With Michael Crabtree's foot injury and Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith going AWOL happening on a weird Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Rob Rang, senior analyst at nfldraftscout.com, was gracious enough to take a few minutes to discuss the impact those two stories might have on the draft in general, and Seattle's No. 4 selection in particular.
On the Crabtree situation, Rang had this to say:
"I think that Crabtree is still going to have to be at least a consideration for the Seahawks. I mean anytime you have a player that is as talented as he is, I mean you go back and watch the film and he is still among the elite players in the draft. He's still our No. 1 player at this moment."
On Crabtree slipping out of the top five:
"If he does slip out of that area, then Seattle is unfortunate enough that they have so many holes to fill, that they're just going to slide up one of the other players that's going to make an immediate impact for them."
On the possibility of Seattle taking Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith:
"Absolutely. He's a player I gave them early on in some of the mock drafts, and I've been beaten up a little bit about it because they certainly have other needs other than tackle. But Jason Smith is the real deal. I think he's a superstar. I think he's (Denver Broncos offensive tackle) Ryan Clady immediately. When I say Ryan Clady, I think he's going to come in and be an immediate impact pass blocker, whether it be for Seattle or someone else. I think he's a legitimate left tackle, and as we're starting to see with some of the other tackles here, I'm sure you can say that all these other guys are legitimate left tackles."
Rang went on to say that Jason Smith might not be available, because he wouldn't be surprised if Detroit or St. Louis takes him.
Rang's thoughts on the Andre Smith situation:
"It could be monumental how far he slides now because in my conversation with scouts already, I mean they're stunned that he was willing to do what he did basically. And then the words that I'm hearing are "dumb," are "inconsiderate," are "foolish," and those are the kinds of words people are using. And you obviously don't want to have NFL scouts in the biggest audition of your life calling you things like that. The fact that he was here and looked ill prepared, and then basically decided to leave. The story that his agent originally gave and the story he originally gave to the scouts are different stories. I mean it just looks like he is a confused kid that doesn't know what's going on. And at least for Seattle specifically, a top 4 pick, if they would have considered him in the past, which I didn't think they would because he's more of a right tackle, I think it just cements the idea that there's no way he's going to a team that takes those kinds of character issues as a team like Seattle does."
On the possibility of Seattle looking at LB Aaron Curry or defensive end Brian Orakpo:
"With Aaron Curry or Brian Orakbo, both of them are versatile enough that I think you can use them as pass rushers. With the Seahawks obviously linebackers are their strength. But when you have a player as dynamic as Aaron Curry is, and you have a player like Julian Peterson who is aging a little bit, then that might be someone to take. If you're going to have this idea of taking the best player available, Aaron Curry if he's on the board at No. 4, very easily could be the best player available. So if that's the philosophy you're taking as a franchise then you may need to draft him because he is that dominant of a player.
"The same kind of thing with Brian Orakpo. He's a versatile athlete. He can come in and play linebacker. But I think he'd fit best for Seattle, a 4-3 team predominantly, as a defensive end. I know the team already has invested some high draft picks at that position. And you have Patrick Kerney there as well. But with Kerney you have injury concerns. You have the fact that Lawrence Jackson didn't exactly set the world on fire as a rookie. And Brian Orakpo has the maturity, the physicality, the size and the strength that teams are looking for, certainly he helps Seattle
"If they're going to make the 12th Man the home field advantage that it was, they need to generate more of a pass rush to take advantage of that fact. So I think that adding to the pass rush or their play in the defensive backfield, either way, it's going to make them a better defense."
Rang's thoughts on receivers Seattle could get further down if they pass on Crabtree:
"There's lots of good receivers. That's one of the strengths of this year's draft is that you have a lot of underclassmen that you might be able to take in the second round. And if a Darrius Heyward-Bey from Maryland is available, he's going to have the speed element that Seattle doesn't currently have. And if a Hakeem Nicks from North Carolina is available, he has the size and the range of motion to make the dynamic catches that they're no one currently on Seattle's roster that can have that kind of presence.
"There's lot of different guys who are going to be available in the second, third or fourth rounds that Seattle can take advantage of and make an immediate impact because of their athletic ability. And also because I think you're going to see Seattle focus more on the running game, they're going to need some guys who can go over the top."
Lastly, Rang shared his thoughts on defensive tackle B.J. Raji:
"I think he's a reach at No. 4. I really believe his best fit in the NFL is going to be as a 3-4 nose guard. He is just so short and squat and powerful, and just has only phone-booth quickness. He doesn't have enough quickness to really make plays in a lot of space.
"To be honest with you, I think for Seattle specifically, he just too much of a Brandon Mebane clone. If you're going to invest another high-round pick on another defensive lineman, I think the biggest need for Seattle is on a truee 3-technique defensive tackle who has the ability to collapse the pocket as a pass rusher. You saw flashed of that with Raji. But I think it's a little more because he had another big guy next to him in Ron Brace.