Seahawks 2013 Mock Draft: The Smartest Pick Seattle Can Make at Every Spot
In a word, what happened Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks was ugly.
Rather than dissect the team's disappointing performance against the Washington Redskins in their Wild Card matchup, I figured it might just be easier (if not better) to move forward and see how the 'Hawks can build upon their success this past season.
Perhaps I'm still in denial, but the Seattle Seahawks have a lot to be proud of this season and by all measures appear to be a team built to last.
At the same time, Sunday's game painfully illustrated that perhaps the 'Hawks aren't quite ready for the big time, at least not on the road against the force of nature that is Robert Griffin III.
So how can the 'Hawks pick up the pieces?
Wait, you mean to tell me they came from behind to score 24 unanswered points on the road to win?
Joking aside, just when it looked like the Seahawks were a lost cause on Sunday, they dug in deep and rallied back to earn a shot at the Atlanta Falcons next weekend.
Nobody knows what will happen next, but for fun I'd like to focus a little further ahead than some of us may be willing to venture on a place where the 'Hawks have had quite a bit of success in recent years: the NFL Draft.
In years past, general manager John Schneider working with head coach Pete Carroll could paint in broad strokes to find talent as the team rebuilt from scratch. But at this point the pair needs to focus on fine-tuning their roster to take the 'Hawks to the next level.
Yet if anyone is up for the task, it's Schneider and Carroll.
In my initial mock draft a few weeks ago, I tended to focus on players the 'Hawks might want, but today I'm focusing a bit towards players the team might really need.
So what are the smart picks the 'Hawks can make at every spot?
Here are a few thoughts I've pieced together, with the hopes of giving the Seahawks the players they need to continue on their march in becoming one of the NFL's elite franchises.
Round 1: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Let's face facts, the Seahawks have a really good defense, but not quite perfect, from what we saw against the Redskins in the first quarter on Sunday.
Early in the season the team looked like they were on their way to become an elite unit as they managed to stuff the run and get to the quarterback with a fair degree of consistency. But as the year wore on, the Seahawks' ability to shut down an opponent's run game became a huge question mark.
In many ways it was strange to see a strength turn into a weakness on a team that generally improved during the course of the season.
In going against the Redskins' Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris on Sunday, the 'Hawks looked like a team that could use a player capable of stuffing the run and also getting to the quarterback.
Seeing Griffin on the Redskins' first drive carve up the 'Hawks without so much as breaking a sweat and Morris chewing up yards at breakneck speed on the next drive was downright worrisome as they worked together to build a 14-0 lead.
After that, the defense buckled down to shut out the 'Skins the rest of the way. But let's face it, the 'Hawks could use a little help here.
If we assume that Utah's Star Lotuleli and Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins are gone at this point, Sheldon Richardson looks to be the Seahawks' best option by the end of Round 1 in April to help fix this potential soft spot on the defensive front.
Round 2: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
This season Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and to a lesser extent Doug Baldwin have served as the core receivers for the Seahawks. Beyond them the team has had little luck getting much production out of anyone else, as even veteran Braylon Edwards wore out his welcome a few weeks ago.
To his credit, Russell Wilson has made the situation work.
Yet even if Rice stays healthy again next season, Tate continues to progress and Baldwin rebounds after a disappointing 2012, the 'Hawks still need a legitimate option with the size and speed necessary to stretch the field for Wilson.
Williams would appear to be a first-round talent, but if he falls to the 'Hawks in Round 2, it would be foolish to let him slip away.
If given the chance to work with Wilson, the two could become fast friends on the field by helping give the Seahawks a home-run option at wide receiver.
Round 3: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Week in and week out, watching Breno Giacomini on the right side is an adventure.
There are times he looks like a legitimate run-blocker and pass protector, but I still have doubts as to whether he is a long-term solution to protect Russell Wilson at right tackle.
Enter Johnson who Walterfootball.com projects to be going somewhere between the first and third rounds in a few months time:
Johnson is a 2-year starter who has been a good edge-blocker for Landry Jones. Johnson had a strong game protecting his quarterback against Texas. He may project best to right tackle in the NFL.
