Matt Conner with the pick...
It's time to turn the page if you're the Seattle Seahawks. Luckily, they're well aware of this and have started to put some impressive, or at least very intriguing, pieces together even though there's still miles to go.
As of a few years ago, the Seahawks were a fine West Coast franchise. The NFC West was theirs for the taking each and every year and they posted five consecutive winning seasons (and playoff appearances) under Mike Holmgren from 2003 to 2007. Unfortunately, in Holmgren's last season as coach and Jim Mora's one and done, the Hawks have went a combined 9-23 in the past two seasons. Franchise stat leaders like Shawn Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck got old quickly and the rug of success was quickly pulled out.
But an unforeseeable turn of events took place when USC head coach Pete Carroll accepted the Hawks' job offer. With Alex Gibbs and his famous blocking scheme along the line on the way as well as Jeremy Bates' offensive schemes, the light at tunnel's end is rather bright. Solid defensive coaches are in place as well and things should turn around soon if the player personnel can arrive in an equally impressive manner.
Last year, the Hawks were really bad, losing their last four to head into the off-season as dejected as this roster has been in a long time. And if it wasn't for two division games against the Rams, things would have looked even worse. Matt Hasselbeck continues to taunt as a high-ceiling passer and when healthy, he's one of the top 10 in the game. Unfortunately, Seneca Wallace appeared in 12 games last season and led the team in passing the previous year because he just can't stay healthy or hold it together.
The rest of the offense is in the same stale condition. Julius Jones was uninspiring at 3.7 yards/carry as the primary back. Edgerrin James signed to be the back-up and averaged an LJ-like 2.7. The promising sign, however, is Justin Forsett, who's 5.4 per carry was quite impressive and showed signs that the team's 7th round pick from '08 might be a diamond in the rough. There's some good playmakers at the pass catching positions, especially with 25-year-old TE John Carlson, who caught over 50 passes. T.J. Houshmandzadeh continued his workmanlike performances and led the team with 79 receptions and 911 yards.
But there's still a great need at receiver since Nate Burleson took his 800+ yards to Detroit. Deion Branch continues to underwhelm as well since arriving from New England. Thus a playmaker on the offensive side is a definite need near the top of Seattle's draft plans.
Holes. All over. After trading productive lineman Darryl Tapp to the Eagles this last week, it leaves the already weak pass rush of the Hawks that much worse, and that's a deal that ultimately doesn't make sense for the return it brought. Aaron Curry had an uninspiring rookie campaign, but obviously holds much promise among a linebacking corps that also includes former TCU playmaker David Hawthorne. The 24-year-old had another well-rounded campaign with 4 sacks, 3 interceptions and led the team in tackles with 93 after posting 117 the previous year.
It's the secondary that gets really shaky. Safety is a major concern with only Jordan Babineaux and Jamar Adams and Lawyer Milloy on the roster. Eric Berry would be a prime candidate here with their first pick, but with the Chiefs stepping up at this point, it would be a reach to go for any other candidate. Corner is shaky with Marcus Trufant, Ken Lucas (who might not make it through the off-season), Josh Wilson and others, but it's not the highest level of need.
The d-line has the team's best pass rusher in LDE Patrick Kerney. Lawrence Jackson is the other end and was the team's first round pick in 2008. He had 4.5 sacks last year, but under his college coach Pete Carroll, a fire might be lit.
The card holding the name of the pick could go any direction here. The acquisition of Charlie Whitehurst and the amount of money given to him means they're not going QB with their picks in the draft since they apparently believe he deserves a shot in the future. That means no Jimmy Clausen. I like C.J. Spiller's abilities, as does everyone, but I think there's bigger needs on the team in key positions of pass rush and offensive line. Same with Dez Bryant. With the 14th pick, the Hawks can afford to wait 8 more picks on a playmaker and take what's available to them then.
Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa. With the injury history and probable loss of Walter Jones, the Hawks could grab as many playmakers as they want, but if it's not Hasselbeck delivering the ball, things are going to get ugly fast in Carroll's first season. They say football is won in the trenches and Seattle is about as needy as any team along the front five. Thus Bulaga's ability to step in from day one and play tackle or guard will win him a high draft spot.
Check out all of the picks so far at this link. We'll have a table up soon listing all of the picks.