Seahawks are on the clock
Coach Pete Carroll remains loose as he faces the first crucial test of his tenure, making the most of two first-round picks in Thursday's NFL draft.
Seattle Times staff columnist
It's the eve of a critical, long-anticipated NFL draft, and the Seahawks' new coach/emperor is acting as his own court jester.
"We're gonna tweet songs thru out the day to give u hints about our draft picks ... try to figure it out!" Pete Carroll posted on his Twitter page Wednesday morning.
True to his word, he spent the day dropping an eclectic selection of songs from varying artists. Among them: Santana, Lil Wayne, Michael Jackson, Tupac, Taylor Swift, Johnny Cash, James Brown, Pearl Jam, Crash Test Dummies.
If Carroll botches this seminal draft, at least he has ensured himself consideration to judge the Grammys.
Really now, what other NFL coach would spend the day before the draft playing musical tweets? Most of these guys don't know Twitter from Twizzlers, yet here is Carroll, continuing to be cool Uncle Pete even amid the first pressure situation of his Seahawks tenure.
It's a fitting way to roll out the drama of this day. It's what intrigues you most about Carroll: He always leaves the aura that he's the most fearless, carefree, prepared man on the planet. And it contradicts the typical mysterious, secretive manner in which the Seahawks — and all NFL teams, for that matter — conduct their predraft business.
You couldn't get Bill Belichick to tell you the time right now, yet here is Carroll, pretending that song lyrics contain mystical answers.
"Don't forget the davinci code too ... there may be clues from inside the museum!" he wrote Wednesday afternoon, apparently tiring of the song shtick.
So the person who has the most to lose seems to be the loosest. Seahawks fans have been talking about this draft since last October, when it became obvious early last season that the franchise would be drafting high. The Seahawks earned the No. 6 pick by virtue of their 5-11 record in 2009, and they also have Denver's first-round selection, which is No. 14 overall. With those two picks, Seattle has a chance to own Thursday night. Or fail dramatically.
In their most embarrassing moments last season, the Seahawks looked to this day. In their most uncertain times, chief executive officer Tod Leiweke used the Nos. 6 and 14 picks as reason to believe the Seahawks would hire the right coach and general manager.
Leiweke was right about the attraction of those picks. It superseded the perception that the team was a mess and left Carroll and new GM John Schneider giddy over this opportunity.
"It's a huge opportunity for us," Carroll said last week. "That was an exciting aspect of coming here, that there was a big opportunity for us to get a couple big shots right off the bat. We're excited about it. It's going to be like Christmas to wait to see what's in the packages."
Well, the Christmas analogy does explain why he turned into Pete the caroler on Twitter.
Maybe he's in such a good mood because, despite the importance and hype of this draft, the Seahawks need only to make some smart and simple decisions to make an impact in this first round.
While it takes at least three years to judge a draft pick completely, an initial evaluation of how the Seahawks fared can be whittled down to this: Did they address their desperate need for help on the offensive and defensive lines?
Specifically, this team needs a left tackle more than anything. A fairly close runner-up is defensive end. Although you can make a case that the Seahawks have a serious need in every area except linebacker and possibly quarterback, the first round will be a disappointment if they don't address their problems at left tackle with one of those two picks.
They'll likely need to use the No. 6 pick to select that player. Draft experts don't believe there's a future Walter Jones in this collection of offensive linemen, but there are three quality tackles in Oklahoma State's Russell Okung, Oklahoma's Trent Williams and Iowa's Bryan Bulaga. The Seahawks figure to be in position to pick one of those tackles, assuming that quarterback Sam Bradford and defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh are taken with the first three picks.
If any of those consensus top three picks are available at No. 6, then it would be appropriate for the Seahawks to put off taking a tackle in favor of superior talent. One tricky wild card is Tennessee safety Eric Berry, a marvelous talent that the Seahawks will have much information on because longtime defensive whiz Monte Kiffin, a good friend of Carroll's, coached Berry last season.
Schneider admitted last week that the old "best player available" chatter from NFL executives is a cop-out. He said teams must evaluate based on need, and the Seahawks will be no different. As part of Green Bay's front office, he helped the Packers rebuild through the draft. He knows what needs to be done to replenish a team quickly and appropriately.
This is a critical three-day draft full of complicated decisions, but the first phase is clear, if not easy. Uncle Pete can have fun and lead a sing-a-long with supposed hidden messages, but surely, there's some substance coming.
When he's at his best — and he better be Thursday — triumph follows his frivolity.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or email@example.com, Twitter: @Jerry_Brewer
About Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer offers a unique perspective on the world of sports.
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