Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ladies and Gents...Your First Rounders

by: Michael Steffes

...In all of their glory! After weeding our way through all players previous, the round by round look at the Seahawks has reached the big boys. The first round presents some interesting challenges. With first rounders it is almost as important not to miss, as it is to hit it big. This seems to be a theme with my posts today. When a first rounder doesn't meet the hype, their teams are put in a difficult position. One thing you will see with some of the players on the Hawks roster, is that the mere status of being a first rounder buys players some slack to stick around. When done right though, the first is where the majority of a teams cornerstone players will come from. Lets take a look....


To of the newer Hawks on the team are first rounders, buy many may be surprised.

Jason Babin. Babin was what the Hawks received from the Texans in the trade for Michael Boulware. Babin was mostly a first round bust for the Texans, but because of his status as a first rounder they were unable to pull the plug and still save face. Instead they shipped him here for a Seahawk who was thought of the same way. Personally, I am surprised Babin is on the team still. The Hawks could have cut him without anybody thinking twice and had close to a million dollars more under the cap. At one point that would have been useful. However, since he is still here, maybe the Seahawk brass thinks they may be able to get a contribution from him. Of course, if they choose a DE high, he may be shown the door on Monday too.

TJ Duckett. Once a upon a time TJ was a first round selection by the Atlanta Falcons. He has never proved durable enough to hold down a full time RB job. He has however shown some promise as a rotational back, specializing in short yardarge and power situations. Thankfully the Hawks didn't use the first to get him, they get to use him as he is best suited after other teams paid handily to find out he was not the main man.


Two previous first round picks from the Seahawks are manning their respective lines...kind of.

Marcus Tubbs. Marcus has been a quality player when healthy for the Seahawks. Of course when healthy equates to 2005. It is no coincidence that the team reached the ultimate game that year. After two years wasted on bad knees an surgeries, he will try to be a part time player this year. This is the last year of his rookie deal, and if the Hawks get a good contribution from him this year, then maybe we won't be considered a colossal bust. It will certainly make the decision on whether or not to let him go more interesting.

Chris Spencer. Tim Ruskell's original first round pick with the Hawks. This pick set the tone for Ruskell's tenure with the Hawks by shocking everyone. However, in the end it was a really safe pick. Center is a hard position to play, and with a whole year starting under his belt, Spence could have a breakout year. Having a vet like Wahle on his left will help. Either way, it was a solid pick because the team got a starter.


Both of the Seahawks starting corners are first round picks.

Kelly Jennings. "Slim" showed a lot of improvement last year, and he seems to understand the scheme here very well. He plays smart even though he doesn't have the biggest frame. If he improves half as much as he did between 06' and 07' he will be a starter on this team for a long time. With Jim Mora on DB's again, expect it to happen. More importantly, he has the perfect personality to play in the Seahawks humble but great secondary.

Marcus Trufant. And the first pro bowler of the bunch checks in. Marcus switched back to the left side last year and under the direction of JM JR, he reached his potential. Some may say it was a contract year, and now that he has the big bucks, it is time to earn em'. I agree, but I think Marcus is the type who will. He seems to have the confidence now to make him a regular in Hawaii. I think, despite his big cap numbers, the Seahawks are going to be awfully glad he stuck around.


Two of the Seahawks best defenders are former firsts, and neither were picked by the Hawks.

Julian Peterson. Signed mere days after the Hutch fiasco was set in stone, JP has come on board and completely changed the nature of the defense. Right away he racked up double digit sacks, and his success here has continued as he made the Pro Bowl last year again. Having a guy like Peterson scares opponents because he can do it all, and the moment you lose sight of where he his, he just beat you again. Couple that with the next guy and you are in business. Lets just hope he has several more good years in him.

Patrick Kerney. Wow, looking back, can you believe people were skeptical of this signing. Kerney was a monster last year, commanding double teams all the time. He was leading the league in sacks going into the last year. Kerney made his second pro bowl last year, but more imporantly, he started all 16 games. Kerney being healthy and productive is what is going to make this best defense in the division, by far.


Walter Jones. Really is there a left tackle you would have rather had over the last decade. Walters dominance has allowed Mike Holmgren to do the things he loves in the passing game. At one point it looked like he may not give up a sack for a decade. Unfortunately, shoulder troubles, and youth on the line has led to Walter looking less dominant of late. My bet, though, is that with better coaching and a nasty interior guy in Mike Wahle next to him, the last two years will look like a lull in Walters great career. People are talking about replacing him, but the man pushes around trucks! With the right people in his corner, I believe Big Walt can be effective for several more years. Either way, expect the HOF to be calling when he is done. Now that is how you spend a first round pick!

As you guys can see, the first rounders who work out do extremely well. Usually they reach the pinnacle of their sport. However, many teams hit an miss with first rounders. Lately the Hawks seem to have done well, except for the one they traded away. However, we can hold true judgment on that until the end of this year, Branch's third in the system. More importantly, you can see what happens when one doesn't work out, like Marcus Tubbs. His injuries have put the Hawks in a constant state of tinkering with their D line. The team also missed in 02' on Jerramy Stevens. Look what that has done to the TE position. Lets just hope on Saturday, the long term answers at those positions can be found.