The draft cometh…
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the holes that still needed to be filled on the Seattle Seahawks roster. I took an in-depth look at how they can fill those holes through free agency. Now I take a look at how they can fill those gaps in the 2012 NFL Draft.
With the draft approaching in 3 weeks, things have not changed. Although the Seahawks have made a couple moves since my last look at the holes in the roster, they still have yet to find a full-time replacement for any of the positions I mentioned.
With the free agent market drying up, the Seahawks will need to look to the draft now to augment the team.
Whether it be through the draft itself or picking up undrafted guys afterwards, the Seahawks need to move quickly to fill these positions.
We all know how good PCJS are at finding gems in the undrafted guys, but first they have to focus on stocking up through the draft.
I break down each position of need with a few options in the draft right here for you.
In my opinion, linebacker is by far the biggest need the Seahawks have to address. With David Hawthorne signing in New Orleans and Leroy Hill yet to be re-signed, it leaves K.J. Wright as the sole starting LB on the roster. The Seahawks have 9 LB on the roster, but all but Wright were special teams and practice squad guys.
Who knows, maybe Pete and John think they have a gem or two in the bunch.
Looking at the list, though, I believe they need to address it first. There are a few good options in the draft, although the LB class in this draft is not the best it’s been.
#1 Luke Kuechly – Boston College – Inside Linebacker
Kuechly led the NCAA in tackles last season, racking up 191 in all. He had 12 tackles for loss, 3 pass deflections and 3 interceptions on his way to earning 4 top honors including Defensive Player of the Year and Top Linebacker.
He is strong and fast and has incredible intelligence and instincts on the field. He recorded 20 sacks against Florida State this season!
He is most compared to Brian Urlacher, who as we all know, is no slouch.
I believe the Seahawks have to get this guy at #12 in the draft at this point.
#2 Zach Brown – North Carolina – Outside Linebacker
Zach Brown looks like a defensive end. But he runs like a linebacker. That is a scary combination. His 40 speed impressed scouts across the board as he hit the combine 8 pounds heavier than his Senior Bowl performance and ran a faster 40.
Last season, he had 105 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 4 passes defended, 3 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles.
Brown is easily the best OLB option, especially in a 4-3 defense.
#3 Lavonte David – Nebraska – Outside Linebacker
Lavonte David had a stellar year last season. He recorded 133 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. Sad for him is the fact that he played for Nebraska.
He was often criticized for his size and has already worked to change that negative viewpoint, gaining another 5-10 pounds of solid muscle already this offseason.
The Seahawks lack a true pass rush from the line and are in need of a guy to switch in and out with both Clemons and Bryant to augment that issue.
The Jason Jones signing absolutely helps as he has the ability to break through and get to the quarterback. But with him being moved inside from defensive end, the team is still lacking a pass-rushing DE.
There are LOTS of defensive ends in this draft with all kinds of specialties. This would be a great year to grab a guy for the long haul.
#1 Whitney Mercilus – Illinois
Mercilus is #2-4 in most mock drafts and positions rankings lists. I don’t know why, because he’s number one on my list. The guy led the nation is sacks and forced fumbles, how could you not love that?
Last season, Mercilus had 57 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 16 sacks and 9 forced fumbles.
His aggressiveness and speed combined made it really easy for him to get to the quarterback in a hurry. He can bull rush the offensive line and keep them on their heels which enables him to excel in pass rushing rather than run stopping.
I have the Seahawks drafting Mercilus with their #12 pick in my newest 2012 Seahawks Mock Draft
#2 Melvin Ingram – South Carolina
Ingram is one of the most powerful guys in this year’s draft. If you combine that with his above average speed, you get a seriously dangerous combination as a pass rusher.
He dominated during the season, he dominated at the senior bowl, at the combine and rumor is that he looked really good in his pro day as well.
Last season, he had 48 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 2 passes defended. And he was injured for part of the year.
Imagine him 100% healthy. Yikes!
#3 Quinton Coples – North Carolina
Coples is one of the most versatile ends in the draft. He is a stellar pass rusher, but he is also really skilled in run blocking as well. He has tremendous size and speed and knocks guys flat on the ground as he busts through offensive lines.
Last season, Coples had 55 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. And if quarterback pressures/hurries were an official stat, he probably would have led the NCAA in it.
#4 Nick Perry – USC
Like Ingram, Nick Perry is also one of the most powerful guys this year. He added 15-20 pounds from his college season to the offseason schedule. And it is mostly muscle mass. Not only that, but he also ran a blazing 4.64 second 40. For a defensive end, that is pretty damn good.
He had 54 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 2 passes defended last season.
The Seahawks made some moves this season to solidify the offensive line, but many fell short. They did add Frank Omiyale from the Bears which will at the very least add depth to the line.
The release of Robert Gallery, though, leaves a big hole at the guard position.
The Seahawks have no problem shuffling players along the line, so I put offensive line as the category. They can easily draft a guard or tackle and make the appropriate changes to make the move fit their scheme.
