When the Seahawks have had agreed-upon needs, they usually have addressed them early in the draft. Which is especially interesting this year, because the Seahawks have a glaring need along the offensive line.

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The point of this little exercise is to see if the Seahawks’ recent draft history can tell us anything about what they might do in this month’s NFL draft.

Do they draft for need? Are they unpredictable?

Going back to 2011, I found four or five sites that listed the Seahawks’ biggest needs entering the draft. (I didn’t include 2010 because the Seahawks had such a high pick that it was far easier to determine their intentions.) I then compared those pre-draft needs with how the Seahawks drafted.

The general takeaway: When the Seahawks have had agreed-upon needs, they usually have addressed them early in the draft. Which is especially interesting this year, because the Seahawks have a glaring need along the offensive line.

There is so much that goes into the draft beyond evaluating players and how they would fit. General manager John Schneider and his staff have to figure out the needs of teams, the interests of teams, where a player is expected to get drafted and how he compares with other players at his position (are there three guys who are pretty similar, or is one guy head-and-shoulders better?).

The point is that I know it’s not as simple as assessing needs and plugging in a player via the draft. But if this achieves nothing else, maybe it shows how the Seahawks have operated in similar circumstances:


Consensus needs: QB, OL, CB

Overview: This is a year the Seahawks had several holes to fill, none bigger than quarterback. As Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote at the time, “No team wants to trade down more than Seattle, which has seven big holes to fill, including two at guard and one at tackle.” But the biggest question — the one that got the Seahawks hammered after the draft — was the quarterback position. It was assumed that the Seahawks would take a quarterback early in the draft, and if not early, certainly they would take one at some point.

Did they address their needs? Mostly. The Seahawks didn’t pick a quarterback, but they did take two linemen, their next-biggest need, with their first two picks (tackle James Carpenter and guard John Moffitt). They also picked two cornerbacks (Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell), another area of need.


Consensus needs: Pass rusher, LB, RB

Overview: It was pretty clear that the Seahawks needed to improve their pass rush, and it was pretty clear they needed a linebacker to replace departed starter David Hawthorne.

Did they address their needs? Yes. The Seahawks surprised almost everyone in the first round by taking Bruce Irvin — a special athlete championed for his pass-rush ability. They filled their need at middle linebacker by taking Bobby Wagner in the second round. And they added a backup running back in the fourth round (Robert Turbin). It’s also probably worth noting that they finally got that quarterback — Russell Wilson — just a year later than predicted.


Consensus needs: Well, about that …

Overview: The Seahawks were such a loaded team that year — they had 14 defensive backs in training camp who would start at least two games in the following three seasons — and as such they didn’t have much pure need. Some people had defensive tackle as a need, some had offensive line, some had tight end or quarterback.

Did they address their needs? No, because of the aforementioned lack of an obvious need. What they did, actually, was quite surprising at the time: They drafted a running back, Christine Michael, with their first pick, in the second round. That pick made sense in hindsight because of Marshawn Lynch’s age and contract situation. But the Seahawks did pick a couple of defensive tackles (Jordan Hill, Jesse Williams), and if there was a consensus need, defensive tackle was it.


Consensus need: OL, WR

Overview: The Seahawks had a hole at right tackle after letting Breno Giacomini leave in free agency. Analysts also expected them to add help at wide receiver.

Did they address their needs? Yes. They picked speedy receiver Paul Richardson with their first pick in the second round and receiver Kevin Norwood in the fourth round. And they addressed the right-tackle vacancy by taking Justin Britt with their next pick in the second round.


Consensus need: TE*, OL, WR

Overview: The asterisk has to do with tight end Jimmy Graham, because before the Seahawks traded for him, many people pegged tight end as one of the Seahawks’ biggest needs.

Did they address their needs? Kind of. They surprised many people again by taking defensive end Frank Clark in the second round. But they did take a receiver, Tyler Lockett, in the third round, and they even uncharacteristically traded up to get him. They addressed the offensive line in bulk by taking three players (Terry Poole, Mark Glowinski and Kristjan Sokoli), all in the fourth round or later.