On what seems to be a daily basis, ESPN’s John Clayton comes on the Kevin Calabro Show and insists that the Seahawks must take a quarterback with their 25th pick in the NFL draft.
Jake Locker is more than likely that quarterback, or it could be Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton, maybe even Ryan Mallett.
I fully understand two things about John Clayton: He’s The Professor, and he knows a hell of a lot more about football than I do.
But he’s wrong this time — the Seahawks would be out of their minds to take a quarterback in the first round for the following reasons:
-Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert are generally considered to be the best two quarterbacks in the draft, and even they’re flawed. Neither one is a Sam Bradford sure thing. Then when you get past them, you’ve got the grab bag that I mentioned in the second paragraph, and if you’re betting your livelihood on any one of those three guys, I wish you well my friend.
Each could be a star, and each could be a dud. Or maybe they’ll be inbetweeners and have somewhat successful NFL careers, but you’re not looking for mediocrity in the first round.
-Unless I’m mistaken, the Seahawks’ quarterback situation is not as needy as other positions on this 7-9 team. Matt Hasselbeck will more than likely return — whether you’re a fan of his or not, he could give you another year or two of productive play. What is it that The Professor and other NFL gurus call it? Oh, that’s right, Hasselbeck’s a “bridge” quarterback, a transitional guy who will do for the time being until the next guy is groomed to take over.
-The next guy on the Seahawks, unless I’m mistaken, is projected to be Charlie Whitehurst. Again, I know that Clipboard Jesus has many fans (mostly women, I’m guessing) and many detractors (those who think he was a third-stringer in San Diego for good reason). Over and over again, the Seahawks say that Whitehurst’s their guy and just needs more experience to develop into a productive NFL quarterback. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but they seem to think so. And Whitehurst is only 28, young enough to be the quarterback of the future.
When John Schneider and Pete Carroll came on board, acquiring Whitehurst was their first major move. Do you think they’re ready to give up on him already? You do? Well, I don’t. Whitehurst has flashed enough to show that he might make it as a starter.
So if you’re operating under this premise, that the Seahawks will have Hasselbeck and Whitehurst next year, why in the world would there be some great need to get another quarterback in the first round when the players available are huge gambles?
Why not try to get one of those guys in the second round? One might still be available, or hell’s bells, take a flyer on someone else such as Colin Kaepernick. He could pan out to be as good as the others, and you’re not risking as much with a later pick.
Or how about this? Draft a quarterback next year when the class might be deeper and better than this year’s class. Hey, if the bottom really falls out and the Seahawks go 2-14, they could draft Andrew Luck. Just a thought — I know, not a particularly good one, but whoever tanks the season this year will someday say it was worth it to get Luck.
If I’m in that war room with Schneider and Carroll on draft day, here’s what I’d be doing:
-Ordering pizza and beer.
The Go 2 Guy loves Jake Locker, but would implore the Seahawks to pass on him.
-Twisting their arms to convince them to take an offensive lineman in the first round. Or I’d even let them take a defensive lineman if they chose to do that. But a quarterback? No, no, no, no, no, no, NO!!!!! Especially not Locker. Love the kid and everything, but if Steve Sarkisian couldn’t get it out of him, no one in the NFL will. Do you really think that Locker will someday magically throw spirals into the even tighter windows of the NFL than the ones he saw in college? Me neither. Or is it me either? Somebody help me out here…
Let’s look at the Go 2 Guy’s Plan B first — selecting a defensive lineman. I’m all for it if that’s what Schneider and Carroll want to do. ESPN’s Todd McShay, one of those draft guru guys, considers nine defensive ends to be first-round caliber. That being the case, I’d be fine with the Hawks taking whomever they believe is the best that’s left from the group of, in order of McShay’s preference: Da’Quan Bowers, Robert Quinn, J.J. Watt, Aldon Smith, Muhammad Wilkerson, Cameron Jordan, Adrian Clayborn, Ryan Kerrigan and Cameron Heyward.
