I put together some thoughts on the state of things for the Seahawks and the upcoming NFL Draft, as it is probably better to do this than clog your twitter timeline. Let me start with some general thoughts in Part I:
(A) This is a Depth Draft.
Paul Allen tweeted a few days ago that he visited the VMAC and talked with Pete Carroll and John Schneider about the 2013 Draft. The two words Mr. Allen came away mentioning were "depth" and "toughness".
Danny and I talk all the time about many fans thinking the Seahawks will walk away with only 7-8 Draft Picks because the team is so "stacked". The team is stacked with some high-end talent, but in order to keep the high-end talent they will need cheap depth locked up on four-year contracts at the league minimum. Every quality depth player they can lock up saves $200k "here" and $500k "there". In a flat salary cap era, with this type of roster - Carroll and Schneider will look under couch cushions for spare cap "change".
That's why I predict that at the end of the day they walk out of the Draft with 10 to 11 picks.
(B) The Positions Up for Grabs:
I have mentioned this on Twitter many times, but I will mention it here as well. Here are the positions open for competition, many of which will be addressed in the Draft:
OL6 (Can play Tackle), QB2, WR5/6, TE2, RB3, and possibly FB/H-Back and OL10
Base 3Tech, WLB, S3, CB3/4 and possibly DE/DL9
Throw in the possibility of a Kicker, and we are talking about 13 possible spots. Do I think they will draft 13 times? No, but again, I believe they'll make 10-11 picks by the end of the third day. Once the draft is done they hard-target 2 to 3 top Rookie Free Agents in their haul of 20 UDFAs to address what is still missing after the Draft.
(C.) Possible Trades:
There are two trades that I really like for Seattle, these trades fit the way they have conducted themselves in the past. One time I did calculate this, but forgive me for being inexact. The Seahawks involve some sort of trade on over 20 of the 28 Draft picks they have selected over the last 3 years. When you consider that they "held" fast on Okung and Carpenter as well as being limited in that some of their picks were untradeable (comp picks) - that is an astounding number.
The two trades I like are:
1. A move down from #56 to grab an extra 4th round pick.
2. A move up in the 5th round (from Seattle's late native pick not the early one from Oakland) up the board using one of their 7th round picks.
These two moves would bunch two picks in the 4th round, and two picks in the upper to mid 5th round. Those four picks could be the meat and potatoes of the Seattle draft.
(D) Cap Balance:
I believe at the end of the day, the Seahawks will spend about $130M of their $136M in adjusted cap in 2013.
This means that I believe that they will roll $6M into 2014. Rolling $6M into 2014 will allow the Seahawks to spend about $131M in 2014, if they should desire.
If the Seahawks end up signing Antoine Winfield and extending Kam Chancellor later this summer, they would perhaps have one tough offensive decision left. This decision would come late in training camp to see who steps up amongst the rookies and to monitor injuries etc..., and I think that final decision or "cap casualty" would be between Paul McQuistan and Michael Robinson.
Cutting one of these players would bring the final offensive cap number down to about $73M. With Winfield and a Kam extension, I can see the Defensive Cap rising up to $53M. The three specialists would cost about $3-4M depending on what they spend on a Kicker.
Again, $130M total spend, $6M total roll - with a large slant toward the offensive side of the ball, but a max spending on offense of $73M to $73.5M. The Draft may provide clues on this cap situation.
(E.) Position Group Numbers:
If you like to construct rosters - Here are the numbers that I use, and I believe reflect closely what the Seahawks like to do under Carroll and Scheider:
DL: 9 (Todd Wash disclosed in a recent interview that he was told "You get 9 and 1 practice squad guy," and this number is very consistent during the PCJS era, barring funky injuries.)
LB: 6 (the "Bandit" year they ran 5 LBs, but in the last two years they run 6 LBs.)
S: 4 (Last year they ran with 5 safeties when Winston Guy came back from his suspension, but they are cool with running with 4 safeties.)
CB: 6 (Sometimes they go with only 5, but they usually go with 6, and I think Special Teams is a factor here.)
TE: 3 (With all the hype of 2TE sets, they still usually carry only 3 TEs.)
WR: 6 (Sometimes they go with 5.)
OL: 10 (Sometimes they go with 9, but as injuries bug guys, they usually call up a practice squad guy - think "Mike Person" and roll with 10 OL.)
Basically, the Seahawks' 53-man roster is often comprised of 25 offensive players and 25 defensive players.
(F) Future Drafts:
If the 2013 Draft is about creating a strong underpinning of depth for the next 3-4 years, the 2014 Draft will likely be focused on the D-Line. The Seahawks spend two-and-a-half times more on their Defensive Line than their entire "back 16" on Defense. Whether Kam is extended or not, or re-signed or not, the likes of Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Bobby Wagner are going to become more expensive as you move into 2014/2015.
Right now, the Seahawks have spent their highest amount of Draft Capital on the Offensive Line. They have spent most of their money on Offensive Skill Players (Miller, Rice, Harvin, Lynch, Robinson) and Defensive Line Players (Red, Clemons, Mebane, Bennett, Avril).
The 2014 Draft will be about selecting at least two significant Defensive Line pieces unless some incredible player at a decent bargain turns up in Free Agency. In 2014, Tony McDaniel is a free agent, Clint McDonald is a free agent, Michael Bennett is a free agent, and one of Red Bryant or Chris Clemons could become a cap casualty. In 2015 you should probably also be sniffing into the next NT to replace Brandon Mebane.
The 2015 Draft will be about replenishing Russell Wilson with Offensive Weapons as this current group begins to age and become cap casualties. After all, Russell Wilson will be getting his rightful payday, likely in 2015.
In Part 2 I will go through the Offensive Position Groups and in Part 3 I'll run through the Defensive Position Groups.