Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Seahawks Draft Grades

1st Round: Chris Spencer, C

Colin: I actually like this pick more and more as I read more about Spencer and what else was available at this point in the draft. Ruskell did try to trade up to get a David Pollack and Erasmus James, but nothing happened, and at that point he saw a Pro-Bowl caliber player on the board, someone who can anchor the middle of our offensive line for years to come, and made the call. Spencer plays tough, dirty, and has already drawn several connections to Pro-Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson, one of my favorite Hawks. Can you imagine a D-Line seeing Spencer, Hutchinson, and Walter Jones steamrolling right at them? Our running game will thank Ruskell for this selection.

Gavin: This pick has been growing on me as well. Definitely not a 2005 pick, but a great 2006 pick. Robbie Tobeck has one, maybe two years left. A big time center is necessary for an offensive line (see Kevin Mawae) and are hard to come by. I'm even going to go one further and say that a line next year of Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson, Chris Spencer, Pork Chop Womack, and Ray Willis (last two could be switched) would be the best line in the history of the Seahawks. I get shivers just thinking about the potential there. Basically we would have been holding our breath on Tobeck not getting injured. Now we don't. Colin is correct, according to every team who is smarter than me, Dan Cody and Matt Roth were rated far down the boards. We were getting "second round" talent either way. At least this way we were more confident in the final product and still filled a need.

2nd Round: Lofa Tatupu, ILB

Colin: Another pick that I have grown to appreciate as I get to know Tatupu and the Hawks' reasoning with this pick. The ESPN guys immediately linked Tatupu to the Miami Dolphins Pro-Bowl linebacker Zach Thomas. I can see the comparison. An undersized middle linebacker who plays bigger than he is, is extremely intelligent, and plays hard every down with a large amount of intensity. This was Ray Rhodes' pick, and if Ray Rhodes sees something there, I am willing to trust him, especially with who else was left on the board at this point. This is a common theme: there were not a ton of difference-makers in this draft. Not a lot of teams really improved themselves, even on paper. I like this pick.

Gavin: I have to say that the moment the ESPN guys mentioned Zach Thomas I was happier with this pick. He is one of my favorite linebackers, outside of Ray Lewis and Lavar Arrington. This was the second of the telling criteria in a Tim Ruskell selection... intelligence and performance. Ruskell doesn't care about the measurables as much as these. To this I say a large, hurrah! The Patriots linebacking core is the smartest in the league. We want to play zone defense, which requires smart linebackers with excellent intuition. Last year we got schooled across the middle. Hopefully Tatupu can address that... but he still has to convince me that he can stop the run up the middle. I trust Ray Rhodes, though, and he desperately wanted this man.

3rd Round: David Greene, QB

Colin: I'm not sure that Greene was worth a 3rd rounder. Yes, he won a lot of games at the college level, but I never really saw him win many games with his arm. Mostly I saw a team that won based on defense and a good running game, like all SEC teams. LeFors and Orton both went in the 4th round, which is where I would think that Greene belonged. However, I like the pick from a needs standpoint. He will fit right in as a backup QB that could easily step into a game or two as required.

Gavin: This is my pick as the worst by the Seahawks. This is where they should have taken a defensive end. We could have picked up several QBs in later rounds, including Stefan Lefors from Louisville, who would have done the trick as well as Greene. I feel that we reached... this is only an OK quarterback.

3rd Round: Leroy Hill, OLB

Colin: Well, he has an ACC defensive player of the year on his resume. No one really has much to say about this guy, and I don't see him beating out DD Lewis or Jamie Sharper. I guess he adds depth, but I would have wanted more from a 3rd round pick. My worst pick of the 1st day.

Gavin: I'm a little nicer on this one, but not by much. Again, we needed a defensive end. There were decent d-ends still left. End of story. I suppose this is built out of how weak our linebacking core was last year. The reviews I've read on him continue the theme of intelligence. He actually reads like a smarter Anthony Simmons... if only it were true.

