Jan 6, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Alan Branch (99) celebrates pressuring Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) during the second half of the NFC Wild Card playoff game at FedEx Field. The Seahawks won 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

John Schneider’s Dwindling Shopping List


 

With free agency winding down, especially for the Seahawks I would imagine, it seems about time to take stock of where Seattle sits heading into the draft. It’s no secret the Seahawks are a good team, no amount of east-coast bias could blind the football world to that fact. The Seahawks may well be a great team, in fact I have them in the top five as we stand at this moment. As a result, this article is going to be much shorter than it might have been in previous years. Today what I’m going to examine is remaining areas of concern for the 2013 Seahawks. We are a couple of draft picks and perhaps a few bargain bin free agents from a final roster at the moment and with any luck these shockingly few holes will be filled come the regular season. The following is an account of what’s missing/a shopping list for this front office:

#1: A starting quality DT to pair with Brandon Mebane

This need might be satisfied in a fairly anti-climactic manner with the return of Alan Branch but that is no guarantee. Branch is only 28, he’s available, and he’s probably relatively cheap. None of that is anything to sneeze at. Additionally he has started 31 of 32 games for the Seahawks and provided four sacks and solid run stuffing during that time. This is also noteworthy. Contrarily Branch only had one sack and one tackle for loss last season compared to three and five in 2011. Branch is a known quantity but he’s far from exciting and most definitely upgrade-able  I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle brought back Branch but I also think there’s a good chance they draft a DT with one of their first two picks in the draft. These scenarios are far from mutually exclusive as you can never have too many quality defensive linemen. It’s important not to forget about Jaye Howard who failed to make an impact last year but was a fairly well regarded prospect coming into the draft and could always surprise.

#2: A starting quality OLB to go with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright

This is the second biggest hole I see on the Seahawks right now and I’m not entirely sure there isn’t a viable candidate on the roster at this moment. That says a great deal about this team. Malcom Smith appears to have some talent and impressed me in his brief 3 game stint as a starter last year. Am I comfortable going in to the season with him as the starter though? Not without a serious back up plan. If the Seahawks insist on being boring I’m sure they could bring back Leroy Hill although he is far from the explosive talent he once was. My best guess is Seattle drafts an OLB in either the 2nd or 3rd round has him battle Smith for the job, with Smith likely returning to his role as a backup.

#3: A slot cornerback

Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner’s success as a corner tandem is well documented but in the today’s pass happy NFL you need three quality corners on defense. Trufant was fairly underwhelming last year and seems unlikely to be brought back in 2013. Walter Thurmond III is probably capable of playing this role but he simply cannot be counted on to stay healthy. Jeremy Lane is also a player who conceivably could be the guy for this spot but I see him as more of a backup on the outside with his size and lack of elite quickness.  There are question marks surrounding both internal options and a couple interesting guys floating around in free agency (ie. Charles Woodson, Adam Jones, Tracy Porter) but they are probably cost prohibitive for a team that has been spending a surprising amount of money lately. The most likely scenario is Seattle tries to see if one of their two guys can stick as the third corner and takes a chance on someone later in the draft as well, as they are wont to do.

#4: A starting right tackle

This is where the shopping list enters pipe dream territory. Breno Giacomini is almost certainly the starting RT for the Seahawks in 2013. The problem is he’s not very good. He’s probably not the worst starting RT in the league but his inconsistency and stupid penalties are cringe inducing at times. There are some quality OT’s available in free agency at the moment who would represent a significant upgrade (Sebastian Vollmer and Andre Smith jump to mind) but they remain firmly outside Seattle’s price range barring any major cap casualties. Quality offensive tackles don’t last long in the draft so I doubt an immediate starter can be found late in the second round, but you never know. Unfortunately I think Giacomini is the Seahawks’ only realistic option at the moment.

Lists of five are much more aesthetically pleasing than lists of four but I really can’t think of anything else the Seahawks truly need. Quarterback? Check. Runningback? Check. Wide Receiver? Pretty impressive with the addition of Harvin. Tight End? Fine presuming Miller is sticking around, which he seems to be. Even the offensive line is has two Pro Bowlers and quite a few options at guard with upside. The Seahawks have also loaded up on pass rushers and they already had a stacked secondary so I really don’t know what else they would desperately desire. Quality depth is a must and that’s largely what this draft class is expected to provide, but by and large the Seahawks are set. Being a Seattle Seahawks fan at the moment feels like being a spoiled child who can’t even think of what he wants for Christmas because he has everything. Everything can always go wrong at the drop of a hat (and in my experience as a sports fan it does 85-90% of the time) but we are looking at a pretty strong squad heading into the 2013 draft. It’s a good thing I wrote this article now because knowing how well this front office drafts there might be nothing to say on this topic come April 28th.

Tags: Alan Branch Jeremy Lane John Schneider Pete Carroll Walter Thurmond

  • Hawk_Eye

    Nick, I agree with you on DT, OLB and slot CB, but I do not on OT. Breno Giacomini had a lot of penalties in the first half of the year, after that I thought he played extremely well. I think Pete Carroll and Tom Cable want that aggressive style of play.

    The one position that I would like to see drafted is TE in the 2nd or 3rd round. I think we need another young TE to help Russell Wilson. Zach Miller is coming off season ending injury and his 11 million dollar salary does not equal his performance. The Seahawks are going to have a tough decision to make with him next year.

    And we need a back up zone read quarterback.

    • http://Allcougdup.com/ All Coug’d Up

      Totally with you on Breno HawkEye, I thought he came around once the Hawks got their line settled in. This has been one of the more fluid lines in the NFL the last 3 seasons with all the injuries but once they got a few weeks together Breno really settled in and played solid football. While the penalties hurt from time to time, he began to realize he didn’t have to hold because Russell will bail him out most of the time if he just keeps blocking. His size and ability to collapse that right side down for Marshawn in the zone scheme has been something the coaches have praised and is a big thing for this team. Cable LOVES this guy.

      That being said, if there’s better for an affordable price, I’m all for it.

      Far as TE I hear ya but don’t forget about McCoy. He played really well the second half too. And Miller was solid, solid, solid last season so I don’t know what you’re talking about with the performance. One of the best blocking/catching combo tight ends in the game. Although hopefully he recovers well from the injury

      • Hawk_Eye

        I’m not saying I don’t like Miller or think he’s not a asset to the Seahawks, but his numbers don’t justify his 11 million dollar contract, plus he’s coming off injury. I’m just saying we could use another pass catching TE that Russell Wilson can grow with.

        • northy

          Stats don’t work well with tight ends because you completely miss how good of a blocker they are. Miller is a superb blocker, which has alot to do with how good our run game is.

          • Hawk_Eye

            11 million to pay for a blocker? In two years the core players of our team is due for pay raises. We will have to make some tough choices. That is why we need to draft a TE either this or next year.

          • 12thMan_Rising

            Miller’s cap number drop to $7 mil next season and is $6 mil the year after. He wont prevent the Seahawks from re-signing their young stars.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brandon-Belshaw/762620351 Brandon Belshaw

          If u include the playoffs u know when wilson actually saw miller wide open he had 50 receptions 586 yds and 4 touchdowns. How about u wait till next year to judge him now that he doesn’t have to play OT and has another year with Russell.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      I have to agree with Nick on RT. Breno fixed the penalties, but was still very poor at pass blocking. Plus, with his contract #, and the fact that he’s in the last year of his deal, the Seahawks should look to find a long term solution at the position if one drops to them.