>\n\nWorst to First: 4. Seattle Seahawks \n\n\n\n

Worst to First: 4. Seattle Seahawks

Written by Ben Morgan on 04/08/2009

I guess I can list myself as surprised to see the Seattle Seahawks picking this high. It doesn't seem too long ago since the Seahawks were losing the Superbowl. Maybe that's because their fans are still bitching about the refs? Seriously guys, get over it. This was a real down year for them and perhaps in no small part thanks to injuries to Matt Hasselbeck. When he was healthy, which wasn't very often, he didn't do too well either. Further injuries to, well, most of the WRs at some point in the season and a running game that failed to adequately replace Shaun Alexander certainly didn't help either. There's a lot of mitigating circumstances in this one and I actually don't think they're in too bad a shape overall. They're certainly a lot healthier (metaphorically, if not literally) than the other 3 teams we've talked about. Having the number 4 pick though is going to cause some headaches internally. There's just so many ways they can go here. Michael Crabtree? They could use a big time WR threat to pair with Housh. Matthew Stafford? He could fall this far if the top 2 go with Offensive Tackles. Do they or should they look at Hasselbeck's eventual replacement? Will one of the top 2 OTs fall to them? Walter Jones isn't immortal after all. An Impact player on D? Raji? Curry? Orakpo? Is #4 too early for a RB? Seattle doesn't get many top 10 picks in the draft, in fact they haven't even had one in the top 25 since 2003! Last time they had a pick this early though was 1997. They had the 3rd and the 6th overall. They came away with Shawn Springs and Walter Jones. It must be very tempting to make use of a rare early pick on one of the 2 marquee positions, QB or LT, even if neither are an immediate 2009 need.

Let's see how their offseason has been progressing though.

2009 Free Agent Losses
2009 Free Agent additions
Maurice Morris RB (Lions, UFA), Rocky Bernard DT (Giants, UFA), Bobby Engram WR (Chiefs, UFA), Howard Green DT (Jets, UFA), Will Heller TE (Lions, UFA), Leonard Weaver FB (Eagles, UFA), Floyd Womack OL (Browns, UFA), Julian Peterson (Lions, trade)
T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR (Bengals), Colin Cole DT (Packers), John Owens TE (Lions), Cory Redding DT (Lions via trade)
2009 Unsigned Free Agents
2010 Potential Free Agents
Charlie Frye QB (UFA), Chris Gray OG (UFA), Wesly Mallard LB (UFA), Steve McKinney C (UFA), Jeff Robinson LS (UFA), Koren Robinson WR (UFA),
LeRoy Hill LB (2009 Franch), Cory Redding DT (voided 2010-13 of his Lions contract), Nate Burleson WR (possibly. 2010 is a voidable year), Olindo Mare K, Darryl Tapp DE, Rob Sims OG

Roster Breakdown
Quarterbacks Minor Need
We've seen over the past few years that a healthy Hasselbeck is a good NFL QB. He wasn't healthy at all last year and in relief Seneca Wallace looked shaky. They clearly have some interest in Mark Sanchez, and I would like that pick. It's even possible Matthew Stafford may fall to their pick if the top 2 go with Offensive Tackles. I tend to think of Hasselbeck as pushing 40. He's actually only 33. Whisper it, he's younger than me! But I still have most of my hair. The upshot is that while it might be nice to be looking for his successor, he should be around for a few more years yet. A more developmental type would be nice though. Something Day 2 perhaps? The rate Nate Davis seems to be falling he might be a good catch.

Runningbacks Major Need
I guess I have issues calling this a Minor Need. In reality it probably is just a Minor Need but I've never rated Julius Jones. TJ Duckett's always been a disappointment to me too. When he came out I saw the next Bettis. I'm now annoyed I use their name's in the same sentence at all. Neither of these guys is Shaun Alexander in his pomp, not even if you rolled them into one guy, and I think for the Seahawks offense to really tick they need to find that again. There are some good RBs, one or two of whom may be there with that second round pick. It's doubtful Beanie Wells or Knowshon Moreno would be there but stranger things have happened. More likelt they struggle on through 2009 with these 2 guys and address it next year.