There were a lot of doubts at Oklahoma entering the season if Johnson could handle left tackle, but he has done extremely well for the Sooners; Jones' blind side was solidly protected. Johnson redshirted in 2009 before playing tight end and defensive end in 2010.
If he's available by the time the 'Hawks are up for Round 3, Johnson strikes me as the kind of athletic player/project that Pete Carroll and John Schneider would certainly be intrigued by, similar to how the 'Hawks drafted J.R. Sweezy.
Round 4: Trevardo Williams, OLB, Connecticut
A few weeks ago in my initial mock draft, I selected Williams here as a potential replacement for Leroy Hill.
My thoughts on the issue remain unchanged as I still believe the 'Hawks need to find a linebacker in the middle of their draft to pair alongside Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.
A player with Williams size, speed and knack for getting to the ball at this point seems to be a smart pick to help round out the 'Hawks defense.
Round 5: Quanterus Smith, DE, Western Kentucky (via Raiders)
Quanterus Smith of Western Kentucky?
If John Schneider can draft not one, but two players from a school as obscure as Utah State this season, then why not add a defensive end with 12.5 sacks in 2012 for next season?
Although his play has been uneven at times throughout his career, Smith is the type of player that, depending on his potential performances at the Senior Bowl and/or Combine, will be interesting to keep a close eye on towards the back half of the draft.
You can argue whether the 'Hawks need him, but if he's available at this point in the Draft, it might be smart to stock up on another end, especially one that can get results.
Watching Chris Clemons go down on Sunday made me feel that the 'Hawks need to stock up.
Round 5: Rashard Hall, FS, Clemson
As far as I can tell, Earl Thomas looks to be a Pro Bowl-caliber free safety for many years to come, but beyond him the 'Hawks only have Chris Maragos to back him up.
Not sure about you, but quite frankly that concerns me.
Free safety may not be a huge priority for the 'Hawks in this spring's draft, but Rashard Hall in Round 5 would seem like a smart pick for insurance purposes given his size and playmaking abilities.
I hate to think this way, but at this point it can't hurt to have a little bit of depth in one of the few places the 'Hawks are really lacking at the moment.
Round 6: Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee
Tight ends Zach Miller and Anthony McCoy have made decent contributions this season, but once again the 'Hawks could use a little extra depth in drafting someone like Mychal Rivera.
It would seem doubtful for the moment that the University of Tennessee tight end would still be available at this point in the draft, but if he is I can picture John Schneider adding him, given his pass-catching abilities and the potential to grow as a blocker.
With the two tight-end sets the 'Hawks like to run occasionally, having another set of hands that can run after the catch sure would be nice.
Round 7: Colin Klein, QB, Kansas State (via Buffalo)
In the final round I think the smart move is for the 'Hawks to pick up a quarterback.
Right now we don't know what the team plans to do with Matt Flynn, but if they move him either before or during the draft, there will be a need to find someone to back up Russell Wilson.
Initially I had the 'Hawks grabbing Vanderbilt's Jordan Rodgers here, but if Colin Klein is still available in Round 7, they might need to take him instead.
Walterfootball.com sees Klein as a versatile playmaker with a few issues who could be drafted somewhere between the fifth and seventh rounds:
Klein has been one of the best players in college football this season. He has been a superb play-maker who has carried the Wildcats to a great season.
Klein's completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,306 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions this year. The senior has also ran for 20 touchdowns. He ran for 1,141 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2011 while throwing for 1,918 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Klein is a great college player, but his arm isn't strong enough to be a starter in the NFL. His throwing mechanics are a real problem as well. He could be a developmental prospect, but likely no more than a career backup.
Sound a little familiar?
"Talented playmaker, but not quite a starter..."
The odds of lightning striking twice would seem small, but you never know.
Either way the 'Hawks at some point will probably need to find someone to back up the incredible Russell Wilson.
For the moment, though, Seattle fans, simply enjoy what could be the start of something big. Next stop, Atlanta!