Get to Know Seattle Seahawks: Interview with Rob Staton

Pete Carroll went nuts last year with the roster moves, what does he have in store this year?

One of the best team focused draft sites on the web is Rob Staton’s If you’re a fan of the Seattle Seahawks and the draft there’s no place better to get your Seahawks draft information.

He took some time to answer some questions for us and our readers about the Seahawks and the upcoming draft.

1.) What are the seahawks biggest needs?

The team needs to make a long term investment at quarterback. There are plenty of weak areas on the Seahawks roster (cornerback, defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver) but until Seattle has it’s long term successor to Matt Hasselbeck, quarterback remains the biggest need.

2.) How’s the trade for Charlies Whitehurst working out?

It’s a difficult one to call. Whitehurst had a 1-1 record as a starter last year and he was efficient if nothing else in a big win over the Rams in week 17. The best review of the trade is simple – even when Matt Hasselbeck was really struggling in 2010, Whitehurst never came close to displacing him. He’ll be 29 in August and has one year left on his contract, so expectations are not high.

3.) Do you have a feel for Carrol’s draft strategy yet?
Not really, but we know it’s a very different strategy to former GM Tim Ruskell. We do know that Carroll wants the running game to be a focal point of the offense and we have some idea of the defensive scheme he’ll use. That offers a few hints to the draft policy, but only really based on scheme fit.

4.) How are the last two draft classes coming along?

The 2009 class can only be viewed negatively for me and it was Tim Ruskell’s final draft as GM. Aaron Curry could never live up to the position he was taken, which is why it’s never a good idea drafting a 4-3 OLB fourth overall. Max Unger was on IR in 2010 and Deon Butler has been hit and miss. The best thing about the 2009 draft was the trade with Denver which led to an extra first round pick the following year.
Russell Okung and Earl Thomas were both success stories in year one, although Okung missed considerable time through injury. Golden Tate struggled but the Seahawks found good value later on with Kam Chancellor, Anthony McCoy, Dexter Davis and Walter Thurmond. The draft-day trade for Leon Washington was a master stroke.

5.) What’s the player Seahawks fans seem to be most enamored with?

There isn’t really one guy. Those who see quarterback as the defining need have talked up the high profile QB’s. A lot of people would like to see the team draft Mike Pouncey to play left guard if he makes it to #25. Equally there’s been a lot of talk about the defensive lineman and the cornerbacks. I think if you polled a lot of Seahawks fans Pouncey would be the one to come out on top, but you have to consider how split the fanbase is on the quarterback debate.

6.) Who’s the best and worst Seahawks draft picks of the last 10 years?

There haven’t been a lot of success stories. Steve Hutchinson was drafted ten years ago in 2001 and quickly became an elite NFL guard, but I’m not sure Seahawks fans would say he was the best pick considering how he departed. Injuries have hampered Lofa Tatupu but he undoubtedly played a major role in Seattle making it’s first Super Bowl.
The worst pick likewise will divide opinion. I’d have to say Aaron Curry. The Seahawks had a lot of ageing players at key positions and really needed to start the rebuild. Tim Ruskell had to trade Julian Peterson just to accumulate a hole for Curry to fill. A 4-3 outside linebacker can never truly be worth $60m and while Curry is a perfectly likeable individual, he’s not a great player who impacts games. Mark Sanchez isn’t everyone’s idea of a franchise quarterback, but he could’ve sat the last two years in Seattle and be groomed and ready to replace Matt Hasselbeck in 2011.

7.) Before the playoffs a lot of people insinuated that the Seahawks actually lost by winning because they went from top 10 pick in the draft to the early 20’s at the earliest, based on how the season ended up do fans still feel that way…or was it for the best the Seahawks made the playoffs?

There was a lot of debate about this until the win over New Orleans. Winning a playoff game kind of justified being at the dance with a 7-9 record and helped people forget about a potential top-ten pick. We’ll have to wait and see if it’ll have any lasting impact but certainly the fans wouldn’t trade ‘that’ run by Marshawn Lynch for the #8 pick right now.
8.) How much longer does Matt Haseelbeck have left and will Whitehurst keep them from drafting a QB early?
The Hasselbeck debate is probably the most heated in football, seriously. There’s a pretty thick dividing line between fans who absolutely believe he has something left in the tank and those who think it’s time to move on. Personally, I think whatever decision they make with Hasselbeck shouldn’t deter from the fact the Seahawks absolutely must draft a quarterback as soon as possible. Whitehurst is tied to the franchise for one more year only and at 29, shouldn’t keep them from seriously considering a first round splash at the position.
9.) Last year Carrol made a ton of moves, do you think he feels more comftorable with his roser now?
I think he and GM John Schneider would like to be pro-active again this off season given the chance. Certainly they’ve added a lot of players that are better scheme fits. They struck gold on a few guys (Clemons, Washington, Williams) that can really help the team during this rebuild. There’s still a real lack of core ‘franchise’ talent at key positions and this needs to be addressed.
10.) Tell us a little bit about your site and why our readers should check it out.

I like to think of it as a good source of draft info even if you’re not a Seahawks fan. It’s updated every day and everyone is welcome to visit. We’re a growing community and it’s a pleasure to write.
11.) Who are some later round targets the Seahawks should consider?

They like big corners who can run and they spent time with Mark LeGree at the combine. Will Rackley is another player they showed interest in and if Joseph Barksdale drops – he may be one to consider. I like Brandon Burton the corner from Utah.

12.) You’re a big fan of the N.F.L. draft who are some of your underrated and overrated players?

Two guys who really impressed me in 2010 were James Carpenter and Jimmy Smith. Neither is particularly ‘under rated’ as such, but they are two players that don’t get enough praise. I’m a big Jabal Sheard fan and think he has legitimate starter potential and should be a round one pick. Jordan Todman comes accross as the type of player that goes in the middle round and we wonder why he didn’t go earlier a few years down the line.
It goes against a lot of common opinion, but I think Gabe Carimi is extremely over rated. I generally have an issue drafting pure-right tackles in the first round. I’m not that high on Prince Amukamara or Von Miller. I can never see Christian Ponder starting in the NFL so I’m surprised he’s getting such a good press at the moment

Thank you to Rob and check him out at or on twitter @robstaton

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Tags: 2011 NFL Draft 2011 NFL Mock Draft NFL Draft Seahawks Seahawks Draft Blog Seattle Seahawks

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