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Ruskell up to his old tricks

Dateline: New York, April 28, 2007; Tim Ruskell continues his never-ending journey to make the Seahawks smaller, faster, and less likely to offend at his country club. Like I said earlier, I'm not going to judge this draft until it's done, but here's some early takes.

Josh Wilson
Wilson has a lot going for him and, mostly, I like this pick. I'm not too worried about his height and his speed is for real. He's smart, a super hard worker and the rare player who's athleticism will easily make up for his stature. At the same time, corner doesn't seem like our most pressing need. Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings are both young and Kelly Herndon should be a capable nickleback. Demarcus Tyler was available here, practically the perfect insurance policy for currently irreplaceable run-stuffer Marcus Tubbs, but, it seems, Ruskell just won't draft anyone with character concerns. I think that when you don't have a first round pick you have to chose best available talent in the second, because a bust very nearly ruins your draft. Wilson won't bust and like another hard-hitting, undersized DB, Bob Sanders, he's a playmaker. Wilson will be an immediate contributor in dime situations, both as a big-play threat on interception returns and as a surprise blitzer. I like this pick, welcome aboard, Josh.

Brandon Mebane
I'm wary of this pick. The problem with Ruskell's strategy of picking polished, high-character types is that many, like the undersized, inathletic Mebane, have virtually no upside. He is about as big, strong, fast and developed as he's ever going to be. This is another pick that seems to ignore team need. If you are going to use players in a rotation, two rules of thumb should be employed. First, pick complimentary players: Mebane offers nothing Rocky Bernard or Daryl Tapp don't already offer and he certainly doesn't provide the big body in the middle Seattle needs to occupy blockers and collapse rushing lanes. [Update: I understand that in college he was able to force double and triple teams, and some one-gap tackles, like Tommie Harris, can do that in the NFL, but I doubt Mebane has that potential.] Second, don't overspend to fill the position: The greatest advantage of using a rotation is that a team can get a very good performance from a collection of lesser talents each being played to their strengths. If Mebane is destined to be a part time player, why not find a similar player a few rounds later? Mebane is not a good use of a third round pick, in fact, I can list half-dozen guys off the top of my head that would have been a better pick here... you go: Kevin Boss, Doug Free(!), Baraka Atkins, Ryan McBean, Michael Bush(!!) and Brandon Frye. The good news is all are still available. With Seattle still presumably moving D-Jack for a fourth rounder, here's hoping one, maybe--can a guy dream?--two will be Seahawks tomorrow.