There are two schools of thought when it comes to draft: Pick the best-available player or draft for need. At its most basic level, this is the primary decision a team must make. And with the structure of the NFL Draft, teams err on the side of drafting the best available player at the position of most needs when it comes to the early portion of the draft. To understand how a team may draft, one must understand where it needs help, and which positions are strengths and weaknesses.
With that in mind, let's take one last look at the Seahawks positional needs.
Defensive line: Brandon Mebane is a restricted free agent this offseason and the Seahawks defensive line needs serious help, especially against the run. Chris Clemons was solid on the outside and Red Bryant has a chance to be a solid contributor, but the interior line is a mess right now. Colin Cole and Kentwan Balmer can play the position, but are far from a strength for Seattle. Outside of those two, it's a scrap-heap and Seattle needs to fill the void through the draft to at least get a start of patching up a line that was consistently gashed in 2010.
Linebacker: Seattle has a need here, but I'm not seeing a clear-cut prospect that may be around and is worth the value near the end of the first round. Lofa Tatupu has fallen off a cliff recently, thanks in part to injuries. Aaron Curry has been perplexing, to say the least, but still has youth on his side. Still, one has to wonder if he'll ever completely figure it out and live-up to the expectations that came with where he was drafted. David Hawthorne is also in the mix, but the position is thin and leaves much to be desired.
Offensive line: The Seahawks rushing "attack" struck fear in the heart of nobody in 2010 and it all starts up-front. Russell Okung appears to be the left tackle of the future, barring any more health setbacks, but the rest of the line is thin. Seattle could use another bookend -- the space currently occupied by Sean Locklear -- and could also use interior help. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Seahawks draft a guard or center with the No. 25 pick with hopes of boosting a run-game that's been nothing short of anemic.
Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck's contract status is still in limbo, leaving the Seahawks with Charlie Whitehurst and little else on the roster. With Hasselbeck near the end of his career and Whitehurst looking like no more than a backup, the Seahawks need a quarterback of the future and, perhaps, the present. The NFL lockout has squashed any chance of Seattle making a trade or acquiring a more proven signal-caller this offseason, and the draft may be the Seahawks only chance at finding a capable quarterback -- even with the slim-pickings in this draft class.
We’ll be covering the latest news and rumors ahead of Thursday’s first round in our 2011 NFL Draft StoryStream. Stay with us throughout the day for more on the draft as it becomes available. Check out our 2011 NFL mock draft StoryStream and our Jake Locker StoryStream for even more predictions and projections.