With the greatest needs of the team being on the offensive and defensive line, as well as at cornerback and quarterback, their primary acquisitions were on the offensive line with their first two picks.
Although nobody should fault the team for focusing on the offensive line, the some thought Seattle reached for players who would have been available in later rounds. Additionally, by failing to draft a quarterback, it leaves the team with Charlie Whitehurst as their sole signal caller on the roster.
It’s not completely insulting to me that they didn’t pick up a quarterback. When I think of the players who would have been available at number 25, or even later in the late second or third round when they traded back, I feel better about making the call to draft elsewhere.
After the draft, Seahawks General Manager John Schneider admitted they were considering TCU quarterback Andy Dalton with their first pick. But, would he be any better than what we saw from Whitehurst? My feelings are that if Hasselbeck doesn’t come back, that I would rather take my chances with Charlie than any other quarterback that was available for the Hawks.
But allow me to backtrack on that for one moment, because I have to say that Whitehurst is awfully lucky that most fans remember him pumping his fist as he left the field after the Rams. Without that we remember him as a guy who essentially went 0-2 against the Giants and Bucs, and didn’t look great when he came in late in the game against the Falcons.
Had the Seahawks lost that game to the Rams, we’d probably be talking about the excitement of Blaine Gabbert taking over as the new Seahawks quarterback. As interesting that prospect could have been, I have to remind myself that we would have missed that amazing highlight of Marshawn Lynch against the Saints. I still can’t bring myself to delete it off my DVR.
Coach Pete Carroll also made the point that since Seattle used their 2011 third round pick in last year’s trade for Whitehurst, that he was essentially part of their draft class for this year. I’m not buying that as a reason not to select a quarterback when you only have one guy on the roster.
Carroll didn’t exactly offer a glowing endorsement of the quarterback when he simply said, “He’s all we got,” during an interview with the NFL network when they questioned him on who he had slated to start in 2011. At the conclusion of the draft he did offer higher praise for Charlie.
But I still go back to thinking about Hasselbeck dinged up down the stretch, and he would stay in the game well into the fourth quarter of some fairly large deficits. Why not get Whitehurst out for some playing time? But that only seemed to happen when there was no other option and Matt absolutely couldn’t play.
The mixed messages Carroll has been sending don’t fill me with confidence about Whitehurst, but I still tend to feel that he deserves to show that he can build off the Rams win. In the end, Seattle must have been comfortable enough not to try and reach for a quarterback. Maybe I’m reading too much into that, “He’s all we got,” quote. Carroll’s a funny guy and he was simply stating the obvious.
The big rumor coming out following the draft is that Hasselbeck will likely be leaving, and the Hawks were able to set something up with the Bengals to bring in Carson Palmer once the lockout is lifted. If that’s the case, Palmer could be a more durable, yet temporary, solution to the team’s long-term need at quarterback.
Even though a lot has been made about the quarterback position going unfilled, an argument could be made that the defensive line was the team’s biggest need. Raheem Brock, Craig Terrill and Brandon Mebane are all free agents. On top of that, Colin Cole and Red Bryant both missed a significant number of games due to injury.
Linebacker K.J. Wright, who Seattle took in round four, has the potential to fill a role at defensive end due to his size. Lazarius Levingston was the only true lineman selected, and he wasn’t taken until the seventh round. Of those two picks, it’s not likely that either will have an immediate impact on the line.
Not everyone graded the Seahawks badly, however. With some digging you’ll find sports writers at some large papers grading the Hawks in the B-range, generally giving them credit for picking a couple of bruising lineman and some solid value picks.
I’m really excited about the prospects of having a solid young line. According to the Seahawks team reporter Clare Farsworth, the two new draft picks are already projected starters on the right side of the line. Max Unger would move to center, Russell Okung returns at left tackle and a “yet-to-be-determined” left guard would fill out the starting lineup.
I understand that grading a draft is something that has come to be expected once it’s finished, but I will continue to reserve judgment. Two or three years down the road, when we look back at this draft to judge if it truly was successful, it will become clear if Schneider and Carroll know exactly what they are doing in the draft or if they’re just winging it like just about everyone else.