Walter Jones is no longer an elite left tackle. Where once Jones was irreplaceable, he is now simply inadequately able to be replaced. That is, Jones is not so good that the Hawks couldn't hope to replace his production with another player; they just don't have that player on roster. Sean Locklear wouldn't be lost at left tackle, perhaps deficient, but not disastrous or crippling. His replacement on the right, though, presumably Ray Willis, would jeopardize any hopes of contention. Willis may yet develop into a serviceable starter, but we're far from knowing that. Combining the inherent value of the position, the age of the incumbent and the overall team depth, no position presents a greater need for Seattle than offensive tackle.
3-Tech Defensive Tackle
Without the proper personnel upfront, Seattle's too-small linebacker corps suddenly becomes too small. In 2006, featuring the same 3 star linebackers as in 2005 and 2007, but with Bernard hobbled, Tubbs lost and the 1-tech manned by Chartic Darby, Seattle's rush defense fell apart. Leroy Hill, Julian Peterson and Lofa Tatupu do many things well, but do not consistently shed blockers. With Brandon Mebane proving to be a rock at the 1, Howard Green contributing enough to spell Mebane without outright failure and the impending free agency of Rocky Bernard, Seattle needs a 3-tech. Craig Terrill is a situational one gap specialist and valuable in that role, but he falls apart against the run and would lay in tattered pieces strewn across the turf if ever pressed into extended service. Further, Seattle's relies on their 3 to provide vital interior pressure. Nothing preempts the opposing passing offense like fast arriving inside pressure. Combining the value of the position within the Seahawk's scheme, the age and contract of the incumbent and the overall team depth, no position other than offensive tackle represents a greater need for Seattle than the 3-tech defensive tackle.
Positions like tight end, wide receiver and backup quarterback would benefit from better talent, but I do not consider them needs. Mike Holmgren has never needed top talent at tight end or wide receiver to field a productive passing attack, and I don't think 2008 will be any different. And though Seattle ceases to contend without Hasselbeck, so too can be said about nearly every team without its franchise quarterback. Them's the breaks in the NFL. Offensive and defensive tackle are the only two positions I believe Seattle needs to fill in the draft. And other than those two positions, I hope Seattle consistently picks best available talent regardless of position. Even if it means starting Jeb Putzier, Joe Newton, Nate Burleson and Courtney Taylor.