The Seattle Seahawks are getting ready for the clock to start ticking on the big stage. It is NFL draft time, and lists of potential draftees are being assembled around the league as franchises put together their war rooms.
Due to the popularity of the National Football League, the draft has becoming a highly anticipated event. There are all sorts of mock drafts that attempt to anticipate the strategy of each NFL team.
How will Seattle do in the draft this year? Will the Seahawks find more gems in the later rounds and continue to build a championship-caliber team? Or, will all the research and scouting result in some bad decisions once the team is on the clock?
Seattle has used the draft quite effectively over the last few seasons and has built one of the most exciting young squads in the league. Fans are hoping that this trend will continue as the Seahawks build on a successful season in 2012.
Here are some of the biggest questions for the Seattle Seahawks heading into the 2013 NFL draft.
NFL teams can meet a lot of their needs with an effective draft. That is assuming that everyone agrees on the most pressing priorities.
For the Seahawks, this is the biggest question. What are their biggest needs? Fans certainly have their opinions, but consensus is lacking.
Which position groups are the biggest topics of discussion? Arguably, offensive line, defensive line and outside linebacker.
The question is whether Seattle management feels the same. Complicating the question are recent moves, or moves that have yet to be made.
For example, is the signing of Tony McDaniel intended to address the defensive line and end any speculation about Alan Branch returning? Is Malcolm Smith intended to be the heir apparent to Leroy Hill? Do Pete Carroll and John Schneider have faith that the current group of offensive lineman can be healthy and productive in 2013?
Questions, questions. The order in which positions are taken in the draft will give some sense of what the Seahawks are thinking. Until then, the debate over priorities will continue.
The biggest needs of the Seahawks is the general question that must be addressed. A more specific question concerns the offensive line.
It is not a stretch to suggest that the offensive line has been one of the most debated position groups in the offseason. Specifically, Breno Giacomini has both his defenders and his critics.
Conventional wisdom suggests that an offensive line needs continuity, which means that switching out parts can make it difficult for the line to develop chemistry. In addition, the Seahawks played very well in the second half of the season despite an ongoing assumption that this is an area of weakness.
Does Giacomini need to be replaced? Can John Moffitt and James Carpenter stay healthy? Is J.R. Sweezy a viable long-term solution? Will Russell Wilson’s feet provide a level of compensation for poor offensive line play?
More questions. Fewer answers. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see if the Seahawks grab an offensive lineman in the draft. If Seattle takes an offensive lineman early in the draft, that will send a strong message about it’s faith in the current cast of characters.
Matt Flynn trade talk? Say it ain’t so!
As soon as Russell Wilson started solidifying himself as the quarterback of the future, the Matt Flynn trade talk began. Much has been speculative, but recently the rumors (via Yahoo! Sports) have gotten a bit stronger.
If Flynn does get traded, the Seahawks will need a backup quarterback. Might the ‘Hawks draft a backup in the later rounds? Or, would Seattle go with a savvy veteran backup who can be had for a minimal contract?
Given the relative weakness of this draft in terms of quarterbacks, there will be signal-callers who can probably be had on the second day of the draft. Wilson is the established starter. Therefore, the Seahawks could probably draft a QB without a lot of speculation on whether that person is being brought in to compete for the job.
Stay tuned to trade talk. It could result in other dominoes starting to fall.
When the draft is over, will the Seahawks essentially be done making roster changes for next season? Or, will there be more free-agent shopping as veterans get desperate and accept cheaper contracts?
The signing of Tony McDaniel and the possible drafting of a defensive lineman may officially end any possibility of Alan Branch re-signing with the Seahawks. If Branch were to return, it probably would not be for a great deal of money.
There is also the issue of kicker, as Steven Hauschka remains unsigned. Realistically, Hauschka represents a solid but unspectacular solution at kicker. Seattle may not draft a kicker, but it might bring in a free-agent rookie or two to compete for the job.
Barring injuries, the Seahawks may be done shopping, but that remains to be seen. There are a lot of veterans on the market, and the ‘Hawks may add a small piece or two during the summer.
As soon as the draft is over, teams will receive grades from a number of football experts. Realistically, most of these grades are highly premature.
Truthfully, drafts should be graded a minimum of two-three years after they occur. Despite this reality, the grades are going to come out anyway simply because we want to look into our crystal ball and anticipate what might occur in the future.
In past years, the Seahawks have not necessarily received the highest grades, particularly in 2012. Perhaps this year Pete Carroll and John Schneider will be given more credit for their drafting savvy.
Fans aren’t going to be concerned about grades, but they will be interested to see if the Seahawks make the “conventional” pick or if they continue to be unpredictable.
Carroll and Schneider haven’t been perfect in their picks by any stretch of the imagination. The jury is still out on several players who were selected in the last few drafts.
Still, it is always fascinating to see how others react to a particular draft strategy.