Drafting players (or projecting them, for that matter) is an inexact science because it immediately begs the questions of which team needs are most pressing and who is the best player available.
In addition, there is the reality that draft history is littered with bad decisions, inaccurate analysis and straight-up reaches that have plagued teams for years.
The Seahawks are arguably solid across their entire lineup. Certainly there is room for improvement, but it is fair to suggest that Seattle does not have obvious, glaring deficiencies in particular areas.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider have done very well over the last couple of years, so fan expectations are high that the dynamic duo will unearth more gems from the 2013 NFL Draft.
Here is a round-by-round analysis on which players should be selected to wear a Seahawks uniform in 2013.
With the 25th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft the Seattle Seahawks should select Sheldon Richardson, a defensive lineman from Missouri. Seattle is not desperate for playmakers on the defensive line, but it is certainly an area that could add some depth. Richardson is a big body (6'3" 295 lbs) who can get into the backfield.
Granted, Richardson may not be available in this slot.
If Richardson is not there, Seattle could draft another defensive tackle such as Shariff Floyd from Florida or a defensive end like Ezekiel Ansah from BYU, who had a strong performance at the Senior Bowl.
There may be a temptation to take a wide receiver in the first round. A 6’3” wideout like Keenan Allen from Cal will probably be gone, as will tight end Zach Ertz from Stanford. Still, if either of those players fall to 25th, Seattle may grab them.
The other possibility is that Seattle may try to get an offensive lineman in this spot, depending on how much faith Carroll and Schneider have in their existing personnel.
In the second round, the Seahawks should go after wide receiver Justin Hunter from Tennessee. Hunter is 6’4” and (at least, theoretically) the type of big body that Carroll would like to have on the outside.
Seattle has failed to find another receiver who can use his height to create mismatches since Mike Williams. Braylon Edwards seemed to fit the bill here in 2012, but obviously he did not pan out, catching just eight passes in 10 games.
Again, Hunter may be gone so, if Seattle is serious about acquiring a big-play receiver in the second round, they may need to trade up.
Another talented receiver that is not quite as tall is Terrance Williams of Baylor, who managed just one catch at the Senior Bowl. He may also be gone, but he could be the type of receiver that Seattle needs. Williams has great speed and, in 2012, he showed that he could still be a big-time producer even without Robert Griffin III at quarterback, catching 97 passes for 1,832 yards with 12 touchdowns.
If Seattle feels like they need more serious help on the offensive line, they may pick up a lineman in the first or second round. However, if Carroll and Schneider believe that players like James Carpenter are long-term solutions, they may wait.
If there is faith in the offensive line, the third round may provide an opportunity to get some depth. By then, certain linemen are no longer “can’t-miss prospects” but Seattle has done well in finding valuable pieces in later rounds over the last couple of years.
Why not take a guy that has already worked with Russell Wilson? Specifically, Seattle could draft offensive lineman Ricky Wagner from Wisconsin. Wagner is a big body at 6’6” and 322 pounds and has experience blocking in a marquee program.
If the Seahawks wanted to make one of their signature smaller-school picks, they could also draft offensive lineman Luke Marquardt from Azusa Pacific University, which produced Christian Okoye many years ago. Marquardt is the same weight as Wagner, but is three inches taller. The athletic lineman was coached NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, which means that he received some expert tutelage.
Given his age (31 in September), it is unlikely that the Seahawks will bring back Leroy Hill in 2013. Therefore, they will need a replacement at outside linebacker.
Even if Malcolm Smith can fill that role, Seattle will need some depth. Therefore, in the fourth round, they might look at Cameron Lawrence from Mississippi State. Lawrence is regarded as an instinctive linebacker, which could fit well with Carroll’s scheme.
You always have to take the term “sleeper” with a grain of salt, but Lawrence may be the type of player that plays above his draft status in the NFL. Seattle likes youngsters at linebacker, it would be great to pair a promising athlete with K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner.
In the past couple of seasons, Carroll and Schneider have demonstrated a knack for finding late-rounder contributors.
Pete Carroll does not seem to be a guy that is scared off by a challenge. If Seattle wants to go after another athlete at wide receiver, they could go after lanky (6'4" 185) Marquess Wilson from Washington State.
Granted, Wilson did leave Washington State in an awkward way, so this may raise a red flag.
However, wide receiver is a need for this team, and Seattle may look to give Russell Wilson as many weapons as possible in 2013. Wilson does not have great speed, and he will need to get a little bigger if he is going to survive in the NFL.
Still, he may be an intriguing project for Carroll to develop.
If the conditional pick from the Oakland Raiders turns into another fifth-rounder, this might be a good opportunity to get a tight end. While Anthony McCoy has been serviceable as a backup, he has his moments where he does not appear to be a long-term solution.
A good pick might be Michael Williams of Alabama, who caught two balls in the Senior Bowl, including a touchdown. Williams is regarded more as a run blocker, but his massive 6’6", 270-pound frame could make him a very big target in the NFL and a good solution for Seattle.
With the injury to Chris Clemons, Seattle may need to think about pass rushers of the future. Bruce Irvin had a solid rookie campaign, but he may not have the ability to play defensive end on every down.
Therefore, selecting defensive end Michael Buchanan could fill a future need for the Seahawks. Buchanan is a good athlete and has excellent speed off the edge.
The challenge for Buchanan is that he has a lean body at 240 pounds, which is fairly light for a defensive end in the NFL. This means that he may struggle getting through offensive linemen at the next level.
Buchanan may not be available in the sixth round but, if he is, Seattle might be wise to get the 6’6” end and start developing him into an NFL pass rusher.
According to Pro Sports Transactions, Seattle could have three picks in the seventh round.
Steven Hauschka is a free agent, which means that Seattle will need to decide if they re-sign their current kicker or start over with a rookie. If the Seahawks let Hauschka go, they could draft someone like Caleb Sturgis, who kicked for the University of Florida.
Sturgis has the range and accuracy to be an effective NFL kicker and has seemingly made a full recovery from a back injury two years ago.
With another seventh-round pick, Seattle should take defensive lineman Montori Hughes from Tennessee-Martin. Hughes went to a smaller school and he had some academic issues along the way, but he has an NFL body and could develop into a solid nose tackle.
Finally, Seattle could pick up another offensive lineman. If they want to go small-school again, Brian Winters of Kent State might fit the bill if he is still around. Another sleeper, he would need to bulk up a bit (294 pounds) in order to make an impact in the NFL.