NFC West: Carroll, Schneider score big with first draft in Seattle

Seattle Seahawks: A+

Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider knocked it out of the park in their first draft. The Seahawks meticulously addressed their biggest needs with the selections of OT Russell Okung, S Earl Thomas and WR Golden Tate in the draft’s first two rounds. And Seattle took care of its woeful running back situation by trading for LenDale White and Leon Washington. Although they were unable to land an explosive pass rusher, the Seahawks grabbed an underrated player in E.J. Wilson. With the team able to fill several holes without mortgaging the future, the Seahawks deserve a lot of credit for their efforts.

Key picks:

Round 1 (6th overall): Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
As a sound technician with outstanding feet and hands, Okung gives Matt Hasselbeck an exceptional blocker on the blind side. Although the Seahawks still have several voids to fill, they may have solved their biggest issue with the selection of Okung as their new left tackle.

Seahawks’ draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
6
OT
Oklahoma State
1
14
SS
Texas
2
60
WR
Notre Dame
4
111
CB
Oregon
4
127
DE
North Carolina
5
133
FS
Virginia Tech
6
185
TE
Southern California
7
236
DE
Arizona State
7
245
WR
Kent State

Round 1 (14th overall): Earl Thomas, SS, Texas
As an instinctive safety with exceptional range and awareness, Thomas will eliminate some of the big plays that plagued the defense a season ago. Additionally, his exceptional cover skills will allow the Seahawks to creatively use him in their nickel packages as a sub-defender in the slot. Given his multi-faceted skills, Thomas was a sensible pick for a Seahawks team in desperate need of playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Round 2 (60th overall): Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Although Tate has been deemed too short to be a prototypical No.1 receiver, his outstanding running skills make him a special talent worthy of a key role in Seattle’s offense. In addition, he gives the Seahawks another player capable of producing points in the return game.