SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 22: Matt Barkley #7 of the University of Southern California Trojans runs for a first down against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
If the NFL season ended today, the Seahawks would be drafting 8th overall. Before the season began I predicted the Seahawks would finish 6-10. Picking 8th seems about right. At times I felt they would pick higher and at times I have felt they would pick lower, but again, 8th seems about right to me. I can see them finishing the last 10 games of the season 4-6. Maybe 5-5.
If the NFL season ended today, the teams drafting ahead of Seattle would be (1) Indianapolis Colts (2) St. Louis Rams (3) Miami Dolphins (4) Minnesota Vikings (5) Arizona Cardinals (6) Jacksonville Jaguars (7) Carolina Panthers.
There have been Seahawks links to QB Matt Barkley because Pete Carroll recruited him to USC. Some draft experts feel that Barkley lacks elite talent and will never be more than an average NFL quarterback. Others go on record as saying that Barkley is not that far behind Andrew Luck.
Barkley's detractors say: he is not tall enough, he does not have a strong enough arm, he hasn't led a bunch of gutty fourth quarter comebacks, and that he depends too much on all world WR Robert Woods. If Matt Barkley stays in college, then of course all bets are off, but if he comes out, this article applies.
Barkley's proponents say he is polished, smart, accurate and possesses the leadership qualities you are looking for as the face of your franchise. Is he worth trading up for? I think he is, but there are limits. You make your own call with the data presented below.
There are national pundits that like Oklahoma QB Landry Jones better than Barkley. I would say that most services I read have Barkley #2 and Jones #3. There is a lot of criticism of Jones cracking under pressure and justified hate of the spread system.
The other two top QBs are Baylor's Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. These two Big 12 prospects are considered talented but raw, with experts placing them anywhere from Round 1 to Round 4 (or lower).
THE SIDE OF A HALFPIPE
I used to skateboard as a kid. Have you ever looked at the side of a halfpipe? At the lip (the coping) the transition gets vertical or almost vertical. I was never great at statistics, but something akin to an exponential distribution is how I would describe the point value system of the NFL Draft.
Some call it the Jimmy Johnson Draft Value Chart. Some say it is out-dated. Some say it was marred by the previous CBA in the high dollars paid in Round 1. Some say it may be back in effect with the new CBA or perhaps it will be altered again with the new CBA. I am not sure.
I have another article coming out this week analyzing the Jimmy Johnson chart and the 2011 1st Round trade-ups for Blaine Gabbert and Julio Jones. The CBA was not finalized at the time- but the contracts paid to Blaine Gabbert and Julio Jones were modest compared to 2010. You can make your own judgement, but for the sake of this article, let's just assume that it holds.
As you can see from the chart, the first four picks have a 400 point value differential. I always wondered why Jim L Mora intimated on Softy that no one was willing to take the #4 pick in 2009 as they were looking to trade down. Yet, the Jets were happy to sweep in at the #5 to take Sanchez. It never made sense to me. Perhaps there is a reason.
The 400 point drop levels down to a 100 point drop from Pick 4 to Pick 5 (1800 for Pick 4 and 1700 for Pick 5 and this continues through Pick 8 at 1400 points). Once you hit Pick 9 the slope drops 50 points per pick until you reach pick 18. The rest of Round 1 drops down around 25 to 20 points per pick.
A skateboard ramp.
400 points is worth pick 50 (middle of Round 2). Da'Quan Bowers was pick 51 in 2011. 100 points is worth pick 100 (top of Round 4). KJ Wright was pick 99 in 2011. 50 points is worth pick 122 (bottom of Round 4). That territory is where the Delone Carters and Owen Marecic's are found. 25 points is worth an upper Round 6 pick. Think, Byron Maxwell territory.
What's the point? The point is that it is expensive to trade up into the top 4 picks. It will cost your 4x more to move up one rung on the ladder in Picks 1-4 versus Picks 5-8. This may all be relevant to the Seahawks. Trust me.
TEAM BY TEAM
I want to go team by team down the list of 7 franchises currently ahead of Seattle and flush out reasons why they would not trade down with Seattle, why they would trade with Seattle, and what the possible costs would be to Seattle in terms of draft picks.
If they finish with the #1 pick there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth around the country. In this scenario they would draft Andrew Luck and then trade Peyton Manning if Peyton is healthy. Andrew is over 10 years younger and far cheaper. Consider this, Cam Newton was "only" paid $22M over 4 years. Peyton is paid over $22M in one year. They would trade Peyton Manning- pray that he passes his physical and turn the page with some extra draft picks. The rest of the NFL would curse them.
If they did not have the #1 pick because of winning games or strength of schedule I believe they would draft Matt Barkley or Landry Jones if Peyton Manning is not healthy enough to return. I do not think they would trade down as a legitimate quarterback is worth about 9-10 wins on that particular team. That is amazing but true.
