We used to be in there, now we’re out here
Whether it’s the Super Bowl, the Combine or Peyton Manning’s future, Indy is where it all ends and/or starts again this year.
Just two weeks after former Seahawks Rocky Bernard (2002-08) and Deon Grant (2007-09) earned Super Bowl rings as members of the Giants in Indy — while former Hawks Deion Branch (2006-10), Niko Koutouvides (2004-07) and Tracy White (2003-04) were on the losing Patriots team — the NFL returns to Lucas Oil Field to try to find some future Super Bowl players.
The Seahawks won’t get to the Super Bowl again until they find a quarterback who can replicate Matt Hasselbeck’s career, and the Hawks surely will be eyeballing quarterbacks in Indy. But not one named Manning.
As it becomes ever more apparent that Manning is probably on his way out of Indy, there’s been increasing chatter about the Seahawks being a potential landing spot for Manning. The National Football Post even goes so far as to say Pete Carroll “is believed to have a strong interest in at least exploring Manning.”
That’s fine, but “exploring” and “signing” are two entirely different things. And, as we said last month, we think the Colts’ longtime franchise player and future Hall of Famer is finished anyway. So one last time: Fuggedabout’im.
The Hawks also are unlikely to draft a QB at No. 11/12 (they will find out where they draft with a coin flip Feb. 24) or trade up to get Robert Griffin III, but they might aim for one in the second or third round.
They reportedly liked what they saw of Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins during Senior Bowl practices, and he played well in the game. Cousins is viewed as a solid, heady player and figures to be there in the third round.
Brandon Weeden reportedly was the best QB in Mobile, and he might be working his way into the second round. If the Hawks drafted a pass rusher in the first round, they could take a shot at Weeden or Cousins and let him learn behind Tarvaris Jackson in 2012.
Aside from quarterback, the Seahawks figure to look closely at defensive linemen. Most mock drafts have them taking a tackle or end, so let’s take a look at the most common projections and give OTPB’s take:
DT Devon Still, Penn State
Rob Rang, NFL Draft Scout: Many expect the Seahawks to consider a quarterback … Don’t be surprised if Seattle instead turns its attention to a bounty of talented defensive linemen likely to be selected in the top 15. Still, a 6-4, 310-pound defensive tackle, … was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year. Still could help inside at defensive tackle as well as provide the Seahawks with some flexibility at the five-technique defensive end position should incumbent starter Red Bryant be heavily pursued in free agency.
OTPB’s take: Rang knows his draft thang and is tuned in to the Hawks more than most because he lives in Washington. As for Still, he seems to be a bit of a work in progress who could fit into the DT rotation while also backing up Bryant (who will be re-signed).
DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Seahawks Draft Blog: This could be Seattle’s ideal situation. Upshaw would have an instant impact, balancing out the pass rush with Chris Clemons.
OTPB’s take: A lot of other mocks have Upshaw going to the Hawks, too, and it probably would not be a bad move. Upshaw had 14.5 sacks in his last 15 games at Alabama, including 9.5 as a senior. At 6-2 and 265, he could fit with the Seahawks as a Leo rusher — and perhaps as a linebacker.
DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Peter Schrager, FOX Sports: Ingram solidified himself as a top-20 pick with a dominant week of Senior Bowl practices. Capable of playing either the outside linebacker or defensive end spot, he’s a pass-rushing force who rarely fails to make an impact on a play. Seattle’s got needs all over and the local fan base may be pushing for a quarterback here, but I think they go Ingram, the high-octane pass rusher.
Also Mel Kiper, ESPN
OTPB’s take: Upshaw or Ingram? That seems to be the question if the Hawks are thinking ends. Ingram might be the better option simply because he is stout against the run on the edge and also can rush the passer from the interior.
DT Michael Brockers, LSU
Draft Countdown: An impressive physical specimen who checks in at 6-6 and 306 pounds, Brockers is still very raw but is oozing potential and, with proper development, could eventually be one of the best players to come out of this draft. … Brockers is exactly the type of jumbo, versatile defensive lineman that the Seahawks covet and, while he is not a finished product, their patience could pay major dividends down the road.
OTPB’s take: Brockers has become a trendy pick in Hawk mocks. He seems to have the versatility to help out, but he has a couple of major red flags: (1) He has only one year of productivity and (2) he comes from a scheme that makes D-linemen look better than they are. Like most LSU players, he seems overrated.
QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Russ Lande, Sporting News: Tarvaris Jackson is probably not the long-term solution at quarterback, so Pete Carroll jumps at the chance to grab Tannehill. He would bring a nice combination of arm strength, intelligence and elite athleticism.
OTPB’s take: People are all over the board on Tannehill. Some think his senior year showed he can’t make plays at key times (kinda like the guy the Hawks already have), and some think he is just a raw QB who is learning and needs more coaching. Either way, No. 11/12 is too high for such a project .
RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
Todd McShay, ESPN
OTPB’s take: The value would undeniably be there for the do-everything, franchise-type runner. But if the Hawks re-up Marshawn Lynch, as everyone expects, they will have better things to do with this pick.
LB Zach Brown, North Carolina
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: Brown’s speed and athleticism drew rave reviews at the Senior Bowl. He would upgrade the explosiveness of the Seahawks’ linebacker corps.
OTPB’s take: Carroll said he wants to get faster at linebacker. But he also wants to get bigger, and Brown is just 6-1, 236. No. 11/12 seems too high for this guy.
CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
Charley Casserly, NFL.com: The Seahawks won’t pass on a quality corner.
OTPB’s take: Casserly has great sources and insight, but he apparently is not using them for this one. A lot of early mocks had the Hawks taking Kirkpatrick, but they seem set at corner with Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman.
OTPB’s pick: David DeCastro
There is one guy we don’t see in any mock drafts for Seattle, and that is Stanford right guard David DeCastro.
The 6-5, 312-pound native of Bellevue, Wash., could step right in at right guard for Seattle and complete the reconstruction of a once-woeful offensive line.
What’s that, you say? The Hawks don’t need any more offensive linemen because they have drafted four in the first three rounds of the last three drafts?
Dude, you can always use a great lineman. DeCastro could plug right in at right guard, between center Max Unger and right tackle Breno Giacomini. With Russell Okung at left tackle (and hopefully healthy) and Robert Gallery/James Carpenter at left guard, the Hawks would be set for several years up front.
What’s that, you say? I’m an idiot because I don’t know John Moffitt is the right guard and Carpenter is the right tackle? Um, not according to the last seven weeks of last season. After Carpenter and Moffitt were lost for the season, Giacomini was quite sufficient at right tackle — so much so that the Seahawks just signed him to a two-year contract — and a couple of backups (Paul McQuistan and Lemuel Jeanpierre) did better than Moffitt at right guard.
Carpenter, a left tackle at Alabama who struggled on the right side as a rookie before tearing an ACL, is probably best suited to play left guard in the NFL. Giacomini will keep the starting job at right tackle until Carpenter is healthy enough to challenge him for it, but that probably won’t happen this year. And we expect Carpenter to end up replacing Gallery at left guard in 2013.
Moffitt, who also had his rookie season cut short by a knee injury, would be a nice backup to DeCastro, who is a better player than anyone the Hawks had at right guard last season.
As a bonus, DeCastro would get to come home — and probably would not want to leave when his contract is up.
When the Hawks are on the clock at No. 11/12, their best options figure to be DeCastro or a pass rusher. And if, say, Upshaw is gone and they like DeCastro better than Ingram, the offensive lineman — yes, another one — would be a great pick at that spot.
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