Monday, March 24, 2008

Good Linebackers Still Available

When Seahawk's stalwarts like Kevin Bentley and Niko Koutouvides departed early in free agency, many of us started to rightly worry about linebacker depth. However, it appears the team was right not to rush into anything, as good linebackers still remain available late in free agency.

I thought I would depart from draft stuff for a minute to take a look at who the Hawks could still acquire in free agency that would help them....

The Linebackers

1) Ian Gold... I thought for sure that he would have gotten a deal by now. I know for his last contract he represented himself, so maybe he is still doing that and it is slowing the process. Gold did not excel as a starter in Denver and thus was replaced this season by new free agents. However, he is still a good player who could back up every linebacker position. Also, early in his career he was selected to the Pro Bowl as a special teamer, so he could be a leader there.

2)Caleb Miller.... Caleb supposedly came and visited the Hawks. He got pretty significant playing time when healthy in Cincy, however he does seem to be a bit injury prone. He is likely holding out waiting to see if he can get a starting job. However, it was said he is a willing special teamer, and might be ready to be part of a much different culture in Seattle. I put out some feelers to see what happened with his visit, so maybe I can find out how it went and if the Hawks are really interested.

3)Victor Hobson.... A personal favorite of mine. A good linebacker coming out of Michigan, who had a promising career derailed by the Jets switch to a 3/4 defense. He just wasn't as effective as an OLB in that system and now has been replaced by high price guys. However, I don't suspect the Hawks will be running a 3/4 anytime soon, so he could be a playmaker off the bench, especially if he is willing to cover kicks.

The Others

4) Larry Tripplett.... hasn't made much noise in free agency since being released by Buffalo. However, I think he would be a good fit here. He played his college ball for UW. While not a premier DT anymore, he would excel as a member of the rotation. The more draft work i do, the more I think it is Trevor Laws or bust. Almost every other mid round DT in the draft has character issues or a questionable motor--two things that usually make the Hawks say thanks, but no thanks.

5)Olindo Mare... People have made the case on this one both ways, but one thing that can't be dismissed is that he has ability to lead the league in touchbacks every year. That was one of the teams big complaints with Brown. With the team likely to have a lot of new personal on special teams, a few extra touchbacks would help. And who knows? Maybe he regains his form and becomes a decent kicker again too. It would certainly cost us all a few gray hairs I suspect though.

6) Aaron Elling, K, previously with Cincy.... Elling is a like a younger version of Mare. His strength is in kicking off. He has a huge leg. He can also punt in a pinch. His FG kicking needs a little work though. Thankfully he has had plenty of time to practice since he hasn't been a full time guy since 2003 and hasn't attempted a field goal since 05'. Uh Oh? Can you say rookie kicker?