Seahawks' GM expects draft-day surprises

April, 17, 2009
4/17/09
6:32
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

RENTON, Wash. -- Seahawks president Tim Ruskell recently finished a predraft interview session with writers who cover the team.

All subjects were on the table. All answers were on the record. A few highlights:

  • Ruskell doesn't see any clear franchise players in this draft. Certain positions, quarterback included, could be overvalued as a result.
  • While with the Bucs, the team overvalued quarterback at the top of the draft because the new coaching staff needed one. Trent Dilfer was the choice at No. 6. Dilfer enjoyed success during his career, but he wasn't a star. The lesson, Ruskell said, was to remain disciplined in one's evaluation, not buckling to need or to the thought that drafting a quarterback early would make that quarterback become a franchise player.
  • The Seahawks, who hold the fourth overall choice, have identified their short list of four players. They have not settled on the order.
  • Are the Seahawks comfortable with their character evaluation on USC quarterback Mark Sanchez? "We are," Ruskell said. There's little chance Ruskell would ever say anything before the draft to hurt a player's reputation.
  • Ruskell anticipates big surprises in the draft because he thinks teams have about 20 players graded at the same or similar levels.
  • Ruskell thinks teams at the top will have a hard time trading out of the top five. He expects more movement from about the eighth through 12th picks.
  • Ruskell talked about "the hand we are dealt" in reference to having the fourth overall choice in a draft without clearly established stars. The Seahawks would love to be picking lower, in my interpretation.
  • The Seahawks will be looking for nimbler, more athletic offensive linemen at every position but left tackle as they use more zone blocking concepts. They will also seek one-cut running backs over dancer types. Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett fit that profile more than Justin Forsett, although Ruskell said Forsett adapted nicely at the recent minicamp.
The Seahawks haven't decided on which player they want to draft, in my view. That seemed clear from this discussion. If the Redskins or another team is serious about moving into the fourth spot, Seattle will surely listen.

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