It's the bye week and that has inspired laziness in me. I have three plans for this weekend: sit in my underwear, watch football and drink. I love the Seahawks, but the up and down can be tiring. I go into the bye week happy to have a week off and exit ravenous for Seahawks football. Nothing inspires like a hollow, but nevertheless piquant Monday after the bye hangover. God bless ritual.
So I am sitting here eying a copy of 'Confessions' I just found again and thinking about the lineup for Saturday and Sunday. In the spirit of taking it easy, here is the first in an annotated viewer's guide for a weekend off, starting today, not coincidentally.
The Guard that Completes the Seahawks: Tim Ruskell has become too easy. His process is so transparent that Doug and I both accidentally arrived at Seattle signing Jason Campbell without ever discussing it. Campbell doesn't get a chance to checkdown until Monday, but today, this very day, a player will play that Seattle will target if he declares.
Given the dire state of Florida State football, Rodney Hudson should and I assume will declare. Why should you care about Hudson? Because he is to the Alex Gibbs system what Steve Hutchinson was to the Mike Holmgren system. Ok, that's a stretch, but not as much as you might think. 6'2", 285 pound guards have not qualified as first round talent in over 10 years. The last slight mauler to attract first round attention was Pete Kendall in 1996.
The Dennis Erickson era is not remembered fondly by Seahawks fans and rightly. Erickson was neither exciting, new nor successful, has since coached a division rival, and a few Pac-10 foes (depending on your allegiance). Kendall was something he did right. Late first round picks sometimes produce Ray Lewis or Randy Moss, but with their talent you get the person, and it's a trade off that makes even the best case scenario a bit of a headache. More frequently, a late first round talent is a nine-tenths players. A player that looks like an NFL player and plays like an NFL players but has some nagging weakness that pushes him down.
Hudson is a converted left tackle that moves like a running back. I dare say I am as excited for Hudson as am I for any guard I have seen in the last three years. I had my thing for Justin Blalock, but I liked Blalock as a project. I had my thing for Sam Baker, but I liked Baker as a plug and play left tackle. I had my thing for Duke Robinson, but I say, if anyone has ever completely failed the pre-draft process worse than Robinson, his name is Maurice Clarett.
Hudson isn't about potential or pipe dreams or why the crap not use your fifth round pick to select him, he is about starting next year and completing Seattle's offensive line.
My preliminary scouting sees a short, but wide-framed guard-tackle tweener that will fill out gradually as he ages but never be big. He isn't shaped like a can like Mansfield Wrotto, but like a tight end. What excited me though, aside from the fact that he is a legitimate Ruskell target and was born by Alex Gibbbs in a laboratory, is this relatively little dude has judo strength. It's all quick unassuming movements and flying defenders. He moves, cuts, finishes and has the foot speed to lead a screen halfway down the field. He is nasty, not Incognito nasty, but Aaron Curry nasty. He drops foes and breaks bones and apologizes and offers a hand afterward.
You'll read a lot about Hudson needing to add weight, but what he needs is the right system. His weight and the league's perception of guards should push him into the second round. That has me excited. Maybe you will be too after watching him tonight. And if you do watch for Hudson, watch NC outside linebacker Bruce Carter. It is unlikely Carter declares this year, but he provides something as a cover linebacker that is deeply underappreciated in this league. He did this to our beloved quarterback of the future.
Nice throw, Mike.
The game starts at 4:30 Pacific on ESPN. I think Tim Ruskell does for the offensive line this offseason what he did for the wide receiver, tight end, running back and linebacker positions in offseasons past.