Who should the Hawks draft on Saturday?

Michael Crabtree
Michael Crabtree

The Seattle Seahawks hold the No. 4 overall pick in Saturday’s NFL Draft. Who will be their selection when they’re finally on the clock? Our pseudo-experts weigh in.

The Candidates:

Mark Sanchez, QB, USC

Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

Who is the best available player? Curry. The outside linebacker is the most complete of all the prospects, meaning he could step into almost any NFL defense and make an immediate impact. That holds true for Seattle, where an open spot would await Curry on the side once occupied by since-traded Julian Peterson. A linebacking corps of Curry, Lofa Tatupu, and Leroy Hill would arguably be the very best in the NFL.

Which player has the best longterm future? Monroe or Sanchez. Monroe would be groomed behind Walter Jones, or simply be shifted to right tackle in the interim and learn the NFL game on the fly. Plus, offensive linemen are among the surest bets to succeed when drafted in the early part of the first round. Monroe’s upside may be limited, but he could be a stalwart for years to come on the line.

Sanchez would be Matt Hasselbeck’s understudy and a reliable backup in the short-term. With a veteran like Hasselbeck to help teach him the ropes, Sanchez would be able to ease his way into the pros.

Which player has the most upside? That’s always a tough call with the draft, but Michael Crabtree would have to be the answer. The wideout has the potential to be one of the NFL’s elite pass-catchers, in the mold of a Larry Fitzgerald or Randy Moss. He possesses the size, speed, and hands to be a force in the league for years to come.

Will any of these players be off the board when the Seahawks pick at No. 4? Curry and Monroe could very well be gone when the Hawks turn arrives. Curry is the “no-brainer” selection, while Monroe is the safe pick. Both would be attractive options to the three teams drafting ahead of the Seahawks, and the Detroit Lions, with the first overall pick, are reportedly choosing between Georgia QB Matt Stafford and Curry.

Okay, so who should the Seahawks pick? Crabtree. The Hawks underperformed mightily last year, and have a legitimate shot to reclaim the division title from the Arizona Cardinals (especially if the Cards trade Anquan Boldin). Crabtree makes the most sense because he immediately fills a position of need, and possesses arguably the greatest talent at a position that is incredibly tough to find talent at. He has the skill set and physical makeup to warrant the No. 4 selection, and will make this football team better just by being the lineup.

In addition, his presence would open up the running game, and allow the rest of the receiving corps (Nate Burleson, Deion Branch, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh) to flourish in their most comfortable offensive roles. This would allow the Hawks to mask their current deficiencies at running back, and allow QB Matt Hasselbeck to have a plethora of options to throw to (TE John Carlson included).

Yes, Crabtree’s foot injury is a concern, but he claims to be fine and the procedure done on him was minimal. Doctors have already stated that he is to make a full recovery and should be ready for action come opening kickoff.

Why not any draft any of the other guys? Sanchez, Monroe, and Smith would each be drafted as projects, rather than immediate impact players. Each of them would be backups, at least to start, and would be given time to learn their roles and study behind a veteran player.

While drafting a project player would make sense if the Hawks were picking in the middle part of the first round, it becomes tough to justify at No. 4 since the No. 4 selection will be paid a huge sum of money whether he plays or doesn’t play (upwards of $20 million). So in order to get their money’s worth, the Hawks should look for an immediate starter such as Crabtree or Curry.

Curry is not seen as an entirely viable option because most sources indicate he will already be gone when the Seahawks make their pick. However, if the No. 4 arrives and both Curry and Crabtree are still available, it will be tough to pass on the Wake Forest linebacker. Either pick would be justified at that point.

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