Trade Up, Trade Down or Stand Pat?

The NFL Draft is all about maneuvering. Some teams look to trade up to ensure they get the player they want before someone else selects him. Some teams look to trade down because they feel they can get the player they want at a lower spot and/or acquire additional picks and/or players. (Since the lockout was in effect this year, players could not be traded.) Some teams stay where they are, feeling either that the player they want will be available to them or they have several options they feel comfortable with, assuming at least one of those options will still be viable when they select.

Based on the Seahawks’ actions/inactions during the past two drafts, Seattle GM John Schneider is someone who prefers to stand pat. Before this year’s draft, the Seahawks repeatedly stated publicly that their intention was to trade down from #25. However, when they had the opportunity to do so, the team failed to make a deal. I don’t have any problem with the team if James Carpenter was their guy and they felt he wouldn’t be available to them had they traded down. Just don’t say you’re going to do something and then not do it.

The decision to stand pat is a risky one. You take a gamble that no one else will trade up in front of you and take the player you want. Draft picks are a precious commodity to a team with as little depth as the Seahawks, so the reticence to trade two or more picks for one is understandable. Yet sometimes getting the player you want is worth the expense.

In the 2010 NFL Draft, the Seahawks had the 14th choice and everyone knew who the Seahawks were going to select – Texas S Earl Thomas. Thomas was the perfect choice – a good value for the pick who would fill a desperate need for the team. Suddenly, the Philadelphia Eagles traded up to #13. It was presumed they did so to take Thomas before the Seahawks could. They surprised everyone by taking Michigan DE Brandon Graham. The Seahawks had fallback options such as Idaho G Mike Iupati, but they were extremely fortunate to get the player they wanted in Thomas.

The Seahawks were not so fortunate this year. The team stood pat at #57 in the second round and watched as the players they wanted went off the board. With no acceptable fallback options this time, Seattle traded #57 to Detroit for #75 in the third round and basically picked up an extra fourth rounder (#107).

Ex-GM Tim Ruskell put the Seahawks in the position they are today through poor drafting and other ill conceived personnel decisions. One thing I did like about Ruskell was that he was willing to trade up in the draft. Whether doing so was the wisest thing is debatable (see Deon Butler), I liked the aggressiveness in making sure they got the player they wanted. Schneider has shown an aversion to trading up, which will in the future make teams more comfortable in moving in front of the Seahawks, knowing they will not respond in kind.

The philosophy of standing pat or wanting to trade down is successful only if the draft choices retained or acquired are put to good use. In most cases, these choices are toward the latter end of the draft (fourth round or later). If the Seahawks draft well in these rounds, this philosophy is justified, and vice versa. We won’t fully know for a year or two whether the current front office took the proper course of action. Right now, it’s not looking that great.

This is probably my last post on this blog. I would have loved to remain, but an agreement to do so could not be reached. I hope you enjoyed reading my articles; I had a blast writing them. For those of you concerned that I won’t publicly state I am wrong if I am proven so, I guarantee I will return to this blog (if it is still in existence) and eat as much crow as I have to. Thanks for reading, and goodbye (at least for a while).

Topics: John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks, Tim Ruskell

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  • Hawk_Eye

    Joseph, sorry to see you leave. I do appreciate your views. I look forward to hearing back from you when this draft pans out in a couple of years. Good luck. Hawk_Eye

    • Joseph Okabe

      Hawk_Eye, thank you for your kind words. I hope this draft pans out and I am forced to eat my words and apologize to everyone slighted. We’ll see.

  • nachodog666

    Thats a Bunch of ?><"&^% Joseph is leaving. that is too bad just when i found a blog about the hawks that i like to read and the main guy is leaving. WOW IF JOSEPH GOES SO so is this reader .. good luck blog and the 12 man rising you had a great bloger and you are losing a guy good luck

    • Joseph Okabe

      Thank you for your loyalty, but I encourage you to give whoever replaces me a try. Knowing that people like you enjoyed my work is tremendously satisfying. Thanks again.

  • Jrock

    Joeseph- Gotta say I think you jump to alot of conclusions, I mean, did you personally look at the Seahawks draft board to know that all the players that they wanted were off their board? ANd it’s odd that you’re all about trading up and giving up other picks to ensure getting someone, yet you’re so anti drafting a player a little early. Anyway just cause I don’t always agree doesn’t mean I’m glad to see you go, as I enjoyed reading you articles, whether I agreed or not

    • Joseph Okabe

      Thanks for your comments. Yeah, I jump to conclusions, but I do my best not to make stuff up out of thin air. I always feel that any assumptions I make are reasonable, and I try to make my reasoning clear. Is it possible I’m mistaken? Of course, but it’s just as possible that I’m pretty close to the truth, as well.

      I’m not against drafting a player (a little) early if there are no other options available. In this case, I felt the Seahawks could have traded down a few spots, picked up an extra fourth rounder, and still taken Carpenter. I called out management for not doing so, especially since it was their stated intention to trade down.

      I felt the Seahawks were targeting either Austin or Paea at #57, and got burned when both players were taken with consecutive picks. Even if I’m wrong, there was SOMEBODY they had to be looking at for that pick, and for them to trade down meant that player was gone. I don’t think it’s realistic to assume Moffitt was their target all along and they felt they could trade down EIGHTEEN spots and still get him. Just my opinion.

      I’m glad you liked my work, even if you didn’t agree with everything I said. It’s discussing the team like this that I find most enjoyable.

  • Riley Moore

    Thanks for all the hard work Joe. I appreciated your honesty and the conviction of you opinions. You weren’t afraid to go against the grain if that’s the way you felt. Your dry wit and sarcasm were most appreciated and will be missed on the site. Good luck in your future endevors, and I sure hope you keep writing. Let us know.

  • Evoxx

    “Based on the Seahawks’ actions/inactions during the past two drafts, Seattle GM John Schneider is someone who prefers to stand pat. Before this year’s draft, the Seahawks repeatedly stated publicly that their intention was to trade down from #25.”

    Nah, I don’t think so. Schneider said at one point he had three trade scenarios on the table to move down. But then heading in two of them fell apart. The one he was left with was the Chicago Bears, and that one didn’t materialize in the end. Schneider wanted to move down but was not willing to do so if teams did not offer enough. You can’t say that that means he prefers to stand pat.

    By taking a guy that could have dropped lower, he overpaid. But in hindsight it could end up being the correct place to draft him, time will tell. It was clear from taking Carpenter and Moffitt, probably signing Gallery, hiring Cable, and replacing the OC with Bevell that the number one priority for next year is building a running game that matches Lynch’s abilities. If they are successful, it will change a lot about the Seahawks. Overpaying for the guys they felt would create running lanes for Lynch was a small price to pay if the big plan (having a real running game) comes together.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sammysings Sammy

    I’m sorry to see you go, if only because you’re not afraid to state unpopular beliefs, while not necessarily being negative for the sake of it. And I’m pretty sure any of us with a negative reaction to a move by the team would love to be proven wrong.

    • Joseph Okabe

      Thanks for your support, Sammy. Oh, and you’re 100% correct; I would like nothing more than to be proven wrong on some things.

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