Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ruskell Holds Pre Draft Interview

by: William P. Tomisser

Yesterday, Tim Ruskell held a pre draft media session with local sports writers and talked about where the Seahawks are in preparation for next weeks draft and handed out some pearls of wisdom.

Mike Sando has detailed some highlights from Tim Ruskell's pre draft interview here. His experience with drafting a quarterback high in the draft when he was with Tampa Bay was talked about.

While with the Bucs, the team overvalued quarterback at the top of the draft because the new coaching staff needed one. Trent Dilfer was the choice at No. 6. Dilfer enjoyed success during his career, but he wasn't a star. The lesson, Ruskell said, was to remain disciplined in one's evaluation, not buckling to need or to the thought that drafting a quarterback early would make that quarterback become a franchise player.

Translation if I can read between the lines would be that just because you decide to draft a quarterback high in the draft doesn't necessarily make him worthy of that choice in and of itself. He still has to have the talent and display it on the field of play. Is this a hint that maybe we're not going to take a chance on a quarterback for the Seahawks in this draft with our first pick? To continue reading.............

You can read Danny O'Neil's take on the same press conference here from the Seattle Times. Danny brought up a question that was asked about offensive linemen during the interview.

Q: When you talk about the smaller, more nimble lineman, how does the prototypical left tackle fit into that? Does he fit into a zone-blocking system?

Ruskell: Yeah, I think that's the one guy that transcends your scheme and your blocking philosophy. Left tackle has to have certain skills, I don't care what your scheme is. He has to be able to pass pro[tect] right off the bat, and that takes a certain level of athleticism -- zone, straight man -- that doesn't matter. For that position, I don't know that it changes that much. Everybody else, you want a more nimble guy. A guy that can pull, a guy that can move around in space a little better.

So, once again the translation would be that a left tackle is just as important in a zone blocking scheme for what he does as the main protector of the quarterback as out of the scheme and left tackle skills transcend the zone blocking scheme. That should lay to rest any notions that we don't need a great left tackle because we are going to a zone blocking scheme and they aren't as important to that scheme.

Gregg Bell from AP Sports wrote about the event here for the Seattle PI. He wrote about Ruskell discussing the possibility of a trade from one of the teams looking for a quarterback.

As for teams seemingly in need of a quarterback and may be willing to trade up with Seattle to get Stafford or Sanchez - such as the New York Jets and Denver Broncos - Ruskell said he hasn't heard from them.

"The phone's not ringing off the hook," he said.

"We'd be listening. But this is our hand, and we're excited about the guy we're going to get."

Ruskell says that he thinks it's going to be very difficult to trade down in this particular draft. He seems to be ok with that and excited that we're going to get a very good player right where we're at. I'll second that notion.

Finally, Eric Williams from the News Tribune checks in with his evaluation here. He writes about the possibility of us trading down and Ruskell's speculation that any trading will happen below us.

Even with the latest speculation that has the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos possibly interested in moving up to grab Seattle’s No. 4 overall selection to pick Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez, Ruskell still believes the chances of his team trading down in this year’s draft, now just a week away, are slim.

“Those of us at the top don’t sense that we’re going down,” Ruskell said. “The phone’s not ringing off the hook for that. I would say if there’s movement and change you will see it below us – (picks) eight to 10 to 12. Then you might see it.”

All four of these write ups on the Tim Ruskell press conference yesterday is a good read and carries good information as a primer for next weekends draft. Some other points that got brought up during the press conference:

  • Ruskell says that the Seahawks have identified their top four players in this draft but not necessarily put them in order yet.
  • Ruskell thinks there are going to be some big surprises because he says that teams have about 20 players all valued at about the same level.
  • Ruskell praised Hasselbeck and said that he thinks that the 33 year old quarterback is as good as ever. It appears as if the Seahawks plan to stick by their man at the helm and at this point, it would surprise me to see them actually pull the trigger on a quarterback after what was said in the press conference.
  • Ruskell said that there was no position that they were ruling out and that was fairly unique in an NFL draft.
  • Ruskell said that there was a high likelihood that they were going to stay at the fourth pick because there weren't any franchise players at the top of the draft.
  • Ruskell said that he still intends to take the player who will make the most immediate impact unless the Seahawks select a quarterback such as Sanchez.
  • Ruskell also hinted that they were looking for a more nimble and athletic type of offensive lineman (with the aforementioned exception of the left tackle position). That would seem to indicate that they plan on drafting at least one offensive lineman fairly high in the draft.
The press conference lasted 45 minutes. Have fun reading about what was said and then debating more about the draft as if we weren't all sick of talking about it already. We all need to get this thing on and done with.