As training camp approaches we are beginning to have a fairly good idea of what this edition of the Seahawks will look like. This roster has been analyzed up and down and by people more insightful and intelligent than I. Other than the Bruce Irvin suspension nothing has really happened recently to make us think any differently about this squad’s complexion or potential.
To do something new one must delve into the dangerous realm of the thought experiment. Today the question is: “If you could steal one player from each NFC West rival who would you choose?” For the purposes of this thought experiment I did not take salary cap considerations into account because that is limiting and also just not very fun.
Additionally I am only taking 2013 into account given that the Seahawks are a serious contender this year and, as GM’s who are known for making rash decisions for short term gain are fond of saying, flags fly forever. Below are my picks, my rationale and one runner up for each team, starting with the Arizona Cardinals:
The Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals have a lot of defensive talent, but this just isn’t a great team right now, especially compared to the other teams in the division. Larry Fitzgerald is probably their best player but given the depth of WR talent the Seahawks have he wasn’t my pick.
Who I Would Steal: Calais Campbell DE
This 6-8 300 pound monster has 27.5 sacks in the last four years. His immense height has also helped him swat 23 passes during that time. I’m not sure there is a better player in the NFL to play Red Bryant’s position in Pete Carroll’s defense. I don’t think that we should give up on Bryant after one difficult season but I think that Campbell would be an upgrade and I also think he could slide inside on passing downs giving the Seahawks a terrifying defensive line including two speed rushers on the outside and Bennett and Campbell at the DT spots. If Irvin or Avril was coming from an OLB spot as well I don’t see how anyone is blocking that group. My first instinct in this exercise is to steal players at the Seahawks positions of need like TE, RT and OLB but Campbell’s skillset was too difficult to resist.
Runner Up: Larry Fitzgerald
WR is not a need but Fitzgerald is a starter, and an excellent one, on any team. Darnell Dockett was also considered but his age and declining production concerns me.
The St.Louis Rams
There is some serious buzz surrounding this Rams team as a potential second wildcard but personally I don’t see it. The Jeff Fisher-Sam Bradford duo gets more credit than it deserves in my opinion but I suppose time will tell. The Rams don’t have a singular standout must-have player so this one took some thought.
Who I Would Steal: Jake Long OT
This former 1st overall pick struggled slightly in 2012 but given the Seahawks weakness at right tackle Long would make a fine bookend with Russell Okung. Long has the size and strength to be a top right tackle and he can clearly play left tackle which he would be asked to do in the event of a Russell Okung injury. I thought about Chris Long here but given that I had already claimed Calais Campbell that seemed like overkill.
Runner Up: Greg Zuerlein K
This seems like a joke pick but it isn’t really. The Rams main impact players, James Laurinaitis , Janoris Jenkins, Robert Quinn and Chris Long are all at positions of depth for Seattle so I thought I would go off the board. Legatron is an absolute weapon who shortens the field by about 5 yards. For a team as defensively stingy as the Seahawks, a kicker like Zuerlein with superhuman range could make the difference in close games. I have no complaints with Hauschka, but this guy is something else.
Much like the Rams most of the 49ers best players are already at positions of strength for Seattle. For this reason I stayed away for Kaepernick, Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith. As much as it is difficult to admit as a Seahawks fan there is an embarrassment of riches here.
Who I’d Steal: Vernon Davis TE
It’s no secret that the Seahawks could use another tight end and I think that Davis and Miller would make an absolutely deadly duo. As a physical freak who is still in his prime, Davis seems like an underused weapon at times, although there are rumblings about him being used more creatively this year. Davis is a unique weapon and Pete Carroll loves unique players, I think overall it would be a good fit.
Runner Up: Mike Iupati G
The Seahawks have a bit of an uncertain situation at right guard and Iupati could slide in immediately and be a huge upgrade. He is a great run blocker who would be a great addition to the Seahawks power running game who would raise this offensive line up to elite status.
Those are my picks. I’m sure you have your own but I like the look of this team plus Jake Long, Calais Campbell and Vernon Davis. As far as thought exercises go this is one of my favorites because Seattle’s biggest rivals also lose great players. Seattle may well already be the class of the NFC but in this scenario they become so in a hurry. If that’s not a fun thing to think about I don’t know what is.