The draft is coming ever closer, and following on from the fun i had with analysis and prediction for the Seahawks squad last year, I have decided to do the same again this year.
To recap last year, I predicted three players pre draft that could have made a great impact in Seattle. Those three were Budda Baker, Kevin King and Obi Melifonwu. All three were chosen in the second round in close proximity to Seahawks picks and all had varying levels of success in 2017. Melifonwu spent most of the year on IR so jury is still out on him. King appeared in most games and started some but was battling through a shoulder injury so is sure to show more in the next seasons. And Budda Baker well the pro bowl special teamer and next year’s starting safety for the Cards is always going to be the one that got away.
With our pick just one player earlier in Malik McDowell never making it onto the field due to an ATV accident. And ETIII possibly leaving before this year’s draft, or at least starting to show age, Baker would have been the perfect guy to take over the sceptre at FS, similar to what he will do for the Cards now that the Honey Badger is gone.
Anyway, after predicting one player who ended up a pro bowler I thought I would dive a little deeper into this draft this year and see who i could find.
As I mentioned with Earl Thomas getting older, the Seahawks are in a transition period. Moving on from players like Bennett, Sherman and possibly Thomas, as well as letting expensive guys like Graham and both Richardsons (WR and DL) go to restructure is something I applaud. While players like Willson, Rawls and Shead were solid depth, letting them go to give younger or better guys a shot is equally commendable. And let’s not even mention the likes of Jokel, Lacy, Lane and Walsh who noone wanted to see on the roster next year. Now let’s nof forget that all of those people are just the top of the pile. Many more left the organisation from the second and third tier. Some of those guys in the second sentence of this paragraph, however, were the reason I started to support the Hawks, and some people say that the Seahawks have lost a big chunk of identity in Sherman and Bennett.
I both agree and disagree. I think that the they were becoming a bit stale and have to rediscover who they are. Reinvent themselves so to speak, because all of the new players coming in are being pressed into a mold rather than doing what has truly defined the Seahawks as an organisation and made it great. The thing that lead to the creation of phenomena such as the LOB and Beastmode in the first place: self expression.
But rather than allowing guys to come in and just be themselves and ball, you have a Rawls who was immediately branded Beastmode 2.0, although he has a far more twitchy and electric running style compared to the fluid yet powerful style of Lynch. Same goes for anyone who comes into the secondary and is just expected to play “LOB” style, with everything else being a disappointment.
Before the last couple of seasons the Seahawks were Beastmode on offence and the Legion of Boom in the defence. That culminated in the Superbowl win of 2014 and almost a repeat in 2015. Since then it has rather been downhill and the team has come to rely more and more on Wilson on offence with the defence gradually declining and the LOB literally cracking apart with age. What they did in the past was create a special atmosphere with a special group of players.
But what you can’t do is keep trying to relive the past. Yes, it’s getting old. We have one of the best QB/WR combos in the league with Wilson and Baldwin, and on Defence we have one of the best Defensive players in the league in Wagner. So focus on and build on that, rather than what worked in the past with a legendary secondary and running game. Around those guys we have what is actually a really solid team:
- Wilson – who has carried us
- Carson who could lead our running attack without question if he is fit
- McKissic, Prosise two exceptional 3rd down options
- Baldwin leading a solid, young group of receivers
- Vannett and Dickson make a solid TE group with Swoops
- Pocic, Britt, Brown and an OL that is starting to grow
- Clark leading a group of 6 edge players with at least a couple who have the potential to be special
- Jones and Reed on the inside backed up by two ex-Vikings who were part of a top interior rotation last year
- Wagner leading fellow pro bowler Wright and Mingo at LB
- Coleman who was great from the slot last year
- Griffin leading an ever growing group of CBs fighting for the 2nd spot
- and a solid yet unspectacular Safety group (should ET3 and Chancellor go)
The point I am trying to make is that we have a lot of pieces in place. What we need to add is attitude, and players to shape around the pillars that are in place, not bygone dreams of a LOB and Beastmode 2.0.
The road to the draft so far
The Seahawks have taken the right step in moving on two legends already, but in my eyes they need to keep going. If you’re going to give the team a new look you need to wipe the slate clean before you can rebuild. For me that means trading Earl Thomas and cutting Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor to let Wagner become the face and leader of the D.
The Seahawks are in a unique position where they can go all in because:
- the competition is playing a dangerous game of boom or bust (Rams)
- 49ers have been able to add some exciting pieces over the last years
- cardinals are having an epic reset with a new head coach, QB and having lost one of their top defensive pieces in Tyrann Mathieu – in addition to that they have an overly ageing squad
So now is a good a time as any to refuel the team, let the Rams try their big run and then come back at them with a young and hungry squad.
What we have to look forward to
This draft is the perfect opportunity for that. with some unique players who could help the Hawks make this transition. Not just good players, but people who can shape the face of a team for a new generation (yes I am already hinting at THE guy of the draft). And not only are there great players in this draft, there is a real depth at a lot of positions.
To maximise the potential of this draft i would also propose another trade (alongside Earl Thomas) to get even more picks: Tyler Lockett. I have got the feeling over the last years that he and Wilson just don’t gel 100%, his numbers speak a similar language as explained in this article. an average of around 500 receiving yds per season is mediocrity in my eyes. On the other hand he still has trade potential as a Pro Bowl returner and speedster. I just think that the picks acquired through a trade for him would be worth more than keeping him on the roster, especially with his contract expiring after next season.
My proposed moves for the hawks before the draft:
cut: cliff avril, kam chancellor
trade: earl thomas (pick up two of the following: 1st, 2nd or 3rd round pick), tyler lockett (2nd or 3rd round pick)
picks traded: trade the first round pick back a couple of times ideally to generate as many second and third round picks as possible. Especially the second round is loaded, but with there being so many good players in that round, I imagine that some will automatically fall to the third round.
next I will look at our team in a little more detail and identify the needs.