The clock is ticking toward the draft, as evidenced by coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider being on the road this week to attend the Pro Day workouts for Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford (Monday) and Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant (today).
While this will be a pivotal draft for the Seahawks, who hold the sixth and 14th picks in the first round and nine selections overall, there also are some other topics in this edition of the mailbag.
So, let’s get to them …
Q: With the O-line affecting everything we do offensively, why would we not opt for two offensive linemen in the first round? The Jets did it in ‘06 and now have one of the best O-lines in the league. It is a great starting place and I think it needs to be addressed with both first round picks. What do you think? – Nico, Phoenix
A: I like your thinking, Nico. One of the top-rated tackles at No.6 and top-rated guards at No. 14 would make nice – and needed – additions to the Seahawks’ line. But the team has so many other needs, including what Carroll has labeled “firepower” on offense – “Some players who will score touchdowns for us and help us get the football in the end zone,” as he puts it.
While a stud tackle and a road-grater guard would help the Seahawks get the football in the end zone, I just don’t see Carroll and Schneider going O-line with both first-round picks. In addition to “firepower” players, there also are needs on the defensive side of the ball – a pass-rusher, a safety and a bigger cornerback.
And, as with every discussion of the O-line, there is the AG-factor: Alex Gibbs, the new line coach who has built his considerable reputation as the “Godfather of Zone Blocking” by constructing units that highlight a blocker’s abilities more than his draft status. As I’ve pointed out previously, the first line Gibbs had in Atlanta when the Falcons were leading the league in rushing for three consecutive seasons (2004-06) featured a fourth-round draft choice, three seventh-round picks and a free-agent acquisition.
So while it won’t be surprising to see the Seahawks go blocker with one of the first-round picks, it would be if they did it with both. The club has also had free-agent linemen in for visits, so they remain options as well.
Q: What does Pete Carroll plan on doing with Walter Jones this year? Can we get Tim Tebow? – Ken, Washington
A: Like everyone else, Ken, Carroll is waiting for Jones to decide whether he will call it a Hall of Fame career. Jones has been the best left tackle of his generation, and perhaps the best to ever play the position. But he is 36 and missed the entire 2009 season while recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee. Jones has earned the respect Carroll is giving him. Whether Jones returns or not, the club needs to address that pivotal position on the line.
As for Tebow, it’s beginning to sound like the former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida could sneak into the lower part of the first round. If not, he’ll surely be gone by the time the Seahawks pick in the second round (now No. 60 overall after the trade with the San Diego Chargers to acquire QB Charlie Whitehurst).
Q: Why does everyone seem to be so high on QB Charlie Whitehurst? I mean he hasn’t even thrown a pass in the regular season. I think we are better off drafting Tim Tebow. He is one heck of an athlete and he has an amazing work ethic. Don’t get me wrong, I still am behind Matt Hasselbeck 100 percent. If he can stay healthy he is a Pro Bowl-caliber QB. – Alex, Shelton
A: Nice segue question, Alex. Carroll and Schneider are with you on the assessment that Hasselbeck can play at a high level if he can stay healthy, which is impacted by having better players around him.
They made the trade to acquire Whitehurst because Schneider has liked him since he was playing at Clemson, and Schneider and Carroll deemed that his potential and price made him more attractive than the other veterans available. The Seahawks still could draft a quarterback, but they needed one with some NFL experience – even if it has been only in the preseason – because they traded incumbent backup Seneca Wallace to the Cleveland Browns.
Q: When can we expect the 2010 schedule to be posted? – Tom, Spokane
A: Not soon enough, Tom, if fan interest is any indication. But it usually is released in mid-April. Last year, it was April 14.
Who and where the Seahawks will play this season already is known: the Falcons, Panthers, Giants, Chiefs, Chargers and their three NFC West opponents (Cardinals, 49ers, Rams) at home; the Broncos, Raiders, Bears, Saints, Buccaneers and NFC West opponents on the road.
It’s the when that everyone wants to know, so the wait continues.