As the Seahawks potentially eye a linebacker early in the draft, their starter at middle linebacker from 2011 has moved on. David Hawthorne has signed a five year deal with the New Orleans Saints.
I presently don’t have terms for the contract, but I assume that it’s more than I’d have wanted the Seahawks to pay for Hawthorne, and ultimately it’s better for Hawthorne, who will be playing next two Jonathan Vilma and Curtis Lofton in a Saints linebacking corps that has quickly become one of the NFL’s best.
This probably means that K.J. Wright will move to middle linebacker, where his skills are probably better suited, and that the Seahawks will be able to fill their strong and weakside linebacker positions at points during the draft. I’m not a proponent of them taking a linebacker in the first round though, as they have a defensive scheme that marginalizes the value of the linebacker position, and the personnel team has been very successful finding defensive talent in later rounds.
Not only that, but the linebacker position has decreased in value significantly in the past couple of years when teams have converted to several three, four, and five receiver sets and teams are forced to play with one or two linebackers on several downs.
The writing was on the wall that Hawthorne would probably leave, as the team will likely bring in better athletes to play the position. Good luck Heater. We’ll miss you, but not that much.