With over a month before this year’s NFL draft, honing in on what player the Seattle Seahawks will consider with the team’s No. 25 overall pick in the first round remains a crap shoot for a couple reasons.
First, the Seahawks have several needs to fill, including quarterback, offensive line, cornerback, defensive line and receiver.
Second, with the uncertainty of whether or not free-agent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will return to Seattle, and at least 10 teams potentially looking for a quarterback in the first round of the draft, it remains to be seen if the Seahawks will be one of those teams willing to invest in a quarterback in the opening round.
Add to that the plethora of talented defense linemen available in this year’s draft, and it makes it tough to predict who Seattle will take at No. 25.
“This year’s draft is very unique, in that it’s extraordinarily talented on the defensive line,” said Rob Rang senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com. “I wouldn’t characterize defensive line as being Seattle’s primary area of concern. But if you have a spectacular player still looking at you, then you have to consider that player.
“Obviously quarterback and offensive line are bigger areas of concern, and so again, if you have a very good football player that happens to be sitting there on the board, you have to consider them.”
Quarterbacks potentially available in the first round include Washington’s Jake Locker, Ryan Mallet of Arkansas and Florida State’s Christian Ponder.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider attended Mallet’s Pro Day, and Locker is scheduled for a private workout with Seattle.
Offensive line prospects possibly available in the latter stages of the first round include interior linemen Florida’s Mike Pouncey and Baylor’s Danny Watkins. Offensive tackle prospects that still might be on the board include Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin and Mississippi State’s Derek Sherrod.
Defensive linemen who could slip to the second half of the first round include Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson and Corey Liuget of Illinois.
More important, Rang said the plethora of talented players available between picks 20 and 40 gives Seattle the possibility of considering trading down to pick up an extra pick, and still getting a player that will help them. Seattle does not have a third-round selection this year because they used it to secure reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst from San Diego last year.
“Perhaps if they are sitting there at No 25 and seven or eight of those players are still available, if you have the possibility of maybe dropping down a few spots and recouping that third-round pick that you gave up for Charlie Whitehurst, I think that makes a lot of sense from the Seahawks’ perspective,” Rang said.
The uncertainty of when free agency will take place also will factor in what teams’ draft strategies this year, Rang said.
“Most teams are going to take that best player available, but if you need a quarterback, you need a quarterback,” he said. “So I think that certain positions are going to rise up in value as the draft approaches.
“If there is no free agency you’re going to see some teams that are forced to panic, and forced to take a player just because if they want to compete, then they need to have a certain player at a certain position.”