Dan Kelly over at Fieldgulls is theorizing that the Seahawks could be caught up in a frenzy of trading in this year's draft, with QB-desperate teams trying to move up and beat other teams to the punch.
Rob Staton of Seahawks Draft Blog jumps into the trade discussion by suggesting five first-round trade possibilities, some of which include Seattle as a contestant.
Another angle is Rob Rang's belief that teams will be shier about trading down this year due to the lack of a CBA. The previous CBA allowed teams to attach longer contracts to early first-rounders, but nobody knows what rules will be attached to those picks this year. Teams may not want to give up the extra years of ownership of those guys when they might not be able to use those players in their rookie season.
Teams like New England and Philadelphia have shown the ability to trade down and still keep their collateral in the first three rounds, where starters are usually found. If you can show me a scenario with Seattle trading out of the #25 spot for extra picks in those rounds, that has to be given due consideration.
I insist, however, that trading down needs to be done with caution. I'm not interested in piddling around with late-rounders. Premiere talent is what gets the job done in this league, not necessarily multiple picks. Those picks still need to be good, and there's a reason lower-round players fall - they're not as good. I firmly believe that one first-round pick will usually impact a team far, far more than two fourth-rounders can. The gain needs to be worth the loss.
John Schneider got a lot of trade-down offers for Seattle's first three picks during last year's draft, and he stayed put. His restraint shows that he values players over picks, which I like. That being said, he's admitted that he was very tempted by those offers, and it's not unreasonable to think that he might pull the trigger should teams come calling again. This is especially true if his draft board has been emptied by the time Seattle selects.
That potential draft board is coming into more focus as the draft day nears. Guys like QB Ryan Mallett, DT Corey Liuget, G Mike Pouncey, and LB Akeem Ayers headline the list for me; each has concerns, but if they didn't, they wouldn't be considered at #25. Even so, these guys are still slowly crawling their way up popular mocks and out of Seattle's reach. If none of the value-meets-needs prospects are still there for the Seahawks, should they settle for lesser need or lesser value? This is the scenario in which I'd rather trade down.
What could we get? Depending on the draft value chart you're using - NFL Draft 101 has adjusted theirs to account for apparent changes in recent trade value - an early-drafting team looking for a QB might surrender their early second and a mid-third to take our place at #25. Tennessee is one such candidate. Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Arizona are others if Schneider is willing to throw in the fourth-rounder we got for Deion Branch to balance the scales. Those trades would yield high third-rounders, which Seattle has the late-round ammunition to turn into low second-rounders.
It's hard to argue with three second-round picks; it'd be very Belichick. At the very least, Seattle stands to recoup what many of us consider to be the unjust loss of our third-rounder in the Charlie Whitehurst trade. Did you know that Seattle has had a third-round pick in only two of the last six drafts?
So I'm not against trading down, as long as there's a method to the madness. Establish a set big board with a definitive ending to it, stick to it, and if everyone goes earlier, there should be at least a couple of QB-hungry teams looking to trade up and beat each other to second-tier guys like Colin Kaepernick, Christian Ponder, or Andy Dalton. I personally don't rate any of these guys in the first round (or even in the second, in some cases). But teams will pick for need instead of talent, and Seattle could benefit significantly from their needs.
I have to admit, trade scenarios are kinda fun to dabble in. That's why I'll be participating in a Twitter mock draft with Rob and Dan starting this weekend. I'm excited to work with these two guys who have a better handle than some on how the draft works. I hope you'll take the time to follow our little triumvirate of insanity.