A Prescription for What Ails the Seattle Seahawks: The 2009 NFL Draft

Matt WinthropContributor IJanuary 7, 2009

The Seattle Seahawks, thanks to their dismal 2008 season, will pick fourth in next year’s NFL draft. This is a very promising development for a team with inherent talent but a couple of gaping holes.    

Above all else, the Seahawks need a big-play wide receiver with some size. Michael Crabtree, anyone? Texas Tech’s big, tall, and fast gamer would be just what Matt Hasselbeck’s doctor ordered.

In 2008, a gimpy Hasselbeck struggled mightily along with his injury-depleted receiving corps. To help him get back on track, he needs a go-to guy, a guy who can win the jump-balls with any corner at any time. If Crabtree is still available at No. 4, he should be a no-brainer pick for GM Tim Ruskell.   

The second need that must be addressed is the defensive secondary, specifically the strong-safety position. While the major breakdowns in pass defense this season weren’t all attributable to strong safety Brian Russell, it was all too obvious that he wasn’t getting the job done.

And when one piece of the puzzle isn’t working, none of it works. Going forward, veteran Marcus Trufant and the young Josh Wilson should have the corners locked down, and Deon Grant will be back at free safety. The missing piece is a big, hard-hitting safety roaming the secondary (something that Russell isn’t).

Nobody fits this description better than USC’s Taylor Mays, a 6’3” stud who can run a 4.2 40 and hit like Ronnie Lott. If he decides to declare for the NFL draft, Mays is projected to go sometime in the second half of the first round. Unless Seattle can nab a play-making safety via free agency, Ruskell should seriously consider trading up to get him.

This would be a coup for the Seahawks’ defense—not only would they be getting a guy from a top-notch program who knows how to win immediately, but they’d also be getting a presence in the secondary not seen in the Northwest since the days of the great Kenny Easley.

Besides those top priorities, the rest of the draft will probably be targeted on the offensive and defensive lines, areas that always need new talent, as well as on picking up depth at receiver, defensive back, and possibly quarterback. But while the whole draft is important, Seattle can use their first two picks to immediately change their prognosis for 2009.

Drafting Crabtree and Mays would do just that.