With the twelfth pick in the 2012 BGN Community Mock Draft, Talon Talent selects...
Courtney Upshaw: DE/OLB, Alabama
Seattle has quite a few options at the 12th position. They had an offense that was terrible in the passing game and not much better in the running game. The obvious choice here would be to get an impact WR but the thought is that most of their offensive struggles were based on the fact no one feared their passing attack because of a weak QB. This allowed opponents to stack the box and focus on stopping the run. The signing of QB, Matt Flynn, is in theory, supposed to take care of the passing woes allowing Seattle to become a more balanced offensive attack.
Seattle's defense was actually a bright spot finishing 9th in overall yardage. They had the 11th ranked pass defense and the 15th ranked rushing defense. Some offseason losses have thus far weakened the unit though, so that is where they will direct their focus in the first round.
Seattle has a litany of options available here but decides to go with Courtney Upshaw the DE/OLB from Alabama. Upshaw can move right into a specialty role, labeled the Elephant, and at once strengthens both the pass rush and the run stopping ability of this unit.
More after the jump...
Seattle runs a 4-3 as their base package but switches to a 3-4 on many downs. Seattle only has Chris Clemons as any type of consistent pass rushing threat so selecting a player that can pass rush from both the 4-3 and 3-4 is critical to what they want their defense to do.
In the 4-3 Upshaw will give Seattle the ability to spell Clemons for rest purposes, replace Clemons for run formations, and replace Red Bryant for obvious passing downs. He will also be able to transition to the SAM role and although he will need help in coverage, he will be a strong asset in the running game.
When Seattle transitions to the 3-4 is when you will see Upshaw at his best. He is a ferocious pass rusher from this formation and his read and react abilities are top notch. Currently Seattle has Clemons play a stand up end on one side but has nobody who can fill the role adequately enough on the opposite side. The selection of Upshaw will help Seattle get a little more speed on the outside and running plays won't be able to simply stretch to the sideline anymore.
Other options to look at for this pick were David DeCastro as Seattle's interior line seemed to be a weak point. However, Seattle was without Russell Okung last year making Paul McQuistan move out to the T position. This necessitated Gallery playing G and pretty much allowed a gaping hole in their offensive line. With Okung returning and McQuistan sliding back to G, the offensive line should be strengthened again.
Luke Kuechly was another option, especially with Hawthorne allowed to walk. However, Seattle is moving K.J. Wright into this center position to help negate his lack of speed. Wright is a strong tackler and has the ability to play both the 4-3 MIKE and 3-4 SILB. While adding Kuechly would certainly increase Seattle's defensive speed, Kuechly is not a pass rushing option and would not be able to do all the things Upshaw can.
Another option was DT Fletcher Cox. Seattle has an excellent run stuffing DT in Brandon Mebane but the DT on the other side was less than impressive. Seattle could really use a pass rush from their interior and Fletcher Cox would provide that. However Seattle also signed DE Jason Jones from Tennessee and will be moving him into the DT spot, thus giving them their inside pass rush.
Finally, I considered Michael Floyd. I believe Floyd has the ability to be the best WR in this draft class so giving Flynn a target like him, should increase the offensive production. Seattle however, feels that Doug Baldwin is performing well, Golden Tate will play to Flynn's strengths as a short underneath target, and the return of Sidney Rice will give them the red zone threat they need.
Courtney Upshaw will fill one of Seattle's biggest needs by providing a team ranked 19th in sacks with a consistent pass rusher opposite Clemons from day one.
Seattle defense research
Seattle selection poll
Courtney Upshaw Scouting Reports
Courtney Upshaw game review
Next on the clock will be NowWhat? with the Arizona Cardinals.
Previous Picks: #1 Andrew Luck, #2 Robert Griffin III, #3 Morris Claiborne, #4 Trent Richardson, #5 Matt Kalil, #6 Justin Blackmon, #7 Melvin Ingram, #8 Ryan Tannehill, #9 Michael Floyd, #10 Dre Kirkpatrick, #11 David DeCastro