Are the Seattle Seahawks going to the Super Bowl?
That will largely be determined on the field of play, but this offseason they sure seem keen on stocking up with players to provide the necessary depth to make a serious go of it.
It's been a busy time to say the least, and the recent additions of Brady Quinn at backup quarterback and Antoine Winfield to play nickel corner continue to reshape not only the roster, but in all likelihood the team's draft strategy.
With only a week before the NFL draft begins, are the 'Hawks done adding free agents?
You never know this year, but based on what we do know, I figured I would piece together an updated full seven-round mock draft with the hopes of coming closer in line with what the front office might be thinking going into next week.
Of course, such a statement with both John Schneider and Pete Carroll at the controls seems laughable; therefore, I will once again offer my patented disclaimer.
Disclaimer: All picks guaranteed wrong come April...or your money back!
As sort of a running joke, I continue to keep Percy Harvin in Round 1 for the Seahawks.
Because while it might be tempting to have the 'Hawks trade up for the likes of offensive tackle Lane Johnson, I still don't see that happening.
What's hard after awhile in writing mock drafts, is you reach a point where you want to keep looking for new players and new angles but risk looking indecisive in the process. At the same time, you also run the risk of repeating yourself by falling in love with certain players, who may or may not necessarily be what the team needs by the time the draft rolls around.
Meanwhile as you debate with yourself, you try to sift out some form of truth in reading all of the "expert" opinions floating around that by the time you actually sit down at the keyboard you're almost willing to believe anything.
Understand, I'm not here looking to make excuses, so much as describe what's going through my mind as I try to manage the delicate balancing act of all these factors in what you're about to read.
Case in point, do the Seahawks need to draft a defensive tackle?
Probably, but do they need to draft one on day two?
With the recent signings of Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel, I hesitated in having the 'Hawks make a move here, yet each and every time I have the team drafting a tackle on day three I hear a chorus of responses telling me I missed the mark.
So today, in recognition of all your comments to acknowledge that I am indeed listening, I give you with the No. 56 pick in the 2013 NFL draft, defensive tackle Kawann Short of Purdue.
With studs the likes of Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei and Sheldon Richardson long gone, it comes down to who may still be around by the time the 'Hawks get to choose at No. 56.
Will Short still be available?
According to NFL.com and its scouting report on Short, it's possible:
Purdue’s two-time team captain earned All-Big Ten recognition in 2011 (17 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks) using his NFL size and surprising athleticism, the same attributes making Short a potential starter in 4-3 or 3-4 systems at the next level if he controls his weight and improves his consistency. He is a good athlete for his size, but needs to get stronger and get in better shape. He’s had a productive and decorated career at Purdue, and is a big body with quickness, and figures to go in the top 60 picks of the draft.
Granted this report isn't a ringing endorsement, but honestly feel free to pick whoever you like instead from the batch that could be available, whether it's Jonathan Jenkins or Johnathan Hankins, or perhaps Jesse Williams or Brandon Williams.
Either way you're looking for someone 6'3" and 300+ pounds who can bench press a school bus, but isn't necessarily quick enough to play defensive end, yet might have enough spring in his step to make a difference up front.
Defensive tackle, check.
"How about a linebacker?"
The Seahawks need a linebacker, and I will address that shortly.
Right now, I want Vance McDonald instead, and if he's still here, I'm taking him.
The idea of pairing McDonald and Zach Miller is too tempting when you consider what this offense may be capable of doing this season.
I've always been a fan of the dual-tight end set and would love to see the 'Hawks give Russell Wilson one more "toy" to play with.
Sorry, but this is another pick I can't pass up.
While it's true that Chris Maragos will be back (NBCSports.com), I still think that adding safety Shamarko Thomas makes a lot of sense.
After the combine, I had the 'Hawks stealing him in Round 6, but with a week to go, too many people know about him to wait that long.
What really has me willing to make this pick so early is one point made by Rocky Raccoon over at FieldGulls.com that continues to stick in the back of my mind when describing Thomas, "Someone to push for time at the Nickel. Tru is losing a step and none of the young guys have proven themselves enough to garner the title of starting nickel."
Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with the signing of Antoine Winfield, but he is 36 years old and only signed with the 'Hawks for this year.
