A league source recently told Scout.com's Adam Caplan that in addition to the previously reported visits that the Seahawks have set up with Michigan quarterback Chad Henne and Louisville signal-caller Brian Brohm -- both players will be in town this week -- Delaware's Joe Flacco will be next in line to visit the Emerald City. The Seahawks will host Flacco, who may have the best overall arm in this year's draft, on Thursday. It would appear that the team is taking a pretty serious look at what's out there for second-round quarterback prospects.
The upfront needs -- offensive line, wide receiver, and running back -- have eclipsed in the minds of most the fact that Matt Hasselbeck. Seattle's primary starting quarterback since 2001, and a face of this franchise over the last few years, will turn 33 in September. The bell isn't tolling for Hasselbeck, but it's a good time to think about grooming an elite replacement down the road -- especially if that player could benefit from Mike Holmgren's tutelage as the Seahawks' head coach starts his final year in Seattle.
Flacco has impressed even those analysts who have essentially given up on quarterbacks who operate out of the college spread option, because he does have experience in more traditional sets and is more comfortable under center. Unlike many spread quarterbacks, he can make the longer throws that are required in any NFL system.
Scott Eklund, Seahawks.NET's Draft Analyst, had this to say about the 6'7", 236-pound prospect:
When you watch Flacco play, he's a guy who stands out on film as a football player. He doesn't put up anything but average numbers during workouts, but they aren't made to showcase his talents. Flacco has an outstanding arm, able to make all the throws a quarterback is asked to make. He's also huge so he won't have many passes batted down at the line. Where he struggles is throwing on the run and he doesn't seem to feel the rush very well.
If he can stand strong in the pocket, he's very accurate, but when he's asked to throw on the run, his accuracy plummets because of some flawed mechanics. Because he played against Division-1AA talent, it's still undetermined how he'll progress against NFL talent, but he's got all the tools to be a very successful starter eventually.
He compares very favorably to Cleveland Browns QB Derek Anderson and that's not necessarily because of their relative size. They also have big arms, can make all the throws and they both aren't players that can come in and start in the NFL right away. Flacco, like Anderson, will need at least two years to get his mechanics down and on reading defenses. If he's given the time to mature behind an established starter, eventually, Flacco has the talent to light up the scoreboard.
Stay tuned for more details on Flacco, as well as the visits of Henne and Brohm.
Could A & M Starter be the Backup Center?
The depth at the center position is a long-discussed issue among the Seahawk faithful. Chris Spencer's only backup is veteran guard Chris Gray, and that's more a stopgap than anything. Seattle also needs a long snapper after possibly losing Jeff Robinson to retirement and being embarrassed by the whole Boone Stutz fiasco. One player we know the team has talked to is Texas A & M center Cody Wallace, who they sat down with at the Scouting Combine. Wallace also had a formal interview with the 49ers in Indianapolis, and he's scheduled to visit the Bills and Steelers.
Above all, Wallace is known for his sheer strength -- he's benched 475 pounds and put up a 745-pound squat. As you would expect, he's regarded as an excellent first-line blocker, though he is less nimble in space, according to scouting reports. Still, he's a scrappy prospect to keep an eye on, and a good-value second day pick. Remember that Robbie Tobeck was undrafted in 1993 and managed 14 seasons and two Super Bowls -- center isn't the glamour position, and some players have to grow into it.
Wallace was a finalist for the 2007 Rimington Trophy, awarded to the NCAA's best center every year. Perhaps more valuable than the award itself was the words that A & M offensive line coach Jim Bob Helduser had to say about Wallace: "Cody Wallace is a phenomenal football player and a phenomenal young man. He's been a pleasure, a joy and a blessing to work with for the past five years. I couldn't think of a more deserving candidate for the Rimington."
What Can Brown Do For Seattle?
No, not Josh -- that ship has sailed. Seattle's newest Brown might be Thomas, the Georgia waterbug running back who impressed observers at the East-West Shrine game and gained 2,787 yards on 527 carries in his Bulldogs career. The 5'9, 204-pound back has gone through durability issues over the last two seasons -- he tore his right ACL in 2006 and broke his left collarbone halfway through the 2007 season. Still, he returned to gain 389 yards in his last four Georgia games, including 139 on 17 carries against Georgia Tech.
Brown looked good during
Shrine Game practices, drawing attention for his power running style and good
hands out of the backfield. That's where the Seahawks and many other teams caught
up with him. Brown will most likely fall to the mid-second day because of his
injury history and a ridiculously deep running back class, but this team leader
seems to be the kind of player the Seahawks surprise with in the draft.
Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET, a staff writer for Football Outsiders, and he writes NFL previews for the New York Sun. Feel free to e-mail Doug here.