With the 2011 NFL Draft just days away, teams across the league are putting together their final preparations. For Thursday's first round, the Seattle Seahawks will have many things to consider as they decide on their pick at 25.
Should they go offense? Defense? Will they decide to find a player that can help right away? Or will they build for the future?
Here's a look at some different ways the Seahawks can approach their first-round pick.
At this spot, Jimmy Smith will fill an immediate need for the Seahawks on the defensive side of the ball. Unlike past first-round corners picked by Seattle in recent years, he brings size (6'2'') and a physical nature to the position. Smith's ability to press in coverage would be a welcome asset to Seattle's defense.
From a purely football standpoint, not many would question this pick. In addition to his size and physical nature, Smith has pure speed and swagger. Smith's swagger off the field has landed him in legal trouble previously, which could make this choice a risky one down the road. If Seattle can manage to keep him in trouble off the field, he could become a force in the secondary.
Aaron Williams is yet another option for the Seahawks as they try to shore up the secondary. Though Williams lacks the elite speed possessed by Smith, he brings size and physicality to a position where Seattle has been lacking in recent years.
For the Seahawks this would be a relatively safe pick, taking care of some needs while also thinking ahead to the future. Williams does not have the same character issues as Smith and corners from Texas have had recent success in the league. With an aging quarterback with a history of injuries, the Seahawks may have to wait on filling this need at cornerback later on in the draft.
Picking Derek Sherrod will fill an immediate need for capable offensive lineman and help ensure that the Seahawks keep Matt Hasselbeck on the field next season. Sherrod was a highly-sought prospect in high school and he gained a lot of experience while playing 50 games in his college career. Quickness and good feet will be assets to a Seattle offensive line that cannot afford mistakes that lead to Hasselbeck missing games.
Though Sherrod has shown the ability to pass-block well, there are questions about his pad-level in the run game. For most of the season, the Seahawks struggled to move the ball on the ground unless Marshawn Lynch morphed into Beast Mode. For this pick to be worthwhile, the Seahawks will have to ensure that Sherrod can develop as a better run-blocker.
Marvin Austin has all the tools to be successful as a defensive tackle in the NFL. He has shown the ability to get a good burst off the line and maintain his gap responsibilities. At 6'2 312 pounds, Austin has good upper and lower body strength. Based purely on the ability to perform on the field, this would seem like a safe pick for the Seahawks.
However, Austin spent the entire 2010 season suspended for violations stemming from receiving improper benefits. In the first round, the Seahawks need to find a player that can perform on the field while not causing distractions off it. Marvin Austin's physical tools may not be worth the gamble based on concerns with his character. Finding a player with some questions on the field while having none off the field may just be worth the risk.
No other option mentioned can match the intrigue of this one. Though the other options may fill Seattle's immediate needs, choosing Jake Locker could serve as the foundation for rebuilding at the quarterback position.
Locker will not be the safest pick at this position. Questions about Locker's accuracy will continue until he shows in NFL games that he can drop back to pass and consistently hit open receivers. On the other hand, Locker may just pull a Brett Favre. Both played in a run-first offense during high school and struggled with accuracy in college. Favre went on to a Hall of Fame career, but who knows with Locker. With this option, only time will tell.