Taylor Mays has broken a lot of hearts in Seattle by declaring that he will return for his senior year at USC. He won't be holding up the Blue and Green come April.
The latest news suggests that one of the primary focuses this offseason will be at wide receiver—a year too late.
Given that Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree has declared for the draft, I think it's hard to ignore the Seahawks brass' comments about building up the wide receiver position.
Given the recent changes, let's take a look at what the Seahawks look like in the 2009 draft by position.
The fourth overall pick in the draft will be Crabtree. Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will be chomping at the bit the day after the draft to build up some chemistry here. We might finally see something special in that passing game that has been lacking the past few seasons.
Seattle needs to build its defense here. Replacing Brian Russell at safety has got to be near the top of head coach Jim Mora's to-do list. Mays returning to USC for his senior season has shuffled up the 2009 draft class.
William Moore of Missouri will be gone by Seattle’s second pick, but there is still a handful of viable players to choose from.
Patrick Chung of Oregon has the size that Seattle would like to see in a strong safety. However, if he manages a decent time at the combine, then there is a very good chance he'll get picked up in the late first round.
Louis Delmas of Western Michigan and Rashad Johnson of Alabama are both speedy, undersized safeties that have fit the Seattle scheme for the past few years. Nick Saban had high praises for Johnson, so look for Seattle to take him if he's still there.
If Delmas and Johnson are gone by the time Seattle gets to their pick, I doubt they'll bite on safety/cornerback Sean Smith of Utah. His speed is a liability on a defense that has the tendency to give up big plays.
I think it's entirely possible that if Seattle can't land a safety in the second round, they'll opt to pick defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks out of Auburn.
Defensive tackle has been a bit erratic on the draft boards lately, with Boston College standout B.J Raji jumping up to the No. 1 prospect at the position. It's a shame too, because he is the big run-stuffing monster that Seattle could use with the impending departure of Rocky Bernard.
Assuming that Seattle locks up their wide receiver and safety troubles by this round, they will be free to address some other issues such as the offensive line, depth at linebacker and corner, and maybe even the defensive line.
The way Mora has been talking about the defensive line, it looks like Bernard isn't coming back and they are going to focus on working with the players they already have.
As much as we would all love to see Haynesworth come to town, I think we can safely say it isn't going to happen.
If, by some miracle, center Antoine Caldwell of Alabama is still on the board, I think the Seahawks have to make a bid for him. He ousted Alex Mack and Max Unger to be voted to the AP All-America First Team.
Chris Spencer has not filled in the hole left by Robbie Tobeck, and although Steve Vallos did a good job last year, I can't see him as the answer. Drafting Caldwell would make Spencer a viable backup who can platoon at offensive guard as well.
Vallos can play just about any position on the line, making him a valuable depth player.
If Caldwell isn't around, then look for the Hawks to take a look at Trevor Canfield , a guard from Cincinnati. If offensive tackle Troy Kropog of Tulane dips down into the third round, Seattle might draft him and convert him to a guard. He is just the type of offensive lineman that Mike Solari and Greg Knapp could use to buff up the running game.
Depending on what happens with free agency, Seattle might opt for a corner here. Alphonso Smith from Wake Forest and Mike Mickens of Cincinnati are fairly quick corners, however, the sleeper at this pick could very well be Darius Butler from Connecticut. Butler is a very speedy corner who could double as a nickel back/returner for Seattle.