The Seahawks weren't supposed to be very active in Free Agency this off season. At least that was the company line before they signed WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, DT Colin Cole and traded for DT Cory Redding.
Those roster additions will certainly impact Seattle's Draft strategy this April, as will the roster's subtractions, particularly WR Bobby Engram, FB Leonard Weaver and OLB Julian Peterson. All three have played big roles for the team in recent years and finding their replacements will be necessary to get back to the playoffs.
As it is with all teams, need plays a role in their Draft game-plan, though you'll never hear a team say that publicly. So what do Seattle's recent acquisitions and departures mean for the team and how much will it affect whom they draft?
Offensive Line: The
'Hawks re-signed OT/G Ray Willis which will give them some toughness and versatility
on the right side, but that won't be enough to fix the offensive line's problems.
It's still very likely that Seattle will target an OT with the 4th overall pick
Baylor's Jason Smith and Virginia's Eugene Monroe are both grading out as Top 5 picks and either would be a great addition for the team. The Seahawks should have an opportunity to grab one of them at #4, with the first lineman coming off the board at #2 when St. Louis picks.
Getting an OT would be nice, but upgrading the interior of the O-line might be more of an immediate need. C Chris Spencer is a bust and now has injuries to worry about. G Chris Sims regressed since his rookie year and Mike Wahle isn't getting any younger. Upgrades at both positions are necessary.
Round 1- Jason Smith, OT Baylor; Eugene Monroe, OT Virginia
Round 2- Eben Britton, OT, Arizona; Alex Mack, C Cal; Max Unger, C Oregon; William Beatty, OT UConn; Duke Robinson, G Oklahoma.
Rounds 3 and 4- Jamon Meredith, OT South Carolina; Eric Wood, C Louisville; Andy Levitre, G Oregon State; Troy Kropog, OT Tulane; Trevor Canfield, G Cincinnati; Fenuki Tupou, T/G Oregon; Antoine Caldwell, C Alabama
Outside Linebacker: Trading
Julian Peterson might have come as a surprise to fans, but in many scouting
circles, Peterson wasn't the player he used to be. He's always been a solid
pass rusher, but his inability vs. the run and his increasing trouble in pass
coverage left a lot to be desired.
He certainly isn't the versatile player he was in San Francisco when you could see him dropping into coverage 30 yards downfield on one play and blowing up a QB on the next. However, his departure does raise the question as to who will replace him. No current player on the roster is capable of replacing Peterson, so Seattle will have to find a player in the Draft or hope they can get a veteran later.
Round 1- Aaron Curry, OLB Wake Forest (the only LB worthy of the 4th overall pick)
Round 2- None
Rounds 3 and 4- Marcus Freeman, OLB Ohio State; Jason Williams, OLB Western Illinois; Jonathan Casillas, OLB Wisconsin.
Safety: Brian Russell
never was a fast player, but his tremendous instincts made up for his lack of
athleticism. Until last season, that is. His drop off in play was noticeable
to even casual fans and he's much better suited for a backup role at this point.
Seattle might have his replacement already on the team- FS Deon Grant, who is probably better suited to play the strong side anyway. The Seahawks have two options. Keep Grant at FS and select a SS in the Draft, or move Grant over and grab a FS.
This Draft has some options, especially in the middle rounds, that could help the team. No safety is worthy of the 4th overall pick, so unless there's a trade-down scenario, expect Seattle to look at one in the middle rounds.
Round 1- None
Round 2- Louis Delmas, FS Western Michigan; Patrick Chung, SS Oregon.
Rounds 3 and 4- Darcel McBath, FS Texas Tech; Rashad Johnson, FS Alabama; Derek Pegues, FS Mississippi State; Chip Vaughn, SS Vanderbilt; William Moore, SS Missouri; Michael Hamlins, SS Clemson.
Receiver: Yes, they
signed Houshmandzadeh, but expecting Branch and Burleson to stay healthy for
16 games is a mistake. Not to mention the fact that the young receivers that
were supposed to develop, haven't. Taking a receiver isn't as big a need as
it was before, but it's certainly still a position that can be upgraded. Getting
one that has some size should be on the list as well.
Round 1- Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech; Jeremy Maclin, Missouri.
Round 2- Kenny Britt, Rutgers; Brian Robiskie, Ohio State.
Rounds 3 and 4- Louis Murphy, Florida; Jauquin Iglesias, Oklahoma; Derrick Williams, Penn State; Mohamed Massaquoi, Georgia; Mike Thomas, Arizona; Brandon Tate, North Carolina; Ramses Barden, Cal Poly.
Hasselbeck's injuries last season put the Seahawks in a horrible position last
year. Backup Seneca Wallace is a good #2 option, but he's not the future of
the organization. Drafting the team's QB of the future is definitely upon the
Round 1- Matthew Stafford, Georgia; Mark Sanchez, USC.
Round 2- None
Rounds 3 and 4- None