There are quite a few high quality offensive lineman in this draft, especially guards. I’m leaving Matt Kalil off this list as there is no way in hell he will be available when the Seahawks get their turn to pick.
#1 David DeCastro – Stanford – Guard
DeCastro is a phenomenal run blocker, but also excels at pass protection. His run blocking ability would be the perfect compliment to open holes for Michael Robinson and Marshawn Lynch to bust through.
DeCastro made life a lot easier for Stanford running backs last year, almost making Andrew Luck useless at times because the running game was running so well.
#2 Reilly Reiff – Iowa – Tackle
Reilly Reiff was a well balanced player in 2011. He effectively stopped pass rushers and opened up big holes and was able to get into the second level of defenses for his running back.
He had some matchups against pretty good players this year and won almost all of them.
The only concern was his poor showing on the bench press at the combine.
#3 Cordy Glenn – Georgia – Guard
Cordy Glenn had his ups and downs this season at Georgia. He is a skilled guy who can play both guard and tackle, but would be best at guard. He can run block effectively and use his long arms to help in pass protection.
#4 Jonathan Martin – Stanford – Tackle
Martin is another excellent run blocker, with the ability to easily get to the second level and continue blocking downfield for his backs. Couple with DeCastro last season, Stanford running backs dominated defensive line, including the University of Washington’s line.
He is a good pass blocker, too, keeping Andrew Luck safe most of the time, but his strength is definitely the run.
I know the Seahawks re-signed Marshawn Lynch, but they still need a #2. With Justin Forsett seemingly gone and Leon Washington still being used sparingly in the running game, they need someone to eat up some carries and be productive while Beast Mode takes his breathers.
The Seahawks signed Kregg Lumpkin and have Jay Finely, Vai Taua and Tyrell Sutton in waiting, but they just don’t seem like #2 backs.
I could be wrong, but I just don’t see it.
This is quietly a pretty decent running back class in this year’s draft.
#1 Trent Richardson – Alabama
Trent Richardson is an enigma. Even after having minor knee surgery, even after missing the combine and his pro day, Richardson is still by far the #1 RB prospect on the charts. He is a powerful back with speed.
He can take hits and keep running through defenders.
Last season he rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry. He also caught 29 passes for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns.
How good his this guy, really? He is being touted as the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson.
#2 David Wilson – Virginia Tech
David Wilson had his issues last season, but he still managed to pull off an impressive season stats-wise. He rushed for 1,709 yards and 9 touchdowns.
He also caught 22 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown.
He won ACC Player of the Year for his efforts last season.
He needs to work on his ball protection, though. He fumbled a lot last season.
#3 Doug Martin – Boise State
Doug Martin is a good all-around running back. He has the speed and size to shed tackles and go for long scores. He tied for the lead in the bench press at the combine and was the most impressive running back in the Senior Bowl. One of his greatest tools are his hands as he is known for pass catching ability out of the backfield.
Last season he rushed for 1,299 yards and 16 touchdowns and had 28 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
#4 Chris Polk – Washington
Chris Polk is not just a homer pick because of my love for the University of Washington. Chris Polk really would be a dynamic pairing to go with Marshawn Lynch. his size and speed combined allow him to burst through holes and shed tackles. He punished more defenders last season more times than he was punished.
Last season, he rushed for 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also has great hands and excelled as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Last season he grabbed 31 passes for 332 yards and 4 touchdowns.
I personally believe Cameron Morrah can step up and be the second tight end, but the Seahawks have led me to believe slightly differently.
With their pursuit of tight ends in free agency, most notably ex-Colt Jacob Tamme (who joined Peyton in Denver) and ex-Viking Visanthe Shiancoe, the Seahawks have shown they feel it is a need of theirs to fill.
There aren’t too many tight ends in this year’s draft but the the top 2 or 3 guys look impressive.
#1 Coby Fleener – Stanford
Fleener is a good enough tight end that he is going mid to late first round in many mock drafts. His ability to basically own the middle of the field makes him a serious threat. He has good hands and decent speed. He is strong and can block well and take shots easier than most.
Last season he caught 32 passes for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns.
#2 Dwayne Allen – Clemson
Allen in my opinion is as good as Fleener if not better. He’s #2, though, because he has missed a lot of offseason camps and drills that hurt his stock some.
Allen is a great all-around tight end. He’s got the size to go high for passes, the speed to challenge secondaries to catch him and the strength to put a guy or two on his back.
Allen is a serious red zone threat, a terrific 3rd down receiver and very efficient in run blocking.
Last season he caught 50 passes for 598 yards and 8 touchdowns.
#3 Ladarius Green- UL-Lafayette
Green started off slow last season but more than made up for it the rest of the season. He ended the season with 51 catches for 606 yards and 8 touchdowns.
That is despite catching 1 pass for negative yardage in his first 3 games combined.
The only drawback to Green is he lacks the size to be able to block in the backfield. He is currently purely only a receiving tight end.