The Seattle Seahawks have had multiple first-rounders somewhat recently and scored mixed results.
In ’00, they hit big with Shaun Alexander at No. 19, and missed on Wisconsin tackle Chris McIntosh at 22. Alexander became an MVP, but McIntosh was felled by a neck injury and started only 13 games.
The next year, No. 9 was used on North Carolina State receiver Koren Robinson and No. 17 on Michigan guard Steve Hutchinson. Robinson had a couple of good seasons but was an off-field nightmare. Hutchinson went to three Pro Bowls before being lost as a free agent after the 2005 season.
The draft will provide the best example of how coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider will approach talent acquisition. As a pair of Type A personalities new to the franchise, we may suspect that they’re eager to make waves.
They’ve already traded down 20 spots in the second round as part of the deal to get back-up quarterback Charlie Whitehurst from San Diego.
Having two first-rounders gives them ammunition to be creative, to move and package and make more deals, if that’s the strategy.
Some of the talk suggests that they don’t need to expend high-end picks on offensive linemen because of the nature of the zone-blocking scheme brought in by new line coach Alex Gibbs.
Baloney. This line has been dreadful and the tackle on that left side is still going to have to block the best pass rushers in the league regardless of scheme. Look at the big picture. How would it have been in 1997 if somebody had said they didn’t want to take Walter Jones because he didn’t fit the current scheme. The Seahawks are on their fourth head coach since Jones was drafted. Schemes have come and gone; great players persist.
Some mock drafts continue have the Seahawks calling the name of a quarterback in the first round. Sounds absurd. They just brought in Whitehurst to challenge Matt Hasselbeck. With so many needs on this team, to pour more resources into that position would be a waste.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s omnipresent draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. was quoted all over the Internet reporting that one player the Seahawks wouldn’t take in the first round was Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
Makes me at least slightly suspicious they want Jimmy Clausen.
Here’s what speculation and scuttlebutt you should believe coming out of the National Football League this time of year: Nothing.
Believe nothing about what player your favorite team will take in the NFL draft until the names actually are called later this month.
Former Seahawks president Tim Ruskell used to call the annual pre-draft flurry of subterfuge and misinformation a high-stakes game of Liars’ Poker.
Fair enough, even though at times it looks more like Blind Man’s Bluff.
Teams sometimes downplay interest in the player they really want, and try to get word out that his “stock is falling.” Often, they will show absolutely no interest in testing or interviewing the player they have targeted. Agents, meanwhile, will try to build a market for their players by leaking word of heightened interest among scouts.
All the strategy and positioning comes to little effect if the team picks for a dud, of course.
I have to temper any criticism with the confession of having slammed the Seahawks for trading up in the 2005 second round to get undersized USC linebacker Lofa Tatupu. His three Pro Bowl appearances proved his worth, and also my inaccurate estimation of undersized USC linebackers.
What adds to the dramatic uncertainty for the Seahawks in this draft is the appearance of a new front office and coaching staff at a time when the franchise’s two first-round picks give it the best chance to rebuild the team since 1997.
That year, they had the No. 3 and No. 6 picks, and took Ohio State cornerback Shawn Springs and Florida State tackle Walter Jones. Springs made the Pro Bowl in his second season, and Jones became a sure-fire Hall of Famer.
Now, they’re coming into it with the No. 6 and No. 14 picks. How valuable is that No. 6 pick? Jones was the sixth pick. Nothing further need be said.