Seahawks target QB, look to fill other holes through draft

  • By Associated Press
More Columns >

RENTON, Wash. -- Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent, Charlie Whitehurst has just two career starts under his belt, and there are no other quarterbacks under contract on Seattle's roster.

No wonder the Seahawks seem to be linked in one way or another with nearly all the top quarterbacks in next week's NFL draft.

"I think it's a good year, I think it's a really unique year," Seattle general manager John Schneider said. "You go through seven guys, and they are all completely different guys."

Whether Seattle uses its first-round pick -- the 25th overall -- or any of its top selections on a quarterback is the big question.

Seattle's roster is full of holes and lacks depth in key areas, especially along the offensive and defensive lines, on which injuries to starters caused problems all season.

But all anyone wants to focus on is the quarterback situation, with Whitehurst the only under-contract option for the Seahawks right now.

Schneider says Seattle is fine giving Whitehurst a chance to compete for the starting job. One of the quarterback's two starts includes the regular-season finale in which Seattle beat St. Louis to win the NFC West title at 7-9. Schneider is quick to point out that his philosophy -- built over years of drafts with Green Bay -- is to look at taking a quarterback in every draft.

Hence, the speculation that Seattle will make a run at one of the quarterbacks likely to be available near the end of the first-round or early in the second round should Seattle make a trade.

"We will be looking for a quarterback every single year," Schneider said. "I have been blessed to be around some very talented people, and it's just a philosophy that you can never have enough of those guys."

Is taking a quarterback at No. 25 the right move for a team that needs depth in all areas, except perhaps running back and linebacker?

Schneider all but put the 25th pick up to the highest bidder earlier this week, saying he would like to move back and in the process acquire more middle-round picks. The Seahawks are without a third-round selection, which bothers the second-year general manager to no end. Seattle lost that pick when they acquired Whitehurst from San Diego before the beginning of last season.

2011 NFL Draft preview
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks and Pat Kirwan took an in-depth, position-by-position look at the key players to follow in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Quarterbacks: Overview | Scouting | Chat
Running backs: Overview | Scouting | Chat
Receivers: Overview | Scouting | Report | Chat
Offensive tackles: Overview | Scouting | Chat
Guards/centers: Overview | Scouting
Defensive ends: Overview | Scouting | Chat
Defensive tackles: Overview | Scouting | Chat
Linebackers: Overview | Scouting | Chat
Cornerbacks: Overview | Scouting | Chat
Safeties: Overview | Scouting | Chat

Seattle has picks in the second (57th overall), fourth (99th) and sixth (173) rounds, along with two picks each in the fifth (156 and 157) and seventh (209 and 242) rounds.

Thanks to Whitehurst and a stingy defensive effort, Seattle topped St. Louis, 16-6, in the regular-season finale, giving the Seahawks the division title and playoff berth but dropping them at least a dozen spots in the draft.

That one victory likely doubled the amount of research needed on a draft pool considered much deeper than last year's, in which Seattle had picks at Nos. 6 and 14 and, as Schneider said, "my sons could have got a pretty good grade at six."

If Seattle stays at No. 25 and goes for a quarterback, the likely options will be Florida State's Christian Ponder, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, TCU's Andy Dalton and possibly local favorite Jake Locker out of Washington, which is located just a few miles north of Qwest Field.

Schneider is quick to point out that panicking is the wrong approach for quarterback or any position.

"I think you have to go through your evaluation process and have a feel for what you think of the guy and just move forward," he said. "Some of the worst drafts we've had are where you get nervous like you got to have a guy and maybe you give up something to go get a guy, or you push a guy based purely on need, and that's where you can get in a lot of trouble."

The Seahawks also would like to come away with at least one offensive lineman and one defensive lineman. They will be going to a strictly zone-blocking scheme on the offensive line under new assistant head coach Tom Cable and could use another interior lineman or a right tackle.

On the defensive line, no injury last season was more problematic for the Seahawks than Red Bryant's torn up knee in Week 8. Seattle's run defense suffered as it struggled to replace the big body, a hybrid end/tackle in the "5" technique.


Relive every game this season online and on-demand with enhanced viewing features, including the "All-22" coaches film. Get NFL Game Rewind.

Seattle also could use a big, physical shutdown cornerback, and it wouldn't mind grabbing a wide receiver with deep speed in the later rounds.

Schneider succeeded in his first draft by grabbing a left tackle (Russell Okung) and free safety (Earl Thomas) that should be around for years to come. Can he follow up with a draft as productive?

"Hopefully, you have a couple guys who are impact players, that you kept the cohesion of the locker room intact, that you have added quality people and guys who are going to be quality, competitive guys," Schneider said. "Every year you know they are going to show up and be good pros and be competing with other guys and setting standards at their position on your team."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15