With the 12th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select ....
This year it is a little difficult to guess what the Seahawks will do. Most mock drafts have them taking either linebacker Luke Kuechly or some defensive lineman. DE Quinton Coples is the most popular prediction, however I've seen Melvin Ingram, Michael Brockers, Dontari Poe, and the forces at ESPN have aligned to come up with a prediction of Chandler Jones.
I like Luke Kuechly and think that with the proliferation of pass catching TEs in the league, we could really use a LB who is so solid in pass coverage, however I don't think he'll last until the Seahawks pick. I don't think any of the remaining LBs are good enough to warrant a selection that high, and I really feel like the team feels they can find quality players in later rounds like they did last year with KJ Wright. For that reason, I don't think we'll draft a LB in the first round.
This brings us to defensive line, where most of the projections are. After seeing Quinton Coples maul guys in the Senior Bowl in one of the most dominant performances I've seen in the game, I've developed a man crush on him. Despite unbelievable physical prowess, questions about his effort and desire, whether real or perceived, have pushed him down the draft board and it's beginning to look like he's too big a gamble at the #12 pick. The Seahawks could use a good pass rusher, but for the most part I think it's the abundance of talent at the D line positions that are pushing analyst to make these predictions. The Seahawks D line was pretty solid last year and I don't think it's a high priority for the team. But like LB, the draft is pretty deep at DL and good players will be available in later rounds. I'm pretty high on Vinny Curry, who should be available in round 2.
So here's my prediction. The Seahawks will draft Stanford G David DeCastro. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. The guard position has been a revolving door since Steve Hutchinson left town, and the line has been largely ineffective over that time period. With the team releasing Robert Gallery in the offseason, there has to be a plan in place to draft a replacement - I can't believe that the team is planning on starting the season with either Deuce Lutui or Paul McQuistan as the starting left guard. DeCastro is a safe pick, not a gamble, and he could be a Pro Bowl player for years to come. I think that the priority for the team is making holes for Lynch to run through, and keeping Matt Flynn upright long enough to be successful. I think the team will try to trade down about 5 spots to get an extra mid-round pick and hope DeCastro is still there, but I'm not sure they'll be able to find a trading partner.
Now, as for surprises in the first round, I don't think we'll see many. The only potential surprise I think we'll see is that I think that the Dolphins interest in Ryan Tannehill is largely a smoke screen to try to entice another team to trade up for him. The Fins have enough holes to fill that taking a project QB who will sit on the bench for at least a year is probably not going to happen. I see Tannehill doing an Aaron Rogers like free fall, but I don't think he'll make it past the Browns at 22. If he's still around at that point, I think Holmgren will pull the trigger on him.
The Seahawks will need a linebacker eventually, and there are 2 guys I really like that I think we will take a look at in the 2nd & 3rd rounds. First is MLB Mychal Kendricks from Cal. He's a little undersized, but he's very fast and reacts quickly and has good instincts and vision. The other guy I like is Zach Brown, OLB from North Carolina. The UNC program was in disarray last year and all of the prospects seem undervalued to me, and like Kendricks, he's very fast and athletic and covers a lot of ground. I would be thrilled to land either of those guys.
The first Husky off the board will be Alameda Ta'amu. I think he's a first round talent, but since he played 4 years on a UW team with a terrible defense, he is undervalued. He's huge (348 pounds), and surprisingly agile for a guy that size. He's also got a good motor and won't need to be rotated out. He will be a steal for some team. And I've been thinking, it's kind of amazing how many huge guys there are in the league now. When William "the Refrigerator" Perry was drafted, he tipped the scale at 335 - every year there are several guys that size or bigger in the draft. Today he'd just be "the college dorm room fridge". Anyway, I also think Washington's Chris Polk is also underrated and will be a steal for whoever takes him. I don't think he fits the Seahawks needs, but he is one of the most complete backs available. He's a terriffic receiver, has great balance, breaks a lot of tackles. He just doesn't have that blazing speed to get him attention.
Other players of note: I'm intrigued by this report I saw on ESPN yesterday that the Seahawks are looking at Derek Carrier (who I've never heard of) from Beloit College (which I've never heard of). He's a big (6'3" 240 lbs), quick, reasonably fast WR who may end up profiling as a TE. I haven't seen him play, but his physical skills really make me wonder about his potential. I'm also hoping that LaMichael James drops to us in the 4th round. I think he'd be the perfect change of pace back to complement Marshawn Lynch. He's got world class speed, and is surprisingly tough for a smaller back. I'm also a fan of Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus, although admittedly partially because of his name. That is a great name for a defender. I don't think he'll make it to the Seahawks in the 2nd round. We'll have to wait for one of the two biggest defensive end sleepers in the draft - Jack Crawford and Tyrone Crawford. Both guys are sure to be stars in this league. And I nearly forgot to mention TCU MLB Tank Carder. How do you not like a guy named Tank. I think LSU WR Rueben Randle is undervalued and could be a sleeper as well.
That's it for today. I'll watch the first round today and regroup and see how things look tomorrow.