By Danny O’Neil
Three things we learned and three things we’re still trying to figure out after the Seahawks added 11 players in the 2013 draft:
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
Safe is an umpire’s call, not the Seahawks’ approach
The Seahawks began their draft by choosing Christine Michael, a running back who wasn’t on the field for a single snap in his final collegiate game at Texas A&M. The final day of Seattle’s draft included the selection of Tharold Simon, a cornerback who was arrested two days before he was chosen, and then Luke Willson, the backup tight end from Rice who caught all of nine passes in his final college season.
Seattle also chose two players from Division II schools – Ty Powell of Harding and Michael Bowie from Northeastern State in Oklahoma — and drafted defensive lineman Jared Smith of New Hampshire with the intention of moving him to offensive line.
Seventh-round pick Ty Powell from Division II Harding was listed as a linebacker but projects as an end in Seattle’s defense. (AP)
With the Seahawks returning all but two starters from last year’s team, some wondered whether they would take a less volatile approach to its draft. Nope. The Seahawks kept swinging for the fences.
The Seahawks aren’t concerned about their depth at linebacker
That was one of the few spots on the roster that could have been considered thin. K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner are returning starters while both Malcolm Smith and Michael Morgan have seen time in the starting lineup, but Leroy Hill has not been re-signed. The team figured to add some depth here, especially considering a track record of finding contributors like Wright and Smith in the final four rounds of the draft.
Seattle did draft Powell in the seventh round, but he projects as a pass-rushing end termed the Leo in Seattle’s defensive scheme. That points to the reality that Seattle is going to try Bruce Irvin at strongside linebacker, something to keep an eye on in the months leading up to the start of the regular season.
The Seahawks like to buy low
Michael rushed for more yards in 2011 than he did in 2012. Ditto for LSU’s Spencer Ware, Seattle’s sixth-round pick, and Willson, the tight end from Rice, caught 33 passes as a sophomore, 29 as a junior and nine as a senior. All that adds up to show that Seattle believes there’s value to be found in players who are not coming off their best college season.
THREE THINGS WE’RE STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT
How did anyone project Seattle’s first choice in the draft?
That has been a fool’s task the past two years, starting with Seattle’s choice of offensive lineman James Carpenter in the first round in 2011 and Irvin last year. Plenty of people were utterly shocked that Seattle selected a running back in the second round, let alone that it was Michael, who was coming off the least productive season of his college career.
However, Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune was not one of them. He put it in print no less, in the days before the draft: “Texas A&M running back Christine Michael offers the type of risk/reward proposition that sometimes lures Seahawks coach Pete Carroll into risking a gamble.”
A tip of the cap is in order. Kudos, Mr. Williams.
Would Seattle draft a player who was actually incarcerated?
The Seahawks are getting closer. In 2012, they chose Irvin the month after he was arresting for knocking the sign off a food-delivery car. This year, Seattle drafted Simon two days after he was arrested in his hometown in Louisiana following a dispute that began over where he parked his car outside his grandmother’s house.
It’s worth noting that both disputes were the result of almost comical origins, but Seattle has shown a willingness to be, well, understanding when it comes to recent legal scrapes.
Which of these rookies might start?
Seattle has had at least one rookie in the Week 1 starting lineup for the past three years, but pick out which of the Seahawks’ 11 draft picks that could be expected to start Week 1 this season. We’re waiting. And waiting.
It’s not going to be Michael, the running back Seattle chose in the second round. Marshawn Lynch gained 1,590 yards last season, the third-best single-season total in franchise history. It’s not Jordan Hill, the defensive tackle out of Penn State, either. Seattle’s third-round pick was chosen for his quickness and pass-rushing chops, which means he’s a candidate for the third-down nickel defense as opposed to the big-bodied run-stuffer who will be used on first and second down.
Too bad redshirts aren’t used in the NFL because the Seahawks would like to use a few with this 11-man draft class.