NFL Draft 2011 Grades: Seattle Seahawks Analysis—Success Is a Reach

Darin Pike@darinpikeContributor IApril 30, 2011

NFL Draft 2011 Grades: Seattle Seahawks Analysis—Success Is a Reach

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    This may not be a draft that will make Paul Allen feel like celebrating.
    This may not be a draft that will make Paul Allen feel like celebrating.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    With the exception of John Moffitt in the third round, every pick made by the Seattle Seahawks in the draft can be considered a reach.  Just how extreme is a matter of opinion.  

    Mel Kiper saw their first pick as a third-round talent, while most every other talent evaluator had him going in the early second round or as a late first-round pick.

    Overall I'm giving this draft a B, as they did manage to fill some holes. I'm weighting the earlier rounds, or this draft might be considered a C.  I say this knowing full well that Pete Carroll and his staff have a role in mind for each of these players, and they could have solid impacts with Seattle.  Time will tell.

    My biggest concern is Seattle didn't do anything to address depth issues on the defensive line.

    Seattle attempted to trade out of their first-round pick, but couldn't strike a deal that would assure them of still being able to draft Carpenter.  When you are as sure as they were on whom they wanted, it is definitely better to be safe than sorry.  They obviously liked him well enough to leave Jimmy Smith, cornerback from Colorado, on the board; their later rounds show they feel a need to build at that position.

    The Seahawks draft, detailed on the following pages, unfolded with two offensive linemen, three defensive backs, two OLBs, a DE and a WR:

    Round 1: James Carpenter, OT Alabama, 6'4", 321 Lbs

    Round 3: John Moffitt, G Wisconsin, 6'4", 319 Lbs

    Round 4: K.J. Wright, OLB Mississippi St., 6'3", 246 Lbs

    Round 4: Kris Durham, WR Georgia, 6'5", 216 Lbs

    Round 5: Richard Sherman, CB Stanford, 6'3", 195 Lbs

    Round 5: Mark Legree, FS Appalachian St., 6'0", 200 Lbs

    Round 6: Byron Maxwell, DB Clemson, 6'0", 202 Lbs

    Round 7: Lazarius Levingston, DE LSU, 6'4", 292 Lbs

    Round 7: Malcolm Smith, OLB USC, 6'1", 225 Lbs

Round 1 (25): James Carpenter, OT Alabama, 6'4", 321 Lbs

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick #95 of the Alabama Crimson Tide warms up with James Carpenter #77 before facing the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Georgia Dome on September 5, 2009 in Atlanta, Geor
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Carpenter may be a bit of a reach at 25, but not to the extent he has been portrayed by some.  Rob Rang, whom many consider to be the best overall talent evaluator/mock draft expert, had him going 31st to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Chad Reuter had him as a mid second-round pick.  Several evaluators had him going to the Minnesota Vikings in Round 2; I originally placed him there, but I moved him up to the Cardinals at 37.

    A JUCO transfer, Carpenter started both years at Alabama.  He was named All-SEC both seasons, and anchored the line that made Mark Ingram a star and gave Greg McElroy time to find open receivers.

    He was overlooked by several mock draft analysts because of his lack of quickness (based on a slow 40 time of 5.28).  He is still an impressive athlete and has very good technique.  From what I've been able to find, he generates a lot of power from his lower body.  He opens holes in the running game and keeps defensive ends away from his quarterback. 

    Overall Grade:  B. He fills a big need and was drafted in range of his talent.

    Carpenter was ranked 40th overall and as the sixth-best OT in the draft.

Round 3 (75): John Moffitt, G Wisconsin, 6'4", 319 Lbs

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    Moffitt was a bruising blocker at Wisconsin.  Seattle hopes for more of the same.
    Moffitt was a bruising blocker at Wisconsin. Seattle hopes for more of the same.Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Moffitt is the one pick where the Seahawks grabbed a guy who was already expected to be off the boards.  Rob Rang had him mocked to the Seahawks with the 57th pick in the draft.  Other mocks had him as a late second and early third-round pick.

    Moffitt is a bruising run blocker, fitting what Tom Cable wants from his linemen.  He can play all three interior positions, giving Seattle a little flexibility with the selection.  He is also a good pass blocker and will be able to compete for a starting job as a rookie.

    Moffitt started 42 games at Wisconsin, and he was an All-American and All-Big Ten selection as a senior.  He has a very quick start, but he lacks top-end speed.  His footwork is excellent, and he should have a great NFL career ahead of him.

    Overall Grade: A. Considering Moffitt alone as a second-round selection, I'd rate him as a B.  The "A" rating adds in Durham, who Seattle drafted with the extra pick obtained in the trade with Detroit.  A solid starting guard and a talented receiver who will plug a hole is a nice effort for the second round.

    Moffitt was rated 86th overall and the fifth-best OG.  

Round 4 (99): K.J. Wright, OLB Mississippi St. 6'3", 246 Lbs

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 15:  # of the Alabama Crimson Tide # of the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 15, 2008 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Wright is definitely a project for Seattle, and he could fill a few different positions.  He played in 10 games as a freshman, and started thereafter.  He is very athletic and, perhaps most important for a Seattle LB, he has been durable.

    Wright has solid technique and can break down and shed blockers effectively.  He changes direction well enough to be useful in pass defense.  Seattle has struggled covering TEs and RBs out of the backfield.  Wright may earn a starting spot off his ability to cover those plays.

