We all hope that the Seahawks will go 16-0 en route to winning the Super Bowl, but few of us actually expect that. In this breakdown I will contrast what I hope for each of our draft picks with what I actually expect of them.
The selection of Bruce Irvin at 15th overall was met with a resounding "Who?" by much of Seahawks nation. The Bruce Irvin pick is one the most controversial in the draft and has been scorned by much of the national media, leading Mel Kiper to give the Seahawks the lowest grade for any team, and Walt at WalterFootball.com to give the pick the worst grade he has ever given any pick in the history of the NFL draft.
I was at first very skeptical of the pick as I drank the Mel Kiper cool-aid, but after reading up more on Bruuuuuuuuuuuuce, and watching some highlight reels I am excited to see him coming off the edge and getting to the QB.
My hope for Bruce is that he is a pass rushing sensation his rookie year, mirroring Aldon Smith's production last year and picking up 12-15 sacks as he plays 3rd downs along with Clemons, and occasionally spells Clemons in the LEO spot on 1st and 2nd downs. I hope that he eventually takes over the LEO spot from Clemons and is a fixture in opponents' backfields for years to come racking up double digits sacks on a consistent basis, and the Bruuuuuuuuuuuce chant becomes as much a part of Sundays at the Clink as the Eddd-gaaaaaaaar chants were at the Kingdome once upon a time.
My Expectations for Bruce are somewhat more tempered. I expect to be a pass rushing threat on obvious passing situations from the get go, but can see him struggling to play against the run, and thus not seeing the field much on 1st and 2nd downs. I do expect him to provide pressure on the QB though. And expect somewhere between 8-10 sacks his rookie year. I expect him to play better at home with the added pressure on offensive linemen provided by the 12th man. I expect this would silence the critics some unless one of the other DE prospects that we passed such as Melvin Ingram, Quinton Coples or Chandler Jones has a monster year.
I hope that Wagner becomes an immediate starter, quickly adjusting to the nuances of and speed of the NFL game and can become a leader of the defense much like another MLB we drafted in the 2nd round in 2005. I hope that Wagner can match Lofa's mental acumen and leadership, while exceeding his athleticism. Wagner crushed Tatupu's combine measurables in nearly every category. If he can match his mind for the game he could be a perennial pro-bowler, I hope this is the case and we don't regret letting David Hawthorne get away.
I expect Wagner to be a starter at some point in the season. I don't expect him to be as good as Lofa was as early as Lofa was. Measureables aren't everything, or Aaron Curry would still be a Seahawk and an All Pro. I don't expect Wagner to match Tatupu's leadership or anticipation but I expect his athleticism to make up for some of this. He was a very productive player in college and I expect that to continue at the next level. I expect him to eventually be an above average starter who could end up in a Pro Bowl or two if he stays healthy and things bounce his way.
This is the hardest one for me. I really hope that the Seahawks have found their franchise quarterback, whether it is Wilson or Flynn. If Wilson becomes our franchise QB I hope he proves his doubters wrong. He is less than an inch and a half shorter than Drew Brees after all, and he seems to do alright, and imagine if he could run like Wilson. If Matt Flynn becomes our franchise QB I hope that Wilson can stick around as a capable understudy like Seneca Wallace was to Matt Hasselbeck. If Wilson becomes our franchise QB I hope he can enter the conversation as greatest Seahawk QB of all time, and finally bring us a Superbowl victory.
I expect Wilson to compete. If you watch him play or listen to him in interviews you know that he is a competitor. His stats last year were off the charts, he has a strong arm, he is accurate, and at Wisconsin the offensive line he played behind was taller than the Seahawks' and he seemed to see the field just fine. I expect him to be at least a very solid backup quarterback, who can fill in and give your team a chance to win. I think he expects a lot more of himself, which has me excited but you can't ignore the history that says short QBs don't have much of a chance.
I hope that Robert Turbin steps right into a relief role for Marshawn Lynch getting about 5-10 carries a game, wearing out defenses and keeping Beast Mode fresh, healthy, and hungry for Skittles. I hope that he proves to be an adequate blocker (he certainly has the strength) so he can play some on 3rd downs as he has proven to be a dangerous receiver in college. I can see him becoming a fan favorite with aggressive straight line running and the ability to run through arm tackles and defensive backs. I hope we can all agree to call him The Turbinator, and that in a few years he can step into a starting role.
I expect Turbin get reps early in relief of Beast Mode, his injury history suggests that a relief role may be what he is best suited for. I expect a learning curve that is typical of rookie running backs, as he becomes accustomed to the speed and level of competition of the NFL game, I don't expect to average over 6 ypc like he did in college, but do expect him to contribute and most importantly help keep the Beast Mode healthy.
I hope Jaye Howard can fill a role as a rotational defensive lineman his rookie season contributing to the pass rush. As the biggest knock on any of his scouting reports is that he has an inconsistent motor and tends to take plays off, hopefully in a rotational role he will provide consistent production while he is in the game, and in a few years can be starter.
I expect Jaye Howard to play in rotation on the defensive line and be victim of roster churn when his rookie contract expires and we replace him with someone cheaper and younger.
I hope Carroll and Schneider found a diamond in the rough with Korey Toomer and the small school player can use the athleticism that got him drafted to turn into a starting caliber OLB with the ability to run sideline to sideline, cover RBs and TEs and be a dangerous blitzer.
I expect Toomer to make the team as a special teams contributor, which would be justify his draft pick, perhaps in a few years he will compete for a starting spot, Schneider has done it before in the 4th and 5th rounds.
I hope this small school CB can be another great find like Browner and Sherman were, and that he can make the team his rookie year and eventually be a solid nickel corner.
I have to say my expectations are pretty similar to my hopes for Lane; the front office has done such a good job finding defensive backs late in the draft, or even undrafted that expectations are high for them to do it again.
I hope that Guy makes the team and can contribute to the defense in various sub-packages. I hope we can find a use for another tweener type of player on our defense, and I hope that he can be a special teams factor right away as well.
I expect Guy to be a special teams player right away, and see the field occasionally as an in the box safety. I don't expect him ever to be a starter, in a large part because our starting safeties are both young and talented, and he doesn't have the size to be a starting linebacker, but I see no reason why he can't contribute on defense much like Atari Bigby did last year.
Ah, the good old DT convert to OG project with limited production and off the field issues, albeit with one of the best names in the draft. Really the best I can hope for this guy is that he makes the practice squad, cleans up his act and becomes a back up offensive guard.
I expect Sweezy to be cut, and am surprised he was drafted.
If the rest of the Seahawks roster performs like I hope, I guess I hope Scruggs gets cut. After all we already signed a DT in free agency, and added another in the 4th round.
I expect Scruggs to be cut, he could end up on the practice squad, as it is always prudent to have a couple of options on defensive line and he has some versatility having played DE and DT at Louisville.