Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
He needs to stay healthy in 2011.
Center and Guard
Seahawks lineman Max Unger can play center and guard, creating uncertainty as to who will fill the three inside positions in 2011. Carroll acknowledged at the combine he was pleased with the depth in the program on the interior offensive line, including Mike Gibson and a group of unheralded players that can compete in 2011.
Regardless, the Seahawks need another player to compete at the position. The draft is not deep on the interior line and the Seahawks will need to invest an early-round pick to find a quality player that can likely start in 2011. The fourth–sixth rounds could hold value at these positions.
Cornerback and Safety
The secondary struggled mightily in 2010 and was possibly the weakest link of the 2010 defense. There may be light at the end of the tunnel with the up-and-coming players within the program—Josh Pinkard, Brandon Browner and Marcus Brown will all compete for playing time at safety and cornerback.
Marcus Trufant has not played at an elite level since 2008 and Walter Thurmond is finally healthy in his second year removed from ACL surgery. Earl Thomas seems to be the only sure thing in the secondary; the Seahawks need another playmaker to help him next season.
The Seahawks have many options throughout the draft, including tall corners and "tweeners" that would bring an aggressive presence to the defensive backfield.
With David Hawthorne capable of moving to middle linebacker in 2011, uncertainty lies ahead at two of the three linebacker positions. Aaron Curry will likely receive another year to grow in the system.
I expect the Seahawks to look for versatility and value, finding a player that can possibly play both the weak and the strong sides. Do they keep Hawthorne on the weak side and draft a replacement for Lofa Tatupu? That seems less reasonable given the lack of depth at middle linebacker.
I have a gut feeling the Seahawks may surprise some and take a linebacker earlier than expected. If they trade down in the first round, I think this scenario becomes a legitimate possibility.
Michael Robinson is a solid, all-around veteran who had a down year in 2010 headed into free agency. The Seahawks need to find a tenacious, special-teams-capable, coachable, soft-handed fullback to lead the way in 2011 and beyond.
Fullbacks are traditionally taken in the late rounds of the draft, with 2011 holding a few possibilities that can provide a presence in the Seahawks backfield.
Wide Receiver and Tight End
The Seahawks are in need of a big, downfield playmaker to compete with Deon Butler and possibly a nifty, sure-handed slot receiver to learn the role potentially vacated by Brandon Stokley.
They also need a strong, in-line-blocking tight end that can make plays in the red zone and short areas of the field. I don’t think the Seahawks will draft a player to fill this role unless they believe he can become one of the team’s primary tight ends, likely looking in the late rounds or undrafted pool.
The Seahawks took Golden Tate in the 2010 second round to groom into a Steve Smith-type playmaker. Values are across the board on this season’s wide receiver class and the Seahawks may cash in on a downfield or slot threat that slips through the cracks.
This is not technically a need for Seattle, but a north–south, one-cut back with good vision could be a great value pick at some point in the mid-to-later rounds. It’s unknown whether or not Seattle will try and add size, or continue to favor a smaller backfield.
Running backs are tough to judge; a physical, versatile, fourth-round talent that falls, and possibly fits for three–five touches a game, should be in consideration with a late-round pick.
Finally, do the Seahawks bring back kicker Olindo Mare? He's willing to take a hometown discount, and is a solid option for 2011.