Wide Receivers
Major Need
Scanning the Seahawks depth chart you see Housh, Nate Burleson, Deion Branch and current starting Split End Ben Obamanu. It's a good collection of names. Unfortunately most of them spent more time cashing large cheques than catching long passes. Obamanu most people won't know too much about but he came into the league with serious speed and while he hasn't done anything yet (he's had some injury troubles just like every Seattle WR the last few years) he has potential to be a deep threat. Something none of the other Seattle WRs can really do. While I'd be surprised if he started Week 1 at WR, he's got the position right now. I'll go out on a limb and claim that whilst they did just sign Housh, Housh has always had a bigger name (read bigger mouth) opposite him at WR. In Seattle right now that won't be the case and it remains to be seen how he'll deal with that. To me the most likely pick for Seattle is one of the top 2 OTs in the draft but if they're both gone you can make a really good case for Michael Crabtree. If that were to happen you can expect to see one or both of Burleson and Branch on their way out in the near future. Because of my lack of confidence in the the health of Burleson and Branch, the performance of Obamanu and how Housh deals with double teams, I'm still going to have to list this as a Major Need, but if everything comes right for this group they could be set. It's just asking for a lot to go right.

Tight Ends
No Need
In spite of spotty QB play, a generally misfiring offense and the fact he was a rookie, John Carlson had a very good year. I'm predicting big things from him this year, I think he has potential to step up towards the top 5 TEs in the league. Not quite Gonzo/Gates level but certainly something like Chris Cooley. John Owens was signed from Detroit, he's a blocking TE in the main but his addition means the Seahawks won't be in the market for a TE in this draft.

Offensive Line
Major Need
Walter Jones is one of the best LTs in the game. He has been for years. Too many years. He's also coming off the dreaded microfracture surgery. Something, I understand, which entails trying to encourage scar tissue to replace cartilidge. That's not so good for a 300lb guy who takes a beating 16 weeks out fo the year. This is the year to draft a guy who can be as good as him and the 4th pick in the draft gives you the ammunition to do so. If Detroit doesn't select an OT it's highly likely the other one of the top 2 (Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe) makes it to number 4. If they don't I'd go as far as to say I'd look for Seattle to attempt to trade down, perhaps with Denver, and look to still get one of Michael Oher or Andre Smith outside the top 10. That actually could be a great move for the Seahawks and the Broncos. The Broncos get their choice of who they think is the best QB in the draft and the Seahawks still get a great OT in the making but also probably the chance to grab Beanie Wells? Big trades like that are rare mind you. Last year the Seahawks were decimated on the OL. Mike Wahle, Sean Locklear, Jones, Rob Sims and Chris Spencer all hit IR. Spencer and Sims are free agents in 2010 and Mike Wahle is 32. A pick on a good interior OL guy would be nice too but this unit when reunited should at least significantly improve on the 2008 showing.

Defensive Tackle
Minimal Need
Despite losing Rocky Bernard they actually look in pretty good shape. They signed Packers reserve Colin Cole to a long term deal. He's a good fit to play as a run stuffing DT in the 4-3 front. He may not play every down, he'll probably slide out on passing downs allowing recent trade acquisition Cory Redding to come in on passing downs. Word is they expect Brandon Mebane to play alongside Cole while Redding plays some DE on running downs. They've also got 2008 draft pick Red Bryant who came out with good talent but questions about attitude and injury. He's just depth at this point but if pressed into service he might showcase some stuff.

Defensive End
Minor Need
They look pretty blessed here although Patrick Kerney is coming off more shoulder surgery and Cory Redding is going to be a free agent come 2010. That said they didn't really generate enough of a pass rush but they have the talent, just, I think lacking some execution. A healthy Kerney is absolutely key. On top of the presumed starters they have 2 young, former Day One picks in Lawrence Jackson and Darryl Tapp to rotate in, cover any injuries and presumably replace one or both of Redding and Kerney next year. Tapp is also a free agent next year which does provide a little worry but it's hard to see them not offering a new contract to at least one of Tapp and Redding. They're doing pretty good from what I see on the DL in general but yeah, a later round guy to add a little depth going into next year wouldn't hurt. They have 4 7th rounders, taking a flier on an athlete with one them? Possibly a smart move.

