5 Questions for Seahawks Draft Blog's Rob Staton

DK: First off, which was your favorite pick for the Seahawks this year and why?

RS: Despite my misgivings about drafting a right tackle in round one, I actually really like James Carpenter. He's a player I talked about frequently on Seahawks Draft Blog last season (see link).

I always believed he was a first round talent that would likely go in the middle rounds due to a lack of hype. He was one of the main reasons I wanted to avoid Gabe Carimi at #25 because he's a superior player that could've been available later, but in the end he was drafted where I believe his talent warranted. He can easily fill in at left tackle when required and I wouldn't be completely stunned if in 2-3 years we actually had a line with Carpenter on the blind side and Okung at right tackle. I was pleasantly surprised by Okung as a rookie despite the injuries, but I didn't grade him as a top-ten pick going into the 2010 draft. It may well be that my projection looks foolish given time, but for what I look for in a left tackle I actually think Carpenter is a better fit. Great lateral agility, he moves incredibly well on his feet for the size. His second level blocking is impressive and he's a consistent force in the run game. He jumped off the screen in 2010.

From this class of tackles I had Tyron Smith at #1 for the position, then Derek Sherrod and James Carpenter to follow. The Seahawks aren't being praised for the pick at the moment because obviously a lot of much greater needs are left untouched (most notably at quarterback). When they've secured some of those other pieces over time, people may look at this pick with a lot more approval. Of course, if they don't find a quarterback quickly - and it's a critical need now - the criticism will be rampant. However, I found it encouraging to see this front office take a chance on a guy filled with so much talent ahead of more limited prospects like Carimi.

DK: Conversely, did any pick have you scratching your head? If so, why?

RS: I'm not a big fan of the trade down at #57 and ultimately the selection of John Moffitt. I understand that they wanted to accumulate more picks and had some targets later on. I've also come to accept the clear plan to improve the offensive line. However, Rodney Hudson was taken at #55 by Kansas City and for me he is a far superior prospect to Moffitt. For a small trade up (just three spots) you're getting a better player. Hudson maybe doesn't fit the size profile they're going for, but he's a brilliant technician who can play any of the interior positions and possibly even spell at right tackle. He absolutely dominated at FSU despite weighing under 300lbs.

Moffitt, who is bigger, doesn't play strong and it's something he simply has to work on. We talk about zone blocking in Seattle yet I don't see the mobility in Moffitt that makes him an obvious fit. I imagine he will only play one position - right guard - and my assesment during the season was really he's just a guy. Lineman from Wisconsin generally are well coached and play above their means to an extent, but I think the Bagders center Peter Konz is a big-time pro-talent and that probably helped Moffitt a little too.

If you simply have to keep addressing the line, then I'd argue to move up and get Hudson. It seems like the Seahawks valued trading down to acquire one more pick more than they actually valued the selection itself. That'll be considered harsh by some people and sincerely I hope I'm wrong about Moffitt, but it was an uninspiring move all round. You also figure in the talent that went off the board between #57-74, including a guy like Justin Houston who would've been excellent value, Terrell McClain a player I really like from USF and not to forget a cluster of talented skill players who also remained available.

DK: What are your thoughts on some of the national media's negative reviews of the Hawks picks? Would you rate this draft so low or do you feel the Hawks did well for themselves?

RS: It's not a draft that will inspire many people and the reaction is to be expected I suppose. After all - if you set out your gradings like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay and teams continually pick players 1-2 rounds above your mark, how else are you supposed to judge the picks? I wouldn't criticise the reaction in the same way I wouldn't go over the top to judge the picks.

If you get 2-3 starters from a draft class it's a big success in my view. Seattle will have two guys starting immediately in Carpenter and Moffitt. If they're still starting in 4-5 years time then it was a good draft. If one of the late rounders sticks, even better. The success or failure of this draft in the grand scheme of things will be judged when the Seahawks finally address other vital positions like quarterback.

DK: You've indicated on your blog that Carson Palmer is a real trade option for the Hawks, Kevin Kolb is a possibility, and Matt Hasselbeck is still an option as well. If all fall through, what are your thoughts on Charlie Whitehurst running the show?

RS: It's hard to judge the guy based on two starts in very different circumstances. I don't think Matt Hasselbeck would've had any more success against the Giants, it was a horrible game all round and a heavy defeat. Having said that, I think the Seahawks would've defeated the Rams irrespective of whether it was Whitehurst or Hasselbeck starting.

The thing that concerns me the most is the way Whitehurst locks onto a target and stares down his receivers. He's a very predictable quarterback and the decision making and accuracy aren't at the level you would hope for. You'd like to think that it could improve given greater experience, but these are core things you look for in a quarterback not aged 28 or 29, but when they enter the league.

I like his mobility and he has a wonderful arm. I want to believe he can improve, but then I wonder why he never seriously challenged Hasselbeck last year, even when Matt was going through a horrible turnover-laden stretch. Perhaps it's due to the fact Seattle were, against all odds, still in contention for the playoffs and wanted to avoid a controversy? Or maybe it's just because despite Hasselbeck's struggles Whitehurst never did enough to sufficiently challenge?

DK: For the sake of argument: Say Mike Brown indeed refuses to trade Palmer, Kevin Kolb and Matt Hasselbeck go elsewhere, and the Hawks are simply not sold on Charlie Whitehurst: who would be their next best option in free agency/trades and why? 

RS: I think it's an unlikely scenario because I understand a deal for Palmer is very possible and they still maintain interest in Hasselbeck. If it did happen regardless, then I think you have to consider what Seattle is looking for at the position. If they want someone to come in and at least be productive to keep things ticking over, Kyle Orton will manage things at the price of probably a third or fourth round pick. Is he ever going to win you a championship? No, but he's at a good age to be a transition quarterback. I am fond of Tyler Thigpen for that kind of situation too and he would be a cheaper alternative.

People will want to tout the big names - McNabb, Young etc. I can't picture the Seahawks showing interest in Young. His departure from Tennessee was remarkable and I'm not convinced, like Michael Vick, that he's hit rock bottom and is ready to realise his obvious potential is going to be wasted. Is jumping from Tennessee to Seattle going to be a wake up call? I'd say no and I doubt the Seahawks would bring in such a divisive figure at a key position like quarterback. Perhaps McNabb could be a filler, but I think they'd much prefer other veterans such as Palmer and Hasselbeck.

There are backups such as Brian Hoyer and Matt Flynn that people will want to discuss, but both will come at a price perhaps above what they've actually proven in the NFL. Trading with Green Bay and New England isn't usually advised.

And such are the limited alternatives that I expect the Seahawks will either complete a deal for Palmer which I understand is in the pipeline, re-sign Hasselbeck or just simply go with Whitehurst. Kolb will cost a small fortune, so while he's an option I expect he will end up elsewhere - possibly Cleveland who has two 2012 first round picks.

Thanks again to Rob Staton. Check out more at Seahawksdraftblog.com.

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