As the Seattle Seahawks enter the final stretch of the season, it's becoming easier to see where the team could use some help when the draft comes along April 25-27, 2013.
With the team continuing to show improvement, at this point in the season it would be easy to question the need for changes and hope they continue to grow with the current roster. But just as free agents come and go every season, there will be the inevitable departures and areas where the general manager and coaches will attempt to improve.
One difference head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider will face, compared to drafts in the past, is that they are going to have a lot more flexibility. Where the Seahawks were drafting to fill needs in the past, they now have the opportunity to build depth focusing on Carroll's mantra of competition at every position.
For anyone who has followed the Seahawks in the draft over the past few years, Carroll and Schneider have shown they aren't going to rely on “expert” projections from guys like Mel Kiper, Jr. Apart from taking Russell Okung with the sixth pick in the draft back in 2010, it's been difficult for anyone to correctly guess who the Seahawks would pull from the college ranks.
Areas of offensive need for the Seahawks are at right tackle, depth at each guard, and additional depth at tight end and wide receiver. By bringing in Kellen Winslow Jr. at the beginning of the year, the team showed there is a desire for a versatile tight end opposite Zach Miller, who they'll continue to look for.
Defensively, Seattle could use some help in the middle for Brandon Mebane or help on the end when they're expecting the offense to run. Depth at corner is an option, and additional depth at linebacker would be ideal.
On special teams, I'd expect a kicker to come in to challenge Steven Hauschka if he is re-signed, and a kick/punt-return specialist to try to take Leon Washington's job.
It's a bit early to speculate on the Seahawks' draft position, but it's likely they'll be drafting in the second half of each round.
Just like Carroll, I'm going to avoid relying on Kiper for where I think players will ultimately end up. Instead, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller recently updated his college football player rankings, and the following slides offer players who may be available when it's time for the Seahawks to draft.