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News » Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-04-18

Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-04-18

Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-04-18
If the Seahawks' plan was to put out a smokescreen, creating the perception that they might take Southern Cal quarterback Mark Sanchez with the No. 4 pick, they've done a pretty good job.

However, the Seahawks selecting Sanchez at No. 4 may not be an illusion.

Seattle head coach Jim Mora and team president and general manager Tim Ruskell have said that the team needs to draft a quarterback sooner rather than later to groom as the eventual replacement for 33-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

Hasselbeck had a bulging disk in his back that forced him to miss nine games in 2008, and the organization is unsure how long he can continue to play at a high level.

However, the thought of selecting Sanchez has more to do with Hasselbeck staying healthy. If Hasselbeck stays upright and plays well this season, Seattle will have a lower selection next season and might not have an opportunity to select a franchise quarterback like Oklahoma's Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy of Texas in next year's draft. This could be viewed as the team's best chance to grab a talent like Sanchez.

But drafting a quarterback in the first round could create friction in the locker room. Sanchez probably won't see the field for another two years if Seattle drafts him. That's a lot of money sitting on the sideline holding a clipboard as the team's third quarterback, and not exactly an impact player for 2009.

A large contingent of the Seahawks' staff attended USC's pro day, and team officials also met privately with Sanchez, including quarterback coach Bill Lazor and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.

If Seattle decides to pass on Sanchez, the two other front runners appear to be Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe and Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. There's the thought that Kansas City could pass on Curry and go with Monroe to bolster its offensive line in order to protect new franchise quarterback Matt Cassel.

Curry and Monroe both would fulfill needs for Seattle, and both would make an immediate impact.

The Seahawks held a private workout with Curry at Wake Forest and also brought him to the team's Seattle-area facility for a visit.

Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree has an outside chance of being selected by Seattle. However, with the Seahawks signing veteran receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh during free agency, wide receiver is not an urgent need right now and could be addressed later in the draft, so Crabtree could fall to Cleveland at No. 5.

Mora said during the team's pre-draft camp in April that all options remain open for his team.

TEAM NEEDS: Offensive line, linebacker, quarterback, running back.

OL -- All five projected starters finished the season on IR, including the team's stalwart at left tackle, Walter Jones. A perennial Pro Bowler, Jones, 35, had season-ending microfracture knee surgery and did not participate in the team's pre-draft minicamp in April. However, Jones said he hopes to be ready for the beginning of training camp in July.

"It's doing good," Jones said about his surgically repaired knee. "I'm doing the things I'm supposed to be doing right now, so hopefully when it's time to go I'm ready."

LB -- The Seahawks traded Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson to Detroit in exchange for defensive lineman Cory Redding and a fifth-round pick in this year's draft. Seattle designated 26-year-old linebacker Leroy Hill as the team's franchise player, but Hill has yet to sign the $8.3 million, one-year tender.

If he signs, Hill likely will move to the strong side to replace the departed Peterson, but the Seahawks still need someone to play on the weak side. D.D. Lewis and Will Herring are potential candidates, but the Seahawks could also draft a player like Curry to compete for the vacant spot.

QB -- Hasselbeck is 33 years old and coming off a back injury that forced him to miss nine games last year. Hasselbeck says he's healthy, and looked good during the team's pre-draft camp in April.

However, this year's draft could be the team's best opportunity to get a franchise quarterback to groom as Hasselbeck's eventual replacement. Hasselbeck is coming off a year where he finished with a career-worst 57.8 completion percentage, totaling 1,216 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.

RB -- With Seattle's switch to a zone-blocking scheme, the Seahawks will emphasis running backs making one cut and getting through the first wave of defenders quickly to the second and third level of the defense.

Currently, Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett are set to serve as the running back tandem. Duckett is familiar with the system, having played for offensive coordinator Greg Knapp when he served in the same capacity in Atlanta. And Jones' downhill running style should also fit the scheme. However, Seattle could still use a big-play back with top-end speed that could give them a home-run hitter in the backfield, and might look for a back with elite speed to select in the second day of the draft.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 18, 2009

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