A little Q&A

We’re a week into the free-agency period, Pro Day workouts are ongoing at college campus across the country and ESPN.com has started a ticker to count down the days and hours until the first round of the NFL draft on April 22.

Seems like a good time to dip into the mailbag again. So here we go …

Q: With two picks in the first round, will the Seahawks be tempted to trade down with teams? – Paul, United Kingdom

A: What a good place to start, Paul. The Seahawks are in a great spot with the sixth pick in the first round of the draft. They could have a shot at selecting one of the top-rated offensive linemen, the best pass-rushing defensive lineman or one of the best defensive backs.

But, if another team’s “target” player slips to No. 6, the Seahawks also could wheel and deal. By moving back just a little in the first round, they could gain another pick – and they currently don’t have one in the third round because of trade in last year’s draft. That way the Seahawks could still get a player who could come in and help them, and add another player in doing it.

As first-year GM John Schneider said in an interview with Seahawks.com before the NFL scouting combine, the team could go in any of several directions at No. 6 – because of its needs and what happens with the five teams that select ahead of the Seahawks. The possibility of trading down was among those options.

Q: OK, so I’ve been far from my Seattle hometown for a while now and hate the fact I get Seahawks news only online. But my question is this: We get rid of Seneca Wallace as our backup QB, so who now is playing QB? Was it smart getting rid of him? Thanks, distance 12th fan – Steve, Gainesville, Fla.

A: So, Steve, what’s wrong with getting your Seahawks news online? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

But your question/questions are one shared by many fans. In reverse order, it was a “smart” move, because the Cleveland Browns came after Wallace. Also, if he had remained in Seattle, Seneca would have had to learn a new offense for the second consecutive season.

Mike Holmgren, who was coach and GM when the Seahawks selected Wallace in the fourth round of the 2003 draft, is now president of the Browns. He needed a quarterback who could run his hybrid of the West Coast offense and was not sold on either Derek Anderson (since released) or Brady Quinn. That’s why he made the push to acquire Wallace.

As for who the backup is, right now that’s Mike Teel – a sixth-round pick last year. That also leads us to the next question …

Q: First, sad to see Seneca get traded. He was a great backup for the Seahawks. He never complained about playing time and he did whatever the team asked – play as a wide receiver, or kick returner, or whatever. So with that, do you think we will finally see what Mike Teel can do? I’ve got to say, being from New Jersey, I watched him at Rutgers and always said he reminds me of Hasselbeck. Thanks – Jude, New Jersey

A: You’re right, Jude. Seneca had a good seven-year run with the Seahawks. But before we get to see what Mike Teel can do, he has to show coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates what he can do. That will come in the first minicamp.

Carroll has said on several occasions that with the audit of the current roster completed, he now needs to see the players on the field to get a better read of just what he’s got.

Regardless of how much Teel is able to show, the team will add a QB or two before training camp opens. They are looking at quarterbacks in free agency, as well as the draft. Hasselbeck will be 35 in September and has one year left on his contract. Carroll and Bates have said that they like having him to help with the transition, and would like to have him for more than one season. But the obvious is obvious: They need to find a quarterback to take over when Hasselbeck is done, whenever that might be.

Q: I think the Seahawks should keep Max Unger at center. He did really well. As for the draft, the very obvious: offensive line, then safety. GO HAWKS!! – Cory, Buckley

A: Hmmm, that was more statement than question, Cory. But it is a good observation. Unger, a second-round draft choice last year, moved to center for the final two games after starting at right guard in the first 14 games. If you didn’t know he had made the late-season switch, it would have been impossible to tell by his performance. Unger handled the pre-snap line calls and graded out well in his run blocking and pass protection.

What happens with the line, of course, is up Alex Gibbs – who has been called the “Godfather of Zone Blocking” by those who have played for him and coached with him. Using Unger as an anchor in the middle of the line would be a good first step in developing his first line with the Seahawks.

As for the draft, there more “priority combinations” at No. 6 and No. 14 than there are submissions for this Q&A.

Q: I was just wondering about the upcoming draft and free agency. Does anyone know what new coach Pete Carroll is looking at? What is his philosophy for building a team? The O-line? Skill guys? Defense first? With Arizona losing key parts, I think the division is wide open. Thanks – John, Victoria, B.C.

A: Glad you asked, John. For starters, Pete Carroll is looking for players – in free agency and the draft. He realizes there are needs on the team he has inherited, and that it could take more than one draft and free-agency period to address them all.

As for his philosophy, on offense he wants to run the football and protect the quarterback – which all starts with the O-line. That’s why he does not miss an opportunity to say how pleased he was to land Alex Gibbs when others also were trying to woe him. On defense, he wants to play fast and aggressively.

While he concedes the obvious needs to upgrade the offensive line and improve the pass rush, he’s also quick to admit that this team also needs more players who can get the ball into the end zone – or help get that done.

Q: Do the Seahawks really want to give away the sixth choice in the draft for a wide receiver? – Mark, Cosmopolis

A: The compensation for signing Brandon Marshall to an offer sheet is not just a first-round draft choice, but the Seahawks’ first-round pick. The Broncos have said they won’t accept anything other than the offer-sheet compensation for Marshall, a restricted free agent. But we’ll see if they remain committed to that as the process moves on and if other teams don’t get involved.

The word out of Denver is that the Broncos want to move Marshall, and that he wants to move. So there is the possibility that the Seahawks could make a trade that won’t include the No. 6 pick – if, that is, they decide that acquiring Marshall is a direction they want to go.

Because the Seahawks were the first team Marshall visited, it sparked some connect-what-might-be-unconnected-dots speculation – leaving some fans expecting a deal to get done last weekend, and involve that sixth pick.

Oh, and give our regards to Cosmopolis.


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