2010 NFL Draft: Golden Tate Poses Tough Test For Matt Hasselbeck

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 03: Golden Tate #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs against the Washington Huskies on his way to a 67 yard touchdown on October 3, 2009 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It's now officially three days since the NFL Draft concluded, and after the Seattle Seahawks had by the far the most successful draft in their near 40-year history, everything seems to be wrapped up in a nice little package for Pete Carroll and his new team.

As a fan of Pete Carroll's work, it's fair to say that he couldn't have introduced himself in a more fitting way by drafting three of college football's elite in Russell Okung, Earl Thomas and Golden Tate, and it does seem that this time around, Carroll is set up for more than just success in the NFL.

However, although it seems to be all smiles around the Seattle locker room right now, there is still some cause for concern in regards to the future. With the draft gone, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Seattle has truly filled its team needs.

But what about the 2010 season? Did Seattle really do enough to give itself a legitimate chance in the NFC West? Or is another 5-11 season on the horizon once again?

It's hard to say, but as long as we are looking toward the Seattle Seahawks future, some obvious questioning must arise at the quarterback position. 

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Prior to the draft, most people believed that Seattle may take a quarterback, if not in the first two rounds, then in the third or fourth. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and it appears that questionably talented Matt Hasselbeck will once again be the starter in 2010.

Now, I know what you are thinking, "Hey, Matt isn't a bad quarterback." Well, for the most part, you're probably right. After all, he did lead Seattle to a Super Bowl four years ago, and has numerous Pro Bowl stints.

But looking at Hasselbeck more closely, it may not be what he does right that keeps him in the starting role; it may be how he responds to the pressure and demands of Tate that keeps his career alive and well, and how he keeps the Seattle Seahawks offense continually flowing, even through the tough times.

When Seattle originally drafted Tate, most fans sat back and thought, "Wow, this really is a great wide receiver to have." All of this is true, but it seems that fans have forgotten just what a wide receiver of Tate's caliber brings to a team that has struggled lately, and what his demands truly are.

Golden Tate's Catching Ability

This is perhaps Tate's biggest asset. In his time with Notre Dame, Tate managed to grab the ball from just about anywhere on the field, and in doing so would often result in six points for the Fighting Irish.

When the ball was thrown, Tate was there. Whether the pass was high, low or to the side, nine out ten times Tate would make the catch. Is this something that Tate can adapt to in the NFL? After all, he will be coming up against some of the biggest and baddest corners and safeties in his time with Seattle this season.

It's a question without an answer, but if Tate does manage to still play with the same explosiveness, it may be due to his speed alone.

Matt Hasselbeck's Accuracy Concerns

It's no secret to any NFL fan that Hasselbeck had serious accuracy concerns last season. After throwing 17 interceptions last season that easily could have been avoided, Hasselbeck isn't recognized as one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL.

The main concern here however relates back to Tate. In his time with Notre Dame, Tate was used to have Jimmy Clausen throw perfect ball after perfect ball to him during games. Clausen has a knack for throwing into tight spots with great precision, the question remains for Hasselbeck as to whether or not he can do the same.

Will the Seahawks allow Golden Tate to run the ball?

The beauty of Tate's game is that he is a rare breed of all-round athlete. He can run, catch, and most likely throw to. During his Fighting Irish career, Tate quite often took a few snaps from behind centre and ran the reverse option for Charlie Weis.

Seattle aren't a team that is all too fond of the wildcat, and they aren't a heavily dominated running team either. Personally, I wouldn't blame Carroll if he left the running up to Julius Jones as Tate should predominantly focus on his receiving game as a rookie, but questions to surround Tate as to whether or not he will see some handoffs this season.

Can Matt Hasselbeck deliver the ball to Golden Tate?

This question is by far the biggest, as Seattle already have two experienced wide receivers on their roster. Deion Branch and T.J Houshmandzadeh currently sit as starters, and it isn't likely that these two NFL veterans are going to move down the bench any time soon.

There is no doubt that Tate will receive some playing time with the Seahawks, but as for the amount of minutes, it is anyone's guess. With this said, how will Hasselbeck recognize Golden Tate should the pressure be applied?

Is the safer option to throw to the more experienced guys, or deliver the ball to a sure handed rookie that is almost guaranteed to make the catch? No one has the answer to this, as we will have to wait and see when this scenario is played out.


To go as far as saying Hasselbeck's career depends on how well Golden Tate performs would be a bit of a stretch. Although if Hasselbeck fails to throw accurately enough and consistently enough to Golden Tate, you can almost bet your house that questioning will arise.

Tate is a great player, but he also demands a lot. Great quarterback play is all he asks, as he has the ability to just make plays happen. Clausen is now gone, and in steps a questionable quarterback that has a dismal 2009 season.

Don't write Hasselbeck off just yet, as he may surprise everyone due to the Seahawks new found confidence.  But if Golden Tate isn't happy, then chances are Hasselbeck isn't playing well. 

This is a story that could have a good or a bad ending. Touchdowns or interceptions, which one will it be Hasselbeck? The talent is there, so it's time for Seattle to take advantage.

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