Depth would help at this position, especially when you consider what happened to the defense when Red Bryant went down last year. Also, Chris Clemons will be 30 this year — not a big deal, but he’s only got one or two more good years left, and Raheem Brock will be 33 and could be a goner anyway because he’s a free agent.
The Seahawks could be tempted by a defensive tackle such as Corey Liuget from Illinois. Rob Rang of CBS Sports.com has Liuget going to the Seahawks at No. 25 in his latest mock draft. Liuget might not be available; some mock drafts project him going in the teens.
Taking Liuget would ease the uncertainty with defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, a free agent who will get big offers and may be tempted to play elsewhere.
But it’s more fun to look at Plan A, the course of action the Seahawks should take by selecting the best available offensive lineman. Last year the line was a mess, and this year the Seahawks figure to let their starting center Chris Spencer and starting right tackle Sean Locklear leave via free agency. Clayton is led to believe that they have no interest in re-signing them, hoping to upgrade via free agency or in the draft.
Clayton thinks Oakland guard Robert Gallery is squarely in the Seahawks’ sights, and he no doubt would like to play for his former head coach, Tom Cable, who is now the Seahawks’ offensive line coach. Clayton also speculates that the Seahawks might be interested in acquiring Tampa Bay guard Davin Joseph, another free agent.
Let’s say they get one of those guys, Gallery or Joseph. On the left side of the line, they’d have Russell Okung at tackle and, say, Gallery at guard. Remember, too, that the Seahawks will get Max Unger back from a lost season last year due to injury, and he figures to replace Spencer at center.
In this scenario, you’d be dynamite on the left side and up the middle but severely lacking on the right side with retreads such as Stacy Andrews as one of the likely starters at tackle. And at guard? Hmmm.
But while filling Schneider’s and Carroll’s mugs with beer, I’d also be advising them to take guard/center Mike Pouncey of Florida or offensive tackles Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin or Nate Solder of Colorado or maybe even offensive tackle Danny Watkins of Baylor.
Florida guard/center Mike Pouncey is the Go 2 Guy’s first option. (AP)
When you’re watching the draft, cross your fingers and your toes and hope that Pouncey is still available when it’s the Seahawks’ turn to draft at 25. He’s the twin brother of the Steelers’ All-Pro center, Maurkice Pouncey, and is projected to be just as dominant. Rang and ESPN’s Mel Kiper project Pouncey to go to the Giants at No. 19.
Carimi would be an interesting second choice. The 6-7, 314-pounder from Wisconsin told reporters at the combine: “I’m physically stronger and have more career starts and better knowledge of the game than any other tackle out there. That’s why I’m the No. 1 tackle out there.”
Ya gotta like that kid’s confidence if nothing else, even if most draft experts have him rated as the No. 3 tackle, behind USC’s Tyron Smith and Colorado’s Solder.
Solder’s another intriguing possibility, and he could be available at 25. The 6-8, 319-pounder is a converted tight end, which leads you to believe that he might be more athletic than the other tackle prospects. He also has an 81-inch wingspan, which is apparently a big deal to NFL scouts.
Watkins is another option. He’s a former firefighter from Kelowna, British Columbia. If nothing else, I like his story. Because he spent four years as a fireman, he’s 26, which might be a drawback, but he’s a helluva player, one who has been favorably compared to New England’s Logan Mankins.
Let’s say the Seahawks draft an offensive lineman. Then on the right side of the line, they could put Andrews at guard and Carimi or Solder or Watkins at tackle.
Now you’re starting to talk about a quality NFL line that would give Hasselbeck time to throw and allow him to be a more consistent player again. It would also create more running lanes for Marshawn Lynch. I want to see Beast Mode fully unleashed next year.
I don’t know, it just seems to make more sense to me for the Seahawks to get a big, nasty dirtbag than to pin their hopes on a quarterback who could be a bust.