Linebackers Major Need
The Hawks have a couple of talented LBs in Lofa Tatupu and the guy Tatupu reckons is the best LB on the team, LeRoy Hill. Losing Julian Peterson hurts but they had far too much money tied up in their LBs. In the 4-3 LBs are little more than a commodity so one of them had to go to help them improve elsewhere. It's left them I think, needing to bolster their troops. D.D. Lewis is a decent player and he's been extended but I'd prefer him as quality depth than as a starter. This is a position the Seahawks could definitely look to in round 2 or 3. Depends who's there but say, Clint Sintim if he slides into round 2 or a guy like Marcus Freeman a little later on would make their situation look a lot better. They've also had Connor Barwin in for a workout. I think he'd be a better 3-4OLB than a 4-3OLB myself but he may be another prospect of interest in round 2.

Cornerback Major Need
Marcus Trufant is a very good CB but Kelly Jennings is looking like a bust. He was benched this year for Josh Wilson at times and it's not like Wilson is a world beater. They could certainly use an upgrade at CB but a rookie is unlikely to contribute strongly. In the meantime they could really help out Kelly and Wilson by getting some more pressure on opposing QBs. That didn't happen enough last year although in fairness, outside their division the Hawks had a pretty tough schedule, including the NFC East. Philly and the Giants and to some extent Washington are pretty adept at pass blocking. They also played Buffalo early on when they were playing well and Green Bay, Tampa, the Jets and New England. Not a real easy schedule and there's some good pass protectors in there. I'd be looking at CB early, maybe even round 2. A few good CBs should fall into that sort of area. Alphonso Smith, Darius Butler perhaps.

Safety Minor Need
Deon Grant is a guy I like, he makes the Seahawks playcalls in the secondary and he's clearly an important player for them, as evidenced by the $32m contract they gave him a couple of years ago. Brian Russell at FS isn't really doing enough for me. He's not really a ball hawk and frankly, he just doesn't make enough plays. This could certainly stand an upgrade. A guy like Sean Smith who could perhaps even play FS as a rookie before eventually moving to CB could be a great round 2 pick and kill 2 birds with one stone. If that doesn't happen and they manage to find a pure corner type in round 2 a day 2 pick on a Safety would be a good move.

Specialists No Need

Last year the Hawks brought in a rookie kicker to challenge Olindo Mare. It seems to have worked. Mare responded with a good season and didn't miss a kick until late October. He finished the year kicking at nearly 90% for FGs with 3 over 50 yards. Nailing 22 Touchbacks on Kickoffs as well means Mare's nailed this job at least for 2009. He's a free agent in 2010. They've indicated that Mare will be back this year, I predict a camp battle but Brandon Coutu will have to go some to beat out Mare and could end up cut. Last year they carried 2 kickers. Jon Ryan had a pretty handy year in replacement of Ryan Plackermeier. He is a free agent after 2009 but they'll probably only look to address that after this season.

Return Game
Minimal Need
Josh Wilson averaged over 25 yards per kick return which is ok. Again no return TDs for anyone last year though. A healthy Burleson could breathe some life back into the punt returns although Justin Forsett averaged a shade under 10 yards last year. It's not exactly a great situation but it's one they may not feel the need to address this season unless they feel like spending one of those 7th rounders to bring in a return specialist to camp.

Dream Day One

1.12 Michael Oher OT Ole Miss
1.18 Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia
2.37 Sean Smith CB/S Utah

Player Visits
Don Carey CB Norfolk State
Brandon Gibson WR Washington St
Al Afalava S Oregon State
Connor Barwin DE Cincinatti
Mark Sanchez QB USC
Everette Pedescleaux DT N. Iowa
Reggie Jones CB Portland State
Beanie Wells RB Ohio State
Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest
Jason Chery WR Louisiana-Lafayette

Last Edited: 04/08/2009

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