While there is plenty to digest on the labor front, for now let’s take a look at what will still happen this spring: the NFL draft.
Part of old collective bargaining agreement is that, regardless of a lockout, the draft will go on in late April as planned. What that draft will look like remains to be seen.
For one, there are reports that the NFLPA is encouraging top draft prospects to not show up in New York for the draft seeing as it is essentially a money-making TV program for the league. Also, we don’t know yet how the labor situation will affect the draft. As it stands now, there would be no free agency between now and the end of April, which would change how teams approach the draft. Rather than head into draft weekend knowing what needs they’ve filled via free agency, teams will draft not knowing who they might sign if and when free agency happens. Furthermore, the lack of a CBA will mean no trades involving players can happen before or during the draft. That means trades such as the one Seattle made to acquire Leon Washington last year aren’t possible. Teams can still trade draft picks during the draft, however.
The inability to trade players could be of particular interest to Seattle because they are believed to be one of the teams that could be interested in the services of Philadelphia backup QB Kevin Kolb. Sports Illustrated’s Pete King reported that the Eagles have one team already willing to trade a first rounder for Kolb. The article doesn’t say that team is Seattle or any other team, but assuming the Seahawks are at least interested–especially considering that Matt Hasselbeck is headed for free agency–not being able to make that trade would complicate things. Sure Seattle or another team might be able to trade for Kolb later, but that would then have to involve 2012 picks, meaning two things: one, Seattle would go into the draft having to weigh their chances of getting Kolb somewhere down the road while also considering the rookies in the current class; and two, the Eagles would likely want more in return if the compensation was in future picks because in general picks in the current draft are worth more than ones in future years.
So yeah, this year’s draft figures to be a complicated one for Seattle and everyone else. But like we said earlier, the draft is going to happen, so it’s getting to be that time when everybody is wondering how the draft will play out. While there are many, many draft prognosticators out there, few have been more accurate in recent years that Rob Rang, a teacher in Tacoma who also serves as a senior draft analyst for CBSsports.com. In his latest first-round mock released today, Rang has Seattle going with Florida G Mike Pouncey. Pouncey is regarded by many as the top interior lineman in the draft, and that’s a big area of need for Seattle, so even if a solid QB is available there, which is very likely, Pouncey would be tough to pass up if he’s still on the board.
Rang also has Washington QB Jake Locker going to Minnesota at No. 12. Now that pick may seem high on the surface given the questions about Locker’s accuracy, but Rang’s mock reflects a belief that many, me included, have that at least one team in the top 20 of the draft is going to fall in love with Locker’s physical tools and his character and hope they can improve his accuracy.