The beginning of 2011 couldn't get better than this is you are a Seahawks fan. NFC West champions, no respect from anyone in the national or local media for that matter and then knock off the defending Super Bowl Champs this year has already been an amazing year. The only downside maybe the amount of draft positions that are lost by winning these games. The Seahawks by no means are completely set to continue this run for the next few seasons and the 2011 draft was supposed to be the cornerstone of the team for years to come. Let's take a look at the players the Seahawks should strongly consider drafting based on where they could pick, as of Jan 9th, in the upcoming draft.
Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin 6-7 322 lbs 2010 Outland Trophy Winner
I know everyone is clamoring for the Seahawks to draft a QB and I am one of them however I just don't see them drafting one in the 1st round unless if Locker is still available. I believe he is going to be a Minnesota Viking so instead the Seahawks address another glaring weakness on the offensive side of the ball. Carimi played LT in college so I know this is a stretch but how amazing would it be if one of the top O-Line prospects was drafted and place as the RT since Okung is clearly the LT of the future. Sean Locklear the current RT is inconsistent in run blocking and pass blocking. Obviously the Seahawks also need some consistent G play but I'm not convinced their is a viable prospect to be drafted in the 1st round. If the Seahawks upgrade their O-Line then the running backs will actually be able to make plays and the QB of the future who will be drafted in this years draft will actually be protected unlike the last few seasons.
Some people are saying that a D-Lineman or CB are what the Seahawks need. The D-Line was injured most of the year but when together they played as good as any line in the league. The Seahawks will not draft a CB because they hopefully will sign former Raider Nnamdi Asomugha. He is a class guy and easily one of the top 3 corners in the NFL.
Other potential choices at 25th: Nate Solder OT Colorado,
Mike Pouncey G/C Florida
Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College
Janoris Jenkins CB Florida
Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa
Pat Devlin QB Deleware 6-3 225lbs
Not exactly the big name that most Seahawk fans want if a QB is selected in this draft but it is the most plausible and possibly the best prospect at the position. Devlin, a Penn St transfer, draws comparision to Joe Flacco, who also transferred to Deleware, because of their accuracy and arms. Devlin lead his team to the FCS (formerly Div II) championship game. Devlin has a quick delivery, great vision, and he is experienced and mature even though he has only been a starter for two years.His 2010 stats were impressive with 68.3% completion, 2812 yds, 22 TDs, and 2 INTs. Devlin may not be the next Michael Vick but he is more agile than Hasselbeck and will greatly benefit from being mentored by an older QB for a year. Devlin is the kind of leader the Seahawks will desperately need after Hasselbeck is gone and Charlie Whitehurst is not the QB the Seahawks thought he was when they traded for him. Devlin like most first year QB's will need to adjust to the speed of the NFL but I believe that he will turn into the same kind of QB as Joe Flacco but with better accuracy. This pick may have been wiser for the Seahawks to make in the 3rd round but they do not have a 3rd round pick this year due to all the trades made by Pete Carroll. Once again this pick may not seem like the ideal choice for the Seahawks but in the 4th round (the next pick they have) the options for the team will be limited and finding a possible All-Pro doesn't come around to often.
Again other positions need to be addressed but this is not the right time to make the jump at the CB or D-Line prospects. If the Seahawks can find a way to secure Devlin in the 3rd round via trade or some miracle in the 4th round then I fully support the drafting of a CB or even a LB. Another possible QB that the Seahawks could be interested in is Christian Ponder out of Florida St. He is a big physical QB with a great arm but their are to many questions with his health as he is constantly getting injured and all Seahawks fans know how an injured QB effects a team. There are only two QB's that could be picked in the 4th round that have the talent to succeed in the NFL but both have major question marks mostly with their arm strength and descion making, TCU QB Andy Dalton and VT QB Tyrod Taylor.
Other possible 2nd round choices Ras-I Dowling CB Virginia
Mason Foster OLB Washington
Bruce Carter OLB North Carolina
Quan Sturdivant ILB North Carolina
Allen Bailey DE Miami
Brooks Reed DE/OLB Arizona 6-3 262
Hardest pick to make so far. Reed totaled 47 tackles and 7 sacks in 2011. The Seahawks could go any number of ways with this pick. Chris Clemons was definitely the best player on the D-Line for the Seahawks this year but how much better would his year have been if there was another pass rusher on the opposite side of him. Brooks Reed was the motor that drove the Arizona defense and he provided a lot of the QB pressure this team needed. He is also extremely valuable to the Seahawks as he can truly play the hybrid role called the elephant used by have a DE/OLB mix. Not the best coverage choice available but he is a high energy high motor player that will complement the Seahawks current D-Line.
Another player on Arizona, Ricky Elmore, may also be a wise choice here for Seattle especially if they feel Chris Clemons fits the hybrid role mentioned above. Elmore is a more traditional DE. Elmore is 6-5 260 who totaled 49 tackles and 11 sacks in 2011. Another interesting prospect that is almost guaranteed to be gone but would fit perfectly if still available is Nevada DE/OLB Dontay Moch (6-1 240 lbs). In 2011 his final season in Nevada Moch totaled 61 tackles and 9 sacks. He is also the reigning All WAC defensive player of the year.
