Six to Watch for Seahawks: The Second Round

With less then a week left, and so many options to ponder, it's time to take a round-by-round look at who the Seahawks might take in the 2008 draft. We continue with Scott Eklund's look at the second round, though team president Tim Ruskell's admission that he's looking to trade down throws a few wrinkles into this projection.

Since it appears more likely the closer we get to the Draft that the Seahawks will trade down or possibly out of the first round while acquiring more picks in second round, I’ve done what our esteemed Editor-in-Chief Doug Farrar (Doug, please make that check payable to cash) did in his first article – divided the six players I’m looking at into two different categories.

In the Six to Watch for Seahawks: The First Round article, Doug focused on three players the team and its brain-trust would likely be looking at by trading down into the beginning of the second round, so I will focus on the other two sections of the round.

One will focus on players the Seahawks are most likely to nab in the middle of the second (picks 41 through 50) and the other into players the Seahawks will be looking hard at in the last section of the second round (picks 51 through 63).

Middle of Round Two

Justin King, CB, Penn State

I know, I know, King was relatively inconsistent his junior season with the Nittany Lions, but there’s no denying his incredible physical skills. He’s one of the fastest players in the Draft and he’s excellent in man-to-man coverage. I love his attitude because he never backs down from a challenge, however he isn’t physical at all and he is likely to be somewhat of a liability against the run.

At this point, he’s only so-so in zone coverage, but he’s really improved at recognizing routes. Where he really struggles is making plays on the ball in the air, but with his talents, if the Seahawks can coach him up, they would be getting a first round talent in the second round. King is also a dynamic punt and kick returner so he could accent both Josh Wilson and Nate Burleson in the return game as well.

King started 31 of the 38 games he played in while in Happy Valley and he totaled 90 tackles, 23 passes defensed, three interceptions and one fumble recovery. His experience and his natural athleticism make him a very intriguing prospect for the Seahawks to look at in the middle of the second round.

Obviously Seattle doesn’t necessarily need another corner, especially with the signing of Marcus Trufant to a long-term deal and the drafting of Kelly Jennings and Josh Wilson the past two years, however, someone with King’s skills doesn’t usually drop to the second round very often and, if he’s there, I think the Seahawks would be hard-pressed to let him slip by.

Early Doucet, WR, LSU

Seattle seemingly is deep at the wide receiver position, but getting a player with Doucet’s open-field skills and big frame would add an open field dynamic the Seahawks have seemed to lack in recent years.

One thing Doucet has that Tim Ruskell seems to like is big game experience at the highest level of competition. Look no further than the SEC for the top football talent in the country and then look at the numbers Doucet was able to put up – 22 starts in 45 games, 160 receptions for 1,943 and 20 touchdowns – during his four-year career with the Bayou Bengals.

Doucet doesn’t have elite speed, but he always seems to be running away from players and his excellent hands and crisp routes make him a perfect fit in the west coast offense. He’d complement Bobby Engram, Nate Burleson and Deion Branch (when and if he gets healthy) well and he’s really push the young players like Ben Obomanu and Courtney Taylor for playing time.

Pat Sims, DT, Auburn

If Seattle picks up a defensive tackle early in the second, Sims will not be the pick here, however, if they don’t, he’s a very intriguing prospect.

Sims was a standout on a great Auburn team, both as a junior and a senior, and he showed that he could consistently hold his gaps well while also getting a modicum of pressure on the quarterback – 7.5 sacks his final two seasons – when he had the opportunity.

With his low center of gravity Sims would fit in nicely with Brandon Mebane, Rocky Bernard and Craig Terrill to be a rock in the middle of the defense. It’s sad to give up on a player like Marcus Tubbs, but with his injuries, I’d be shocked to see him return in any sort of form that would make him into the player he was proving to be.

End of Round Two

John Carlson, TE, Notre Dame

Some think that Carlson has increased his stock enough to get into the middle of the second round and might even garner some late first round attention.

He’s got a big body, he’s an excellent blocker and he’s a player that is a better receiver than his stats indicated in 2007. The reason for his dropoff as a senior was because of the huge dropoff in production from the season before as Brady Quinn was replaced by a true freshman at quarterback and the Irish had no one to take the pressure off Carlson.

Teams focused their coverages strictly around Carlson, who was Notre Dame’s only established offensive threat, and he struggled to find any consistency all season.

Carlson’s 40-time has also been a big topic of discussion. At the combine, he ran a 4.88 and that began to drop him in a lot of teams’ eyes. However, in his individual workouts, Carlson consistently ran in the 4.73 to 4.78 range which is about average for a tight end.

Carlson has the experience (27 starts) and natural receiving talent (100 receptions for 1,093 yards and eight touchdowns) to be the player the Seahawks are looking for. It just depends on how they project him to fit into their offense down the road, but with his blocking skills and leadership qualities, he sure seems like a Ruskell-type player to me.

Martellus Bennett, TE, Texas A&M

No player in this year’s Draft fits the mold that teams are looking for in a tight end than Bennett. He’s got great size (6-6, 260), excellent speed (4.68) and he’s an outstanding athlete. The only concern with Bennett is his lack of concentration at times and his inconsistency.

Bennett really thrived in A&M’s motion, play-action offense in 2007, hauling in 49 receptions for 587 yards and four touchdowns while only starting six of the Aggies’ 12 games, but he needs work on his routes and blocking. However, with his strong hands and his ability to really be a red zone threat, Bennett is a player that will intrigue the Seahawks if they like Bennett’s potential over Carlson’s developed skills.

Anthony Collins, OT, Kansas

Obviously, a lot of who the Seahawks will be looking at with this selection will be determined by who they select earlier in the draft. If they pass on taking a tackle prospect earlier, Collins would be a great fit for Seattle here.

He’s got excellent size and he’s already a huge young man. He also has a ton of potential because he’s only played four years of football and only two on the offensive line.

Collins’ long arms and athleticism make him a perfect fit at tackle and he’d have a chance to sit behind both Sean Locklear and Walter Jones, working on his technique while also learning from two of the best bookend tackles in the league.

Who will Seattle pick?

Assuming they do pick up a second and third selection in the draft and, going by who Doug selected in his first article (DT Trevor Laws), I’m going with Doucet in the middle of the round and Carlson at the end.

Both add playmaking abilities to Seattle’s aging offense and Carlson fills a huge hole in Seattle’s roster.

Both are high-character players who will fit in nicely in the locker room and both played through injuries, showing their toughness and desire to win above all else.

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