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He left of winning the NFC West, where will he pick up in 2011?
The Seahawks go into the draft in a precarious position. The player they already owned in 2010 showed improvement in only three games, plus some extra playing time. In my opinion, I don't believe he deserves to have his chance to start taken from him by a rookie before training camp.
At worst, Whitehurst is a rookie with four years of NFL redshirt experience, and one season of spot play.
If you are willing to look at Whitehurst’s situation optimistically, he put in a decent audition when given the chance to overtake the franchise quarterback spot in the most unlikely of scenarios in Week 17.
He could have flopped, and Seattle would be picking inside the top 10 and never have gone seismic on the Saints. Whitehurst did contribute in 2010. So going into 2011, he deserves to be a factor.
To be honest, with an offseason of busting his behind and using the confidence that he can win a big game in the NFL, I think there’s a chance Whitehurst can surprise in 2011.
Whitehurst needs to work on his footwork, deep-ball technique, drop depths and progressions to make the jump to play at the next level. A year with self-proclaimed "football coach" Carl Smith, the man who coached Matt Leinart in his 2004 Heisman season, will help Whitehurst as well.
It’s clear to me he carries the expectation of being a starting quarterback; I think he’s got a quiet moxie and leadership skills that can only grow if given the keys to an offense.
But is my hunch a given to come true in 2011, or at all? No. Going into 2011 with Whitehurst as the only guy would not be a smart move.
Nobody will know until draft day where the first quarterback is taken, or how many will be taken before Seattle at No. 25. Seattle could be the first to take a quarterback, or it could find itself minus three or four of their top quarterback prospects to choose from. And what about pick No. 57? A quarterback of value could certainly fall.
But beyond who and when, I think it’s imperative to look at how much Seattle would be investing in the position in 2011. First and third-round picks used on quarterbacks takes up a lot of draft capital, especially for a team with holes throughout the roster.
Healthy competition would certainly be created at the position, but allowing for a rookie to possibly start in 2011 does not necessarily go hand in hand with maintaining division dominance and creating a balanced roster.
I’ll maintain that the only quarterback taken by a Schneider team in the first round is Aaron Rodgers. Carroll is a defensive guy—Red Bryant was his toy in the 2010 offseason. By digging to at least just below the surface, I only see Seattle taking a quarterback prospect at No. 25 they believe can be a top quarterback in the league, and soon.
If the always optimistic Carroll is willing to accept that Seattle can’t rebuild and compete, or a two-to-three year developmental prospect with a high ceiling will compete in 2011 and 2012 and create a winner in 2013, taking that quarterback becomes a more logical move as a first-round pick.
Seattle, however, may be better served going in a different direction, taking an offensive lineman or a defensive player.
Carroll is optimistic about winning, too. Waiting another two-to-three years to win places Carroll at the end of his contract, still trying to break through to the next level.
Whitehurst might not be the answer for Seattle, but he currently owns the No. 1 spot on the Seahawks depth chart.
It’s an unusual situation to have a five-year veteran holding the value of a third-round rookie, an unorthodox situation for an unorthodox organization.
So where does that leave Whitehurst? Well, he is still a third-round draft pick, but also receiving far less attention than Matt Hasselbeck, who is reportedly looking less likely to come back, or any potential 2011 first or second round pick.
Either way, Whitehurst is headed into a contract season, and he is slated to compete for the Seahawks starting job in 2011.
It is a job that is currently his to lose.