2011 NFL Draft: 5 Reasons the Seattle Seahawks Need to Trade Up in April

Brian MurtaughAnalyst IMarch 16, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: 5 Reasons the Seattle Seahawks Need to Trade Up in April

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    The Seattle Seahawks are one of the many teams around the NFL that will head into the summer months with some significant questions surrounding their roster and game plan.

    With Matt Hasselbeck's future completely in limbo and the team coming off a heart-wrenching playoff loss in 2010, fans are looking towards the draft to help answer those questions and fill some holes that need dramatic talent upgrades.

    Here are five reasons why the Seattle Seahawks need to trade up in the 2011 NFL Draft.

No. 5: The Offensive Line

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    Seattle's offensive line could definitely use some help heading into next season. The Seahawks ranked 31st in the league in rushing yardage last season and scored only nine touchdowns on designed running plays.

    Despite that lack of success, the team decided to bring back Leon Washington with a new four-year contract and it will still have Justin Forsett at their disposal.

    Seattle does not seem to be in the hunt for any potential running backs during the draft, so the best way to improve on last year's statistics is to bolster the offensive line.

    One of the line's biggest holes is at the left-guard position. Chester Pitts and Mike Gibson managed to rotate in and out of the position throughout the entire season due to injury and personnel changes for different formations.

Potential Players to Move Up For

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    Mike Pouncey seems to be the obvious player who can really bolster the offensive line. Pouncey is projected as a middle-to-late first-rounder and he is probably the most versatile guard in the draft class.

    Pouncey has been projected to several different teams, including the Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots.

    If Seattle feels like Pouncey may come off the board, it would not be too much of a shock to see it make a move for the lineman.

    However, there are many needs that this team would like to fill, so do not expect it to give up too much for a couple of draft spots.

No. 4: Target a Stronger Cornerback and Safety

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    Lawyer Milloy and Marcus Trufant struggled at times during 2010 and need some help in order to maintain coverage on the improving receiving corps of the NFC West.

    Milloy is now 35 years old and does not have much time left in the league if you judge by football standards. Trufant, on the other hand, is 30 years old and may never turn into a reliable option for every down at the position.

    Seattle's defense struggled in almost every defensive category last season, as it was listed 27th against the pass and had the same ranking in overall points allowed.

Potential Players to Move Up For

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    It is reasonable to believe that the Seahawks have little-or-no desire to move up into the top five of this year's draft class, so in order to find a quality member of the secondary, Seattle would have to think about the second round.

    Early in the second, two corners may be available that can immediately make an impact on opposing offenses.

    The first is Brandon Harris (pictured). Harris has had a great body of work with the Miami Hurricanes and also served time as a kick returner during his sophomore season. Harris ended his final season with Miami with only 30 tackles and one interception but broke up 10 passes while playing a large amount of zone coverage.

    Ras-I Dowling may also be available in the early second round if the Seahawks are willing to make a move. Dowling displayed great speed at the combine and also was reported to have displayed some good football knowledge to scouts during the interview process.

    Dowling is projected to go to the Oakland Raiders by Walterfootball.com, and for good reason, as Al Davis likes to draft players who can run down the field. Dowling's official time in the 40-yard dash was a 4.40.

No. 3: To Make Up for the Charlie Whitehurst Deal

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    The Seahawks made quite a splash when they traded away draft picks for Charlie Whitehurst last season, but now it seems to be coming back to bite them.

    Seattle is still without any type of solid option at the quarterback position and now it has even worse draft position due to the picks lost and a small playoff run.

    The organization needs to make amends for the gamble it took on Whitehurst, and moving up to get a quality player late in the draft would definitely help the fans forget.

    The only way this trade will become legendary is if the San Diego Chargers manage to draft a future Pro Bowl player with the picks they acquired.

Potential Players to Move Up For

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    Seattle currently does not own a third-round pick, as the 89th-overall selection will be taken by the San Diego Chargers.

    The Seahawks could make it right by somehow finding a way back into the third round ahead of San Diego and possibly acquiring a player to fill a team need.

    Third-round projections are mainly dominated by defensive linemen and cornerbacks, which could only help out Seattle's woeful defense.

    One of the bigger names in the third round could be halfback Shane Vereen out of California (pictured). Vereen had a great combine and is now appearing on the radar of some teams that are looking to make a second-day steal.

    During his final season with the Golden Bears, Vereen collected 1,137 yards and 13 touchdowns on 231 attempts.

No. 2: To Target a Breakout Receiver

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    A wide receiver may be near the bottom of franchise needs for the Seattle Seahawks, but when it comes to a season with a poor free-agency outlook, sometimes a team has to look at the bigger picture.

    Mike Williams was seemingly the only real offensive threat for the Seahawks last season, as his 65 catches led the team and helped them achieve an overall ranking of 19th in the league.

    However, the possibility of drafting a receiver goes far beyond Williams and the rest of Seattle's receiving corps.

    Quarterbacks in the NFL need players who can catch the ball and make an impact, and with the team's current quarterback situation up in the air, whoever is calling the signals in 2011 will need weapons.

Potential Players to Move Up For

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    The class at wide receiver is relatively deep but it has prospects spread out over the course of all seven rounds.

    If Seattle was inclined to move up in the first, Julio Jones may be exactly the type of playmaker that could set them over the top. Jones missed his first four games in 2010 but still managed to put up incredible numbers in a pass-first offense.

    A.J. Green will more than likely be drafted too high for the Seahawks to even have a possibility, but Jones' stock is slipping after injuring his foot at the combine workouts.

    If Seattle wishes to wait until the second, players like Jonathan Baldwin of Pittsburgh and Leonard Hankerson of Miami may also be within trade-up reach.

No.1: Obtain a Franchise Quarterback for the Present and Future

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    Many Seattle fans have grumbled about Matt Hasselbeck in recent years as the team struggled to get over the hump and turn itself into a consistent winning franchise.

    Hasselbeck is now a free agent this offseason, and there is a large amount of chatter that he will not be returning to the Seahawks next season.

    So where does Seattle turn?

    Charlie Whitehurst was inconsistent in his opportunities, and nobody is sure when free agency will happen, if it happens at all.

    The logical choice is the NFL Draft. This year, many quarterbacks are entering the NFL, all with varying levels of criticism and media attention.

    Could Seattle be in position to pick one?

Potential Players to Move Up For

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    Jake Locker is the logical choice if the Seahawks were to look at the quarterback position during this draft.

    Locker played his college ball at Washington and would have been picked in the top five in 2010 if he did not decide to return for his senior season with the Huskies.

    Experts say that Locker could be most NFL-ready quarterback in the class, and his combine workout only made him look better. However, there have also been questions surrounding his inconsistent play and mobility at the next level.

    Christian Ponder may also be a player to watch if Seattle looks at quarterbacks, as the former Florida State Seminole pushed through injuries and had an impressive Senior Bowl and combine.