Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Postion by Position Look at Draft Needs

by: Michael Steffes

There are many ways to go about determining who the Seahawks will be drafting 25 days from now. Tim Ruskell has done a great job filling needs so far this offseason, which makes predicting individual players more difficult. However, if we examine the Seahawks roster as a whole, it does give some clues as to the positions the team will draft. Teams generally look to have a specific number of players at each position. Last year, because of all the off season surgeries and training camp injuries, the Hawks went to camp with some odd numbers. This year, hopefully, will be a bit more predictable.

Over the next few days, I am going to take a position by position look at the Hawks roster, and then make predictions on whether or not we will see players drafted to add to the current group. From there, I will begin a round by round look at players the Hawks may select, if they choose to address these positions in a specific round. To begin with, let's take a look at the skill positions.

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Current Number: (3) Hasselbeck, Wallace, Jeff Rowe

Taken to Camp: 4, assuming they are all healthy

Last year: (4) Hasselbeck, Wallace, Frye, Dalton Bell

The Seahawks have made plenty of changes in the organization this offseason, and often new regimes like to put their own stamp on the team. One of the easiest ways to do this is by installing a new quarterback. However, Mora and Co don't seem to be choosing this route, at least not yet. They are committed to Hasselbeck, and are crossing their collective fingers on his health. However, this doesn't mean the team will be overlooking this position. Matt is 34, and his contract is up after 2010. The time is now to start planning for the future, and the team has admitted as much. Wallace will hopefully be used in different roles this year, assuming the Hawks feel comfortable with their third QB, but Jeff Rowe is probably not the guy who would let them do that.

VERDICT: The Hawks will take a QB in this draft. They looked at QBs last year, and they are looking harder this year. The class isn't great, but the Hawks have a chance to get their choice of all the QBs on the board and that might be something too tempting to pass up.


Current Number: (4) Jones, Duckett, Forsett, Schmitt

Taken to Camp: 7 or 8

Last year: (8) Morris, Weaver, Jones, Duckett, Forsett, Schmitt, David Kirtman, Dan Curran

The team essentially only used 7 running backs in camp last year, as Dan Curran was released prior to the first cut down day. He was released to make room for a draftee who had been signed. Right now the team only has 4 backs, which means it is an utter certainty that the team will be adding to that number. One option would be to sign Justin Griffth to be the second fullback. The team may choose to draft another fullback, and they will also likely be drafting a RB, too. That still leaves a spot open for camp. The team has four seventh round picks, or could sign an undrafted free agent, too. They will definitely be upping the numbers as we head towards camp.

VERDICT: The Hawks are going to draft two running backs as well as sign a veteran. They will likely wait until after the draft to make the veteran signing, as they will opt to see how things shake out. I think a RB will be taken on day 1, and then addressed again in the 7th. They did okay with Forsett in that spot last year.


Current Number: (10) Mike Hass, Michael Bumpus, Billy McMullen, Houshmandzadeh, Branch, Burleson, Payne, Kent, Taylor, Obamanu

Taken to Camp: 9 or 10

Last year: (10) Branch, Burleson, Payne, Kent, Taylor, Obamanu, Bumpus, Bryan Gilmore, Joel Filani, Trent Shelton

The Seahawks had ten pass catchers in camp last year, but that was because they knew Deion Branch wouldn't be on the field. They added new guys throughout camp last year as the mash unit multiplied. Essentially, they need numbers to keep the key guys from getting worn out. This year, they already have a big group, matching the number they took to camp in '08. Many of these players got experience with the team last year. It is a pretty deep group. Some of these guys have been training camp standouts in prior years. New this year are Mike Hass and TJ Houshmandzadeh, to round out a quality group.

VERDICT: The Hawks will not be pulling any of the top guys off the board. They have enough needs in other places to truly prioritize this position. Michael Crabtree fans will be disappointed, but Tim Ruskell has never had good luck with first round WRs and he might be gun shy at this point. If the team really likes a guy, or someone unexpected falls to them later in the draft, they have plenty of guys whom they could release to make room. My guess is that if Hawks take a wideout, it will be another late round Tim Ruskell special. They will then cross their fingers, again, and hope that if needed, the guys who have been there like Taylor, Bumpus, Payne, and Kent will be ready to step in. It should be noted though, that the Hawks have shown some interest in WRs like Quann Cosby, Brandon Gibson, and Jason Cherry, so I am not discounting the possibility of them drafting a WR entirely. It would just appear they have the requisite numbers at the position already.

The Seahawks want to add some explosive playmakers to the offensive side of the ball. They have basically said as much. They are also looking for a QB of the future. Looking at the roster, they have left spaces for a QB and a RB or two. However, they have plenty of hands already on the roster. Each of these guys to some degree has shown to have some value, even if it is only on special teams. In fact, that is where your 4th and 5th WRs are supposed to be used.

I will write up the offensive linemen and tight ends this afternoon. END