Sunday, April 6, 2008

Defensive Depth Chart & the Draft

by: Michael Steffes

Ok, I have completed the roster analysis for the defensive side of the ball. If you look at strict numbers, it may change your opinion about where to allocate the picks too. Especially considering we only have six picks right now. Anyway....

Defensive Line

Players usually kept 9

Starters: Mebane, Bernard, Kerney, Tapp

Rotation Members: Terrill, Tubbs, H. Green, Baraka Atkins, Chris Cooper, Jason Babin

This is generally thought of as the weakness of the defense, but the numbers/depth is there. The problem is the lack of established players behind the front line. A few injuries to the starters would dramatically change the defense. There really is a lot of question marks in this area too. Tubbs and his health? Atkins time to step up? Will Green Play Well again? Babin…Why haven’t we even seen this guy? My guess is the Hawks look to add a pick to this unit, at which position I don’t know.


Players usually kept 7

Starters: Peterson, Tatupu, Hill

Backups: Herring, Laury, DD Lewis

Maybe: Cameron Jensen

Clearly the team needs to add to this position. While the starters are some of the best in the league, the reserve core has been massively depleted. All of the back ups are generally unproven. Also, each will be a key contributor on special teams which puts them at high risk for injury. The team should look to take a linebacker, possibly high in the draft. This also provides insurance if Leroy Hill leaves. If you ask me, the team is better served taking a linebacker than a DL guy early in the draft , by the numbers at least. That would be a surprise to the all the pundits talking Seahawk draft. It would also be a smart proactive move.


Team usually keeps 4 or 5

Starters: Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings

Backups: Josh Wilson, Jordan Babineaux, Kevin Hobbs

The team will probably want Babineaux to swing between CB and S. I think they could definitely be in the market for a guy. I think that by signing a long term deal with Marcus, they are able to push this need back to the late rounds. Hobbs has been decent and is a willing special teamer, so it could be time for him to take on a bigger role.


Team usually keeps 4

Starters: Deon Grant, Brian Russell

Backups: Mike Green, CJ Wallace, Jordan Babineaux

The numbers are here for the safety position, but the team sorely lacks any youth. It could very easily be a position that they look at in the draft, especially with the value a backup safety can provide on special teams. It could also be something that they hope they can avoid till next year, but with the age of the starters and Mike Greens injury history, I bet they add a young guy. They will probably take either a corner or a safety this year and have Babs be the primary backup at the other spot.


Usually Keep 3

Current: K, Olindo Mare – P, Ryan Plackemeier – LS, Tim Lindsey

Luckily this comes at the end because it has given me a new perspective. I have got to believe that the team will look to add competition to these spots through free agents after the draft. There are enough positions that need to be addressed with the 6 picks that it may be more difficult to use picks on specialists. That said, it is not out of the realm of possibilities that Ruskell adds several picks and then addresses these needs. This could be done by trading down, or possibly shipping out a running back for second day pick. Also, they may feel they have a better shot at undrafted players at other positions and take these guys with picks.

-- In looking at the roster, it seems there are definite positions that need players to round out the roster. Tight end, Wide Receiver and Offensive line for sure on that side of the ball, and linebacker, and a defensive back for sure on the defense. That leaves one pick. Could it be a kicker? Do they try and upgrade the DL position despite the larger number of players already their. Every pick spent in one place, takes away the ability to scoop up another position. I am sure the Hawks will do their best to fill many of these positions with guys they feel good about, and then fill the camp roster with undrafted guys and hope a few stick. I don't know about you, but this look at the roster makes me tempted to think linebacker will be first defensive player taken by the Hawks. It will be interesting to see, no doubt.