First round, 25th pick overall -- Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
put, it's a numbers game at 25. The Seahawks would love it if one of the elite
left tackle prospects were still around, but Chris Williams and Ryan Clady seem to be rising a pick or
two on most mocks on a daily basis. Some will want a tight end here, but Purdue's
Dustin Keller is probably a better fit in a spread-style offense (think Green
Bay, Cleveland or New England) as opposed to the two-back
systems Seattle's setting up to run, and Fred Davis just isn't a first-round
pick. Seattle still needs quality
and depth on the defensive interior line, and Balmer
will provide it.
Seahawks haven't been able to consistently stop smashmouth
offenses since Marcus Tubbs developed a medical history. Rocky Bernard and
Brandon Mebane form a great starting duo, but depth is very thin and Bernard
has built his own charm bracelet of boo-boos. Underrated due to the Glenn Dorsey/Sedrick Ellis duo above him and his own sometimes inconsistent
efforts, Balmer is nonetheless a tremendously gifted
and athletic player who could make life miserable for opposing centers and
guards as a 3-technique lineman at the NFL level.
Alternate theory: The Seahawks find a taker to slip
down in the first round and up in the second, take Fred Davis or Notre Dame
DT Trevor Laws, and use that second-round chip to ensure that they get Matt Hasselbeck's eventual successor.
Second round, 55th Pick overall --
Chad Henne, QB, Michigan
Team quarterback Chad Henne (7) of Michigan looks downfield during the
first half of the Senior Bowl football game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium
in Mobile, Ala., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
wonder what the "Jim Mora Offense" will look like in Seattle, which is a bit like wondering what the "Mike Holmgren
Defense" will look like anywhere else. No such thing. Mora has been a
defensive coach his entire life, and if the John Clayton speculation is on
point, the Seahawks will be running the Greg Knapp offense when Holmgren leaves
after the 2008 season and Knapp, who coached with Mora at San Francisco from
2001 through 2003 under Steve Mariucci and Dennis Erickson, and served as
Mora's offensive coordinator in Atlanta from 2004-2006, escapes Crazy Al's
House of Overpriced Free-Agent Busts in Oakland and heads north for a reunion.
that is indeed the case, get those Atlanta offensive plays
Knapp called in Atlanta with Michael
Vick (all three of them!) out of your mind. Instead, think back to those Niners
offenses and how the current Seahawks roster is being constructed. They're
not going to run the option, or Seneca Wallace would be in at quarterback
instead of Matt Hasselbeck. They're going to run a balanced game with an efficient
quarterback (Jeff Garcia = Hasselbeck) and a set of running backs operating
very much by committee (Garrison Hearst and Kevan Barlow = Julius Jones and
T.J. Duckett). They don't have the receivers yet, but that can come in time.
In 2001 and 2002, the 49ers
finished second and third, respectively, in Offensive DVOA. That's the goal.
point here is that Matt Hasselbeck will be 33 years old in 2008, and though
he's coming off either his best or second-best season, it's time to think
about the down-the-line successor. Knapp's version of the WCO doesn't feature
Holmgren-level complexity, but it's not the sort of thing you want a rookie
piloting. The Seahawks recently traveled to Ann Arbor to visit the Michigan quarterback, who started 47 games for the Wolverines and threw
two touchdowns in the 2008 Senior Bowl. He's thought to be a good fit
in a balanced offense with shorter passes to multiple receivers. If Louisville's
Brian Brohm is available, he's probably the better option, but the chances
of that are not good.
Alternate theory: The Seahawks wait until the second
day to select a quarterback, hoping to grab a little Anderson/Bulger/Brady/Hasselbeck
magic (hell, Garcia wasn't even drafted). If that's the case, and they didn't
get a tight end in the first round, now's the time to pounce, as there may
very well be a group of players at the position bunched up at the bottom of
the second round. The run could start right about at Seattle's 55th pick. However, there's also a third-round prospect with
some serious upside…
Third round, 86th pick overall -- Brad
Cottam, TE, Tennessee
6'8", 270-pound Cottam has considerable medical
red flags, and Notre Dame's John Carlson may leapfrog over him after a very
strong Pro Day, but the Seahawks could steal a great offensive weapon from
the middle rounds if Cottam can only stay healthy.
He missed most of his senior season with a wrist injury, but his sub-4.7 40
times at the Combine and his Pro Day pointed some heads in his direction.
He also put up 225 pounds in the bench press 24 times, and his 33-inch vertical
leap at the Combine surely made some wonder if it's even possible to overthrow
him in the end zone.
be a chance worth taking for a team with other needs, but a big void at tight
end. And unlike Seattle's last drafted tight end with insane measurables,
one Jerramy Stevens, Cottam's done nothing off the field to jeopardize his future
-- in fact, he's taken post-graduate courses in Sports Studies to enhance
his degree in International Business.