Will the Seahawks try to bolster the interior O-Line, improve the secondary or the pass rush with this pick is beyond me but without a pass rush any secondary is going to struggle. As stated before if a CB is signed via free agency, hopefully Asamougha, the secondary will be vastly improved. The interior O-Line prospects left are still for the most part going to be available in the next round so that was also passed up on.
Other possible 4th round choices (not mentioned above) Kendrick Ellis NT Hampton
Chris Carter DE/OLB Fresno St
Jalil Brown CB Colorado
Sione Fua DT Stanford
Tim Barnes C Missouri
Zach Hurd G Connecticut 6-7 325 lbs
Finally the Seahawks get a big LG to replace Steve Hutchinson and bring back the strong left side that they relied upon while they were dominating the NFC West. Zach Hurd is another player that will greatly improve the current state of the O-Line. Not only providing more depth but he is a player who could step in and start immediately despite is lower round pick status. Hurd is a dominant LG shown by his accolades of back to back first team all conference. During his time at Connecticut he did not miss a game after he became a starter in 2008. His lack of injuries is a huge plus and his size is also the main reason he was selected over more well known G prospects.
The other player that was considered in this position was 6-6 320 lbs Auburn LG Lee Ziemba. He played OT in college and will probably struggle for a few years as he tries to switch positions and adjust to the NFL. Hurd is a greater value for the Seahawks as he can step in right away.
Other possible 5th round choices Will Rackley OT Lehigh
Jake Kirkpatrick C TCU
Terrance Toliver WR LSU
Casey Matthews ILB Oregon
Cecil Shorts WR Mount Union
Cortez Allen CB The Citadel 6-2 190
Here is the next big time DB from a small college. Allen has been getting comparisons to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He is big and physical with prototypical height and speed. Allen is a true bump and run corner and will benefit from the tutelage of a good CB. Hopefully if the Seahawks get Asamougha from free agency those two along with the current young safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor the secondary will become the strength of the D. Allen does not have a lot of football experience having only played a year of high school football before going to The Citadel. His senior season stats reflect how feared he was with 22 tackles, 7 pass deflections, and 2 INTs. His junior season stats truly show his talents and a sign of his upside with 57 tackles, 36 unassisted tackles, and 3 INTs.
The Seahawks have not had a lot of luck drafting unknown players in the past however with the new staff making selections and trying to introduce a physical press scheme for the secondary it may be worth drafting a big CB. Nothing against the current Seahawks CB but they are not physical enough to cover the big receivers in the NFC West.
Other possible 5th round choices Eric Hagg S Nebraska
John Graves DT Virginia Tech
Eugene Clifford S Tennessee State 6-1 198 lbs
The Seahawks are getting all the FCS steals of this draft but who better than Pete Carroll to get the most out of these players. Clifford was the #1 rated safety coming out of high school in 2007 and committed to Ohio St (off the field issues forced his transfer). He has received multiple All American awards and is considered one of the top FCS players. He was easily the best player on his team with 83 total tackles, 44 solo tackles, .5 sacks, 4 INTs, 2 forced fumbles and 14 pass deflections. Clifford lead his team in tackles, INTs, forced fumbles and pass deflections. Draft this player and let him learn from Lawyer Milloy one of the smartest SS in the game and watch him flourish. Clifford has the upside of any player in the draft. He slips in the draft do to playing at a small all black college in a lower division and past off the field issues. He has since turned his career around showing maturity and leadership making him the steal of the draft if he lives up to his potential.
Other possible 6th round choices Chris Neild DT West Virginia
David Arkin OG Missouri St
Bryant Browning OG Ohio St
Alex Linnenkohl C Oregon St
Chris Matthews WR Kentucky 6-5 220 lbs
WR is not necessatily a postition that the Seahawks need to address but it is always good to get another big reciever who has played against major competition in college. Matthews is not a household name and is not even one top the top recievers in the SEC what he is is a tall physical player with only two seasons at Kentucky. He was not given many scholarship offers coming out of high school and decided to go to a junior college and work his way onto a big time program. He was the No. 2 rated JC transfer in 2008. In 2011 he had 61 receptions for 925 yds and 9 TDs. These stats may not jump off the page at anyone but he played in possibly the toughest conference in the nation. WR depth was an issue for the Seahawks this year with all the injuries that occured and the signings made by them were adequate but not long term solutions. If Matthews is able to develop into a more polished reciever the Seahawks could have two WR that are 6-5 talk about a match up problem. Yet another late round prospect who has huge upside.
Other possible 7th round choices Lester Jean WR Florida Atlantic
Brandon Fusco C Slippery Rock
Keith Payne RB Virginia
Orie Lemon ILB Oklahoma St
Erik Mensik OT Oklahoma
Any kicker (preferrably Alex Henery Nebraska)
The prospects drafted in the 2011 draft will help the Seahawks continue to win and dominate the NFC West like in years past.
1st Round: Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin
2nd Round: Pat Devlin QB Delaware
4th Round: Brooks Reed DE/OLB Arizona
5th Round: Zach Hurd G Connecticut
5th Round: Cortez Allen CB The Citadel
6th Round: Eugene Clifford S Tennessee St
7th Round: Chris Matthews WR Kentucky