Seattle Seahawks' Draft is Over, Hill's Back: Now What?
As April 26 wound to an end, the Seahawks were left with a handful of valuable tools, and their fans perhaps a ray of hope going into 2009. In the first three rounds, the team drafted three players: Aaron Curry, Max Unger, and Deon Butler, who should all play significant snaps this season.
After that, the team drafted four very interesting prospects.
Mike Teel, though perhaps not an ideal West Coast Offense quarterback prospect, has a skill set that is intriguing.
While Courtney Greene initially adds depth to an aging, under-performing safety tandem, if he makes the team he may end up sending either Brian Russell or Deon Grant packing.
Nick Reed may be able to play defensive end on this team, but may ultimately spend time at linebacker, though he’ll have to prove himself in coverage first.
Cameron Morrah offers potential depth at the tight end position, but could also step in to play in an H-Back role if the team deems him capable of blocking at the position. He’s a good athlete, and if he makes the team he could create mismatches in occasional appearances in the slot.
All of this, and the team acquired a first round pick from the Broncos, a team with a new coach, installing a new offense and defense, a new quarterback and running back, and an offensive line that is intentionally undersized, acquired by the previous regime. Needless to say, the pick could be a high one.
However, despite perhaps Tim Ruskell’s best draft as Seahawks’ general manager, the team has a few thin spots, and a few holes that need to be filled.
When the Seahawks let Leonard Weaver go to Philadelphia, they hurt the team at two positions. Weaver’s an adequate blocker at the fullback position, but gave the team flexibility in their use and handling of T.J. Duckett. Weaver is a very good pass-catcher, and the team doesn’t have a proven receiver out of the backfield.
The team brought in Justin Griffith during the period of time when LeRoy Hill was a free agent. While Griffith is an athletic fullback, he hasn’t proven to be a receiving threat.
The team also signed undrafted free agent Devin Moore, but the super-athlete may not make the team. Even if he does, he may be relegated to the return game.
Warrick Dunn is a free agent, and like Griffith he played under Jim Mora and Greg Knapp in Atlanta. Dunn’s days as a borderline feature-back are likely through, but the ageless Dunn carried the ball 186 times last season paired with 47 receptions. More receptions than Julius Jones and Duckett combined.
Edgerrin James is also a free agent. His per-carry averages have slipped in recent years, but the 30 year old played in an offense that has struggled to find production from anyone at the runningback position.
James provides insurance for a potential Jones injury, and also caught 50 or more balls in five of his first six seasons in the NFL. The other season he tore his ACL, but had 24 catches in only six games.
In Dunn the coaching staff would gain familiarity, and in James the team would gain a younger back, and one who may hold a grudge against the defending NFC West champions, the Arizona Cardinals, who released James only after securing Chris Wells in the draft.
Right now, the Seahawks receiving corps would have trouble measuring up to most junior high basketball teams. Ideally, the team could move T.J. Houshmandzadeh to power forward at his modest 6’1”, and bring in a large red-zone target.
Plaxico Burress, Matt Jones and Reggie Williams are all tall, talented receivers, but guns, coke and weed don’t make it through the door at Tim Ruskell’s party. Unless of course, your name is LeRoy Hill and you’re one of his biggest coups to date.
Ruskell may instead look to former Seahawks like D.J. Hackett and Joe Jurevicius, both of whom have been disappointing in their new settings, and could be inexpensive.
Amani Toomer is available. The veteran would add another layer of leadership behind Houshmandzadeh, but may not be very productive.
The most interesting available receiver is Drew Bennett. Bennett once caught 80 balls for 1247 yards and 11 touchdowns in Tennessee. Then shaky quarterback play, and a poor scheme fit in St. Louis later, the former stud is a forgotten man.
At 6’5”, and with experience in a WCO, Bennett would offer an interesting body at minimum, all at a rock bottom price.
The team drafted Curry and re-signed LeRoy Hill to a cap-friendly deal, however, Curry would be better served learning a Cover-2 from the linebacker who all-but-perfected the Cover-2 weakside linebacker position.
Derrick Brooks is a free agent, and while the team seems adequately stocked at the position, Brooks may come to Seattle at a discount. Realistically, the only thing keeping Brooks on the field at this point is the hunt for another Super Bowl ring.
If Brooks thinks that Seattle offers and adequate opportunity, the team must explore the opportunity to bring in the future Hall of Famer.
In signing Ken Lucas, the Seahawks did a lot to address some of the issues plaguing the team’s cover unit. Lucas can match up against the division’s larger receivers, and may be able to play safety in a pinch.
Rod Hood is available, and exiting his mid-20s. At the right price, bringing in the former Cardinal cornerback would have to be explored. While the team has depth at the position, the extra body, at least going into the preseason should be welcomed.
Also available is Lawyer Milloy. Milloy is a friend of Jim Mora’s, and the two briefly crossed paths in a player-coach capacity in Atlanta in 2006.
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