Ok, so we're now a week and a day away from the 2012 NFL Draft so I thought it might be appropriate to take stock of where the Seahawks stand at each position. In this series, I'll take a look at the current roster members, the players the Seahawks have shown interest in, have been connected to, or have had out to the VMAC for a visit, and then I'll give my take on some players I think the Seahawks should target, both in the early rounds and later on.
Because it's kind of an important position, let's start with quarterback.
The Seahawks struck when the iron was hot with Matt Flynn and Seattle's attractiveness as compared with Miami, won out. Flynn brings interesting tools and a Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers tutelage to Seattle and in my mind will win the starting job outright.
I'm not banking on Flynn as a 10-year starter, not remotely, but I think he'll be a better 'game manager' (I prefer the term 'point guard,' but that's semantics) than Tarvaris Jackson was in 2011 and he'll be more effective at spreading the ball out to the Seahawks' talented position players in Zach Miller, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and hopefully Kris Durham, Mike Williams, Anthony McCoy, what have you. Flynn is a rhythm quarterback, dissimilar to Jackson in many ways, but should be an upgrade at the quarterback position in 2012.
Assuming that's how it goes down, Tarvaris Jackson makes an excellent backup quarterback by any measure. Well-respected by his teammates, experienced as a starter, chemistry with some of the skill players, and knows the playbook very well. He's be relatively liked, in that role, by the fanbase. If Matt Flynn struggles or gets injured, Jackson isn't a bad option in relief; he's tough, and can play with a lead, which is about the most you can expect from a backup quarterback in this league, let's be honest.
Josh Portis is everyone's favorite darkhorse at quarterback but I honestly don't expect anything from him in 2012. It wouldn't surprise me if he starts off on the practice squad, especially if the Seahawks draft a quarterback next week, and I can't see the Seahawks crying themselves to sleep if he gets poached from there. Now, he flashed a little bit of potential in the preseason last year and if Seattle forgoes a QB draft pick again this year, I would guess Portis is the #3 QB in 2012, but his roster spot going forward is tenuous, at best, in my opinion. That's not to say he doesn't have some talent, but banking on him turning out as more than a possible #2 is reaching at this point in time.
Final Roster Spot Projection:
My guess right now? Matt Flynn QB1, Tarvaris Jackson QB2, and a drafted quarterback QB3. Portis to the practice squad.
Seahawks' Draft Interest:
The Seahawks have shown an interest in pretty much every quarterback in the draft, but are linked most often to Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, Kirk Cousins, and Russell Wilson. They had Chandler Harnish and Brock Osweiler out to the VMAC on official visits, so that's to be taken into consideration as well. I think if Tannehill falls to them at 12, they will think about it, but I find it much more likely they'll look to take Osweiler or Cousins in round three, if either of them are still there, or perhaps wait and see if Russell Wilson is available in round four.
Harnish will probably be available in the sixth or seventh round, along with B.J. Coleman, Austin Davis, or G.J. Kinne, so those are options late. Aaron Corp has a Pete Carroll connection, so he's one guy to keep an eye on, and Jacory Harris fits the profile as an athletic, mobile quarterback that the Seahawks have liked. LSU's Jordan Jefferson fits this profile as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see one of these guys come in as undrafted free agents.
Depending on how the board falls though, it won't shock me if they don't draft a QB this year, instead hitting up UDFAs much like last year.
Players to Watch:
I like Russell Wilson a lot for Seattle at this point, ideally not until the fourth round. My interest in him is piqued because of his supposed 'first-round' talent that will likely fall precipitously because of his height. He's the definition of a flyer, and If you're going to take a later round guy, I'd hope it's someone with a higher ceiling. I think Wilson has a higher potential than Cousins despite his height concerns and I think he fits pretty well in the Seahawks' offense.
Play action, boot action, run heavy - some similarities for sure to what Wisconsin did last year and it's a system that Wilson flourished in. High percentage of completions, low number of turnovers, sells play action extremely well, and can make the deep throw when asked. He moves around in the pocket well, in my opinion, and despite his height, not many passes get batted down.
Matt Waldman did a couple nice pieces on Wilson that highlighted ways that he could be used in the NFL and compares that to how Drew Brees' lack of height is mitigated in the NFL by the Saints. They provide an interesting take, for sure, and only strengthen my interest in Wilson. Part one here, part two here.
I think the Seahawks will like his leadership ability and mobility on the field, and he's got a big enough arm to make most of the throws. For a fourth round pick, he'd be an interesting gamble.
I wouldn't be disappointed if the Hawks looked at San Diego State's Ryan Lindley at around that spot in the draft either. He's got a big arm and fits the profile athletically. Because anyone outside the first two rounds is, in reality, a developmental project, with a likely ceiling of career backup at best, I'm not going to lose sleep worrying about whoever it is they do or don't take if they do indeed draft a QB this year.