Now that most of the bigger names in Free Agency have found their respective new homes, Seattle’s 2005 draft possibilities are coming into focus. First, let’s take a look at what the ‘Hawks have done in Free Agency.
1. Re-signed QB Matt Hasselbeck and LT Walter Jones. Both were very, very good moves for the future.
2. Slapped the franchise tag on RB Shaun Alexander. Alexander had until March 15to come in and sign the tender offer so he could possibly negotiate with a new team and eventually be traded, but he failed to do so, limiting Seattle’s ability to trade him. Unless a Draft-day trade occurs, expect Alexander to be in Seattle next year.
3. Signed DE Bryce Fisher. He won’t be a Pro Bowler, but with only two defensive ends on the roster (Cochran and Wistrom) after losing Chike Okeafor, Fisher was a nice move. He came cheaper than expected and should give Cochran competition in camp.
4. Signed Denver CB Kelly Herndon to an offer sheet that’s too expensive for them to match, and Denver didn't take the bait. Although Herndon is an "under-the-radar" player, something had to be done to replace the gaping hole in the secindary left by Ken Lucas' departure to Carolina.. Herndon’s a decent CB that’ll have a chance to start opposite Marcus Trufant.
5. Re-signed TE’s Itula Mili and Ryan Hannam, and T/G Floyd Womack. Re-signing these three was a very nice move for the franchise. Mili, no matter how much Seattle tries to replace him, always ends up being our most productive TE. Hannam’s played well when given the time and definitely has a future with the club, especially if former 1 st Round pick Jerramy Stevens continues to disappoint. But outside of getting the “big-3" back, Womack may be the best acquisition of them all. He’s extremely versatile and has played well at both guard and tackle. Considering we just cut veteran RT Chris Terry, bringing Womack back was essential.
6. Signed LB Kevin Bentley. Bentley won’t amaze anyone, but he can play every LB position, making him extremely valuable for a franchise that’s had serious injury problems at LB.
7. Signed DT Chartric Darby. A very high-motor guy from Tampa Bay, Darby should see considerable time in Seattle’s DT rotation, especially on passing downs.
8. Signed WR Joe Jurevicius. Huge WR with reliable hands, but hasn’t been very healthy the past two years. Will probably be Seattle’s 4 th WR, but he could jump a slot.
1. Defensive End
Despite acquiring Bryce Fisher, Seattle’s DEs aren’t true pass-rushing threats. Wistrom and Cochran are good all-around DEs, but neither have the speed necessary to be a true pass rushing threat or warrant extra game-planning from the opposition. Seattle only has one pass rusher with speed, OLB Chad Brown, who plays DE in nickel situations. However, Brown’s age and injury concerns leave real doubt as to if he can consistently be a factor. If Seattle’s defense is ever going to turn the corner, the ‘Hawks are going to need to get a pure pass rushing DE.
David Pollack, DE Georgia - Round 1
Matt Roth, DE Iowa - Round 1
DeMarcus Ware, DE Troy St. - Round 1
Dan Cody, DE Oklahoma - Round 1
Justin Tuck, DE Notre Dame - Round 2
Bill Swancutt, DE Oregon State - Round 3
Ryan Riddle, DE Cal - Round 3 / 4
Jonathan Jackson, DE - Oklahoma Round 4
2. Outside Linebacker
Former 1st Round pick and oft-injured OLB Anthony Simmons was released in the opening week of Free Agency. Veteran OLB Chad Brown, one of the franchise’s most consistent players, has also battled injuries the past two years and his status with the team is very clouded. He’ll probably need to take a pay cut in order to stay with the team, giving Seattle additional trouble at a position that’s had more drama than an episode of “The OC”. Top backup D.D. Lewis, is also coming off the I.R.. And while the addition of Bentley will help overall depth, adding some youth and talent is a necessity.
Darryl Blackstock, OLB Virginia - Round 1
Kevin Burnett, OLB Tennessee - Round 2
Ernest Shazor, S/OLB Michigan - Round 2
Michael Boley, OLB Southern Miss - Round 2 / 3
Leroy Hill, OLB Clemson - Round 3
Rian Wallace, OLB Temple - Round 4
Seattle’s receivers have been among the league’s leaders in drops for the past three years, killing drives and even creating turnovers for opposing defenses. Darrell Jackson’s cap figure is high and he’s under contract for four more years, meaning he’ll be around for awhile. But 2005 may be Koren Robinson’s last year as a ‘Hawk if he can’t stop dropping balls and staying out of trouble. Bobby Engram is a reliable slot receiver, but he’s not the youngest guy around and has battled injuries lately. The ‘Hawks would be wise to add a legitimate outside threat that can actually catch the ball for the future.
