Poor Felix. As an M's fan, and a fan of baseball, last night was a Harry Houdini grade sucker punch. I can't give you the scoop on his future, and I can't make El Rey whole again, but I can distract you, so let's all enjoy some football escapism--just 8 days until the draft!
Here's a mock FAQ to go with Field Gulls' mock draft pick of Michael Bush.
How realistic is it that the Hawks will pick Bush?
Naturally, going into any question that is dependent on literally thousands of variables I know nothing about, my answer here is speculative at best, but there is no reason to think the Hawks couldn't or wouldn't draft Bush. The organization entertained T.J. Duckett over the off season, so the precedent is set that the Hawks know they need a running back. Further, Duckett isn't wholly unlike the big man from Louisville. Both are big but agile, both have good hands, and both could make an immediate impact as third down backs. It's reasonable to think that after the trials of last season that Seattle will be looking for a long term replacement for Shaun Alexander.
Ok, but will he be available?
Maybe, but the chances just got worse. I still think Bush is a second round guy, but a sea of potential suitors stand between Bush and Seattle. The Steelers, Texans, Packers, Vikings, Broncos, Browns, Bills, Panthers (who love their big backs), Falcons and Cards could all short stop Bush in the second before Seattle makes a single pick. We'll certainly know more about this in the coming week, when individual team intentions become clearer.
Can and will Seattle trade down to get him?
Maybe, and maybe not. I think it's becoming clear that if Seattle wishes to moves Darrell Jackson they are going to need to give up a draft pick as well. The most likely scenario, as I see it, is that the Hawks package D-Jack and their second round pick for a low second round/high first round pick. That's not a lot of value for Jackson, but it would be worth it if it allows Seattle to get their guy.
However, that guy would likely be an offensive lineman.
While Seattle has hedged their bets a bit by resigning Pork Chop and Grey, along with retaining Tom Ashworth, Ruskell knows this team needs a guard above all else. His other signings indicate a win-now philosophy and `twere any chance of it happening, I'm sure Ruskell would be overjoyed to sign an NFL ready lineman like Justin Blalock. Still, it should be strongly noted that Ashworth and Womack are in their prime and either could take a huge step up next season. Ashworth, specifically, could use his agility to make a decent right guard (right guard is usually not lined up against the opposing team's nose tackle and therefore doesn't need the brute strength of a left guard) right now. If Sims and Spencer continue to develop, Jones bounces back and Ashworth commits a full off season to bulking up and learning proper guard technique, Seattle could see a huge improvement on their offensive line with no major additions.
Ok, the first round is over and Grubbs and Blalock are both off the board, what do the Seahawks do?
Ruskell isn't going to reach for a guard unless he's certain he's worth it. Past success breeds confidence and Seattle has a number of good options available in the third and fourth rounds for the position. This not unlikely scenario is where Bush once again jumps into the picture. Holmgren loves power rushing and it would be a huge boon to his offense to, finally, have a guy who could receive out of the backfield. The real obstacle here might be Shaun's ego. Alexander has been a feature back since his second year with the team, and he's a player who loves to get the bulk of the workload. 30 or not, Shaun possesses that weird complex some athletes get where they think they're unbreakable. I'm sure if you asked him he would say that his 2007 will be a lot more like his 2005 than his 2006. The Hawks can't afford to be so sure, but while pissing off your team's superstar might be no sweat in blogtown, it's a real concern for a real GM. Seattle may take a wait and see approach, banking on Maurice Morris's competence as a back-up and reevaluating the situation next year when we have a first round selection.
What will become of D-Jack?
As unlikely as this sounds, he might stay a Seahawk, at least for now. Ruskell doesn't strike me as the type who likes to get bullied and might wait for training camp to figure out what do about the receiver situation. Injuries could make other teams more willing to deal, or injuries could eliminate the Seahawks overabundance of receivers. One week before the draft a pick becomes something solid, a real player that will really be playing for your team next season, but in August, picks are remote--nothing that will impact the next five months. I respect Ruskell enough to think that he values a 2008 2nd round pick over a 2007 4th round pick.
How about the secondary?
The Hawks are young at both corners and presumably at strong safety. I think it's much more likely they look to sign a veteran DB after the second wave of cuts occur in June than use a high draft pick on another developmental player.
Finally, is there anyone else worth getting excited about if Bush, Grubbs and Blalock are unavailable?
Yes, but let's just call him Demarcus and say he's had some problems in the past.