DAVE BOLING; STAFF WRITER
Ring, ring, ri …
“Hello, this is Pete …”
“Pete. Hey, this is John. I’ve been online and watching some sports channels, and you’re not going to believe this, but we forgot to pick up a quarterback and some defensive tackles in that draft thing over the weekend.”
“Dang, we forgot. Didn’t we have those things written down someplace? We might need some of those guys when we get around to playing football.”
Why is it I have a hard time imagining Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll waking up, smiting their foreheads, and cursing the fact they forgot their shopping list?
The media hammered the Seahawks for not addressing primary needs with their draft picks, as if it had been an oversight.
The fallacy of any of these grades, good or bad, is that they pass judgment on only one of the ways in which a team is rebuilt from one season to the next. There’s a great deal of team-building aside from the draft. The problem is that nobody’s been able to get to it this year.
In normal years, the draft is used to build for the future and fill gaps remaining after some free-agency shopping has been done. With the NFL labor dispute continuing, the draft had to be done in the absence of veteran acquisitions.
With that in mind, every team should be scored an incomplete.
The Seahawks found themselves in a bad spot: A team with a 7-9 record and a lot of holes to fill, but also a playoff team drafting way down in the 25th spot.
They did not pick a quarterback when TCU’s Andy Dalton and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett were available. Since neither apparently suited their notion of a quarterback of the future, they passed.
And the only defensive tackle they selected in nine choices was seventh-rounder Lazarius “Pep” Levingston.
Instead, they used their top two picks as long-term answers to chronic offensive line weakness, and three of their later picks to get more physical in the secondary.
So, what now? The timing of this depends on resolution of the labor issue.
Contract discussions with former quarterback Matt Hasselbeck were silenced by the lockout. Both sides sounded interested but uncommitted.
Hasselbeck will be 36 in September and has had declining production the past several seasons. Hence team hesitance. But trading for an upcoming quarterback would be expensive in terms of players and picks they’d have to kick in. It seems that the most viable free agent to keep you going until you find your gem in the draft or a reasonable trade would be Hasselbeck.
His value went up in Seattle over the weekend when the Seahawks saw no one in the draft they deemed worthy of betting the future of the franchise to obtain. The option is trusting that backup Charlie Whitehurst is ready to be your full-time starter.
That option, again, seems to enhance Hasselbeck’s value.
The status of free agent defensive tackle Brandon Mebane is a bit reliant on how the new labor agreement would classify him. But he, too, now appears to be an even more important player to lure back.
Mebane seems like an undervalued asset. He doesn’t have flashy numbers or come up with huge plays, but he’s stout, reliable and he’s turned into a bit of a team leader. I like that he barks at the offensive team when it approaches the line.
He sent out this tweet this weekend: “My 2005 Corolla battery died, need a jump.” This is not some Bentley-buying slacker. He’s a barking junkyard hound and he needs a new contract to get his battery replaced. Sign the man.
It’s fair to ask if they “reached” on some of their draft picks. That depends on who is doing the evaluation.
They appeared to reach last season on some acquisitions who paid off in big ways. Some they missed, but their leading rusher, receiver and returner were all guys brought in by trade or free-agency.
That earns Carroll and Schneider some latitude. Let’s see what they come up with when the time to swing deals opens again, and then let the season grade itself in terms of wins and losses.