SEATTLE — Two years into his tenure as Seahawks head coach, Pete Carroll is entering his third consecutive offseason without a long-term answer at quarterback. In 2009 he made a bold statement by swapping second-round picks, and trading a third-round pick in 2011 for Charlie Whitehurst, who hadn’t thrown a regular season pass in his career.
After failing to beat out Matt Hasselbeck for the starting job Whitehurst started only two games, with his second start in week 17 for the NFC West title. Whitehurst was given the role to be a “game manager” and not lose or win the game. After a 4-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams in the first quarter Seattle took the lead and never looked back.
Matt Hasselbeck returned for the playoffs and led Seattle on one of the biggest upsets in playoff history knocking off the New Orleans Saints 41-36.
During the offseason Pete Carroll, and general manager John Schneider decided to move on from Hasselbeck. After the lockout ended Seattle immediately signed former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to a two-year, eight million dollar contract ending Whitehurst chances in Seattle.
Carroll named Jackson the starter over Whitehurst, even before he took a snap in training camp. The decision was due in large part to Jackson’s relationship with new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who were together in Minnesota. The decision drew mixed reactions from the fan base but no one could argue Jackson was worse than Whitehurst.
It was Jackson’s first legitimate starting opportunity in his career having been beaten out by several other quarterbacks in Minnesota.
Through and up and down season Jackson proved two things. One, he’s a tough son of a gun who will play through any injury including a torn pectoral muscle. Two, he’s got some potential but he’s nothing more than an 8-8, 9-7 quarterback.
With Pete Carroll’s “we don’t need a gun-slinger at quarterback” mentality the Seahawks could very well be content with Tarvaris as the starter. But with a fan base that continues to sell out Century Link field year in and year out that’s not going to cut it.
Seattle doesn’t need Drew Brees or Peyton Manning throwing who will throw it til their hearts content, somewhere around 60 or 70 attempts a game. However they are going to need more than a “game manger” if Carroll or Schneider have any aspirations of a deep playoff run, let alone a Super Bowl.
With the team holding the 11th or 12th selection in the 2012 NFL Draft the opportunity is there to make a move for franchise quarterback.
The two hot, “can’t miss” commodities in the draft: Andrew Luck (Stanford) and Robert Griffin III (Baylor). Luck, tabbed as the No.1 overall pick back in 2010 when he decided to stay at Stanford one more year, is out of Seattle’s range. The rumors that it would take three first-round picks to acquire the No.1 overall pick are grotesque and flat out criminal.
That leaves Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III as the only quarterback within Seattle’s chances. Likely a top five pick the price wouldn’t be cheap, but it wouldn’t be three first-round picks either.
So the question is, should Pete Carroll and John Schneider put together a package of picks and players and move up to get Griffin?
No, they shouldn’t.
Simple as that. Every year there are quarterbacks that are “can’t miss” and like certain players in past drafts. People buy into the notion “if he can do it, I’m sure this guy just like him can as well.” There only one problem, no one is the same as someone else. There is only one Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton.
This year it’s Robert Griffin III who has been compared to 2010 No.1 overall pick Cam Newton. Griffin, like Newton has the same style of play and similar character. But make no mistake Griffin is no Newton.
With the risk-reward always a factor it, doesn’t make sense for the Seahawks to reach for a player that isn’t worth a top 15 pick. Granted Griffin is an incredible athlete, and he’s got the accuracy and leadership you want in a franchise quarterback.
However at 6’1 218 Griffin is a toothpick compared to the 6’5 248 Newton. Secondly, no one expected Newton to perform like he did this season. He was expected to improve an almost non-existent Panthers offense from 2-14 to possibly 4-12, 5-11 if he was really lucky.
With the uncertainty of how well, or poorly, Griffin will hold up in the bigger, faster NFL alone is enough for the Seahawks to pass on him. There’s no doubting Griffin’s athleticism, accuracy and speed. But with the lack of size size, and consistent proven ability the risk isn’t worth the reward for the Seahawks with Robert Griffin III.
Pete Carroll said he won’t build an offense around the quarterback, why risk two first-round and two second-round picks for an unproven rookie? Simple, he won’t.
Seattle does need to make an improvement at quarterback, but spending four picks and possibly a player, isn’t worth it.
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