Picking at the end of the first round puts the Seattle Seahawks in a bit of a pickle. While the NFL playoff run was nice, Seattle cost itself a top-10 draft pick in the process, though most fans were happy with the experience — myself included. But now, the Seahawks are stuck between a rock and a hard place without a can’t miss prospect in sight at No. 25. Do the Seahawks trade down or roll the dice and take the best player available at a position of need? We turn to the latest 2011 NFL mock draft for answers.
CBS Sports’ Rob Rang is plugged-in, knows the NFL landscape and knows Seattle well. So when Rang has a hunch or makes a projection, it pays to take notice. On Monday, Rang turned his attention to Jimmy Smith in his 2011 NFL mock draft, and pegged the Colorado cornerback as the Seahawks’ pick.
The Seahawks gave up 31 touchdown passes last season, tied for third-worst in the NFL. Veteran Marcus Trufant is due $5.8 million for 2011 and has struggled with injury and consistency the past two seasons. Seattle’s other starter, Kelly Jennings, is a free agent and at 5-11, 180, isn’t an ideal fit in the Seahawks’ press scheme. Smith, on the other hand, at 6-2, 211, is an ideal fit.
We’ve seen Smith before and his athletic ability is off the chart. Smith is the third-best cornerback in the draft — behind Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara — but character questions have dogged him throughout the process. In terms of raw skills, he’s among the best, but may slide to the end of the first round because of those off the field issues. As we’ve heard before, Pete Carroll has no problem taking on a risky player and has confidence in his ability to mold young men.
Would the Seahawks take Jimmy Smith or try to trade out of the first round, dangling the pick out as bait? We’ll find out more on Thursday as the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft gets underway.