Now that Seahawks' career backup Seneca Wallace has been reunited with his former head coach in Cleveland, the immediate follow-up question becomes: In which round does Seattle select a quarterback, and more importantly who's the man?
Even before Wallace was traded, adding depth at the ultra-important position was a desperate need with an aging Matt Hasselbeck.
But when Seattle shipped their longtime backup pivot to the Browns—whose President Mike Holmgren coached the versatile Wallace for six seasons—the situation has suddenly become much more dire for Seattle's brass heading into a crucial period in the franchise's history.
The trade, which awarded the Seahawks a conditional draft pick in 2011, leaves a major void at quarterback, which will now likely be filled in April's NFL Draft. In all estimation, Hasselbeck will start most of the season, but the team needs a backup and a potential future quarterback to step under center in a year or two.
The critical question being bantered about around the league but especially in markets like Seattle is, which college pivot is the crown jewel that will develop into a franchise quarterback in the NFL?
From afar it appears to be a fairly ordinary draft class when you consider the short list of signal-callers from which teams have to choose. There is not one definitive top-ranked quarterback that any one team should necessarily be calling upon to lead its franchise to greatness.
But it's the job of executives like Seahawks GM John Schneider to make the call, leaving us armchair quarterbacks to debate the viable options Seattle will have at its disposal to fill the backup spot at Radio City Music Hall.
It also becomes a question of where to take these players. For one, given the lack of depth at quarterback in the draft, it may be smart for the Seahawks to be patient and wait until the second or third round to call a quarterback's name.
Here are some of the top guns the team should be eyeing as the NFL Draft nears:
QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
If not for a shoulder injury, Sam Bradford would be the undisputed top quarterback in this year's draft. The Oklahoma pivot was the 2008 Heisman Trophy award winner and has proven that he’s NFL ready during his time with the Sooners. He’s thrown for almost 4,500 yards and 48 touchdown compared to only six interceptions.
And since Hasselbeck will likely be holding the fort for the next couple seasons, Bradford will have that time to heal his shoulder and return to full health—all in the while learning the pro game.
It may not be smart to burn a first-round selection to take a quarterback, especially with Seattle's inordinate number of draft needs, but if it comes down to it, Bradford would be a solid pick.
QB Colt McCoy, Texas
The Texas pivot is one of those quarterbacks that doesn't really jump out at you as a franchise guy, partly because he still looks like he's 12. But in all seriousness, if Colt McCoy is still waiting in the second round, it's Seattle's cue to take him.
He was incredibly consistent throughout his four years and capped it off with an undefeated season and a berth in the National Championship game before injuring his passing shoulder. It could've been a great end to his collegiate career, but his illustrous four years won't soon be forgotten in Texas.
As a Longhorn, he broke the 3,000-yard passing mark in his last three seasons, including a career-high 3,859 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2008 in which he also boasted a ridiculous 76.7 completion percentage. Texas was so close to earning a National Championship berth but was relegated to the Fiesta Bowl, which was a thrilling 24-21 win over Ohio State. Last year, he threw for 3,521 yards and 27 touchdowns and led Texas to another Big 12 title.
It's always difficult to gauge how those numbers will translate into any kind of NFL success, but they're impressive nevertheless and have only helped his draft stock. McCoy has appropriately garnered first-round attention among the top quarterbacks in 2010 and may or may not be around when the Seahawks pick 40th overall.
QB Tony Pike, Cincinnati
Cincinnati's starting pivot is a player the Seahawks should have on their radar, especially come the second round, or even third—that is, if he's still on the board.
He wasn't truly a household name until Cincinnati's great 2009 season in which the school went undefeated (12-0) to earn a berth in the Sugar Bowl.
Certainly all the diehards are familiar with Tony Pike's body of work. He led the Bearcats to their first-ever Big East title in 2008, tossing for 2,407 yards and 19 touchdowns last year to earn his school a spot in the Orange Bowl.
But that was only the beginning in Pike's rise up the national rankings, emerging as a top quarterback in the 2010 Draft class with another outstanding year.
The Bearcats won another Big East title in 2009, led by their senior pivot who surpassed his 2008 numbers with 2,520 yards and 29 touchdowns through the air.
The more attention Pike receives, the more attractive he's becoming to the casual college football observer. Obviously his stature, standing 6'6" and weighing 225 pounds, jumps out at anyone and is a great quality to have as a quarterback at any level—coupled with a pair of impressive college seasons.
QB Jonathan Crompton, Tennessee
In the later rounds, the Vols quarterback might be a worthy selection, especially if his name isn't called until the fourth or fifth round.
Crompton is a late bloomer of sorts and only has a great 2009 campaign to his credit entering the Draft. Whether he thrived under Lane Kiffin's system, it took him until his senior season to reach the 1,000-yard passing club.
In 2009, he threw for 2,800 yards and 27 touchdowns through the air to lead Tennessee to the Chick-fil-A Bowl before losing 37-14 to Virginia Tech.
But in spite of the early-career struggles for Crompton, he's developed into a quality quarterback, especially playing well against tough SEC competition. He was able to show off his great accuracy and athleticism in college, catching the attention of more NFL teams as a result.
The quarterback dilemma has become exponentially more important and magnified with Wallace's departure to Cleveland. So, whose name will the Seahawks call?
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