My wife focuses on what is actual. I focus on what is possible. Over the years I have to come value her focus more than my own. Still, my brain naturally looks toward a better future. Especially when my personal fan goal is for my NFL team, the Seahawks, to win a Super Bowl.
Of course, things could change over the course of the 2011 season. But here goes. The 2012 Seahawks Draft.
No real explanation needed. I will spend some DVR time this year watching Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, Ryan Tannehil, Ryan Lindley, Austin Davis and Kirk Cousins. Some of these quarterbacks will probably fall off the map to some degree. There will likely be a quarterback that jumps up out of nowhere.
I lean towards the idea that Matt Barkley and the one to remain nameless are head and shoulders above the rest. I also tend to think the one that shall remain nameless has a lot of ground on Barkley. I think they will both be fine NFL quarterbacks. Matt Barkley may stay in school per our USC man on the ground- Scott Enyeart. That would be too bad. If the Seahawks do draft late in Round 1- I would support trading the entire house to move up if the front office feels the necessary quality is only at the top of the round.
Edge pass rusher. Leo. Defensive End.
Raheem Brock is on the wrong side of 30. Chris Clemons will soon be on the wrong side of 30. I don't think the team is going to hang their long term hat on Dexter Davis or Jimmy Wilkerson. I looked at the last five Super Bowl winning teams, the Colts, Giants, Steelers, Saints, and Packers, and four out of five of those teams had Elite quarterbacks.
No, Eli is not an Elite. He is a Franchise quarterback- but not elite. He is a good quarterback, but I am not here to talk about Eli. Five out of those five teams had at least one dangerous edge rusher. Colts with Freeney and Mathis. Giants with Strahan, Osi and Justin Tuck. Steelers with Harrison and Woodley. Saints had Will Smith. Green Bay had Clay Matthews III.
Red Bryant is a base-defense only type player. He really should be on the field for only about 30-40 snaps. In high leverage passing situations we need heat off both edges. I do believe that pressuring the quarterback with four down lineman will drastically help the secondary. Of course, someday, I want us to have a shutdown cornerback, but I do think an edge pressure player is more important at this stage of our build.
Interior pass rusher. Backup-rotational Three-Tech.
It would be really awesome if this Clinton McDonald trade is the answer here. Maybe it is. Something inside me tells me that it isn't. What the trade does tell me is that the Seahawks know they need something here. They have several massive two-gap style defensive end/tackle types- Alan Branch, Red Bryant - and to a certain degree- Brandon Mebane. What they don't have is a true inside pass rusher. They hoped Jay Alford would show something. Cut him. They hoped Balmer could do something. Cut him. Ryan Sims? Nope.
This defensive tackle does not need to be 325-340 pounds. He should probably be around 290-305 pounds. I think this is a reasonable round to pick up this type of player because the truly elite- "Do everything well" type player will be snatched up on Rounds 1 or 2. This guy can be undersized and deficient against the run. This is the kind of guy that plays perhaps 20-30 snaps per game- who can collapse the pocket, create pressure, force some double teams and get a few sacks from the interior. If they were decent against the occasional run that would be a bonus.
Darkhorse- perhaps a Pete Carroll type Cornerback drops down to round 3. This guy would likely be above 6 feet tall and perhaps he has round 1 or round 2 type talent but fell for some reason. Perhaps it is an injury like a blown out knee or character flaw.
Darkhorse 2- swing tackle- more on this...
We have invested our top two picks in 2010 and 2011 on our "bookend" Tackles. We need some insurance on those players. Okung, because of some concerning injuries. Carpenter, because he may not be ready to play at the NFL level yet. Or perhaps after one or two years a coach decides it is best that he move inside.
It's too early to give up on him Davis! Well yeah. I am not saying give up on him. Just saying it is not ludicrous to think that he may be better suited to play inside. I hope he pans out outside. Shawn Zobel wrote a favorable write-up on James Carpenter in his 2011 Draft Guide. He was high on Carpenter. He did say this:
"Because he doesn't have the elite height or foot quickness you look for in a left tackle, James' best fit in the NFL will likely come either at right tackle or inside at guard."
Now, if you get to Round 4 and there is no one here better than a Tyler Polumbus- then you stick with Tyler Polumbus or whoever is filling that Tyler Polumbus role. Best case scenario is you end up landing a Doug Free. He was a 4th round pick who now starts in the NFL.
Darkhorse- SAM Linebacker. Good chance Aaron Curry's last year in Seattle is 2011. KJ Wright has moved inside. May find an intriguing 4-3 outside linebacker here.
We may not have a 5th or a 7th round pick in 2012. We may only have a 6th. I can see us choosing one or the other when picking up Marshawn Lynch or Justin Forsett. They are both free agents in 2012. It is likely Lynch- with his image is displayed on the CLink Parking Garage alongside Earl Thomas.
I think both running backs can be replaced, but I can see them just replacing one. I would probably lean towards Lynch because Leon's contract eats into Forsett's carries a bit more I imagine. If I were drafting- I think I would go for a middle-sized back. Not 200-205 lbs. Not 220-230 lbs. Maybe 215 lbs. Someone who isn't a power back- but has a little more mass than Forsett at the line of scrimmage.
At this point- it really all depends on what you are able to do in free agency with your players and players from other teams. In late rounds it really should be a truly best player available unless you are absolutely loaded at the position.
NOTE: This article was written on Friday, before roster cutdown, and predictably, the Seahawks went out and got a swing tackle and a couple interior pass-rush guys in Jarriel King, Landon Cohen, and (to a lesser extent) Al Woods. Not saying these guys are the answer, but those are the needs.