Mark Clayton, WR Oklahoma - Round 1
Roddy White, WR UAB - Round 1
Reggie Brown, WR Georgia - Round 2
Terrance Murphy, WR Texas A&M - Round 2
Chris Henry, WR West Virginia - Round 2
Fred Gibson, WR Georgia - Round 2
Brandon Jones, WR Oklahoma - Round 3
Courtney Roby, WR Indiana - Round 3
Mark Bradley, WR Oklahoma - Round 3
Jerome Mathis, WR Hampton - Round 3
Roscoe Parrish, WR Miami - Round 3
Taylor Stubblefield, WR Purdue - Round 4
Veteran Robbie Tobeck is likely to be re-signed, but he’s nearing the end of his career and the time to start grooming a long-term replacement is upon the franchise.
David Baas, C/G Michigan - Round 2
Chris Spencer, C Ole Miss - Round 2
Ben Wilkerson, C LSU - Round 2 / 3
Vince Carter, C Oklahoma - Round 3
Jason Brown, C North Carolina - Round 4
Richie Incognito, Nebraska - Round 4 / 5
The addition of Kelly Herndon will help, but he won't be a 100% replacement for the recently departed Ken Lucas. Veteran Bobby Taylor’s first season with Seattle was a bust due to injury and it’s doubtful the ‘Hawks can count on his 31 year-old legs this season. Kris Richard played well at times last year, but he still hasn’t become the player Seattle thought he would when they took him in the 3 rd Round in 2002. The front office may need to add another corner for their nickel and dime packages, especially if they think Taylor won’t be back.
Justin Miller, CB Clemson - Round 1
Marlin Jackson, CB Michigan - Round 1
Corey Webster, CB LSU - Round 1
Fabian Washington, CB Nebraska - Round 1 / 2
Brandon Browner, CB Oregon St. - Round 1 / 2
Bryant McFadden, CB Florida St. - Round 2
Domonique Foxworth, CB Maryland - Round 2 / 3
Eric Green, CB Virginia Tech - Round 2 / 3
Dustin Fox, CB Ohio State - Round 3
Darrent Williams, CB Oklahoma St. - Round 3
Antonio Perkins, CB Oklahoma - Round 3
Derrick Johnson, CB Washington - Round 4
Cedrick Williams, CB Kansas St. - Round 4
Antwaun Rogers, CB Purdue - Round 4
Karl Paymah, CB Washington St. - Round 4
6. Running Back
If Seattle trades Shaun Alexander on draft day, this will become a huge need. But as of right now, it’s unlikely Seattle can find a trading partner willing to give up valuable draft picks for a player that’ll only be playing under one-year contract in 2005. However, the ‘Hawks might look to upgrade for the future this year if the right player comes along, especially if they’re able to be a factor in the passing game. RB is the deepest position in the draft this year, increasing the chances of adding value.
J.J. Arrington, RB Cal Round 2
Ciatrick Fason, RB Florida Round 2
Vernand Morency, RB Oklahoma St. Round 2
Marion Barber, RB Minnesota Round 2
Darren Sproles, RB Kansas State Round 3
Eric Shelton, RB Louisville Round 3
Walter Reyes, RB Syracuse Round 3
Kay Jay Harris, RB West Virginia Round 3
Brandon Jacobs, RB Southern Ill. Round 4
Ryan Moats, RB Louisiana Tech Round 4 / 5
Anthony Davis, RB Wisconsin Round 4 / 5
Cedric Houston, RB Tennessee Round 4 / 5
7. Offensive Line
RT Chris Terry’s release and the combined free agency of C Robbie Tobeck and RG Chris Gray will leave Seattle’s O-line depth in question. The ‘Hawks have made solid depth additions on Day 2 in the past (G Floyd Wedderburn, OT Matt Hill, G Floyd Womack). Look for them to do the same this year.
Adam Snyder, G/T Oregon - Round 3
Logan Mankins, G/T Fresno St. - Round 3
Pete McMahon, T Iowa - Round 4
Jeremy Parquet, T Southern Miss. - Round 4
Rob Pettiti, T Pittsburgh - Round 4 / 5
Ray Willis, T Florida State - Round 4 / 5
Michael Roos, T Eastern Wa. - Round 4 / 5
Doug Nienhuis, T Oregon State - Round 4 / 5
David Stewart, T Mississippi St. - Round 5
Erik Pears, T Colorado State - Round 5
Calvin Armstrong, T Washington St. - Round 5 / 6
While the value of the above targeted players may change, the overall list shouldn’t very much. New Team President and GM Tim Ruskell has said on more than one occasion that he plans on upgrading the front seven, and it doesn’t appear to be the traditional pre-draft smokescreen.
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