Minnesota's Loss Could be Seahawks Gain

The 2009 NFL Draft class exemplifies Cade Massey and Richard H. Thaler's findings about the NFL draft. It has very little elite talent. There is no quarterback as good as Matt Ryan. No tackle as good as Joe Thomas. No defensive end as good Dwight Freeney or even Gaines Adams. No running back as good as Ladainian Tomlinson. No Safety as good as Laron Landry. In short, it sucks. Perfectly in accordance to Massey and Thaler's study, the talent gap between the expected top ten picks and picks 54-64 does not justify the salary gap between the top ten picks and picks 54-64.

In 2009, losers are extra screwed.

Seattle needs a fall guy. The Vikings are a team built to win now in desperate need of a quarterback. Desperate, you say? Tarvaris Jackson just played himself out of ever starting again, in front of his home crowd, in front of the nation; for a coach who lacks confidence in him, for a coach without firm footing, for a coach employed by a GM known to make splashy trades. Rick Spielman traded a first round, two third round and swapped sixth round picks with the Chiefs to acquire all-world defensive end Jared Allen. One might think it worked. Allen played superlatively and the Vikings made the playoffs. Minnesota didn't actually play any better this season than it did last season. In 2007, it tallied a 5.5% DVOA. In 2008, that edged up to 6.8%, but both were 14th overall. For that one player that didn't push Minnesota over the top, the Vikings mortgaged their future, but don't tell poison-Spiel.

So what's stopping Spielman from throwing good money after bad? Certainly not sense, but maybe politics. Things have been chilly between Spielman and Seattle GM Tim Ruskell ever since Spielman signed Steve Hutchinson to a poison pill laden contract that made a Seattle counteroffer functionally impossible. If the two can holster their pistols, Ruskell can exact some revenge.

Today's meltdown earned the Vikings the 24th pick in the NFL draft. That's a bit of a no-man's land for a team desperate for a quarterback: Too late for the studs, too early for the second tier. The antiquated, but presumably still in use NFL draft chart assigns that pick 740 points. Seattle's 4th overall pick is worth 1,800 points. It would take Minnesota's entire draft and then some to match Seattle's first round pick alone. That's enough to make a dumb man giddy, but also fatuitous and outrageously optimistic. Instead, let's say Seattle trades down for Minnesota's 1st, 2nd and 4th round pick. Recent history would imply that's a bit conservative. Research would imply that could be the move that takes Seattle from screwed to contender.

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