Good news everybody, the draft FINALLY came. While Seattle came into the 2014 Draft with only six picks, they were able to knock out 9 players in addition to adding another nine undrafted free agents. To recap, Seattle was able to nab:
Round 2, Pick 45: Paul Richardson, WR - Colorado
Round 2, Pick 64: Justin Britt, OT - Missouri
Round 4, Pick 108: Cassius Marsh, DE - UCLA
Round 4, Pick 122: Kevin Norwood, WR - Alabama
Round 4, Pick 132: Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB - Boston College
Round 5, Pick 172: Jimmy Staten, DT - Middle Tennessee State
Round 5, Pick 199: Garrett Scott, OT - Marshall
Round 6, Pick 208: Eric Pinkins, DB - San Diego State
Round 7. Pick 227: Kiero Small, FB - Arkansas
Seattle has mastered the art of trading down in drafts to gain more picks throughout the process. They've also mastered the art of drafting certain styles of players that might not fit other teams' molds.
The biggest surprise I saw from Seattle was choosing a WR with their first pick. Not that I don't think Richardson isn't ridiculously talented or that I think our WR corps is the best in the league, but I assumed an O-Lineman or D-Lineman was going be first. When I found out that Seattle traded out of the first round after New England drafted DT Dominique Easley, I figured they would take the best available from that point on. What surprised me is how they did that while still filling out needs. Let's look at the position groups and how the draft has changed the possible depth charts.
Quarterback: HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA. No, we didn't draft a QB. Yes, we have 5 on the roster. Essentially, be prepared to see Terrelle Pryor, BJ Daniels, or Keith Price cut or sent to the practice squad. I'd be shocked to see Tavaris Jackson cut. Bold Choice: Russell Wilson wins competition. Shocker, I know.
Running Back/Full Back: The Hawks did draft FB Small from Arkansas in the seventh round, so look to see competition between Small, FB Derrick Coleman, and FB Spencer Ware for that starting position. Look guys, Mike Rob isn't coming back, especially with rumors of his retirement. We didn't draft a RB, seeing how Marshawh Lynch, Robert Turbin, and Christine Michael have that position locked down. Bold Choice: Turbin is turned into a FB, and he splits plays with Coleman as FB this year.
Wide Reciever/Tight Ends: No tight ends were chosem, as Seattle seems very happy with the trio of Zach Miller, Anthony McCoy, and Luke Willson. What is going to be interesting is watching what happens to the WR Corps. This is a team that ranked 31 (out of 32) in pass attempts. Adding speed with Paul Richardson and physicality with Kevin Norwood, this year looks to be the one where the drafted WR actually plays. To be honest, I don't think Seattle will have more than 5 WRs on their roster, again as a team that doesn't pass much. Bold Prediction: Both Richardson and Norwood make the team, along with Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, and Jermaine Kearse. Sidney Rice cut, much like Antoine Winfield last year.
Offensive Line: Britt impressed the Hawks with how physical he plays. O-Line coach Tom Cable has a tendency to draft physical players over so-called "better fundamental" players. When it comes to O-Lineman in Seattle, the draft is a hit or miss. They also picked up Scott from Marshall in the fifth round, so look to see early competition in the O-Line after seeing (my least two favorite) linemen Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini leave. Essentially, Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey will be battling Britt and Scott for those positions. Don't forget about JR Sweezy though, as he has started 15 NFL games in only his second season as an O-lineman. Bold Prediction: Seattle continues to use multiple o-lines throughout season. Max Unger, Russell Okung, Sweezy, Bowie, and Bailey are opening day starters. James Carpenter sent packing.
Defensive Line: Depth is going to be huge on defense, especially after seeing D-Linemen Chris Clemons, Chris McDonald, and Red Bryant leave. While I don't predict Marsh or Staten to become starters on the D-Line, I see Staten and Jesse Williams getting solid playing time as role and situational players. Bold Prediction: Cassius Marsh doesn't record one down on the D-Line this year.
Linebackers: While I said Marsh wouldn't play any D-line this year, I do see him fitting more as a Bruce Irvin-esque LEO. Again, depth is key on this defense, and I don't see any gaping holes in the linebacking corps. I don't expect to see a whole lot of Pierre-Louis this year, but simply because they don't need him. I do expect them to keep him, but as a developmental player. Bold Prediction: Cassius Marsh leads all rookies in sacks.
Secondary: The Legion of Boom did lose CB Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner, but Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell has proven time and time again that they will not be missed. Pinkins is a large DB, much like the rest of the LOB. He will play heavily in competition, as Seattle is still looking to replace Thurmond. Bold Prediction: Pinkins becomes the next Kam Chancellor as a role player, earns significant playing time in the next few years.
Look, obviously this is all speculation. Nobody knows anything until the first week, and even then, who knows. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay get paid a boat load of money to be wrong year in and year out. Pete Carroll and John Schneider have a system and if 2011 and 2012 are any indications, I will trust their picks with no questions asked.
Compared to San Francisco, Arizona, and St. Louis, Seattle had arguably the weakest draft in the division. Makes sense, because the teams above had holes to fill. Seattle already has a solid core group and if last postseason was any indication, few holes exist. The biggest key to this draft was depth, and I think Seattle has a fairly solid draft.
The 2014 NFC West will have no teams winning more than 12 games. Each of teams have a legitimate arguement and chance to win the division. I am happy with Seattle's draft, and confident that have the team to return to the promised land. Thankfully we can FINALLY look forward to seeing this new squad develop in front of our eyes. 2014 has started off strongly, and I don't see it faltering.
Facebook. Twitter. You know what to do.