At five o'clock today, John Schneider and Pete Carroll will begin their third draft together. Well, not precisely at five, since holding the twelfth overall pick means the Seahawks probably won’t go on the clock until six thirty or so, but you know what I mean.
And at this point, that’s the sum total of what everyone without access to Seattle’s draft room knows for sure.
I’m not too proud to admit that the one and only draft choice made by the Seahawks in the last two years that I predicted correctly was their top choice in the 2010 draft, Russell Okung. If I wanted to be nice I could also give myself partial credit for suspecting that they might pick Earl Thomas over Taylor Mays with their other first round pick that year, but that would still leave me with an abysmal record of 1.5 correct predictions and 16.5 incorrects and I-don’t-knows. Percentage-wise, that means I’ve been right just 8.3% of the time, and there’s not a bell curve in the world generous enough to make that anything but a failing grade.
Then again, you know who else is terrible at correctly predicting draft picks? Everyone else on the planet. NFL teams spend millions each year on scouting and evaluating potential draft picks, and no one pays that kind of money just to turn around and give all that expensive data away for free just to sate their fans’ curiosity. In fact, most of the draft intel that gets out to the press is false information that was leaked by front offices on purpose, mainly to disguise their real draft plans and divert attention away from any real info that might have accidentally slipped out. The closer you get to the day of the draft, the less you should trust anything that comes out of a general manager’s mouth.
Other than that, we know that Carroll has some definite preferences. He likes tall, physical players, for one, which is why Seattle now boasts the tallest starting cornerback duo in the league, Richard Sherman (6’3”) and Brandon Browner (6’4”). The front office is also not afraid to roll the dice a bit by drafting talented players with injury concerns, with mixed results. 2010 fourth-rounder Walter Thurmond is still having trouble staying healthy, while 2011 seventh-rounder Malcolm Smith, whose medical history is served with a side of rare esophageal disorder, was reasonably durable last year on special teams.
We also know that there are some holes in the roster that still need to be addressed. The Seahawks could use an infusion of young starting-caliber linebackers, for instance. They also need a new pass rusher or twelve, ‘cause right now Chris Clemons is the only reliable pass-rushing threat the team has. A big, physical running back to spell Marshawn Lynch wouldn’t go amiss. And I know this isn’t terribly exciting to most of you, but the Seahawks don’t currently have a kicker on the roster (Steven Hauschka is still a free agent, albeit a restricted one).
Put all of the above together, and you can narrow down the list of players the Seahawks might draft, but that’s as accurate as we’re likely to get until Roger Goodell strides up to the podium tonight and reads off the name the Seahawks' representative wrote down on the card. But until then, anyone want to take a guess?