There is a danger in returns, and not only of the Tyler Lockett type, but in the hazards of trying to recapture the past. Anyone who's watched a relationship slowly fizzle, to end in a whimper, not a bang, and who's desperately tested vain alchemies aching to rekindle a doused flame, knows how agonizing and futile such an effort is. Exhausted, one succeeds only in sullying the very memories which once powered the magic, and, willpower dissipated, all is sour taste and cynicism...
But wait! I'm writing about the Seahawks! I've squashed such pathos - a childhood of football condensed into a single image of Dave Krieg being strip-sacked by Derrick Thomas - on the shelf beneath my Super Bowl XLVIII Champions DVD. In point of fact, the Seahawks had an exciting draft, brought in exciting players, and I'm excited about their future. This draft class proves that the Seahawks aren't trying to grasp at past glories, but are moving ahead in a way that both reinforces the team's identity and paves the way for a new wave of talent to emerge from the brine of Puget Sound like a leviathan's head.
First, I should admit that I, like many, cringed at the Germain Ifedi pick with Myles Jack still on the board. That was a tough pill, but ultimately, I believe now, a beneficial one. Will Ifedi flourish in a way that many of the team's other high O-line picks haven't? I have no idea, but I do believe it was wise to take a chance on him. I can already envision Ifedi plowing a running lane for Thomas Rawls in the fourth quarter of a close game, sinking the knife deeper into the exhausted opponent (probably the 49ers) and bringing victory closer five yards at a time. Ifedi, a mountain of a man, represents what Pete Carroll and John Schneider's Seahawks are all about - physical domination. Jack may very well prove to be a great player, but football is the team sport par excellence, and the Ifedi pick screams "Seahawks." That's a good thing. It's unfortunate, however, that Ifedi has often been styled the new James Carpenter, insinuating a tacit return on the front office's part to past experiments.
Jarran Reed, Seattle's second pick, is further confirmation of Carroll and Schneider doubling down on their regime's hallmark style of play - brute force. Much has been made of Reed's supposed paucity of pass rushing skills, and not enough has been made of his virtue as a brick wall on the defensive line. I'm probably unreasonably excited about the much-hyped Todd Gurley meeting Reed and Rubin at the line of scrimmage next season. And then Jared Goff will have to throw the ball...It's not unsurprising that Reed's been hailed as the next Brandon Mebane.
Overall, it was a solid draft in several senses. After the first two selections the Seahawks picked up a blocking tight end, a wide receiver, another couple of lineman, and no less than three running backs. All columns and capitals being moved into place to support a long frieze sculpted with athletic triumph in high relief (picture a stone, togaed Michael Bennett with one leg resting on top of a prone Carson Palmer). It's a combination that's worked before, and there's no reason to think it won't again.
I'm not saying anything new about this year's draft. There've been a lot of excellent articles on Pete Carroll and John Schneider's deft culling of the college crop to retool and reaffirm the team's hard-nosed identity. That was certainly the theme of the draft as it appeared from my office chair.
However, I still think that the distinction between attempting to return to the past and reaffirming one's identity with an eye to the future is an important one. It's easy to confuse a renewal with a longing to return to some prior state. Make no mistake, this year's draft was about strengthening an already sturdy core rather than grasping at past glories. This much is certain: the danger in the Seahawks' returns next year will be of the Tyler Lockett type.