No matter what Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider decide to do in getting the Seahawks franchise back to respectability, draft experts agree the first decision they have to make is what direction to go at quarterback.
Both Carroll and Schneider have said they believe the team can win with 34-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, as long as they make a diligent effort to surround him with playmakers and protect him up front, something Seattle failed to consistently do over the past two seasons.
However, it remains to be seen if Carroll and Schneider will stay true to their word when April’s draft comes around and Seattle’s has a chance to select a franchise quarterback to groom for the future with two, first-round picks at No. 6 and No. 14.
Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford or Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen would be the likely candidates if Seattle chose to pick a QB in the first round. Neither will throw this week because of injuries (Bradford is still recovering from shoulder surgery, while Clausen is nursing a toe injury), but the combine offers an opportunity to get measurables on both athletes and more importantly, perform an in-depth interview with both.
With this possibly being Seattle’s only chance to get a top-flight quarterback this high in the draft in the next, couple years, Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, says the Seahawks' brass has to weigh the QB decision carefully.
“It’s just going to depend on their individual grades of the players obviously,” Rang said. “The quarterback position is of course the most important position on the field. And if they believe that either of those guys is a future franchise-caliber quarterback, I think that absolutely has to be a consideration.
“I still believe Matt Hasselbeck can be a quality, starting quarterback who can win for you in the NFL, but at the same time he hasn’t been able to stay healthy the last, couple years. And he’s getting older and potentially more prone to injury. It’s certainly not the other way around. And so I do think that the quarterback position has to be a strong consideration for Seattle. With the new regime in town, they don’t have any allegiance to Matt Hasselbeck, so I do think that it’s a strong possibility that Seattle will look at the quarterback position.”
Rang said he likes Bradford over Clausen. Although Carroll now has a chance to get the Notre Dame product in Clausen after losing the California native to the Fighting Irish in the college recruiting battle. Bradford likely will go to Washington at No. 4. Rang believes Bradford is the better quarterback, but still is a risky pick because of the injuries he’s suffered in college.
“I personally think Sam Bradford is the better of the two, but because he the long, lanky build he has, and because he’s struggled a little bit with durability … I just think it’s a risky pick,” Rang said. “If you take him at No. 6, then you’ve got to build this line around him, just because if you’re taking him at six I would think he’s going to be the No. 2 quarterback jumping ahead of Seneca Wallace because of the amount of money you’re going to be guaranteeing him. And with Matt Hasselbeck being as injury prone as he has been the last couple years, he would be only one hit away from being on the field, and I think you would see Seattle struggling to a 2-14-type season next year.”
If the Seahawks choose to pass on a quarterback in the first round and fill other needs like offensive tackle and defensive line, they still can get a quarterback later in the draft like University of Texas product Colt McCoy, Tony Pike out of Cincinnati, Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson or Oregon State’s Sean Canfield to compete for a spot in training camp and potentially develop into the quarterback of the future.