After Ryan Tannehill, my biggest mancrush in this draft may be BJ Coleman, who has top potential and will be drafted late.
Even though the Seahawks signed Matt Flynn the team needs to find a long-term backup, and a guy who may eventually be able to take over for Flynn if he’s ineffective or if he leaves in three years when he becomes a free agent. If the team doesn’t find a guy to fill that spot this season, and the present coaching staff and personnel team is still in tact when Flynn is eligible for free agency again, then they’ll be basically committed to bringing Flynn back on a long-term deal if they don’t have a viable alternative.
That’s not to say that I don’t want Flynn to succeed. I hope he does. They’ve invested a lot in him and there’s a very strong chance that he’ll be a significant upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson.
But if he isn’t successful, which is a very real possibility, the team will need a guy in place who can keep the team successful in the long-term. Maybe they won’t find Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but if their defense is still very good they may not need a traditionally great quarterback.
They’ll have several opportunities to draft a quality backup in this year’s draft, even if they aren’t going to be in position to draft Ryan Tannehill, though their interest in him shows that they are certainly interested in finding a young signal caller. They just have to control the significance of the investment. We looked at several quarterback candidates this offseason, but the Seahawks plans at the position have changed, and this post should reflect that.
Second and Third Rounds
Kirk Cousins: The Michigan State product is a three year starter who has played in a pro-style offense, and who has been the most consistent quarterback this offseason. Cousins was decent in the Senior Bowl and threw the best of any quarterback invited to the combine. Cousins doesn’t have ideal size and will have to add bulk to take the pounding of a full NFL season, but he’s got a ceiling similar to Matt Hasselbeck. A smart player who doesn’t have amazing physical tools, but who can play well enough to win games for his team some weeks, and keep them in just about any game.
Brock Osweiler: I’m not a huge Osweiler fan. I don’t think he has the footwork to function under center, and I’m worried that his level of experience in a true pro-style offense is limited to the point that he may struggle in the NFL. Osweiler has a big-time arm though, and if he’s able to make huge strides personally and the team is willing to alter their offense to better fit his skills he may be a fit. I still don’t like him in the top half of the draft for any team, though.
Fourth and Fifth Rounds
Ryan Lindley: Going into the 2011 season Lindley was a guy who had the potential to push himself into 1st or 2nd round consideration with a strong year, and to fall quickly with a poor one. Nothing went right for Lindley last year, and he ended up having the lowest completion percentage of his career. Despite that, he’s got good size and experience under center. He doesn’t have a total rocket arm, but he’s strong enough to throw most NFL throws, and has potential to improve on the quarterback he is today with coaching.
B.J. Coleman: While Cousins may have had the best offseason of all quarterbacks toward the top of the draft, Coleman has also put himself on the radar. He played for UT Chattanooga, and wasn’t a well known prospect, but he showed well in the East-West Shrine game and showed solid footwork and a solid arm. Coleman may be my favorite candidate for the Seahawks in this year’s draft because of his potential and likely draft position, but he’s far from a finished product and has a long ways to go before he’s a starting quarterback candidate.
Sixth, Seventh Round, and Undrafted Free Agent Candidates
Aaron Corp: I am totally certain that nobody in the world is thrilled at the idea of Aaron Corp ending up on their team. He’s been injury prone, and while he played under Pete Carroll at USC, he ended up leaving to go play for Richmond. That said, he never really reached his potential at either school, and has experience in a pro-style offense
Russell Wilson: I don’t think that Wilson is any worse a prospect than Pat White was when he came out of West Virginia. Both guys have adequate arms to play in the NFL along with their athletic repertoire, and White got taken in the 2nd round by the Miami Dolphins. Those Dolphins were coached by Tony Sparano, who already got his “Wildcat Quarterback” in New York in Tim Tebow, and White most recently flamed out as a prospect for the Kansas City Royals. Wilson has a better arm, but size will be a concern for him and he probably doesn’t stand much of a chance to be a long-term starter in the NFL. I know that Drew Brees is also short, but there are hundreds of other short, strong-armed QB’s that have failed.
John Brantley: Another super-exciting prospect for Seahawks fans. Brantley seemed like he’d eventually be a good pro prospect, and never really became one. Brantley’s got some physical tools that are appealing, but also some warts. That’s why he probably won’t be drafted. He’s a guy, though, who played under Charlie Weis, so he’s got experience in a pro-style offense, and has a reasonably strong arm and good size for the position. He makes bad decisions, has a weird hitch in his motion, and has some other mechanical and fundamental flaws, also.