Chances the Seattle Seahawks Take These Prospects at No. 4:
We know the Lions are going Matt Stafford. We know the Rams will be taking an offensive tackle. We're positive the Chiefs will select Aaron Curry. And we're sure Eric Mangini will pick Brian Orakpo, and trade his worst enemy, Brady Quinn, for a seventh-round selection.
However, it's unclear what the Seahawks will do. That's why the No. 4 spot has the greatest variance in the 2009 NFL Mock Draft Database. Many mocks have Seattle going with the other offensive tackle. Some have Michael Crabtree down. You can also find others predicting Stafford, Curry, Mark Sanchez, Brian Orakpo and B.J. Raji. Some may even believe that Al Davis' evil minions will abduct general manager Tim Ruskell and pick Darrius Heyward-Bey. Hey, I can't be alone on this.
Brian Orakpo: The Seahawks managed 35 sacks last year, but no player had more than six. Does this mean that Orakpo is an option? No. Ruskell used a first-round pick on Lawrence Jackson in 2008, so he's not ready to give up on him. Jackson had just two sacks, but defensive ends take time to develop. Remember how much Mario Williams struggled as a rookie?
Chance to go to Seattle in the 2009 NFL Draft: 0.1%
B.J. Raji: The Seahawks ranked 18th against the run, but they acquired Colin Cole and Cory Redding this offseason. Also, it isn't very common to see defensive tackles taken as high as No. 4. Per the article on my NFL Draft History page (Top Three NFL Picks), only one defensive tackle has gone in the top three since 1998.
Chance to go to Seattle in the 2009 NFL Draft: 0.3%
Matt Stafford or Mark Sanchez: Stafford isn't making it past the Lions, so what about Sanchez? I can't see that happening either.
Entering 2009 NFL Free Agency, the Seahawks had less than $10 million to spend. Quarterbacks command more money than any other position, so I don't see how Seattle can afford to have two high-priced signal-callers on its roster.
Matt Hasselbeck is entering the penultimate year of his 6-year, $47 million contract. Seattle is not in a new regime, and all of the moves that Ruskell has made this offseason indicate that he's trying to win now (I'll go into more detail about this below). Having Sanchez sitting on the bench won't accomplish any of Ruskell's goals. Why use a high pick on Sanchez, when you have a bunch of veterans who will be gone by the time he develops? It doesn't make any sense.
Chance to go to Seattle in the 2009 NFL Draft: 0.2%
Trading Down: In this economy, who in the world wants to pay No. 4 overall money to an unproven commodity? No one, except for Daniel Snyder. That's the only reason this is 0.5 percent instead of zero. Snyder has proven to be an erratic, moronic drafter, so anything is possible with him.
Chance to go to Seattle in the 2009 NFL Draft: 0.5%
Aaron Curry: The Seahawks could definitely use Aaron Curry in the wake of the Julian Peterson trade, but I really can't see the Chiefs passing up on him. Then again, maybe Scott Pioli will trade the No. 3 selection for another aging linebacker and a third system quarterback with limited arm strength.
Chance to go to Seattle in the 2009 NFL Draft: 1%
Eugene Monroe or Jason Smith: Despite the fact that I've mocked Michael Crabtree to the Seahawks in my past billion updates, I believe Monroe and Smith are very realistic candidates to go fourth.
Well, let me rephrase that. I think they're realistic candidates to go to Seattle if Ruskell and Jim Mora Jr. believe that Walter Jones won't be ready by training camp.
Jones had microfracture surgery on his knee in December. In January, Ruskell stated that the 35-year-old left tackle will be ready for training camp. However, there hasn't been any information released since then, and Ruskell's prediction could have been a smokescreen. What if Jones is a risk to miss a portion of the season again? The Seahawks, clearly desperate to win now, will need a left tackle, even if it's a rookie.
Plus, investing in a franchise left tackle is never a bad idea. This, in all likelihood, is Jones' final year. With Monroe or Smith on the roster, Ruskell won't have to worry about finding a blind-side protector for Hasselbeck next year.
The only drawback to this scenario - and it's a big one - is if Jones really is on track to be fully healthy by training camp. If Jones is good to go, where will Monroe or Smith play? Sean Locklear is getting a ton of money to man the right tackle spot.
Can the Seahawks, who are going all in this year, really afford to have a non-contributor on the bench? They have lots of money tied into aging veterans like Hasselbeck (33), Jones (35), Patrick Kerney (32), Mike Wahle (32), Cory Redding (29 in November) and Marcus Trufant (29 in December). They just signed a 32-year-old wide receiver in T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
Ruskell, who has been with the team for a while now, senses that the core of his team has maybe a year or two of high productivity left. He's trying to win now; not build for the future. If Jones is healthy, Ruskell won't take a player who won't be able to contribute in 2009.
Chance to go to Seattle in the 2009 NFL Draft: 33%
Michael Crabtree: My favorite to go to the Seahawks in the past two months. Michael Crabtree, considered one of the top two or three prospects in the 2009 NFL Draft before his minor foot injury and lacking 40, can help Seattle win this year, unlike many of the aforementioned players.
The argument against Crabtree - besides the foot and the 40 - is that Seattle has a lot of money tied into the receiver position. That may be true now, but Deion Branch is a strong candidate to be cut on June 1. Branch had his knee scoped following the 2008 NFL season. Branch has missed 15 of 48 games as a Seahawk, and he's not participating in minicamps because he's - surprise - injured. If that's not bad enough, Houshmandzadeh has taken Branch's place at the flanker position. Branch cannot be an effective split end; Ben Obomanu is currently running as the starter there.
That's right - Ben Obomanu could be a starting receiver for the Seahawks if they don't draft Crabtree. That should be reason enough to take the dynamic Texas Tech product fourth overall.
As mentioned above, Crabtree can help the Seahawks win this year. If Eddie Royal, DeSean Jackson and Donnie Avery could be effective as rookies, I'm sure Crabtree will be all right, especially across from someone as talented as Houshmandzadeh.
Unless Walter Jones is really hurt and can't recover by training camp, taking Crabtree is the only move that makes sense based on what Ruskell has done this offseason. Crabtree would be a lethal weapon for Hasselbeck and the only talented receiver on the roster under 30, while every other candidate for the No. 4 spot would ride the pine in a year that Seattle is going all in.
Chance to go to Seattle in the 2009 NFL Draft: 65%