With a closer-than-it-looked loss to the Bengals giving us a good week 8 look at what the Seahawks need to be more competitive next year, I feel now is the appropriate time to start in with some looks at individual player analysis. I mean for this to be more of a launch point for some draft discussion, so don't put too much stock into individual picks. Here is what I feel the Seahawks need to be looking for in the draft or free agency next year in order to be a playoff contender:
QB: As long as it doesn't cost too much. I am not one of those that believes we should be trading up to get Barkley. This is predicated on the fact that Tarvaris will prove to be (at least) an average quarterback, as he still has another year left on his contract. IMHO, we have a lot of needs that should be handled this year in rounds 2-4, and I would hate to give up all of that (especially over multiple years) to get one guy that may or may not pan out.
G: Gallery has looked mediocre and does nothing for this team that a rookie couldn't do. I think we target a guy on day 3 to replace him ASAP. An O-line that can play together for 10 years, with guys like Gallery for depth in case one goes down is how I think we should continue from here on out.
RT: Even your most uninformed fair-weather fan knows that Carpenter has looked bad thus far. He gets beat off the edge, is penalized incessantly, and is not developing as fast as most had hoped. Drafting a good RT is a round 2 affair (at minimum), so I hope that he shows progress and we are able to keep him on the end. Otherwise, he has the size to move to LG in place of Gallery, and will hopefully perform better at a position where less is riding on him.
RB: I love Beast Mode, and not only because of the Beast Quake run or the fact that he has a cool nickname. He is, in my opinion, the protypical back. At right around 5'10" 220, he can hit a hole hard, and make a cut at the second level. Unfortunately for Lynch, I also believe that good running backs can be had in round 3 or later. This year I think Chris Polk - WASH, Doug Martin - BOISE, David Wilson - VT, and Isaiah Pead - CINCINATTI, have all of these qualities. Also, Lynch is in a contract year and has recently missed time to back spasms; something that can mean that he is nearing the end of his career (especially at a position with such a short shelf life). This is something that no RB can afford, especially one that has never put up big numbers in his NFL career.
WR: Just kidding
DE: The Hawks really need to get some pressure on the QB, and an elite pass rusher appears to be the simplest fix to that problem. It seems to me, however, that our success against the run game has been predicated on the fact that we essentially have 4 run-stuffing D-linemen, so not just any 3-4 OLB will do at LEO end. Unfortunately, a DE that is both an elite pass-rusher and a quality run-stuffer is the kind of guy that goes off the board in the first round.
CB: Pete Carrol seems to love big CB's that are good in press coverage with help over the top from the safeties. Against Cincinatti, Browner and Sherman did a pretty great job, and I hope that they will continue to do so. Depth is something that the Seahawks will need going forward, and there are a lot of good corners that fit this mold available this year that could potentially start ahead of these two.
LB: Admittedly, I don't know too much about our linebacking situation. The consensus is that we have been pretty solid there, but I'm sure that there is still room for improvement with all the turnover that has happened at this position throughout the year.
The way I see it now, this draft SHOULD go one of two ways. Either we draft a QB in the first round, or we trade down to address our other needs. Assuming we draft 7th overall, scenario one hopefully looks something like this:
1 - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
2 - Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
3 - Doug Martin, RB, Boise St
4 - Best available DE/OG/LB
5+ - High upside players that are hopefully position of need
Scenario two assuming we trade down to about position 18 and get an additional 2nd and 3rd round this year, we really just go best available at every position of need. All draft big boards are so different thus far, but if I use CBS's big board, my dream draft would look something like this:
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings/TSX/2012 ... updated 11/1/2011
1 - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
2 - Monti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
2 - Brandon Lindsey, DE/OLB, Pitt
3 - Stephon Gilmore, CB, SC
3 - Doug Martin, RB, Boise St
RG3: I have read a lot about this guy the last couple weeks. Watching his games, I like how fast the ball comes out of his hand, his mobility, and his accuracy. Prior to Cam Newton, I was totally against "running" QB's (see Tim Tebow), but I think RG3 is a guy that *COULD* be a more accurate Michael Vick given some time. The biggest selling point for me is what I have been reading about him being a smart kid, so I hold out hope that he could incorporate whatever tweaks in his mechanics need to be made for him to be an elite passer. I am far from sold on RG3, but if we are drafting at 8, then QB is still our biggest need.
Te'o: I started following 2012 mock drafts around week 2 when Burfict was the consensus number 1 ILB and projected comfortably in the top 10. I still see many mocks with him going around pick 10-15, but after watching tape on him, I would prefer Monti. Te'o is a hard hitter and seems to be more of a leader than Burfict. He also excels in pass coverage and could slide over to any linebacking spot.
Lindsey: Has good speed off the edge and a couple decent moves. Granted, these are against lesser teams, but he looks like a solid LEO option. Negatives: Got stood up a few times.
Gilmore: At 6'1 193, this is the type of corner Pete likes. Looked stupid on a few routes against 'Bama (mostly Julio Jones), but is a good tackler and looked OK both on and off the line. Didn't see him getting too physical in press, but it seems like that is something that could be taught.
Doug Martin! - I frickin' love this guy. I know all you UW fans love Polk (and I think Polk is the better back), but he's putting up numbers that will take him off the board late 1st or early 2nd round. Doug Martin on the other hand (5' 09" 210) plays in a pass-heavy offense and is a Ray Rice clone. He hits the hole violently, fights for every yard, has speed in the open field, great cuts, and is solid in pass protection. I also really like David Wilson - VT, but his numbers are going to be too big this year for him to last into round 3.
My "dream" draft doesn't include anyone on the O-line to replace Gallery or Carpenter if they fail to improve. A guy like Cordy Glenn is an interesting prospect as he has played tackle and looked pretty bad against Boise, but could be good at guard. He is being projected as a first rounder in many drafts, but if he falls beyond that, he is the type of guy I wouldn't mind picking up with his size and versatility. It's not that I don't think OG/OT is a postition of need so far this season, but based on CBS big board, I thought that this was the best way to go.