Thursday cyber surfing: Clock ticking toward NFL Draft

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, April 5:

The countdown to the NFL Draft is underway – literally, with ESPN.com featuring a clock to tick off the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the start of the first round on April 26. And Mel Kiper has his mock draft 4.0. It’s an Insider feature, so you must register and pay a fee. But he has the Seahawks selecting what has become a familiar name at No. 12: “North Carolina DE Quinton Coples. Even if (Boston College middle linebacker Luke) Kuechly is still on the board, it would be tough for Seattle to pass on perhaps the safest 4-3 DE option available. Coples has prototypical size, can play every down as a pass-rusher and has a solid arsenal of moves to get to opposing quarterbacks, but with the size and discipline to be a force against the run. Seattle can’t go wrong here with either the top LB or DE available. This defense is close to being considered among the NFL’s finest.”

But in this mock, Kiper goes two-rounds deep, and at No. 43 has the Seahawks selecting Oklahoma linebacker Ronnell Lewis: “His production dipped some in 2011, but Lewis could start as a situational pass-rusher and become more.”

Also at ESPN.com, Mike Sando provides his take on Kiper’s picks for each of the NFC West team, including the Seahawks: “The word ‘safest’ isn’t particularly comforting for Seahawks fans. Aaron Curry was considered the safest pick in the 2009 draft. Coples was my choice for Seattle in the recent NFL Blog Network mock. Then, Kuechly was not available. Kiper previously had Seattle taking Ryan Tannehill in this spot, but Tannehill was off the board this time and the Seahawks weren’t in the QB market, anyway, after signing Matt Flynn. Some have criticized Coples for inconsistent effort. Pete Carroll constantly emphasizes competition, but the Seahawks have shown they can get good results from defensive players with varied résumés and reputations. Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Alan Branch come to mind. The draft plot thickens considerably for Seattle if Kuechly does slip past the top 11 choices. The word ‘safe’ has applied to Kuechly as well. The Seahawks have obvious needs for a pass-rusher and a linebacker, so Coples and Kuechly make sense as projected picks.”

Sando also looks at the NFC West preseason matchups after the league announced the August slate yesterday, including these notes on the Seahawks: “Matt Hasselbeck and the Tennessee Titans face the Seahawks in Seattle (in the opener), Hasselbeck’s first game against his former team. That means Matt Flynn makes his Seattle debut against Hasselbeck; Seattle travels to Denver for what will be (Peyton) Manning’s first home game with the Broncos; all four NFC West teams are home in the fourth week of preseason. That’s a bonus heading into the regular season. Every AFC West team finishes the preseason on the road, with three of those games against NFC West teams.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune provides a replay of his chat with Rob Rang, senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, which includes this assessment of James Carpenter, last year’s first-round pick who ended the season in injured reserve with a severe knee injury: “James Carpenter showed everything I was hoping for as a rookie right tackle until the injury. It’s such a shame, as he was really progressing over the final few games. It all depends on how and when he’s able to return to the field. I’d be surprised if the Seahawks are counting on him providing much this year.”

Don Banks at SI.com also has his fourth mock draft, and also has the Seahawks selecting Coples: “Seattle needs to generate more heat on opposing quarterbacks, and Coples has natural ability in the pass rush department. His effort level has been inconsistent, and he could drop into the teens because of it. But his upside makes him a decent gamble at No. 12 for the Seahawks.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at what being the first player to wear No. 31 in the team’s new uniforms means to Pro Bowl strong safety Kam Chancellor, who modeled the new-look duds at the unveiling event in New York on Tuesday: “ ‘I can always say I was the first one to wear No. 31 in a Nike jersey for the Seahawks,’ Chancellor said. ‘And that is a special feeling. It feels good.’ ”

We’ve also got a timeline of the Seahawks’ uniforms in a photoblog. One question: Who is that guy with a mustache wearing No. 83?

Just-acquired free-agent linebacker David Hawthorne, the Seahawks leading tackler the past three seasons, did a Q&A with Saints.com. It gave Hawthorne one more opportunity to explain how he got his “Heater” nickname: “I’ve had a nickname at every level I’ve been at. When I came to Seattle, I was an undrafted free agent who had to work hard both on defense and special teams and bring it every day. After I made some hard hits, I came to the sidelines and Lofa Tatupu gave it to me.”