4th Round: Ray Willis, OT

Colin: And my favorite pick of the 2nd day. Another mean, tough offensive lineman. Our O-line is in good shape for years to come, and I think that teams such as the Broncos and the Packers have shown us just how important a great offensive line is to a team. I expect him to get some snaps as a rookie, and will press Womack for playing time. Actually, one scenario will be Chris Gray getting knocked out, Womack playing RG, and Willis playing RT. Hmmmm.

Gavin: I think Willis actually projects to guard, as he has quickness issues. Either way, this was a fantastic pick. We have as much depth at the line as in the history of our franchise, because we can't forget our draft last year and that tackle they like who would have replaced Womack. Read the book on Willis, and he again is smart and mean on the field. We've drafted enough knuckleheads in Jerramy Stevens and Koren Robinson that it's great to hear about the opposite.

5th Round: Jeff Huckeba, DE

Colin: Well, he is a defensive end, I guess. Not much to say about this tweener, besides the simple fact that he will need to develop bulk and come through more in the pro's then he did at the college level. Ruskell must have seen something in him that I did not, or else this was the token DE pick just to satisfy the media and the fan base that was clamoring for help at that position. He can't be any worse than Anton Palepoi.

Gavin: Well, Huckeba had better be a great special-teamer, because I'm ticked they didn't draft Bill Swancutt from Oregon St with this pick. He would have been a steal (and was for Detroit). Again, Huckeba is a smart player who plays above his ability.

6th Round: Tony Jackson, FB

Colin: The departure of Heath Evans opened this pick up. Jackson can also play a key role on special teams, an area of the team that really suffered last year for some odd reason. He is a wedge buster, which should help us stuff opposing return teams.

Gavin: The final rounds had the Hawks focus on improving their woeful special teams. I actually love this pick. We picked someone to be a wedge buster. That's a smart draft. Perhaps he can also spell Mack Strong effectively, which Heath Evans couldn't do.

7th Round: Cornelius Wortham, LB

Colin: Another high-energy guy that could see some time immediately on special teams. Not much more besides that.

Gavin: High-energy and smart... will only ever see time on special teams if he makes the squad.

7th Round: Doug Nienhuis, OT

Colin: And another interesting offensive line pick that could really pick us up if injuries demolish us as they are wont to do every now and then. A solid 7th rounder for sure.

Gavin: Interesting how many people called him a steal when he was the second-to-last pick in the draft. Adds to the line depth that I've raved about earlier.

Overall Grade:

Colin: I have grown to like this draft more and more as the days have gone by. I will go so far as to rate it a B-. There are not a lot of impact players, but the play of Tatupu and Spencer will go far to determine how this draft is viewed in the rearview mirror. The only pick that I really did not like was Leroy Hill, but he might surprise me.

Gavin: I'm going to shock myself and give this draft a "B". Obviously it was not good enough to warrant anything higher, as we didn't get anyone who would make a significant impact next year. However, we did accomplish a few goals...
1. Offensive Line Depth - Bam
2. Backup Quarterback - Disagree with the selection, but still
3. Linebacker Depth - Tatupu could make this draft an "A" in hindsight
4. Special Teams Play - Can we please have teams start drives before their thirty?
We did not get the gamebreaker defensive end, but it is important to not that there was NO defensive end that didn't have huge question marks. Terrell Suggs would have been drafted before all these guys, Spears, Pollack, James. There didn't look to be a 10 sack guy among them. We can still wait for possible cuts including Simeon Rice by June 1.
We also did not get the stud middle linebacker. However, there were no stud middle linebackers. I wanted Crowder. We could have had Crowder. However, I'll give Ruskell the benefit of the doubt and hope that Tatupu outperforms the Florida guy. For all this, a B seems fitting.

posted by colin_hesse @ 4:34 PM  0 comments

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