Derek Stephens and I got together the week before the 49ers game to talk Seahawks linebacker targets in the 2013 NFL Draft. We meander and talk a little about Defensive Tackles and Wide Receivers, because we are prone to rabbit trails. Before getting to the podcast thought - I wanted to share a few draft thoughts below:
INTRO TO 2013 SEAHAWKS NFL DRAFT THOUGHTS
Writing about the Seahawks Draft needs has become easier and easier over the last three years. The team is markedly better on both sides of the ball, and the team is still extremely young. The team has a personality, philosophy and identity on offense and defense. Earlier in this regime, fans were prone to bicker over what Pete Carroll is specifically looking for in a position player. Much of that was interjecting what Pete did at USC, or what John Schneider saw at Green Bay. Some of those arguments held true, and some fell away as fans witnessed that Pete was doing something unique.
Again, as time has progressed, those arguments are getting ironed out and the remaining holes are getting more clear. We know the odd defensive front-7 scheme that is unique to Seattle. The Red Bryant 5-Tech. The Leo. The long SAM linebacker. The fast MIKE linebacker. We know the defensive secondary scheme that is also rather unique to Seattle.
You need to have incredible length (K.J. Wright, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman) or incredible speed (Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner). And, most importantly, we know what Pete and John now meant when they wanted in a "game manager-mobile-tilt the field" Quarterback. Hello, Russell Wilson.
That being said, the team needs to continue to add talent and depth, as age, injuries and free agency will eventually erode the roster over time if you rest on your laurels. I think now, more than ever, the Seahawks can take the "best player available", but overall, this is still a team that goes for "fit"- and "fit" could be more closely associated with the term "need" than "best-player-available".
Here is what I think should be the top 5 draft picks for the Seahawks in 2013. Obviously, free agency can change this list a bit. But, here is my take:
**DT, WR, LB, TE, OL**
In this first podcast, we expound on the linebacker position, and plan on talking defensive tackle and wide receiver in upcoming weeks.
When I re-watched the Bills game, one of the biggest plays of the game was the K.J. Wright interception to open the 3rd Quarter. The Bills had stolen some momentum before half, and their offense had been moving down the field at an uncomfortable clip and they had just hit a 3rd and 20 - which isn't as shocking as it once was versus the Seahawks defense. Wright also had a solid open field tackle in the flat in the first half. In the Cardinals game, he had the great breakup of the Fitzgerald catch on the Cardinals' first drive that resulted in the Walter Thurmond diving tip-up and Wagner interception and long return.
Seahawks fans know how exciting Bobby Wagner is as a tackler, in coverage, and behind the line of scrimmage. Malcolm Smith has been solid in the last few games, and may have taken Leroy Hill's starting spot at weakside linebacker. Pete Carroll has said about Malcolm, "this is the best I have ever seen him." To me, that is a compliment, but could be interpreted more as faint praise.
The interesting thing about a weakside linebacker to me is that if you want to keep Wright and Wagner on the field at all times, then you choose to take the weakside linebacker off the field in nickel, typically replaced by the nickel corner. The question in my mind is, do you want to spend another 1st or 2nd round pick on a player that only plays half of the snaps? (Obviously, the Seahawks did so with Bruce Irvin in 2012, but he'll begin to take over for full-time starter Chris Clemons at some point). You could take Wright off the field in nickel, and I think it is more logical to always leave the middle linebacker on the field in all situations.
If you want to keep Wright on the field at all times, perhaps it would make more sense to spend a 3rd or 4th round pick on a weakside linebacker to battle with Malcolm Smith. If you draft one in the 1st or 2nd round, then in my mind- you would expect him to play the entire game, perhaps not as a rookie, but likely in his second campaign.
Derek talks here about some interesting weakside linebackers that could be available in the late 1st to 3rd round. Their names are below, and below I've embedded some links to some video clips of these players.
- Alec Ogletree
- Arthur Brown
- Khaseem Greene
- We also talk about C.J. Mosley, who has recently decided to stay in school rather than declare for the draft.
Derek also throws in the names of a few sleepers that may be available later in the draft toward the end. We also talk about the Seahawks philosophy that bleeds into all of their roster decisions. Check it out, right here (right click to download):
You can find all of Derek's stuff at ScoutTheSeahawks.com and he posts on Field Gulls as well. In the next few months, Derek will also be working with Rob Rang and NFLDraftScout, doing player reports for the upcoming 2013 draft, and hopefully contributing here as well, time permitting. Follow him on twitter @dstephensscout.
All scouting videos via DraftBreakdown.com: