though Sutton is listed at 6’1″, 267 pounds, I expect that he’d be able to put on the extra weight needed to play inside in the NFL without sacrificing his quickness.
LB Chase Thomas, Stanford
Another Stanford product makes the list but this time on defense.
One of the great things about Chase Thomas is his versatility, as he’s been considered a prospect at both linebacker and defensive end.
Of his 61 tackles overall, 37 are solo. Twelve were tackles for loss and five were sacks.
The 6’4″, 248 pound captain leads a defense that held Oregon to only 14 points, and the Ducks have averaged nearly 60 points per game apart from their one loss to Stanford.
Thomas was also recently recognized as one of eight finalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which equally recognizes athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.
OT Brennan Willaims, North Carolina
Although I chose to believe Michigan’s Taylor Lewan would fall to wherever the Seahawks might draft, I think it’s also prudent to look at another potential option, considering some of the draft projections.
North Carolina’s Brennan Williams is someone who may be available in the second round. He is among the top prospects at tackle and, unlike Lewan, has been starting on the right side of the line. Depending on how well he comes back from a recent shoulder injury could determine if he’s a first-round pick or falls to the second round or later.
Watching the linked video, the 6’7″, 310-pounder’s demeanor reminds me a lot of Max Unger—a guy who is calm, thoughtful and ready to put a lineman on his backside at any given moment.
Another reason to root for seeing Williams put on a Seahawks uniform is that his father Brent wore number 93 as a defensive end for Seattle from 1994-95.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
I liked this pickup a lot more before watching Leon Washington take a kickoff return 98 yards for his eighth career return touchdown. Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson has punt and kickoff return skills to go along with running and receiving abilities.
His all-purpose yards really is what sets him apart from other receivers who could be available for the Seahawks. The 6’3″, 205-pound junior has 778 receiving yards, 308 rushing yards, an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 98-yard touchdown return among his 671 kickoff return yards.
That versatility afforded him the opportunity to be the first player since 2008 to score a touchdown four different ways (receiving, rushing, punt return and kickoff return). Up 34-17 going into the fourth quarter against Kentucky on Saturday, I’m surprised they didn’t put him in on defense to try for a pick-six.
If Patterson comes to Seattle, maybe coach Carroll could work in a play to allow him to throw for a score like Golden Tate.
QB Matt Barkley, USC
Here is a bonus eighth entry.
What if Matt Barkley were to fall to the second half of the first round? Would Carroll pick him up? Has Russell Wilson played well enough to make the Seahawks coach forget about his top college prospect?
Barkley is a guy who was projected to go in the top 10 if he had left for the NFL after his junior year. After returning for his senior season, his stock has fallen considerably, but he could rebound leading up to the draft.
Sam Bradford was a recent player who was able to bounce back after a disappointing senior season. Bradford come back from an injury his senior year at Oklahoma but still went first overall in the draft.
It’s possible that Barkley could go first, but I also see him as someone who could drop down to the lower part of the first round. In my mind, Wilson has done more than enough to make Carroll forget about choosing his former college quarterback. Carroll is the only one who could say that for sure.
Even if Wilson regresses or gets injured, I think we can expect Matt Flynn to stick around for another year and get another shot at competing for the starting job.
After cutting Josh Portis from the practice squad this week, the Seahawks could draft a quarterback to compete for the third roster spot but don’t expect it to be Barkley.