NFL Draft 2011: Seattle Seahawks Ignored Value for Fit

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NFL Draft 2011: Seattle Seahawks Ignored Value for Fit
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Kris Durham

There are always three things to look at for a draft: talent, need and value. Did your team get good players? Did your team get players it needed? And did your team get good value for those players?

When the ubiquitous draft grades arrive the day after the draft, the focus is almost always on value, which people can rate immediately. That explains why the Seahawks are getting skewered for this draft.

They got players they needed—the two linemen especially—and those players seem like they could be good starters (they had better be), but the Seahawks didn’t get good value at the top of the draft.

It sounds like the Seahawks actually went into this draft not with a “best player available” mentality but with the idea of taking the “best role player available who fits us, even if we have to reach for him.”

Coach Pete Carroll told reporters, “We’re looking for unique qualities for players that separate them from other players, and then we try to accentuate that uniqueness and make them special.”

Finding players who fit your schemes is certainly important, but you have to try to get value for them in the process. The Hawks did not get value in the first round with James Carpenter or in the fourth with receiver Kris Durham, and some would argue they didn’t get good value with third-round guard John Moffitt or fourth-round linebacker K.J. Wright.

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The Seahawks tried to get Carpenter lower, but they didn’t like the offers they got to move down from 25, so they settled for using their first-round pick to draft a second-round player. Then, because they wanted a third-round pick so badly, they ditched their second-round choice to get one and drafted Moffitt, who some ranked as a fourth-rounder.

If you call Carpenter the second-round pick he should have been, the Hawks effectively traded their first-rounder for a third-rounder and an extra fourth and then reached with them.

Hopefully Carpenter, Moffitt, Wright and some of the others will turn out to be good players and key contributors, but the Seahawks largely ignored value to get players they think will fit—and they know they have to prove they were right.

“We’ve dug in and done our homework and...we feel great about some of the picks,” Carroll said. “Now, it is our job to prove that, and we understand that.”

 

OTHER THOUGHTS

**Fans are hoping like crazy that Carpenter does not turn out like the Seahawks’ other recent late-first-round linemen, Chris Spencer and Chris McIntosh. (The fact that his first name isn’t Chris is probably a good start.) They need to finally fix their line.

**The Wisconsin connection is hard to miss. McIntosh, the 22nd pick overall out of Wisconsin in 2000, started just 13 games for the Hawks before a neck problem forced him to retire. This year, the Hawks passed on Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi in the first round, but they grabbed his teammate, All-American guard Moffitt, instead.

**Moffitt (6'4", 314) is a smart guy and also has played center. The scouting report says he’s a durable, tough, nasty technician who should be able to use his intelligence to make up for what he might lack in athleticism. Remind you of a couple of guys who played for the Hawks a few years ago? Let’s hope he’s something like Robbie Tobeck and Chris Gray.

**Some think the Hawks reached for Wright with the second slot in the fourth round (the one they got from New England for Deion Branch last season), but he seems like a nice pick to us. Scouting reports say the 6'3", 246-pounder has all of the measurables—size, speed, athleticism, toughness—and just needs to work on the mental part of the game. The Hawks seem to disagree with analysts who say Wright doesn’t have very good instincts.

The Hawks need depth at linebacker, and you could argue they really need to get better on the outside because David Hawthorne and Aaron Curry are not pure outside linebackers; both are better suited to play inside.

**Carroll obviously fell for Georgia receiver Kris Durham because of his size (6'5", 216), and the coach said the Hawks just wanted “a guy with a different style.” Durham was rated as a late-round pick, and the Hawks probably could have gotten him at least a round later than the fourth.

**Perhaps preparing for the departure this year or next of Marcus Trufant, the Hawks turned to the secondary in the fifth and sixth rounds. They got big players there. Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman, a converted receiver, is 6'3", 195 pounds. The other fifth-rounder, playmaking safety Mark LeGree of Appalachian State, is 6'0" and 210 pounds. Sixth-rounder Byron Maxwell of Clemson is 6'0" and 202 pounds. Of course, all of them look to be projects.

**It’s not entirely true that the Hawks didn’t get a quarterback in this draft. They used their original third-rounder to trade for Charlie Whitehurst last year, so he’s part of this class and a big reason the Hawks didn’t feel like they had to draft a quarterback.

“We have a young, up-and-coming quarterback,” Carroll said, adding, “[W]e're happy with Charlie and hoping he is going to continue to flourish and blossom. I’m not feeling like we missed out on a quarterback opportunity, because Charlie is growing with us.”

Of course, that is not going to stop Seattle from looking for another guy to start at the position as soon as the lockout ends.

**The Lions have certainly become the Seahawks’ favorite trade partner. The trade down from the second round was their fourth deal with the Lions in two years—and their third since Carroll and John Schneider took over. Plus, the Lions have signed several other Seahawks (Nate Burleson, Maurice Morris, Will Heller). In the end, five of the Hawks’ nine draft picks came from Detroit.

**The Seahawks are down two picks in 2012, likely a fifth and seventh, for deals that brought in Marshawn Lynch and Tyler Polumbus.

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