Seahawks Face the Bad Part of a Good Problem (Part 3: Trading Talent for Talent)

The final method for dealing with Seattle's 10 roster-worthy defensive linemen is to trade one. I won't go roster nutter and start conjuring elaborate trade scenarios, but I will analyze who they might trade, their likely value on the open market, what position Seattle might target in return and if Seattle could "win" any likely trade scenario.

Before we get any further, let us remove one name from the pool: Nick Reed. This is an obvious exclusion if you think about it. Reed is a SoCal kid, but a Duck by trade. He is an in-the-pads Northwesterner now that wants to be a Seahawks, is wanted by the Seahawks and is adored by the fans. He has dominated the preseason with his skills, talent and instincts. He defines a certain type of Tim Ruskell pick. A type of Ruskell pick that has been very good to Ruskell; a type that include Lofa Tatupu, Darryl Tapp, Josh Wilson and Brandon Mebane. These smaller guys that have mastered the art of football carry a stigma throughout their careers. That is the other major reason Reed is unmovable: He won't net much. No matter how he dominated the preseason, his size and tools still make him a seventh-rounder. And that's what Seattle would likely get back if they tried to move him.

The players Seattle could trade are Baraka Atkins and Michael Bennett. Both have top pro tools and talent. Atkins was an underachiever at Miami that performed agility drills better than he played football. Ruskell selected him because the tools were there and Ruskell thought the desire was there to work towards fulfilling them. He hasn't shown up like Bennett, but he is bigger, better built, more well-rounded to defend pass and run, and has a regular season résumé.  He is also only a little more than a year older than Bennett. Atkins is quiet where as Bennett is loud. The plays between the plays, the plays that allow the big plays, is where Atkins is more stable and trustworthy than Bennett. Last year against the Pats, he showed a little big play potential, too.

Bennett is the possible-superstar young stud that has, as I said after Seattle's first preseason game, been "the most dominant player at any position," has "lived in the backfield," and "played at another level than his competition" throughout the preseason. His draft position no longer matters. Scouts know Bennett has middle-round tools or better, and if he had been a third round pick, he would be the talk of the preseason and tapped as an emerging star. Bennett dropped because he wasn't productive at Texas A&M and that supported his reputation as an immature underachiever. Seattle bought into the potential and is reaping the rewards.

Bennett and Atkins can both net a mid-round pick. Teams overvalue the draft sometimes. For what they've already shown, both players are worth something like a third-round pick. In reality, a fifth-round pick is probably their market value. That's not a great return and doesn't help Seattle in 2009. Ruskell has mostly worked from a larger plan, but the heat is on this season and he knows he is making decisions that will soon determine his employment.

The other option is to target a player that is in a similar situation on another team: A player that complements Seattle, but is superfluous on his team's roster. This is Seattle's best chance to "win" a trade. The player acquired would most likely be an offensive lineman or cornerback. Seattle is thin enough at both to consider the positions a need. Don't think that narrow though. If Seattle moves one of Atkins or Bennett, what it will want most is talent. If that talent is at another position, like, say, running back, Ruskell's history argues that will not stop him from making that move. The team could swap talent, not fix its immediate needs, but then make another move to shore up the offensive line or secondary. Who that trade partner is and who Seattle would target in a trade is beyond my knowledge, but it sure makes for an interesting 24 hours.

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