If Peyton can come back, this would be a team, if drafting 2nd overall, that would trade down in my opinion. Why? They drafted two tackles in 2011- Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijalana. Are they going to draft another tackle on a team full of holes? Are they going to draft Ryan Kalil or Johnathan Martin? I don't think so.
I am not sure if they draft a defensive end- even though Mathis and Freeney are getting older. In the Top 8 or so picks- the premium three positions to draft are: QB, left tackle and defensive end/impact defensive tackle. There is no defensive tackle worthy to be drafted in the top 8. There is perhaps one defensive end worthy of being drafted in the top 8.
Things will change before draft day- but let me finish Indianopolis by saying that I think if Peyton is healthy and they are drafting #2 or #3 they would trade down in Round 1 to gain more picks as the team needs to fill holes all over the roster.
The cost to trade from #8 to #2 would likely be a 2011 1st Rd Pick and a 2012 1st Rd Pick- and that is just for starters. (Pick #2 is worth 2600 points and pick #8 is only worth 1400 points- the 1200 point gap is equivalent to the #12 pick overall). Ouch.
St. Louis will likely not want to trade with Seattle, especially by handing them a franchise quarterback as a division rival. St. Louis is also a team that has drafted two tackles high in the draft recently- Jason Smith as the #2 overall pick in 2009 and Roger Saffold as the #33 overall pick in 2010. They drafted DE Robert Quinn in Round 1 in 2011 and another DE- Chris Long #2 overall in 2008. They, of course, drafted QB Sam Bradford #1 overall in 2010. Now you say, 'but Davis- none of these players are very good.' I am not saying they are good or not, but I am saying arguably that STL does not need a Tackle, Quarterback or a Defensive End.
They need several good cornerbacks and wide receivers in my opinion. There are some good corners and receivers worthy of being selected in Round 1. None of them are locks to go in the first 7 slots. STL is a team that should trade down in my opinion and receive an extra 2nd round pick in 2012 or an extra 1st round pick in 2013 and load up corners and wideouts or any other position they so desire.
They would prefer to do this with any team but Seattle- but if Seattle is offering them extra high draft picks and is the only team doing so, they will consider it. They need more talent. In terms of trade costs, it would be similar to the Indianopolis scenario.
Miami used to have a good running game and a good defense. What happened? 2011 has been a disaster. After replacing Tony Sparano, the new coaching regime is going to want to draft a QB. If Miami drafts #1 overall they will take Andrew Luck. No more fooling around in Round 2 (see Chad Henne, Pat White and John Beck).
My philosophy is that if a QB is not worthy of being drafted in Round 1 as a franchise quarterback- then he is not worthy of being drafted as a starter at all. Draft him late as a backup. The only good QB in the last 12 years drafted in Round 2 is Drew Brees. There have been a little more than a dozen or so other QBs drafted in Round 2 in the last 12 years, and they all end up being Kevin Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson or worse.
If Miami drafts #2 overall I think they draft Matt Barkley. I see almost no chance that Miami is a trade partner with Seattle. The only possible slim scenario I could see is if they think Landry Jones or some other quarterback is as good or better than Barkley. In that case they may think about it. It would still be risky. I think too risky because if they moved down to #8 to take for example, Landry Jones, another team may sneak into picks 4-7 and take their QB. They would be left with more picks but possibly missing their targeted trigger-man and holding the proverbial bag.
Ah. Here is a trade partner. They drafted QB Christian Ponder #12 overall in 2011. They have holes on their team. They need corners, wideouts and a left tackle. This is a team that does not need a QB, and if they were sitting at Pick 2 or 3- trading down to Pick 8 might be ideal. They may still get the #2 left tackle on the board at #8 and get an extra 2nd round pick in 2012 or extra 1st round pick in 2013. Minnesota would not have the "never trade inside your division" concern that St. Louis would have.
Seahawks fans hoping for a trade partner should pray for Minnesota to lose and leap ahead of Miami or Indianopolis. They play in a tough division. It could happen.
Arizona, Jacksonville and Carolina
Jacksonville just drafted Blaine Gabbert and Carolina has Cam Newton. These teams, if they are drafting ahead of Seattle won't want Matt Barkley. I don't think they are viable trade partners because Seattle will know that they are going to draft another position and pose no real threat. Seattle will likely just stay put unless a team below Seattle is seeking to trade up- in that scenario perhaps Seattle would move up to protect it's position. Jacksonville or Carolina may prefer Seattle as a trade partner because they could pick up an extra 4th round pick for essentially nothing and not fall down on the board.
Arizona, Arizona. Drafting 5th last year and drafting 5th again in 2012? They signed Kevin Kolb to a big contract. Yet the team is not better. Perhaps they could be a trade partner, even though a division rival, I think Arizona has several holes. They need outside and inside linebackers as well as help at left tackle. Some say they need a new QB, but I think they have to stick with Kolb with all that guaranteed money. If Arizona moves up to #2 or #3- as distasteful as it may be to trade with a division rival, it's a team that needs extra draft picks and if Seattle is the only one offering them a trade, again, they have to consider it.