Where Kevin Kolb fits in NFC West
March, 9, 2011
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireSeattle would be a logical destination for Kevin Kolb if the Eagles decide to trade their backup QB.Ten years have passed since the Seattle Seahawks acquired Matt Hasselbeck from the Green Bay Packers and named him their starting quarterback.
That move worked out well.
Hasselbeck went to three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl, but now he is 35 years old and without a contract for 2011. The team could still re-sign him, or it could build around a younger quarterback -- perhaps even one with a similar background.
The Philadelphia Eagles' Kevin Kolb is 26 years old and, like Hasselbeck, he learned from Andy Reid. Reid, entering his 13th season as the Eagles' head coach, oversaw quarterbacks in Green Bay during Hasselbeck's rookie season there.
The tie-ins do not end there.
Seattle's new offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, spent the past five seasons in Minnesota under Reid's former offensive coordinator, Brad Childress. The offense Bevell plans to run in Seattle shares a heritage with the one Philadelphia had in mind for Kolb when the Eagles drafted him 36th overall in 2007.
In other words, Kolb to Seattle would fit with history and with the present should the Eagles decide to trade him.
"I would give up my first-round pick for him in a heartbeat if I were Seattle," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said.
The price of doing business
Kolb has started only seven games, all of them over the past two seasons. He has played well at times, but not well enough to beat out Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick. Those seven starts might not enhance Kolb's value, but with Vick's style inviting injuries, the Eagles could be reluctant to sell their backup.
Just about every player has a price.
In 2001, Seattle sent the 10th overall choice and a third-rounder to Green Bay for Hasselbeck and the 17th overall selection. In 2007, Houston sent the eighth overall choice and two second-rounders, including one in 2008, to the Atlanta Falcons for Matt Schaub and the 10th overall choice.
Seattle does not have a third-round pick in the 2011 draft. It holds the 25th overall choice, a pick slightly more valuable than the price paid for Hasselbeck:
The Hasselbeck trade saw Seattle send the 10th and 72nd choices in the 2001 draft to Green Bay for the 17th choice. The 10th and 72nd choices are worth 1,530 points on the NFL's trade-value chart. The 17th pick is worth 950 points. The difference between those values -- 580 points -- represents the price Seattle paid for Hasselbeck.
The 33rd overall choice is worth 580 points on the chart, meaning the Seahawks gave up the equivalent of the first choice in the second round for Hasselbeck (assuming the current 32-team structure).
With that in mind, it's tougher to envision the other quarterback-hungry NFC West teams parting with a first-rounder for Kolb. The Arizona Cardinals hold the fifth overall choice. The San Francisco 49ers pick seventh.
Seattle, by winning in Week 17 and in the wild-card round, saw its draft position fall from eighth to 25th. The fall hurt their prospects for landing a quarterback early in the draft, but that pick could still help them acquire one by trade.
"They might have to do better than that," Williamson said. "If I were Philly, I would say, 'Let me see what the Vikings are going to give up.' You might get more than Seattle’s first-round pick. But that is a good opening tender. It might get it done."
The right fit
The Seahawks aren't the only NFC West team running a variation of the West Coast offense. The 49ers' Jim Harbaugh is installing one, too. That would, on the surface, make San Francisco a logical destination for Kolb as well.
That was my thinking, anyway, in discussing Kolb's value previously.
"Seattle is the best fit for him in the division," Williamson said. "San Francisco and Arizona want to be more downfield passing teams as opposed to traditional West Coast. Seattle is going to be more and more West Coast. That is what they are built to do, what they are going to do, and what Kolb is going to do."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has suggested his offense will change only minimally with Bevell taking over for Jeremy Bates, who was fired. Bates leaned toward Mike Shanahan's version of the West Coast offense, a variation favoring quarterbacks with stronger arms. That explains why Seattle acquired Charlie Whitehurst, a quarterback with a strong arm and shorter-range accuracy deficiencies, from the San Diego Chargers last offseason.
Harbaugh has publicly embraced the Bill Walsh offense, or at least key elements of it. But the style Harbaugh ran at Stanford would presumably carry over.
"On offense, his identity is going to be built around the power run game, play-action pass and a physical presence," ESPN Pac-10 analyst Brock Huard said when the 49ers hired Harbaugh.
Harbaugh has repeatedly talked up 2010 starter Alex Smith, who is unsigned for 2011.
"To jump from Smith to Kolb, I wouldn't give up the Niners' first-round pick, because he is not the perfect guy for them," Williamson said. "I’m not backing Alex Smith by any stretch of the imagination. It just doesn’t seem like you give up on the pass-rusher or cornerback, someone who is going to be a staple of your defense, for Kevin Kolb when he is not the best fit for you offensively."
Alternatives in the draft
Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, available to Insider subscribers, has Seattle selecting Washington quarterback Jake Locker at No. 25. Kiper suggests Locker's accuracy might improve if given more time to throw. Seattle remains in the early stages of rebuilding its offensive line, but Locker wouldn't start right away.
Chuck Cook/US PresswireQB Jake Locker might be available to the Seahawks, who hold the 25th pick in April, but Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. says he's not a good fit for Seattle's scheme.
Seattle will make an informed decision on Locker either way, based on Carroll's longstanding relationship with Washington coach Steve Sarkisian.
"I’d rather have Kevin Kolb than Locker," Williamson said. "He is a better fit, more proven, definitely a better NFL player today -- and it's not like he's old. I don’t think Locker fits the West Coast at all. He's too erratic, has a low completion percentage and the ball doesn't come out of his hands clean all the time."
Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton will presumably be long gone when Seattle uses that 25th choice. Kiper's latest mock suggests both will be gone even before Arizona selects fifth overall. Early in the evaluation process, Kiper had Arkansas' Ryan Mallett landing in Seattle, but Mallett hasn't even been a first-rounder in the past two Kiper mocks.
As for other top college prospects?
"I wouldn’t use a pick as high as Seattle's for Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton," Williamson said.
The final analysis (for now)
Re-signing Hasselbeck still stands as a viable option for Seattle. Hasselbeck would fit Bevell's offense better than he fit Bates' system. But if Hasselbeck can get a longer-term commitment from a team better positioned to support him and win now -- Minnesota comes to mind primarily -- this could be time for Seattle to move on.
The Seahawks have positioned themselves well enough from a salary standpoint to use free agency if and when a salary cap returns. General manager John Schneider has said he'll be more aggressive than his mentor, Ted Thompson, in pursuing veterans. The team has ample resources to pursue what could be a longer-than-usual list of free agents. And the past year has shown the Seahawks will use the trade market without hesitation.
Those factors make it easier, in theory, to part with with a draft choice for Kolb.
"Keep the front seven intact, get Red Bryant back from injury, add Robert Gallery in free agency, use the second-round pick on a corner and your are a better team than you were a year ago, and the future is set up better than before," Williamson said. "You let Hasselbeck walk, you say Whitehurst could still be a high-upside No. 2, and we have our guy in Kolb. If you can get it done for the 25th pick, I'm not sure how you can pass that up."