Alternate theory: The chances of all the top tight ends
slipping through Seattle's fingers
are extremely unlikely; it's just a matter of when one is selected. If they
take their shot in the first two rounds, one player that could intrigue as
a late third-round pick is Jeremy Zuttah of Rutgers, an incredibly athletic
guard/tackle who amazed at the Combine with a combination of strength (35
reps at the bench press) and speed (a 4.99 40-yard dash, and he timed among
the best in the 20-yard shuttle). And if the Seahawks ever want to run the
tackle eligible ... this'd
be the guy to do it.
Fourth round, 117th pick overall --
Jamie Silva, SS, Boston College
phrase "Ruskell Guy" is thrown around so much on Seahawks message
boards and blogs,
it's almost lost all meaning. The kind of player Seattle's team president
prefers -- those prospects whose on-field deeds outweigh their measurables,
providing draft-day bargains -- well, that's the closest original definition.
And if a player has developed a chip on his shoulder from his underrated
status, all the better. Lofa Tatupu is the picture in the dictionary,
but Jamie Silva is the same breed of cat.
his senior season, Silva amassed 115 tackles and eight interceptions. He was
the defensive star of the East-West Shrine Game, taking over for the East
defense on the first drive of the second half. On special teams, where his
true value will come at first for the team smart enough to take him, he bombed
San Jose State cornerback Dwight Lowery on a kickoff return, causing a fumble.
The 4.8 40 he ran at the Combine didn't help his case, but it was mitigated
by none other than the NFL Network's Rod Woodson, one of the greatest defensive
backs in league history, who made a point of going up to Silva after the run
and telling him that teams are looking far more at his film than his track
speed. For Seattle, Silva could replace
Niko Koutouvides as the Seahawks' special teams
pointman and work his way into the starting secondary
over time. Jamie Silva is going to be a special player for somebody -- all
he needs is a chance.
Alternate theory: None. I'm not even going to pretend
to be objective about this. If Jamie Silva is there at 117, the Seahawks need
to pick him. If he's there a few spots up, they need to investigate trading
up, just like they did for that sawed-off reach of a middle linebacker from
USC in 2005.
Sixth round, 202nd overall -- Keenan Burton, WR, Kentucky
Keenan Burton hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Andre Woodson
during the second half of a football game against Kent State in Lexington,
Ky., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
A trade up would somehow be required, but Burton is a bit like Brad Cottam in that his abilities and measurables will be eclipsed
in the eyes of many by his injuries. After putting up 1,036 yards on 77 catches
in 2006, Burton struggled with ankle
injuries in his senior season, as well as wrist and foot injuries earlier
on. His physical nature and fearless ability to catch in traffic won't prolong
his career by any means, but he looked fine at the Combine, where I saw him
catch a sideline pass from San Diego quarterback Josh Johnson in the tap-tap drill. He was also
among the top performers in almost every Combine drill. The Seahawks have
displayed interest, and it's apparently in Tim Ruskell's contract that he
gets to take a project receiver from the SEC on every second day. Burton
would be a wise choice this time.
Alternate theory: Purdue's Dorien Bryant, a speedy player
in the Shaun McDonald mold, might also be in play here. On the other hand, let's
say that the Seahawks haven't taken a quarterback by now. Do they roll the dice
and hope for the aforementioned sixth-round magic currently displayed by Derek
Anderson, Marc Bulger, Tom
Brady and one Matthew Hasselbeck? If they do, is the best option a flyer
on Oregon's Dennis
Dixon? The one-time Heisman candidate's season was ruined by a torn ACL
in mid-November. He had been tearing up the Pac-10 before that, throwing for
2,136 yards and 20 touchdowns on only 254 attempts. Without a postseason game,
a Combine appearance or a Pro Day, Dixon's
stock has bottomed out, but the sixth round is often used for calculated risk.
If he's still on the board, Dixon would
certainly fit the description.
Seventh round, 227th overall -- Brandon Coutu, K, Georgia
you're Tim Ruskell, you probably want a kicker who a.) Hails
from the SEC; and b.) Isn't a "Slave to the Businessman."
Coutu meets the criteria. Hamstring injuries have
kept him from kicking off over the last two seasons, but he's known to boom
long field goals with impressive accuracy. At the very least, he'll provide
rookie competition for Olindo Mare in training camp.
Alternate theory: Well, with all the long-snapper issues
over the last few seasons, how about picking up Indiana's Tim Bugg, regarded as the finest
at his position in recent years? Indiana was nearly automatic in the kicking game, making 49 of 49 extra
points and 21 of 23 field goals. Boone Stutz provided a perfectly instructive
negative example of the value of the long snapper last season. Bugg,
who is projected to be drafted, could turn that around for a good long time.
Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET,
a staff writer for Football
Outsiders, and he writes NFL previews for the New
York Sun. Feel free to e-mail Doug here.