In which we challenge at least one assumption and point out a loitering elephant.
6. Derrick Morgan, DE: Lawrence Jackson is Seattle's best standard defensive end. Nick Reed, Brandon Miller and Robert Henderson provide some menial depth. It's a premium position, or, end in general is a premium position. If Aaron Curry does not take to stand up end, Seattle's defense will probably suck. It will lack any one player that can provide consistent pass rush. Curry had 9.5 sacks in 51 games played at Wake Forest and 2.5 sacks his senior season. He blitzed quite a bit as a rookie, but only had two sacks in 14 games. You see...this could be a big problem.
Or it could just mean that Seattle is targeting a top defensive end. At six, it has its pick. Morgan is probably the best end in a weak overall class. Morgan lacks top flight athleticism. He's more Lawrence Jackson than Mario Williams: Williams of course being the projectable hyper-athlete and Jackson the unflashy regular that does a little of everything but nothing supremely well. It's less than ideal, for sure, a seeming overdraft and a horizontal move reminiscent of moving Julian Peterson to draft Aaron Curry, but that it doesn't seem wise does not mean it won't happen. Seattle is in a tough spot. It traded its best pass rusher, lost another to retirement, and is either relying on Curry, a questionable decision, or relying on the draft, a foolhardy decision. If one of Morgan or Curry can become a Pro Bowl force, this could work, but if not, hoo-boy.
14. Dez Bryant, WR: Seattle wanted to trade for Brandon Marshall but was shut out in part because it moved down in the second to acquire Charlie Whitehurst. It didn't retain Nate Burleson, and despite some fanboy wishcasting, has no established receiver behind T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch. That's bad. It needs to add a wide receiver and preferably one that can start. Great wide receivers can push a good offense towards greatness, but are mostly minor contributors to teams that need, among other things, an offensive line and quarterback.
If Seattle was interested in Marshall and willing to spend big to acquire him, despite his contract demands and character concerns, it seems like a natural destination for Dez Bryant. Bryant is good, very good, and could be better than Marshall, but it's unlikely. He is a Marshall-type receiver, able to bully defensive backs and break tackles in the open field, but whereas Marshall has proven those abilities against NFL defenses, Bryant is just a prospect. He could be good, he could be great, but it's a shame Seattle needs him to hit the ground running, because even many great receivers need time to adjust.
60. Jared Veldheer, OT: People like sleepers like they like finding loose cash. It feels like something for nothing. Veldheer, unfortunately, is not really a sleeper. At this point, he's been run through his paces like any other pick, and if he was so amazing, given his height and frame and workout athleticism, he would be more highly ranked. It's not a small school thing. Small school players regularly rise into the first round. It's a matter of ability not yet reaching projection. Veldheer is not yet good at playing offensive tackle - or not good enough to merit a higher pick. He isn't King Dunlap, but I would not want to count on him to start as a rookie. Seattle will expect him to start, and like Ed Wang, it will take some epic coaching up by Alex Gibbs for that to work.
104. Kam Chancellor, S: This isn't meant to be a bummer, but though I liked Chancellor in college, he looks mismatched for the pro game. Seattle needs a safety and I think Carroll wants that safety to be an enforcer. Turning end into a need forces other positions down, and for safety, that means drafting a player in the fourth that will likely start in week one. Chancellor is strong and aware, but lacks range, and may have to convert to linebacker - if he can. There are other possibilities here. Reshad Jones, maybe. Chad Jones fits, but is likely gone before Seattle selects in the fourth. None of these guys are day one starters, or, shouldn't be.
127. Montario Hardesty, RB: Hardesty surged up boards after his sterling showing at the NFL Combine. He might be gone long before the late fourth, or, he might not. Running back may be the most speed, or rather, quickness dependent position in football. So a 4.49 forty is a meaningful indication of ability, but it only matters if Hardesty is healthy and his tools hold. 4.49 is good, not great, and a short hop, skip and a(nother) torn ACL from bad. This class of backs has good potential, but after C.J. Spiller, Ryan Mathews and maybe Jahvid Best, there's not a lot that separates Toby Gerhart from Ben Tate from Joe McKnight. That could cause the second tier to fall down boards as teams wait to see who is selected first. I assume it will. Hardesty might not be available this late, but I could see it, and if he does fall, he becomes a high upside value pick that perfectly fits Seattle's scheme.
133. John Skleton, QB: Skelton is a tall, live-armed quarterback that will need time to develop. Seattle has that luxury or thinks it does. I think he maxes out as a play-action quarterback that survives on the viability of the run game, but if Seattle is taking fliers, looking to fill the position through volume rather than eminent talent, Skelton fits their profile and has potential to start one day.
139. A.J. Jefferson, CB: Seattle needs help in its secondary and so far this draft hasn't provided much. In many ways, Jefferson is just another body on the pile. Someone you hope develops, but is not remarkable for being productive or standout athletic or high upside or whatever. However Jefferson is an excellent kickoff returner and Seattle needs one. He's tall and fast and has excellent agility, and maybe just maybe, something else can come of him, but he satisfies his pick simply as a return ace and secondary depth.
176. George Johnson, DE: Drafting Morgan commits Seattle to a 4-3 base and that means a greater need for a starting end and depth. Johnson was a decently productive end for Rutgers that's noteworthy (though it's irrelevant in this scenario) for playing some stand up end. He is a shade over 6'4" and has the necessary bulk and could serve as depth for years to come.
245. Kenny Alfred, OL: The theme of this draft is the fallout from punching one too many holes in the Seahawks roster. Seattle has opened a ton on its own, and even given the strong draft and its numerous picks, there is a breaking point. Alfred is a good utility interior lineman that satisfies Gibbs' standards for desire and technique, and isn't hopeless moving in space. In most schemes he's strictly a center, but in Seattle, Alfred could play some guard. That will have to do, because in this draft, interior offensive linemen are a luxury.