The NFL draft is here! .... almost.
ESPN thinks we are going to take Tuitt (defensive end). We lost Red Bryant and Chris Clemmons, so we must need a DE, right? It seems that a lot of the internet wants us to draft a wide receiver or offensive line (No more Giacomini, Tate).
What positions will need to be targeted?
This afternoon I tried to figure out for myself what Seattle will do in the draft. Instead of looking at who is leaving, I look at the open slots on the roster. Places where a drafted player could feasibly make the roster are what I believe the Seahawks will draft. The Seahawks draft with the intent of having their picks make the roster! (duh) John Schneider once mentioned he hoped all his draft picks would make the team, he had 11 picks that year. By looking at our roster and identifying where draft picks have a chance to compete we can outline potential areas of emphasis in the upcoming draft.
Exhibit Explanation- I've Attached a link to a spreedsheet showing my work. The exhibit shows how I have classified the strength of each player. Green players are locks – It is unlikely that players will be drafted to take their spot on the roster. White player are going to have to fight for their roster spot. LINK
Quarterback –Recently we’ve carried just two quarterbacks during the season. Wilson is obviously the starter. Jackson, Pryor and Daniels will compete for the backup job. I don’t see a drafted QB increasing competition here, I don’t think we take a QB in this draft. Prediction: 0 drafted
Running Back – The Seahawks started last year with 5 running backs on the roster (even with just 24 offensive players) Lynch, Michael and Turbin are roster locks. Ware and Coleman will be competing against each other and the 6th WR/4th TE for this roster spot. I don’t see a spot here for a draft pick. Prediction: 0
Offensive Line – Most NFL teams have 9 offensive linemen. I see Okung, Unger, Sweezy, Bowie, Bailey as locks. Carpenter should probably also make the team. This leaves 3 more positions up for grabs. We do have a couple of developmental guys.
The Seahawks have had success with cheaply acquired linemen in the past (Giacomini, Mcquistan, Sweezy, Bowie, Bailey) Besides Okung, their success with early linemen hasn’t been stellar. We haven’t taken O-line early since the Moffit/Carpenter debacle. I would expect a couple of late round picks here, although it is possible that we take someone early to eventually compete with Russell Okung. Prediction: 2
TE – The Seahawks generally have 3 tight ends on their roster. While Miller, Willson and McCoy all appear likely to make the team, each has a weakness. Miller is getting old and slow, Willson has yet to prove himself, and McCoy is expendable because he is on the last year of his contract. If we lose McCoy next year to free agency and Miller to age, we could be in a situation next year where our only returning tight end is the unproven Willson. With that being said, I do not see a clear spot for another tight end on this roster. I do not think that Seattle will spend draft capital on another tight end, but It really depends on how they feel about Willson and McCoy. Prediction: 0 (maybe 1)
WR- Last year we usually had 5 receivers on the roster. Harvin, Baldwin and Kearse are all locks. Rice’s contract shows that the NFL doesn’t trust his upcoming production, I don’t see him as a lock. There are quite a few wide receivers out there fighting for the last 2 spots.
With some notable exceptions, wide receivers generally take at least a year to develop into strong contributors. I would assume that the Seahawks begin the year with 1 drafted wide receiver, but they could even have 2. I would assume they like some of their current depth (Rice, Bates, Clark, Mathews, Lockette) enough to only go with 1 drafted wide receiver (bates, Matthews, Clark, Price). Prediction: 1 (maybe 2)
Special Teams – Its unlikely we will not draft a punter, kicker or long snapper
Defensive Line / LEO – I am expecting 9-10 defensive lineman/ Leos on the roster. The Seahawks have put out a lot of noise about Benson Mayowa. It seems he is expected to go off next year. He was on the roster the entire year, but I don’t remember him playing much. Counting Mayowa, Avril, Bennett, Scruggs, Mebane, Hill, McDaniel there will still be 2-3 spots for rookies. I would assume we draft one pass rusher, and one ‘other’ defensive lineman. Prediction: 2 (maybe 3)
Safety – I expect 4 safeties for the roster. Thomas, Chancellor are starters. Jeron Johnson seems likely to make the roster. There is a spot for the Earl Thomas backup role. Most of the players listed as ‘DB’ on the roster are really CB/SS. Prediction: 1 (maybe 0)
Cornerback – We should have 5 corners (9 DBs total). Locks are Sherman, Maxwell, Lane. I would expect a spot for Simon and the rest of reserves, and a spot going to a draft pick, although it is possible we draft 2, especially if we don’t get a safety. Prediction: 1 (maybe 2)
Linebacker – 7 linebackers can be expected this next year. Wagner, Wright, Irvin and Smith are all locks. These four are all on their rookie deals. If the Seahawks want to continue with cheaper, young linebackers they will most likely continue drafting them. Special teamer Farwell will probably not be replaced by a drafted player. That leaves 2 spots, but not a good chance for anyone to start. I could see us grabbing a linebacker late in the draft, and then adding some more in rookie free agency. Prediction: 1 (maybe 2)
It is difficult for me to tell which position we will take in round one. It seems to me that wide receiver and defensive line are the two strongest needs. The Seahawks don’t have any glaring holes on the team, allowing a calculating, and hopefully fruitful draft. Hopefully we are able to trade back and get more picks.
Here is my ‘wild’ prediction of the draft - a couple linemen late, a couple DBs in the middle rounds and a pass rusher and wide receiver early. Another lineman in there somewhere, and possibly a tight end.