Seahawks add more depth on day two of Draft

After only two draft choices in the first three rounds, the Seattle Seahawks did their best to pull out a few key players that the coaches hope will fill in and add depth to a roster already loaded with talent. Going into the draft, the Hawks had three needs. A pass-rushing defensive end, a cover corner and punter. They came away with all three when "Mr. Irrelevant" was selected by Oakland at approximately 3:15 p.m. (PST).

In the fourth round, the Hawks were pleasantly surprised to see a player with the talent that Ohio State OG Rob Sims possesses. Apparently the young man was at church with his entire family when Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren made the call and his prayers were answered because he will have the chance to come in and challenge for playing time right away.

The exodus of Pro Bowler Steve Hutchinson to the Minnesota Vikings leaves a void on the left side of the line already manned by All Pro LT Walter Jones. The expectation is that Floyd Womack or Tom Ashworth will be the main men in contention for the open spot, but don't rule out Sims who has the talent to be a starter in the NFL, but just hasn't lived up to his billing. He's shown flashes, but that won't get it done in the pros. The Hawks, who have put a premium on character the last two drafts, seem to think that Sims can overcome his lack of production in college and the hope is he will, at the very least, be a versatile backup who can man several spots along the line of scrimmage.

USC fullback David Kirtman is one of the happier endings to this year's Draft. He's a hometown boy (Mercer Island) who made good when he spurned the hometown Washington Huskies to play for the eventual national champion USC Trojans. The Hawks nabbed him in the fifth round and they couldn't be happier.

Kirtman is an amazing receiver out of the backfield who also has the skills to run the ball if necessary. He's an underrated blocker, mainly because the USC offensive line was so good that he rarely if ever had to take on a linebacker in the hole. However, when he did he usually paved a rather large hole for either Lendale White or Reggie Bush to run through.

The other aspect of Kirtman's game is that he is a winner. Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell is almost manic is the way he goes after leaders and winners despite what the measurables say (see Lofa Tatupu). Kirtman is great in the locker room, a community-minded person and he's used to winning. You can't beat that when you're talking about a player that needs to get the job done. Comparing him to former Seahawks great John. L. Williams isn't a stretch.

Some "experts" thought the Hawks would be inclined to take a player like Oregon State's Mike Hass, a productive player in the same mold as Joe Jurevicius, who walked onto the Beaver football team and set the standard for receivers in the Pac 10. He's tough and has sure hands.

So what was the problem? The Hawks are already pretty stacked at wideout.

The starters are Darrell Jackson and Nate Burleson – whom Seattle picked up during free agency for their third round selection in the Draft. Then you have veteran Bobby Engram manning the slot or third receiver spot. His ability to find the holes and seams in zone coverage is a Godsend for QB Matt Hasselbeck. Then throw in veteran Peter Warrick who is likely to be the team's punt returner and third-year WR D.J. Hackett who showed outstanding potential in 2005. Hass didn't have a chance to play for the Hawks, whereas Kirtman is probably the leader for the backup job behind starter Mack Strong.

The seventh round saw the Hawks take a punter for the second time in three years (the other was taken in 2004 when the Hawks drafted LSU punter Donnie Jones), but this one makes you wonder if they might have finally struck it rich.

Wake Forest's Ryan Plackemeier is huge (6-3, 250) and he has an even bigger leg. The thing that most collegiate punters lack is directional and hang-time consistency, but Plackemeier seems to have found that earlier in career than most. He dropped 20 of his 67 punts inside the opponents' 20 yard line while also booming one punt for 82 yards and averaging a whopping 47.2 yards per attempt his senior season.

Contrary to popular opinion, a pick on a punter in the Draft is not a wasted selection. If you like a player and it's at the end of the draft, you take him. Why get yourself into a bidding war for that player's services if you don't have to?

Plackemeier, who is also adept at kicking off, will come in and challenge veteran Tom Rouen for the starting spot. If the Hawks determine that K Josh Brown's kickoffs don't suit their needs, Plackemeier can be counted on to boom some deep and likely into the endzone.

Finally, Seattle concluded its draft when they selected Auburn WR Ben Obomanu with the 249th overall selection. As stated earlier, this is not an area of need for the Hawks, but Obomanu has some intriguing abilities. He's strong and has good speed. He's also adept at running after the catch, something that is a key to the West Coast offense.

Obomanu will likely not make the final roster for the Hawks, but if he can show his worth on special teams during the preseason, he likely could end up on the practice squad and be summoned if the need arises.

This draft was not about drafting to fill holes in the lineup. It was meant to bolster a Super Bowl roster and help continue what has been building over the past seven seasons under Mike Holmgren.

The difference between Super Bowl teams and franchises that are sitting home during January isn't necessarily talent amongst the starters on the roster. The difference lies in the depth a team possesses. Every team suffers injuries and the ones that can plug in another solid player when a starter goes down are usually the ones playing deep into the playoffs.

The Seahawks took players who fit their system and who Ruskell and Holmgren have deemed to be players that will be leaders on and off the field. All in all a solid weekend for our beloved men in Seahawks Blue.

Scott Eklund writes and reports for Seahawks.NET and Dawgman.com. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.


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