Thirteen mock drafts. Ten players, at four positions, targeted for the Seahawks with the 25th selection in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.
With the Super Bowl a nine-day glance into the rearview mirror, and the start of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis still 10 days away, which teams might select which players at which positions is providing much of the substance for this first gap in all things NFL.
General manager John Schneider and his staff and coach Pete Carroll and his staff are spending most of their days in meetings to discuss the 2013 Draft Class and, yes, which players can most help the Seahawks improve on their 11-5 regular-season record and split of two playoff games during the 2012 season.
A look at the players on the Seahawks' 53-man roster for their divisional playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons who entered the League as late-round draft choices or undrafted free agents:
Fourth-round picks (6): LB
Seventh-round picks (6): LB
Free agents (15): WR
Carroll is on record as wanting to improve a pass rush that improved from generating 33 sacks in 2011 to 36 in 2012 – either in the draft, free agency or both. The team did that last year by signing rush-tackle
So the various mock-drafters have the Seahawks selecting LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery with the 25th pick this year. Or Texas’ Alex Okafor. Or BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah.
In addition to Jones,
The emergence of
And the one mocker who passes on a receiver, a pass-rusher or a tackle for the middle of the D-line? He likes Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker.
But if Schneider and Carroll have displayed anything during their first three drafts together, it’s that you should expect the unexpected when it comes to their selections in the first round – the Pro Bowl duo of left tackle
A better exercise is focusing on what the Seahawks will do on the third day of April’s draft. That’s when Rounds 4-7 will be conducted, and also when teams can begin signing those players who go undrafted as free agents.
That’s also been the day when Schneider and Carroll have “hit” on All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman (fifth round 2011), strong safety Kam Chancellor (fifth round 2010), linebacker and second-leading tackler K.J. Wright (fourth round 2011) and 2011 leading receiver Doug Baldwin (free agent that year).
In fact, the Seahawks’ 53-man roster for their divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta included 17 players selected in the first two days of the NFL Draft – either by the Seahawks or another team – and 36 players who entered the league in either the fourth through seventh rounds or as a free agent (see chart).
This bottom-heavy roster was skewed somewhat because the Seahawks promoted from their practice squad to replace players lost to season-ending injuries late in the process, but it’s significant nonetheless.
When your philosophy is to build through the draft and augment with unrestricted free agents, it’s a definite plus when you can uncover a building-block player in the later rounds and especially after the draft process has been completed.
Carroll is on the lookout for players with unique qualities – in case you haven’t heard – and Schneider and his scouts have done an exemplary job of finding them long after you would expect they would be able to. But the third-day success of their first three drafts has created problems for this year’s draft class.
“What’s going to be hard is for the 10 guys that get drafted to make this team,” Carroll said. “That’s what I think the challenge is, and that’s how much I believe in these guys. I think they’re going to come back ready to go.
“I think we’re stepping into a great time for us. It all comes down to how we play next year though. It all means nothing until you start playing. Everything is lined up for us to be on it.”
Even if those lines to make the Seahawks’ 2013 roster might seem a little longer, and definitely will be a lot deeper.