As Matt Flynn flies the Hawks’ nest to try his luck with the Raiders, the obvious question is who will back up Russell Wilson? Does John Schneider go with a veteran like Matt Leinert, Tyler Thigpen, or even the bad-tempered Vince Young? Or does he wait for a late round gem from say…a small college? He may do both. But as a matter of style I would guess Schneider will have at least one eye on a late-round, relatively unknown quarterback who can develop behind Wilson. Not that he would ever take the job away from Wilson, but if the Seahawks got a guy who had good physical attributes such as a strong arm, reasonable mobility, height, and who had done well at the small college level, why not take him and develop him in the Seahawks’/Pete Carroll mold? Bringing a young QB along gradually from scratch has had some appeal for Carroll in the past.
Such a player can be found in one Brad Sorenson from Southern Utah University. Check out this guy’s physical characteristics. He’s 6’5”, 230 pounds, and has a gun for an arm. In other words he’s a prototypical NFL quarterback. In watching his highlights, which you have to take with a grain of salt because they don’t show his bad plays, he seems to see the field really well. He has good touch on the ball, can throw to the corner of the end zone with accuracy, and finds open guys when his primary target is covered. What’s not to like? Well, he does throw a few interceptions, but he had a lot more touchdowns than interceptions, having just 10 picks against 23 touchdowns last season.
Having not watched any of SUU’s games I couldn’t tell you for sure if he’s inconsistent or streaky. He seems to stare down and throw to his number one receiver most of the time, which in the NFL could be trouble. What I can tell you is that Sorenson is the top ranked small school quarterback in the 2013 draft and 15th overall. The question is how would he do as an NFL quarterback? A lot of people who make a living comparing players to other players, i.e. draft “experts,” have compared him to John Skelton who started for the Arizona Cardinals in game one of 2012. Before you smack your palm to your forehead and scream “oh HELL NO” at me just remember, the only reason Skelton started is because the higher rated Kevin Kolb was so bad. Skelton was obviously not ready, but was good enough to beat out the veteran Kolb who was the talk of free agency three years ago.
So, let’s assume a newly minted 7th round pick, whoever it is, isn’t going to beat out Russell Wilson and has a couple years to take in Pete Carroll and all that comes with him. Can a guy with small college experience develop and blossom under Pete Carroll’s tutelage if given time? Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that he could. The only real danger is that the team would need him to step in if the worst happens and Wilson goes down for any length of time this year. Then we’d be in John Skelton territory, with an inexperienced small college guy running the offense at a low level of efficiency. Would that be a disaster for the Seahawks? Depending on how long Wilson was out, absolutely it would. But that’s the chance you take in football. We could all be sitting around in October or November wondering what were the Seahawks thinking when they traded away Matt Flynn!
But you can’t have two starting quarterbacks on the same roster, can you? That usually causes an ego or a money problem, or both. The number two guy is always going to want out. He’s always going to be looking ahead to the time he can get out from behind the starter who is holding back his career. A possible situation the Seahawks could have with Sorenson is the team would have a guy who is just happy to be in the NFL, is developing and improving with no pressure, and who gives you at least four years of backup capability without costing much of anything. After his first season as a backup, he would be a lot more ready to step in if needed. Heck, maybe he’d even get some playing time this year if the Seahawks get a few blowouts like they had last year!
The last thing I like about this scenario is that if Sorenson or another no-name QB turned out to be a gem, it would just enhance the Carroll/Schneider mystique, which would drive Jim Harbaugh absolutely NUTS!