Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The need for 3 Stellar LBs?

by: Chris Sullivan

I was listening to Mitch in the Morning on KJR (I'll try to update later with audio if I can find it for this section of their show). Basically, Mitch was talking about the Leroy Hill situation, and wondered aloud whether it was necessary to keep him and, if not, how to replace him? It's a question we've all thought about. The gut reaction is, of course we should keep him! He's a very solid player that, in my opinion, deserves the Pro Bowl much more than Peterson has in the past few years. Mitch was saying that Hill is the team's best LB (a fact that not many dispute), but that keeping this linebacking corps should not be a top concern--"Where has it gotten us?" he kept demanding.

While I will agree that 2008 was not a great year for LBs in Seattle (I will agree that Hill played the best this year) I think it's definitely worth keeping Leroy around, but would be willing to part with Peterson if we could arrange a trade. I do not foresee letting him go as a likely option, mind you, but I think we would survive with only slight impact to our defense.

The most obvious replacement of Hill, if we do let him go, is Aaron Curry from Wake Forest. He is universally expected to be the first LB drafted, and likely the first defensive player overall picked. He is an excellent pass rusher (which, though you'd never know it under Marshall, so is Hill--remember his 9.5 sacks in 2005?). Still, while we love high impact defensive players, there is a good case to be made that our most consistent and reliable (and durable!) linebacker this year was D.D. Lewis. Now, part of that was his lack of playing time early in the season, so naturally wasn't as banged up as everyone else later in the season.

So, how do we fill the void at LB if someone leaves this year? Do we need to spend our #4 pick on Curry (who would, no doubt, be a great addition) or could we go after a depth LB in free agency and move Lewis or Herring into the starting lineup? ~END~