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Second-Day Finds Make All The Difference

<i>"If the Hawks are to expect their 2003 success to carry over into 2004 and beyond, a significant part of that progress will rest on the shoulders of unheralded second-day picks that will leave most fans asking, "who?"</i>

On Saturday, April 24th, many football fans will tune in to ESPN and wait anxiously to see what collegiate stud their team drafts in the first round. Expectations will be high, and surprises are sure to come, upsetting the stomachs of even the most stalwart fan.

And after the dust settles on day one, still no one knows if their team was successful or if they loaded up on the dreaded “draft busts.” No, those results won’t be shown until players take the field in the fall, and even then it may take 3 years to come to any final conclusions about this year’s draft class. In the case of the Seahawks, this year is make-or-break time for former first rounder Jerramy Stevens. Will he becoming the solid red-zone threat his physical abilities promise, or will he go the way of fellow former college uber-studs turned pro-duds Lamar King and Chris McIntosh? The Seahawks have only recently solved the holes created by those first round busts by signing expensive veterans Chris Terry and Grant Wistrom.

Still, while a day one bust can set a team back years, the frequently overlooked second day of the draft is where good teams ensure greatness and stability for their organizations. It also the area where the Seahawks frequently drop their “best athlete” tendencies and begin to focus on future needs and depth.

That being said, here is this writer’s “wish list” of defensive need players the Seahawks could gamble on in the 4th-7th frames of this weekends’ draft

Defensive Line:

This is a position where gems are frequently found in the latter rounds. A team must be patient with many of these guys and let their considerable athleticism mature as they sit on the bench or play specific roles based on down and distance. This year, there are several projects with technique or motivational issues who could develop into starters after a year or two.

Tony Hargrove, DE, Georgia: Hargrove was considered by many to be a top pick early in his career, but entered the draft this year after a year of academic ineligibility. The layoff doesn’t seem to have cost him any of his athleticism, running a 4.68 forty, with a vertical jump of 39.5 inches at 269 lbs. Hargrove is a former QB and safety, so he’s demonstrated his skills at multiple positions. He is raw, and tends to be over aggressive, but if harnessed by a good line coach, he could be an excellent player

Ahmad Childress, DT, Alabama: Childress had risen into 3rd round territory during the college season, but poor workouts and interviews have caused him to plummet. Still, he has huge size, excellent quickness and incredible strength. Physically, he’s everything you want in a tackle. But he’s got questionable work ethic and needs to rotate to be fresh (what 330-LB man doesn’t). Childress reminds me a lot of Rashad Moore.

Junior Siavii, DT, Oregon: Siavii is a late bloomer who is 25, but he’s got good size and tremendous quickness. He doesn’t have much in the way of pass rushing skills, but he is a very disciplined run stuffer.


Bryan Hickman, MLB, Kansas State: Hickman is a smallish MLB (231 pounds) but has some good athleticism and a nose for the ball. He comes from a great defensive program, and has the kind of non-stop motor that propels good players on to solid NFL careers. He’s good at everything: run support, coverage and blitzing.

Maurice Jones, MLB, South Florida: One of the few full size middle linebackers in the draft, Jones is downgraded because of his small school background and poor coaching. But he’s a great athlete with a strong upper body, good agility and a nose for the ball. With a little coaching, Jones could be a solid starter at middle or outside linebacker.

Marquis Cooper, OLB, Washington: Cooper is an undersized linebacker, but at 6’3” he has the frame to add bulk without affecting his great speed. He has the speed and coverage ability to play safety, which says a lot about his athleticism. In college, he was always around the ball making plays, and with a little time in the weight room, should be able to convert that productivity into the pros.

Defensive Backs:

Etric Pruitt, S, Southern Mississippi: Pruitt could use a little more weight to add some physicality to his game, but other than that he’s a polished safety with solid cover skills, good quickness, and elite instincts. He’s more of a centerfield type player who can make good reads in zone coverage, but may struggle if put in a man-to-man situation. He can run sideline to sideline defending the run, but will struggle “in the box.”

Rashad Washington, S, Kansas State: I have a lot of respect for the athletes that come out of K-State, and Washington is one heck of an athlete. A former running back, he has great size (225 lbs), speed, strength and quickness. He’s very raw, and struggles with reading blocks in traffic, but with his combination of athletic skills, it’s only a matter of time before he develops into a starter in the NFL.

Shawntee Spencer, CB, Pittsburgh: Spencer has the size the Hawks look for in a corner, and a propensity for being physical with receivers. What he lacks is significant bulk and elite speed. But with good quickness and strength, Spencer has a good chance of developing into a solid third corner.

The Seahawks have a good track record under Mike Holmgren and Ted Thompson of making the most of their 2nd day picks. Players like Floyd Womack, Alex Bannister, Rashad Moore, Antonio Cochran and Orlando Huff have already demonstrated their talents as significant role players and potential starters. Others like Solomon Bates, Chris Davis, Ryan Hannam and Terreal Bierria are poised to step up and contribute as either starters or significant role players.

If the Hawks are to expect their 2003 success to carry over into 2004 and beyond, a significant part of that progress will rest on the shoulders of unheralded second-day picks that will leave most fans asking, “who?”

Aaron Burtner is a regular contributor to Seahawks.NET. Feel free to send him feedback here.

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