Seattle Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell talked with local reporters for about 45 minutes this afternoon about the upcoming draft.
Even with the latest speculation of team reportedly interested in moving up to select USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, Ruskell said he did not like his team’s chances of trading down, in part because he believes there are really no franchise-changing players at the top of the draft.
Ruskell also says the team has its top four players pegged – although the organization is still debating the order – and that the Seattle has not cemented who they want to pick at four.
For obvious reasons, he declined to say who those four players were.
“Those of us at the top don’t sense that we’re going down,” Ruskell said. “The phone’s not ringing off the hook for that. I would say if there’s movement and change you will see it below us, you know eight to 10 to 12, then you might see it.”
Ruskell agreed that the lack of team’s willing to trade to get to the top of the draft has to do with the financial commitment team’s must make to lock up a pick in the top-five.
“It’s a big divide,” he said.
Ruskell also said that Seattle still intends to take a player that will bring the most immediate impact – except if the Seahawks select a quarterback.
“That philosophy will never change, but obviously if it’s quarterback that’s the exception for anybody who would take one because that guy’s got to be groomed,” Ruskell said.
However, Ruskell did acknowledge the unique situations that led to the success of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (third overall in 20008 draft) and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (18th overall), both first-round picks who helped lead their teams to the playoffs.
“In the case of he two guys last year, they were willing to adapt the scheme to help the guy,” Ruskell said. “In Atlanta’s case they got the running game going, and they didn’t try to make the quarterback win the football game.
“So they didn’t put him in a position where he had to be a franchise guy right off the bat and he was able to develop. And really Baltimore did the same thing.”
So if Seattle doesn’t select Sanchez, will they take a quarterback somewhere else in the draft? Here’s what Ruskell had to say.
“We’re not afraid of taking a quarterback,” Ruskell said. “There’s no position that we’re sitting on absolutely, and that’s kind of unique. And I think when you’re up this high you can’t. You cannot do that.
“You have to be open to who are the impact players here, and how can how this guy help us win football games. You have to be open to that. You start narrowing your focus, then I think you could make a mistake. Or if start being driven only by need, you could make a mistake. So we’ve really pushed ourselves not to do that.”
With all of the speculation of Seattle potentially selecting Sanchez at No. 4, I asked Ruskell if he was comfortable with Sanchez’s evaluation in terms of his character, and he confirmed that he was.
Sanchez has had a couple hiccups during his stint at USC, including a sexual assault arrest that prosecutors later decided not to file charges on.
Ruskell also said that he believes quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is still in his prime, and that Walter Jones is on schedule in his rehabilitation from microfracture knee surgery and will be ready for training camp in July.
“We think we’ll have everybody for camp,” Ruskell said. “We don’t anticipate anybody not being there.”