The Seahawks were supposed to be a lot better last year. We predicted a 10-6 year, and that felt do-able after the hype of training camp. I don't foresee us making those same predictions entering the 2010 season, and hey, maybe we'll be surprised again. It can take as few as 1 to 3 seasons to really turn an NFL franchise around, and the main manner of doing that is by personnel improvements (the coaching turnover helps, too).
So, what are the Seahawks needs that might be addressed? Let's go through it in order of importance.
- Left Tackle. Stop me if you've heard this one, but the Seahawks are in need of offensive line improvements. Shocking, no? Well, believe it, and believe that they will go hard after a left tackle in this draft. That does not mean they will take one at #6 or at #14. They might even pass at #40. We don't know how Schneider and Carroll value tackles, but we know how Alex Gibbs does, and he has proven that he can create a stud tackle with mid-round talent. I project the Hawks taking one at 40, but I also think the Seahawks will do everything in their power to turn those three draft picks into 4 or 5, and pick one up where the price is right.
- Defensive End. The Seahawks can attack this from a number of different angles; do they trust Aaron Curry to develop into a stud pass rusher? What about Ricky Foley or Nick Reed? Less likely for them, but a change of position for Darryl Tapp could be a revelation as an elephant backer (think Brian Cushing). I expect them to add someone, but Lawrence Jackson does his job on his side of the ball, its just a matter of getting the flashy pass rusher. That SHOULD come from a defensive end position (or something similar from Curry or Tapp), but it doesn't have to... the pass rush must get better or we will be crap again.
- Quarterback. This is Matt Hasselbeck's final year under contract, and to tell ourselves that he'll sign a short term contract to buy us time is unrealistic. We don't have a clue what we would do if Hasselbeck leaves and, really, we have to face facts that he is not the guy he was in 2007. He probably won't be again. I love him, he's one of my top five Seahawks of all time, but that's that. If either Bradford or Clausen are on the board at #6, I expect us to take them. Both are much better than we're hearing right now. It's a shame neither will throw at the combine, but it won't affect their stock. Ignore the anti-hype, and watch their games... both are very good and both took snaps in pro-style offenses. Give them a year to learn our offense, and we're solid.
- Safety. Our secondary has been awful for two years in a row, and we need some real help at safety. Babineaux was unimpressive last year (he got better as the year went on, but will never play at a high level). Deon Grant has gotten worse in each of his three years. Lawyer Milloy was a bright spot last year, but we all know that's not a long-term solution (especially since he's a free agent). The safety class is very deep this year, with Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Taylor Mays, Nate Allen, Larry Asante, Chad Jones, and more.
- Running Back. Another year of Julius Jones would be nothing but an embarrassment. I don't buy that Bates and Co. will really stick by him. Let's get a nice, young, hyper-fast or hyper-strong running back who can hit a hole hard and has more than a somewhat effective spin move in his repertoire.