Seahawks Would Draft Curry or Stafford Over Crabtree

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIMarch 17, 2009

With about five weeks left before the draft, it's looking less and less like the Seahawks are going to draft Michael Crabtree, as so many of their fans want them to do.

The latest word out of Detroit is that the Lions are not interested in Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford. With the Lions' recent acquisition of Julian Peterson from Seattle, it doesn't look like the Lions will take the Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry either. That means the Lions are looking at tackles Jason Smith (Baylor) and Eugene Monroe (Virginia).

With the second pick, the St. Louis Rams figure to take a tackle themselves, and the Kansas City Chiefs would then most likely take Curry, although some think that's far from a sure thing. So, just like that, the three players the Seahawks probably would like to have most would be gone. That would leave Stafford as the next best player, right above Crabtree and Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji.

Draft analyst Rob Rang told Seahawks Draft Blog: "There is real talk that Smith and Monroe could be two of the first three picks, meaning that either Stafford or Curry could be available to the Seahawks. If either is, he likely will be the pick simply due to the best-player-available strategy."

Unless, of course, the Seahawks trade down. If the Denver Broncos send Jay Cutler to Detroit, Minnesota, Tampa Bay or some other team, the Broncos would have two first-round picks. Would they then want to use them to come up to No. 4 and take Stafford? Or would some other team want to jump up?

If the Seahawks can't trade down, they will probably take Stafford themselves, over Crabtree or Raji.

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Crabtree has far too many questions.

He played only two college seasons (the Seahawks prefer four), he played in a pass-happy offense at Texas Tech, he was not able to run a 40-yard dash for NFL scouts because of a stress fracture in his foot that required surgery and will keep him out until May, and some teams wonder about his off-field character.

Plus, the Seahawks addressed their issue at receiver by signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Raji is out for the Hawks because they have added two young defensive linemen this offseason.

Although Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is only 33 and has several years of good football left in him, he is coming off a back injury that sidelined him for much of last season and Seahawks president Tim Ruskell said last month that it's almost time to find the long-term replacement for Hasselbeck.

"Yeah, we’re in that zone where we have to consider [a quarterback] every time there’s a free agency period, a draft," Ruskell said.

"Whether it happens this year or not, it just depends. But we’re in that zone," Ruskell added. "We’re not just going to do it because we know we’re in the zone. We’re going to do it because everyone has been evaluated, the quarterback coach and the coordinator feel good about the future, and then as an organization we say, 'You know what, we’re all on board, let’s do it.' "

Stafford is a physically talented passer who was a three-year starter at Georgia in a pro-style offense, so Ruskell might well be interested -- assuming he has nothing against Georgia for the failure of former Bulldog QB David Greene, whom Ruskell picked in the third round of his first draft in Seattle.

Hasselbeck is signed through 2010, as is backup Seneca Wallace, so the Seahawks could bring Stafford along slowly. If Hasselbeck were still healthy and playing at an elite level in 2010, the Seahawks would have to decide whether to re-sign him and make Stafford wait longer or switch to Stafford.

Ruskell has steadily dismantled the offense put together by Mike Holmgren, with only Hasselbeck, left tackle Walter Jones, and right tackle Sean Locklear pre-dating Ruskell. Jones is near retirement, and Ruskell surely wouldn't hesitate to replace Hasselbeck either.

So if Curry is gone and Stafford is there, it won't be surprising at all to see Ruskell take the quarterback.

Of course, if Curry is there, Ruskell almost surely will take the guy considered the best player in the draft.

Either way, it's certainly looking like Michael Crabtree will not be a Seahawk.

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