Could Shamarko Thomas occasionally spell Earl Thomas and Antoine Winfield at the nickel spot?
It's certainly food for thought.
Maybe this is a little late for a linebacker, but I think Gerald Hodges or someone like him could still be available with the 'Hawks' "Aaron Curry Memorial" first pick from Oakland in Round 5.
My previous mock draft I had him here and for today will stick with him; however, next week don't be shocked in my final mock if I have the 'Hawks grab a linebacker on day two.
Right now, though, I feel that there is better value to be had amongst the current crop of linebackers available in this draft as opposed to what's out there at defensive tackle, so I keep putting it on the back burner.
OK, let's change gears and add a new name to the mix at a position I'm still not sure how high the Seahawks are prioritizing in this draft.
While I don't think the 'Hawks are going to pull the trigger on one of the top receivers in this draft, I could see them thinking seriously about the next tier of pass catchers.
Greg Cosell over at Yahoo!Sports put together an interesting writeup on this year's batch of receivers, which I highly suggest anyone interested on the topic should read. What caught my attention was his analysis on two lesser-known prospects who have the intangibles the 'Hawks, in my opinion, should be looking for.
In reviewing Aaron Mellette of Elon, Cosell reminded me about the guy who gave current Green Bay Packer, then Vanderbilt corner, Casey Hayward fits two years go:
The 6’2½”, 217 pound Mellette carries the small school label, immediately diminishing his value in the eyes of many. His three year domination at a Division I-AA school is routinely dismissed due to the dreaded “level of competition” moniker, the ultimate cross to bear. I went back to 2011, when Elon played Vanderbilt. You may recall that Casey Hayward was on that Commodore team. Lo and behold, he had a difficult time with Mellette’s impressive mix of size, hands, and plus athleticism. Overall, Mellette gives you a lot to work with, with his size/movement combination.
I've said it before and will say it again, the 'Hawks need a receiver capable of getting results in the red zone.
If forced to choose between Mellette and Cosell's other sleeper Aaron Dobson of Marshall, I'm going with Mellette simply because I can still see him being available this late given the small-school label as a result of being from little-known Elon.
I know what you're thinking, "Isn't it a little late to draft an offensive tackle?"
Perhaps, but anyone worth drafting will likely be long gone before the 'Hawks even get to make a single selection in this draft.
"Wait, what about Menelik Watson or Chris Long?"
It's possible that one of them might be around, but both look like projects, and I'm not entirely sure the 'Hawks would be comfortable using one of their day-two picks on either.
That's not to say Xavier Nixon of Florida will be ready to go on day one either. Yet if he's still available in Round 6, I'd feel much more comfortable having offensive line coach Tom Cable work with him rather than roll the dice on one of the team's top two picks.
Nixon was one of several late-round prospects I think the 'Hawks should consider given he has the size and the athleticism to play at the pro level, but he needs some serious coaching up in order to stick.
All right, folks, let's wrap this up and head to the lightning round!
With four picks to go, two of which are conditional and cannot be traded, who should the Seahawks take?
Based on what we have so far, I believe we need in no particular order, a cornerback, a pass-rushing defensive end, a running back, a quarterback and maybe a kicker.
So here we go...
Round 7: Stefphon Jefferson, RB, Nevada (via Buffalo)
Round 7: David Bass, DE, Missouri Western State (Via New Orleans)
Round 7: Demontre Hurst, CB, Oklahoma (Conditional Pick)
Round 7: Caleb Sturgis, K, Florida (Conditional Pick)
That's right, I'm not going with a quarterback in Round 7. I honestly don't think any of the players likely available are worth the pick—besides, the 'Hawks still need a kicker.
Plus what's the point of bringing back Josh Portis?
As for everyone else here, hopefully they can provide depth at positions some day that currently have veterans in place today. Whether any of them make it out of training camp will be a question answered months from now.
For now, these are my thoughts, but by next week they could change a bit as you never know what the front office will do next.
Yet if nothing changes between now and then, I still think the Seahawks are in good position going into this year's draft to perhaps pick up one to two immediate starters and maybe another two or three significant role players for next season.
If John Schneider and Pete Carroll can do that, the team should be all systems go this upcoming season.