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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cutler Trade Could Have Impact On Seahawks First Round Choice

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As if the 2009 Draft hasn’t been hyped up enough, the recent trade of Jay Cutler to the Bears has added a completely different dynamic toward projections of what may happen with the Seahawks first round pick. While the consensus among many seemed to be that Seattle would likely draft tackle Eugene Monroe or Jason Smith, linebacker Aaron Curry, or either quarterback Matt Stafford or Mark Sanchez, the ability for Denver to use either both or one of their two first round picks to potentially trade up may mix things up a bit.

Unless Hasselbeck is severely dinged to the point where the organization doesn’t believe he’s going to be able to go at the beginning of the season, I just can’t see Seattle taking a quarterback with the first pick. Considering the number of years that Matt could potentially have with the team, and the money that goes along with picking the first or second quarterback in the draft, it doesn't make sense financially. Look at a guy like Matt Ryan, drafted third last year, and is making an average of $5 million over the next five years. That’s a lot of money to pay a guy to be a backup for the next few years. I have a gut feeling that the Hawks are hyping up the fact they could go QB as ammunition to get a team like Denver or San Francisco to trade up.

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The greatest need for the Hawks, with the aging Walter Jones and the success they had while having a solid left side, has to be on offensive line. While taking Curry fourth would probably be a no-brainer if he were to fall that far, linebacker isn’t a desperate need—even with Peterson’s departure. Considering some believe the top two tackles in the draft may go in the first three picks, it could be that the talent that the Hawks would be willing to pay fourth-pick money to is off the board. If Curry and the two tackles are gone, it leaves them in the perfect position to trade down and allow another team to move up and pick the top QB. Considering the number of teams looking for a quarterback (Jets, Broncos, 49ers, even the Jaguars may have interest), Denver would now seem to have the most ammunition to move up.

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If by some crazy chance a QB hasn’t dropped off the board by the Hawks first pick, how great would it be if Denver were willing to give up both their first round picks to move up? It would give Seattle a look at potentially taking a couple guys like cornerback Malcolm Jenkins and tackle Andre Smith. Or if they’re still looking to go with a QB in the first round, Josh Freeman could be available.

A potential wild card could be a guy that was heavily talked about going to Seattle prior to the combine and Seattle signing Houshmanzada in free agency. Will the Hawks still be considering Michael Crabtree at that spot? A lot has been made about the guy’s recent injury and the fact that he came up a couple inches shorter than what he was listed, but the fact remains that he flat-out balled at Texas Tech. Just watching that guy play last year made me wonder if he could be the next Larry Fitzgerald. If the Hawks could get a playmaker like that, suddenly it doesn’t matter as much who’s behind center. So maybe he’s still an option at the fourth pick.

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Ultimately, a lot is going to depend on what the Lions do with their pick. With the Cutler deal, and the fact that Detroit still needs a QB, they could take Sanchez or Stafford and Denver could trade up ahead of Seattle to take the second quarterback off the board. Everything seems to point to the Rams taking a tackle, and that would still leave an abundance of options for the Hawks. Any way you look at it, it’s shaping up to be an interesting first hour.

I’m going to be watching this closely, and for those who will be Twittering on draft day, look for me online under the handle mil_seahawkers.