    Overall Grade: B. Wright fills a position of need and was drafted a little below where he was projected.

    Wright was ranked 85th overall and the fourth best 4-3 OLB.

Round 4 (107): Kris Durham, WR Georgia, 6'5", 216 Lbs

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    Durham makes a catch through T'Sharvan Bell.
    Durham makes a catch through T'Sharvan Bell.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    It isn't hard to see why Seattle likes Durham.  He has great size at 6'5", 216 pounds.  He has solid speed as well, turning in a 40 time of 4.46.  His vertical leap was an impressive 36"; all figures are from the pro day, as he wasn't invited to the scouting combine.

    Durham's time playing against top competition likely gave him the nod over Cecil Shorts, WR Mount Union, but the timing seems odd.  Seattle could have picked up a solid FB in Owen Marecic and looked at Durham in Round 5.  However, Seattle wasn't willing to risk losing a player they feel meshes well with their system, and who knows if another team had him on their radar?

    Draft place aside, Durham was the No. 2 receiver for Georgia.  He posted solid numbers while filling in for A.J. Green.  In those four games he gained 324 yards on 16 receptions.  Over the course of his senior season he averaged 20.6 yards per catch, compiling three TDs and 659 yards on 32 receptions.  He would have had a few more TDs if his freshman QB could have led him better on a few passes. 

    Grade: Included with Moffitt.

    Durham was ranked 254th overall and was the 31st-ranked WR.

Round 5: Richard Sherman (154), CB Stanford, 6'3", 195 Lbs

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  Richard Sherman #9 of the Stanford Cardinal scores a touchdown off his interception as he is chased by Drew McAllister #19 of the USC Trojans and  teammate Clinton Snyder #20 celebrates during the second half at the Los Ang
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Sherman is a converted WR, and he has been learning his new position well. states: "Sherman's size, physicality and steady improvement since making the switch is sure to intrigue teams on the draft's third day."

    There is a lot to like with Sherman, and he has the potential to work into a nickel position or serve as a backup to all four DBs.

    Overall Grade: C. He could fill a void, but he was drafted earlier than what might be warranted.

    Sherman was projected as the 194th-overall player and the 24th CB in the draft.

Round 5: Mark Legree (156), FS Appalachian St. 6'0", 200 Lbs

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    Not exactly the position the Seahawks want to see Legree in next season.
    Not exactly the position the Seahawks want to see Legree in next season.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    This is a pick that the analysts really like for the Seahawks.  Legree comes from a small school, but he has the tools to make the transition to the NFL.  He is seen as a ball-hawk, and should be able to provide solid help with passing formations.  

    Listed as a free safety, he should be able to fill in for a player like Lawyer Milloy in passing downs.  He was expected to be a seventh-round selection, though.  He has the size and speed to develop, but at this point he could be little more than a somewhat-productive center fielder with some special-teams ability that will serve as a dime back and add depth.

    Overall Grade: B. He fills a specialty need but was drafted well ahead of expectations.

Round 6: Byron Maxwell (173), DB Clemson, 6'0", 202 Lbs

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    Seattle chose another defensive back who was well down most draft boards.  The outlook on Maxwell is he can be a contributor on special teams, but isn't likely to step in as a starter on defense.  Seattle needed a little more from this pick than a possible special teams contributor.

    Then again, Coach Carroll saw something in Mike Williams that no other coach thought could happen. When I watched Maxwell on tape, I saw a CB who should be able to make a conversion to a strong safety position on passing downs, as he is a hard hitter and reacts well to the ball.

    Overall Grade: C. He could fill a need.

    Maxwell was ranked 211th overall and he was the 27th-ranked CB.  

Round 7 (205): Lazarius Levingston, DE LSU, 6'4", 292 Lbs

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    After hoping Seattle would tag Drake Nevis earlier, they opted for Levingston (right) in Round 7.
    After hoping Seattle would tag Drake Nevis earlier, they opted for Levingston (right) in Round 7.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Seattle finally addressed depth issues on the defensive line, grabbing a player who will likely be depth for Red Bryant.  Even in Round 7 they reached, as Levingston was considered a free-agent signing.

    When their pick arrived and Greg McElroy was still on the board, I thought he would be an easy choice.  He may lack the arm strength to be a starting NFL QB, but he would have made a solid backup and been able to run the scout team.

    Overall Grade: D. This is a player who could have been taken last or obtained through free agency, allowing Seattle to sign a project QB.

    Levingston was ranked 275th overall and the 23rd-ranked DE.

Round 7 (242): Malcolm Smith, OLB USC, 6'1", 225 Lbs.

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    While a bit undersized for the NFL, Carroll knows just what he is getting here.
    While a bit undersized for the NFL, Carroll knows just what he is getting here.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Another pick for depth at the often-depleted LB positions.  While undersized, he has great speed and athleticism.  He ran a 4.48 40 at the USC pro day, and posted a spectacular 39" vertical leap.

    Carroll may need to work to find a position for him, but he is solid in pass protection and always manages to find himself around the ball.  Overall, not a bad option for a seventh-round supplemental pick.

    Carroll seems to be looking for players to fill situational needs, hinting that he plans on rotating a lot of players into the game.  It will be intriguing to see how it plays out.