Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fill Out the Roster in Round 4

by: Michael Steffes

Another day, another look at where the current Seahawks were drafted. Today we look at round four. So far, with exception of the 6th round, which included franchise quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and 7 other players, each late round has 5 players in it. One thing this shows is that late round players don't make a team great, they mostly make a team deep, which in some years is just as important. The fourth round is no different.

All but one of the fourth rounders have been chosen by Tim Ruskell. The one who wasn't is a quarterback. The other four are linemen. This is a trend that I expect we may see continue next weekend. Look for a tackle to groom and possibly take over Ray Willis' spot as the primary back up to be chosen. It is also possible that if the early picks have a heavy offensive flavor to them, then the fourth round pick may address the defensive line. Last year they addressed both lines in the fourth. To take a look....


To start with lets look at both of last years picks. Neither of them were on the field enough last year to get a real accurate read on their abilities.

Mansfield Wrotto-- Great name! Hopefully he will someday be a great player. Last year he was chosen with the pick acquired for Darrell Jackson. Wrotto was the ultimate project pick. He was said to have the most upside of any guard last year. He had only been playing the position for a year and a half. The team new he would not contribute, but as a fourth they didn't expect him to. Obviously others felt strong about his potential as well, or the Seahawks may have tried to slip him to the practice squad. Instead they kept on the 53 man roster and watched him develop. I think that you will hear his name a lot in camp, and if the team switches to a zone system next year, he will be a dark horse to start. He is that atheletic.

Baraka Atkins-- Again, he really didn't play a whole lot of meaningful snaps last year. When he did, it wasn't often that you heard his name called. However, it was telling that the team felt comfortable shipping out Bryce Fisher. They knew that would weaken the depth, but wanted to make sure Atkins had room to grow. He ended the year on IR. He could be a player in the role of what Justin Tuck did for the Giants. He can play as a lightning quick penetrating tackle, or he can move outside and hold his ground. He is one player I am very interested in watching over the summer. Hopefully he is raring to go!


Ray Willis-- Willis is the type of guy a coach loves to have on the team. Willis was a darn fine player in college and was expected to be drafted a lot higher. In fact he probably would be starting on 9 out of 10 teams by now. Unfortunately for him, and the Hawks, Sean Locklear developed into a heck of a tackle. But having Willis around should make Hawk fans a little more comfortable knowing if Big Walt had to sit a few out, between Locklear and Willis, the line could keep Hass upright long enough to win a game or two.

Seneca Wallace-- Wallace is in the same boat. Lets be realistic, nobody wants to see Seneca play QB. And nobody is all the comfortable when he does. But when you compare him to some back ups in the league he is a pretty darn good insurance policy. Now, the question with Wallace, is when are the Seahawks going to start using his skill sets. We have all been teased by his athletic ability. The catch in the 2005 NFC Championship game. His brief appearances last year. I am still don't believe he will ever make a full time position switch, but I do think the team needs to use him more. Something tells me that Jim Mora wouldn't be nearly as hesitant to run a trick play as Big Show. Just using Seneca in a gimmick play once or twice a week adds one more thing for opposing teams to prepare for. Using him as decoy, like he did a lot last year, only works if you actually use him successfully first.


Rob Sims has been the steal of the 4th round to this point. He took an awful lot of heat last year, and he certainly underachieved. I tend to blame the coaching a little more than most. The Hawks let defenders come through untouched more than any other team last year (tied with the Jets). That is coaching. That is the scheme. This kid has talent for sure. He showed it in 06'. I expect Rob Sims to win the RG spot. I expect the line to have a resurgent year. Rob Sims will be a starter for the Seahawks for a long time. Coach Holmgren knew it the first year he was with the team, and I trust the coaches assessment. Sims is another guy who the competition for his spot in camp is going to do a world of good for. In my opinion.

Next up is first day picks. Well at least until this year. First round picks are where a GM makes his money. Considering the late rounds have produced only one bona-fide star. Expect the next three breakdowns to be littered with studs, starters, and Pro Bowls.