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NFL Draft 2011 - James Carpenter and the Seattle Seahawks

I know a lot of Seahawks fans out there are a little puzzled and bewildered by the Hawks selection of James Carpenter. I found myself INSTANTLY going to Jimmy Smith when Roger Goodell started saying "James" and apparently space and time slowed down out of my pure excitement to not be hearing the name Andy that I had enough time to ask myself in a quizzical manner why he was using Jimmy Smith's full Christian name to announce this pick. However, when he finished up my first reaction was basically one of subdued satisfaction. Sort of like... "hmmm, okkkk?! That works!" Once my glee faded from the fact we didn't reach for a middling quarterback prospect, I landed on the emotion of seeing this pick as an underwhelming and safe selection considering who was still on the board, including my personal favorite, Ryan Mallett, but ultimately a good choice.

And it makes sense: the Hawks have been preaching the building up of the lines for months and there's a reason they brought in Tom 'Frenchy from the Departed' Cable to fix their run game. However, they need the horses to do so and James Carpenter is a very, very good start, make no mistake. Though he flew under the radar mostly, he'd been making his way into the first round discussion recently and was rated highly by several top draft experts, including Rob Rang, who picked him going 31 to the Steelers in his last mock draft. Michael Lombardi had Carpenter rated his #2 offensive tackle behind Tyron Smith. Russ Lande, an extremely respected former scout and draft expert, had Carpenter rated in the 2nd round but notes that he has the potential to be a future Pro-Bowler.

So although the right tackle position choice for #25 can be a little puzzling, here's the thing - James Carpenter is not much of a reach. Rumor has it that the Bears were targeting him with their 1st round pick and that the Packers had him in crosshairs as well but settled for Derek Sherrod once the Hawks took their man. The Hawks must have known something to this extent to take Carpenter where they did. If they figured he'd be around at #57, they presumably would have waited.

The argument can be made that taking a right tackle in the first round represents poor value and that may be true but here's the thing: We took a right tackle in the first round. What does this mean for the Hawks? Well, their line just got a lot better and Carpenter will likely start on day one. Whether his spot is at the right tackle position or whether they bump him over to a guard remains to be seen, but the more I read about the guy the more excited I am that he's a Seahawk. Was this the best pick the Hawks could have made? Hell, I don't know. Neither do you. No one will know for a few years most likely. Right now, I feel good about it.