Hope is alive and well again in Seattle Seahawks land and it comes in the form of a new general manager and head coach who came out of draft weekend the toast of the NFL.
John Schneider and Pete Carroll are being lauded as the big winners of the 2010 NFL draft this past weekend. Carroll’s firsthand knowledge of the college ranks combined with Schneider’s willingness to take bold, albeit low-cost gambles, has helped the Seahawks overhaul what was a roster of question marks.
The worry with Carroll heading into the weekend was his love of all things USC would cloud his better judgment and leave the Seahawks looking like an older version of the Trojans.
That didn’t happen.
Even with the opportunity to take USC standout safety Taylor Mays, the Hawks went the other way and grabbed Earl Thomas out of Texas.
It didn’t make Mays happy — he pouted — but it gave Carroll some needed separation from his former employers.
He still got a USC tight end later in the draft and signed three more undrafted Trojans at the conclusion of the draft — but the cost was negligible.
The argument can be made that the strong draft by the Seahawks was as much about where they were positioned as what they knew.
To a degree that is also true. But provided the opportunity to grab left tackle Russell Okung, the aforementioned Thomas, and Jimmy Clausen’s former favourite target at Notre Dame Golden Tate, the Hawks snapped up all three.
That’s the top-ranked tackle, and the second-ranked wide receiver and safety in the entire draft.
No off-the-board picks.
Just sound, solid, draft strategy.
If only Bills GM Buddy Nix were so consistent.
The critics still point to the Seahawks’ failure to address their need for a pass rusher, but so be it. No one is saying they were perfect and Rome wasn’t build in a day.
The genius of the day though may have been in the low-risk gambles the Hawks in the final rounds of the draft.
For the small price of seven spots in the fourth round and nine spots in the sixth, the Hawks got LenDale White from Tennessee, not to mention defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson.
Schneider then turned around and sent a fifth rounder to the Jets for Leon Washington.
Anyone who watched Julius Jones and Justin Forsett run the ball for Seattle last season had to be smiling when these trades were made.
They’re not sure-fire wins, however. There has been plenty of talk about White’s weight issues. And Washington is coming off not one but two compound fractures in his lower leg from last season.
There’s no guarantee he comes back to form or at all given the nature of that injury.
Still it has Seattle back on the NFL map and for that alone Carroll and Schneider should be doing cartwheels.