The Seahawks needed three starters out of this draft and they got two on the first day.
For the second straight year, the Hawks’ top pick was at the mercy of the Kansas City Chiefs. And for the second straight year, the Chiefs took the right guy, leaving the Seahawks with the player they wanted.
Last year, the Chiefs drafted defensive end Tyson Jackson third overall, leaving linebacker Aaron Curry to the Hawks at No. 4.
This year, the Chiefs ended up taking Tennessee safety Eric Berry fifth overall, leaving Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung for the Hawk at No. 6.
For a few anxious minutes, after Washington drafted Oklahoma tackle Trent Williams, it looked like the Hawks would have to take Berry—still a great consolation—and wait to get a tackle.
Instead, the Chiefs grabbed Berry, and the Hawks had to be ecstatic to get the highest-ranked tackle and the replacement for future Hall of Famer Walter Jones, who apparently will announce his retirement next week.
“It was obvious he was one of the top, top players in this draft,” Alex Gibbs, Seattle’s new line coach, told reporters. “He and Trent Williams both went very quickly. We'd have loved to have either one of them.”
Then, after a rapid-fire trading frenzy in the three picks above them, the Hawks got their safety at No. 14 by drafting Earl Thomas, a ballhawking sophomore from Texas.
Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider reportedly thought the Eagles had traded ahead of them to take Thomas, so they were happy to see Philadelphia draft Michigan pass rusher Brandon Graham.
With three deals being made ahead of them, the Hawks probably didn’t have many options to move down, but they ended up with a solid playmaker who will step right in opposite Jordan Babineaux in the secondary.
The Seahawks picked Thomas over Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan and Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who remained undrafted after the first round.
Fan favorite C.J. Spiller, the speedy back from Clemson, was never an option for Seattle as Buffalo jumped on him with the ninth pick—a move that surely means the Bills will be trying to move Marshawn Lynch over the next couple of days.The Seahawks unfortunately have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for the troublesome running back, who happened to turn 24 on Thursday.
The Seahawks might have had a shot at Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews at No. 14, but San Diego moved up 16 spots from No. 28 to take the nominal replacement for the departed LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chargers reportedly were afraid the Giants would take Mathews at 15.
As for the first guy the Hawks were lucky enough to get, Gibbs said Okung will be inserted at left tackle immediately, right next to recently signed new left guard Ben Hamilton.
“He’s going to fit good and he’s going to be Walter’s replacement, obviously,” Gibbs said of Okung. “That’s why he was picked. It didn’t happen a year ago and people were very aware of it ... and we’ve made sure it’s dealt with as quickly as possible.
“There’s some things that are raw and things he’ll struggle with because he’s young,” Gibbs said. “We’re going to throw him right in. He’ll be our starting left tackle, Day 1, Hour 1. And we’ll live with him through whatever the pain is.”
Gibbs said Hamilton, a nine-year veteran who played for Gibbs in Denver, is expected to help Okung with those growing pains.
“Ben just went through this with [Ryan] Clady, who is a great young player,” Gibbs said, referencing the Broncos’ first-round pick in 2008. “You can't throw someone out there without someone to guide them. We need a player who had done that and knew this system and could help him make this transfer.
“That’s what Ben is for. Ben will line up inside of him and guide him daily through this whole process. He’s coach one and I’m coach two and that’s why he’s here.”
Gibbs said Okung and Hamilton are two pieces of his line puzzle, “and I’ve only got a couple more things I’ve got to get done to get to where we can go back to being what they were three, four, five years ago.
“It was a tightly knit group that understood each other, that communicated, and they lost that,” Gibbs said of the Seattle line that was led by Jones, Steve Hutchinson and Robbie Tobeck. “We’ve got to get it back and, trust me, we’re hard at work, getting that done by the minute.”
The Seahawks have only one pick on Friday: the 60th pick overall, but that doesn’t mean they will end up making only one pick.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine Schneider standing pat on Day 2 when there will be much value in the second and third rounds.
The Hawks have some currency to use, if they want to try to get some more action. In addition to the 60th pick overall, they have two fourth-rounders (104 and 127), two fifths (133 and 139) and a sixth (176). They also have a seventh, but it is untradeable because it’s a comp pick.
The Hawks still could use a pass rusher, a running back, a cornerback, a receiver and more linemen.
Check out a review of the entire first round Outside The Press Box .