Before the 2008 NFL season, everyone locked in the Seattle Seahawks into the playoffs - again. And why wouldn't they? They have seemed to overcome all of their shortcomings in the past, and still had by far the best defense in that division. Well, it does look like we overrated their lack of offensive weapons. A few injuries to the defense and Matt Hasselbeck did not help. However, after signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh, they look like contenders to reclaim the NFC West crown. On to their draft range with the fourth overall pick:
B.J. Raji: After losing DT Rocky Bernard to the G-Men, it is looking like some help will be needed in the middle of the defensive line. Granted, I do think Brandon Mebane is one of the most underrated defensive tackles in the NFL, but Red Bryant simply is not ready to be a starter. This team does like to invest first-round picks and free-agent money into the defensive line: Grant Winstrom, Marcus Tubbs, Patrick Kerney, and Lawrence Jackson were top investments. However, they have not gone defensive line in the top 10 since 1994 (Sam Adams) and I do not expect them to draft Raji with other attractive options and a good second-round defensive tackle class this year.
Eugene Monroe/Jason Smith: Whomever the Rams pass up on at No. 2, the Seahawks will be taking a hard look at with the fourth selection. Walter Jones is 35 years old and will likely be a cap casualty in 2010. However, Sean Locklear had a VERY good season at left tackle in 2008 filling in for Jones and they are paying him $18.75 million over the next four years. They are paying Walter Jones $6.2 million in 2009. Financially, it doesn?t seem probable that the Hawks go here, but I do think it is in their draft range and an attractive option considering the talent Monroe and Smith present.
Michael Crabtree: A few years ago, there was a highly productive redshirt sophomore who entered the NFL Draft. He battled a hamstring injury in the NFL Draft preseason and ran a mid 4.6 at his Pro Day, then later tweaked his hammy. The Seahawks drafted him at No. 9 overall in 2001, and his name is Koren Robinson.
Some think Crabtree is the No. 1 player in the NFL Draft. This is very solid value for Seattle at this pick, and lets keep in mind Houshmandzadeh is going to be 32 next season. Matt Hasselbeck is getting older and they need to maximize his production. Deion Branch and Nate Burleson do not do that. A young receiver is still needed, and that is why I think Crabtree is the favorite to be selected by Seattle at No. 4.
Despite what I think Seattle will do at No. 4, I think their draft range is pretty wide open after that.
If they do not opt for Raji in the first round, they have some very attractive defensive tackle options in the second. Heading their second round defensive tackle range is Evander Hood, Ron Brace and possibly Peria Jerry. Later on, they might consider Fili Moala, Sen?Derrick Marks, Alex Magee and Vance Walker in the third-to-fifth round range.
If they choose to not take a left tackle at No. 4, I really do not see them addressing left tackle later on. William Beatty will be off the board by 37 overall, and anyone else is simply a project and worth passing on. Ray Willis provides solid depth, but they could use an upgrade at guard. I think Kraig Urbik, Herman Johnson, Robert Brewster and Tyronne Greene are attractive options in the third or fourth rounds.
If they do not elect to take Crabtree at No. 4, they could steal someone in the second round or possibly trade up a few picks for someone who has fallen. Also, they may be looking at Brian Robiskie, Juaquin Iglesias and Derrick Williams here. Please do not be the least shocked if someone like Jeremy Maclin or Percy Harvin falls to the second round. Seattle might be considering a move up high into the second round to grab a first-round talent at wide receiver.
Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings do not seem to be playing on a very high level so they could be looking at a corner in the second round. D.J. Moore, Coye Francies and Jairus Byrd are attractive options here.
Brian Russell could be upgraded and I like Rashad Johnson, Sean Smith and Jairus Byrd (can play both S and CB) in the second round as well in terms of free safeties.
I think we can all agree Julius Jones must be sent to the bench. Donald Brown and LeSean McCoy present monster value in the second round for Seattle. Later on, they could be looking at Andre Brown, Rashad Jennings, Mike Goodson, Kory Sheets and Javon Ringer.
Seattle did a great job in free agency this year, grabbing Houshmandzadeh and franchising Leroy Hill, but work still must be done on Draft Day if this team wants to regain respect in the West.