There is no telling what is going to happen over the next year. I mean, what if I had told you a year ago that Matt Barkley would see himself possibly fall into the second round of the draft, or that the Chiefs would have the top pick, or that I would have gained 50 pounds? Would you have believe the first two things?
We have to keep that in mind when discussing what could be in regards to the 2014 NFL draft. Literally any team, from the Seahawks to the Jaguars, could be picking from 1 to 32. That's the difference between probable and possible, as I learned in an episode of Growing Pains once, I think. It's possible, even if only .001%, the Seattle will pick 1st next year and it's probable that they will be the Super Bowl champions yea yea! It's possible that Jadeveon Clowney will have a bad year, get injured, or stay in school, but it's probable that he's one of the best defensive prospects of the modern era.
Okay, now that we've established those principles, let's move on.
As the Seahawks currently sit, before free agency has hit it's stride, they have some significant-or-possible holes at defensive tackle, outside linebacker, nickel corner, defensive end, tight end, guard, right tackle, and wide receiver. Also as they currently sit, the Seahawks are one of the favorites in the NFC to make the Super Bowl. That's if they do nothing. Which isn't going to happen because even if it seems like a team does nothing, they've actually done many things. Pete Carroll and John Schneider are doing things right at this moment, and those things are likely in relation to how they can fill those positions and other less-important needs. Carroll might also be debating what the song-of-the-day is. (Come on, Pete, it's clearly a Britney kind of day!)
If they didn't move their draft picks at all, the Seahawks would be picking 25th and 56th overall in April's draft. Those are some good picks that could allow Seattle to get two very important players for next season. They could find a receiver like Tavon Austin and a tight end like Travis Kelce. Or they could draft a defensive tackle like Sylvester Williams and a linebacker like Khaseem Greene.
There are so many different players and positions that the Seahawks could draft in the first two rounds this year. None of their needs are glaring at the moment, but pass-rush seems to be the one that gets everyone's panties and/or pantaloons in a bunch. But what do we seem to know about this draft, in general?
- It's not overtly-talented at the top, but it's relatively deep.
- The deepest positions seem to be defensive tackle, outside linebacker/defensive end types, tight ends, wide receivers.
What do we know about Pete and John's drafts so far in three years?
- They don't mind trading down.
- They believe they can get great talent after the first two rounds.
- They've actually not been as successful in the first round as they have been in subsequent rounds, for the most part.
Unlike most teams, it doesn't really seem like a scary thought to imagine Seattle without a first round pick. The idea of them having extra picks is actually more appealing than having a higher pick, especially in this years draft because of the way this draft has been set up. We know that Seattle will probably address some of those positions in free agency. We also know that the Seahawks could address some of those positions without even adding anyone significant to that position group: Seattle really should add a receiver and they probably will, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a big name. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, and Doug Baldwin form a good-to-potentially-very-good starting group. The Seahawks could spent two mid-to-late round picks on this group plus some low-key free agents and still be okay. They could still re-sign Jason Jones and have a lesser need at defensive tackle. The OLB and nickel corner positions aren't as important and probably won't be on the field for 100% of the snaps, so you wouldn't have to use a premium pick or free agent money on those positions.
There's plenty of reason to think that Seattle could move entirely out of the 1st or 2nd round and be fine. The 49ers, who many of have seen as a team that's building like the Hawks but maybe one year ahead of our curve, used almost zero rookies in 2013 and nearly won the Super Bowl. A.J. Jenkins played a couple snaps, I believe. LaMichael James played in four games and he was really the only rookie that played at all.
I don't see the Seahawks going that route exactly because of the "comPete" motto and the likelihood that Seattle wants to keep churning the roster and with future cap space in mind, will probably be working in young players that they expect to be starting in 2014 and 2015. Those young players don't have to be high picks though, and as we saw with Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, KJ Wright in their second years, they were actually 4th and 5th round picks that became starters.
Now look ahead to 2014 and you'll see a much different draft. As I said before, a lot is going to change between now and the 2014 draft, but dare to dream for a second. Stop being scared of dreaming.
Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M could represent something that the 2013 draft lacks, which is "elite QB prospects". If they declare though, which isn't a foregone conclusion as we've seen many times with elite underclass talent, it immediately makes the top two picks something of a priceless treasure. The Rams turned the same kind of situation into three first round picks and a second when they felt they had no need for Robert Griffin III. Not bad.
But wait, there's more! It's a scream baby!
Then there's the X-Factor, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Most people would probably still agree that Clowney is the best prospect in next years draft, he just isn't a quarterback. But if a team is sitting there with the first overall pick and they don't need a QB (Say its the Raiders and they just drafted Geno Smith, or something) then they will gladly take Clowney. But if the top two picks are Bridgewater and Manziel, then Clowney slips all the way to third.
You can already see how top-heavy this draft has the potential to be, and the better the talent is at the top, the more potential that you will have great players going even later and later in the first round. Players like USC wide receiver Marqise Lee, who is the elite receiving talent that the 2013 draft lacks and could fall out of the top five next year in the right situation. Left tackle Jake Matthews of Texas A&M, who some think is better than the potential 2013 number one pick, former teammate Luke Joeckel. Or UCLA OLB Anthony Barr, who just recorded 13 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss as a junior that only just made the switch to defense. Or even local hero to some, enemy to many Cougs like myself, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins of the Huskies.
I am not a scouting expert, but when I look at next years draft, I just see more talent. Even talent at the positions that Seattle needs, like tight end, wide receiver, and pass-rushers. That doesn't mean that if the Seahawks decide to trade out of the first round or second round completely, that they will wind up with Jadeveon Clowney (that's just dreaming a little dream too far, for you "two Coreys" out there) but I am looking at the puzzle pieces and something on the wall tells me that it might be in the best interest of the team to push their stock from the 2013 draft to the 2014 draft and pick up an additional first round pick next year. I don't think anybody would disagree that having two first round picks in a given year is beneficial (that was also shown when I looked back at the 2010 draft recently and the Hawks, Broncos, and 49ers all had two picks in the first while the Patriots had three in the second) but having two in the first next year, could be supremely beneficial.
Whether that means that Seattle trades up for one elite talent or stays put for two first round picks, I don't know, but given how I see this team setting up, it's starting to seem like moving picks from this year into next is looking very probable.