Like most of you, I've been studying the draft intently -- taking a look at the Seahawks needs and the projections of who will probably be available for the Hawks at the #25 pick. The more I study this puzzle ... taking a look at just who will probably be available in Free Agency ... and taking a look at what Seattle needs ... and factoring in value at the #25 Spot, the more I'm convinced that Khaseem Greene (OLB from Rutgers) could be the Seahawks pick.
Now follow me here for a second ...
The Seahawks run defense was increasingly more and more of an issue as the season wore on. AND opposing teams also found increasingly more success in those short to middle zones in underneath coverage. Now part of the Seahawks issues in coverage had to do with the fact that Marcus Trufant just doesn't have the quickness and speed anymore to cover slot receivers, so opposing QB's took advantage of that. [Finding Nickel CB will be a focus for Schneider and the Hawks this offseason] BUT, the other part of that is simply the fact that Leroy Hill has gotten old. He no longer has the required quickness and speed necessary to get to those spots in coverage anymore and to stone the run. That lack of speed and quickness was also part of the Seahawks issue in terms of their lack of penetration, as he just doesn't have the wheels to really penetrate in to the backfield ... to get those running backs in the backfield (rack up those Tackles for Loss) ... and to bring down the opposing QB. Yes, finding a 3 Technique DT and Pass Rushing DE have to be right there at the top of the Hawks needs this offseason (Priorities 1A and 1B) ... BUT getting that replacement for Leroy Hill has to rank up there as Priority 1C.
Given all of that, most mock drafts out there are projecting a lot of the top Defensive Lineman to be long gone by the time the Seahawks draft at #25 (Star Lotulelei, Sheldon Richardson, Bjoern Werner, Damontre Moore, Keke Mingo, Sharrif Floyd, Ezekiel Ansah, etc.) it might make sense for the Seahawks to shift to looking for an Outside Linebacker.
Schneider has talked in the past that linebackers have historically fallen in to 2 different categories:
1) Those 220-225 Pound guys whose game really relies upon speed and quickness.
2) The 250 Pound+ guys whose game relies upon strength and overpowering opposing players.
He admitted that they tend to choose a middle ground -- to target those guys who are a bit of both. And if you take a look at the Seahawks roster, you'll see that nearly all of their LB's fall in to that 230-240 range and are exactly that -- they have a bit of both (speed and quickness ... but also strength and power as well).
So, I submit to you that Khaseem Greene is a guy that could potentially address all of the issues I listed above and has "Future Seahawk" written all over him. He was converted to linebacker from safety prior to the 2011 season. He was the Big East's most dominant player in 2011, leading the conference in Tackles (141) including 10.5 Tackles for Loss, 5.5 Sacks, and 6 Forced Fumbles. He has a great amount of athleticism and speed ... and as you'd figure for a coverted safety, is pretty good in coverage.
I don't know how many of you follow him or not, but Rob Stanton runs the website Seahawks Draft Blog and does a great job. He tracks draft prospects (with an eye on the Hawks) pretty intently throughout the year ... and he believes that Greene could be the guy. I would highly recommend his write-up on Khaseem Greene -- which is complete with some phenomenal video clips and interviews with him. Tell me that this guy couldn't possibly be Russell Wilson from the LB position ...
Khaseem Greene -- the next quirky Seahawks first round pick?