Last month, after the Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to Denver, Seattle coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider held a joint news conference. And at said news conference, a reporter asked Schneider about the possibility of drafting a quarterback while adding that this year’s QB class wasn’t as highly regarded as those in years past. 

Responded Schneider: “According to who?” He said this affably enough. No confrontation. But the point was clear: When it comes to the draft — which begins Thursday night — we’re all just guessing. 

Nobody knows how this draft is going to be regarded or, after the first couple picks at least, who is going where. Certainly not the writers or the analysts. Good luck finding anyone who predicted the Seahawks were going to take Rashaad Penny in the first round four years ago. 

Still, we scribes are contractually obligated to make predictions. So today, this space will be dedicated to what I think are the Seahawks’ three biggest areas of need, why it’s critical that they nail them in the draft and who they’ll select with their top picks. 

Need No. 1: offensive tackle

The three tackles Seattle has under contract are Stone Forsythe, Jake Curhan and Greg Eiland. The first is a former sixth-round pick who has never started an NFL game, the second went undrafted and has started five games, and the third has never stepped on the field in the regular season. Remember, only six teams allowed more sacks than the Seahawks last season, and that was with Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown, who has not been re-signed.

It isn’t known for certain who will be Seattle’s starting quarterback next season, but he won’t stand a chance if the Seahawks don’t add a premium protector. And though Schneider and Carroll have repeatedly missed on offensive linemen in the draft (they’ve selected 20 since coming to Seattle), they still have to go for one early. 


This is an offensive-tackle-heavy draft. There are tons (almost literally) of talent at the top. My guess, though? The Seahawks use the ninth overall pick to snag gargantuan OT Trevor Penning out of Northern Iowa.

Need No. 2: edge rusher

The Seahawks tallied 34 sacks last season, but more than half were from Rasheem Green, Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Hyder and Benson Mayowa — all of whom are unsigned free agents or with other teams. Even so, Seattle still ranked tied for 21st in the NFL in sacks last season, and was 31st in passing yards allowed per game.

There’s a reason pass rushers are traditionally the highest-paid players next to quarterbacks, and aside from Darrell Taylor — who had six and a half sacks last season — the Seahawks are in serious danger of being without anyone who can get to the QB. And as my co-worker Bob Condotta pointed out earlier in the week, Taylor likely will become a linebacker when Seattle plays in a 3-4. 

Creating turnovers and being stingy in the red zone helped Seattle’s defense flourish in the second half of the season last season. But those passing-yard numbers were still ugly and not sustainable for success. Acquiring someone on the edge is a necessity for this team. Prediction? With the 40th pick, the Seahawks take defensive end Boye Mafe out of Minnesota. 

Need No. 3: cornerback

Being 31st in passing yards allowed wasn’t just the function of a substandard pass rush, but also weakness at corner. And the only cornerback to start every game he played in last season for Seattle (D.J. Reed, 14 games, 14 starts) signed with the Jets this offseason. With players such as Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell and Shaquill Griffin, this position has been a strong point for Seattle over the past decade or so. Right now, though? The glory days are far behind them.

Assuming Quandre Diggs makes a full recovery from the dislocated ankle and broken fibula he suffered in the final game of last season, and that Jamal Adams regains the form that made him a star with the Jets, the Seahawks will be stacked at secondary. However, they need a quality corner to complement them on the back end. Prediction — with the 41st pick, the Seahawks select Kaiir Elam out of Florida. 

There is a lot of work to be done for this Seahawks team, which Las Vegas thinks will finish at least three games below .500.

The guesswork for the writers is close to an end. The guesswork for the GMs begins Thursday night.