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NFL Draft Grades 2011: Mel Kiper Doesn't Like the Seahawks' Picks

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OK, look, I have to. I was really, really tempted to just ignore the fact that Mel Kiper gave the Seahawks the worst draft grade in the entire NFL. But, after reading his "explanation" I just have to nitpick it a little bit. Here's what Kiper had to say about the Seahawks' day:

Seattle Seahawks : D+
Top needs: QB, OT, WR, DL

Summary: By passing on Andy Dalton, the clear impression is that Seattle has other plans (or hopes to) at quarterback. Could it be Carson Palmer or Kevin Kolb? I hope the Seahawks have better plans for quarterback than they appeared to in terms of adding value here. Carpenter fits a need, but was a reach with better tackle available. Moffitt can help this offensive line, but I didn't see guard as a top need. Wright was a reach on my board, as was Durham, a wideout out of Georgia who may have been around much, much later. The Seahawks then made some sensible picks in the secondary, but at what impact that late? They did nothing really to help the defensive line and their sense of value was questionable. The positive might be that this is a very young team, and you suspect Pete Carroll expects improvement. I just don't know if he added much this weekend.

First of all, check out his list of needs. QB comes first, and he immediately starts ragging on the Seahawks because they didn't choose absurdly overrated Andy Dalton. Notice he doesn't mention any other QB besides Dalton. Every single time I saw him talking on ESPN this whole weekend he mentioned Dalton. WHAT IS IT WITH THIS GUY? It is seriously starting to piss me off. Ok, I will acknowledge that the Seahawks have a need at quarterback but we failed because we passed on a guy that most experts had rated in the fourth round after actually seeing him play football?He then only rise into the first round discussion because of riotously irrational fear mongering and hysteria surrounding the lockout and a hilarious mountain of hype and buzz about Dalton being a 'winner'. 

So, we failed in this year because we passed on the 5th quarterback taken in the draft? Am I getting that right? Let me continue with his list of failures. He goes on to list Carpenter as a need-filler (he DID have OT as our second highest need and we took an OT with our first pick), but explains eloquently that he "was a reach with better tackle available." Again, I would disagree with the 'reach' thing as several sources have speculated that Pittsburgh or Green Bay were ready to take Carpenter if he fell back a few spots. As for 'better tackle available" argument, he may be right. We have no way of knowing immediately. The Seahawks obviously saw something in Carpenter that they loved and they didn't want to wait and see if he'd last to #57. 

Mel Kiper goes on to state that John Moffitt is a good player, but guard is not a need. Someone should probably fax him a copy of our roster. That's all I'll say about that one. Do some research - without Moffitt, do we even have ONE starting caliber guard signed for 2011? Mike Gibson is serviceable and could have some good potential but at best that leaves one gaping hole on the other side. But I guess it's not a need.

Kiper explains that Wright was a reach on his board and I'll give him that. Whatever, he fits a certain profile for the Hawks and other people have him rated higher than Kiper does but his reasoning is fine there. Durham 'may have been around much, much later' except that Kansas City called John Schneider and congratulated him on the selection because they were going to take him right after the Hawks made their pick... so no, probably not. If by 'much, much later,' you mean 11 picks, then I guess you're on the money.

Kiper calls our later round picks sensible and does point out that the defensive line was not addressed, which I agree with him about. I agree that this draft wasn't perfect and maybe not what we were hoping for. But his main reasoning to place us at the end of the list for the entire NFL was based on the fact we didn't choose a middling QB prospect to be the future face of our franchise. A quarterback prospect Kiper just so happens to absolutely love and he'll stick by his convictions there and that's fine. I just simply disagree. 

He perceived that we reached on several picks and we didn't have a good sense of the value of each player chosen. I guess, and he's entitled to that opinion, but it's been said from a few different sources that our major 'reaches,' Carpenter and Durham, would have been chosen shortly after we had made our selection. 

Look, I know this is a reactionary and defensive post because I'm a Seahawks' fan and it's annoying to see people ragging on our front office. I don't necessarily LOVE our draft and there are still a lot of holes to fill but in my mind there's a method to the madness and Kiper paints the picture that we're haphazardly picking random players way too early and I simply don't agree. The Seahawks braintrust has a plan and they're going to carry it out with disregard to what people say about it. Until it's been proven that they're way off in their talent evaluation I'll continue to trust in their judgement. It's not like we have a history of big misses to go by with this leadership. Hundreds of players came and went in 2011 but I see no pattern of egregious misdiagnosing to make me worry at this point. 

I brought up Kiper because he's the face of the "Draftnik" world, whether people like it or not. Make no mistake, the Seahawks are going to get skewered by a LOT of people, but who cares? We won't really know how this draft looks until about three years after it, so for now I'll remain defensive and reactionary and hope I'm right about it down the line.