Draft countdown: 7 weeks. Every Thursday (OK, Friday this week) until the draft, we'll round up the latest draft rumors, analyze the latest mock drafts and take a look at other draft-related topics involving the Seahawks.
The Seahawks have been criticized -- even lambasted -- for the way they have used their first-round picks the past two years.
In 2011, James Carpenter was considered a reach at 25th overall. And in 2012, Bruce Irvin was viewed the same way at 15th overall. Both Carpenter and Irvin were considered by most to be second-round picks.
In both drafts, general manager John Schneider tried to move down. He couldn't do it in 2011, but he made the drop from 12 to 15 last year and considered doing it again before pulling the trigger on Irvin.
Because of injuries, Carpenter has not had a chance to show whether he will be worth his first-round status. The 2013 season figures to be his last chance to stay healthy and prove it by becoming the full-time left guard (even though he was drafted to play right tackle).
Irvin led all rookies with eight sacks in 2012, but he did it in a purely situational role. It remains to be seen whether he can become a full-time player who would merit the first-round expenditure.
This year, the Hawks are again at No. 25. But whether they stay there or move down (or up), they are not as likely to be chastised for their pick because there is not a clear first-round cutoff.
There are widely varying rankings of players beyond the top 15 or so.
The players most mentioned in connection with Seattle's pick at 25 have been UCLA DL Datone Jones, Texas DE Alex Okafor, LSU DE Sam Montgomery, Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore, Tennessee WRs Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter, and Rutgers LB Khaseem Greene.
Those are all nods to the team's needs along the defensive line, at receiver and at linebacker.
The D-line seems to be the place where the Hawks will focus, and it's likely to be a tackle.
But, keeping in mind this regime's penchant for pulling unique picks, here's a look at some candidates at other positions they could target if they stay at 25:
CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State: What? The Hawks don't need a corner? Tell that to Pete Carroll. At 6-2 with 33 7/8-inch arms, Banks has the length the Hawks like. And he seems to be about as brash as Richard Sherman, claiming he can shut down Detroit's Calvin Johnson. Another Optimus Prime for Seattle? The Hawks need a nickel back now, and Brandon Browner might not stick around past 2014 -- he, Sherman and Earl Thomas are all free agents in 2015.
OL D.J. Fluker, Alabama: How symmetrical would this be? Two Alabama linemen drafted 25th overall starting at guard for the Hawks. Fluker played right tackle at Alabama but might be best at right guard in the NFL. The Hawks don't really need to spend a high pick on another offensive lineman, but if they think Fluker is better than any D-lineman they can get at 25, the monstrous 6-5, 339-pounder certainly would fill a hole on the right side.
TE Zach Ertz, Stanford: The Hawks have talked about a double-tight end set for years, dating back to the Mike Holmgren era. Russell Wilson discovered Zach Miller late in the season, and he now knows the power of a great pass-catching tight end. What if the Hawks had two of them? And both named Zach?
S Eric Reid, LSU: At 6-1, 213, Reid is seemingly a good blend of what the Hawks already have in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Reid has 4.52 speed and hits like Bam Bam Kam. The Hawks might look at Reid as a potential replacement for Chancellor if the latter does not return to his 2010 form or if the Hawks decide they don’t want to pay Chancellor in 2014.
RUSHING THE PASSER FROM THE MIDDLE (ROUNDS)
As expected, the Hawks are looking at veteran pass rushers to help out while Chris Clemons recovers from his ACL injury and to complement him and Bruce Irvin when Clemons is healthy. The Hawks seem very unlikely to purse high-priced young vets such as Paul Kruger, Cliff Avril or Michael Bennett.
They do seem likely to take a tackle in the first round, but they could look for Leo pass-rush help in later rounds.
They have struck out in recent years with guys like Dexter Davis and Jameson Konz (seventh-rounders in 2010) and Pep Levingston (seventh in 2011). But if they look a little earlier, they might find a guy in the fourth or fifth round.
John Simon -- a 6-1, 257-pound ball of energy from Ohio State -- is simply a pure football player. He is not the biggest or fastest, but his effort is relentless. He led the Big Ten with nine sacks last season, but even if he does not work out as a pass rusher, he figures to be a heck of a special-teamer. He is rated as a third- or fourth-rounder.
Corey Lemonier -- a 6-3, 255-pound speedster from LSU -- is quick (4.60) and relentless. He needs work against the run, but he could be a nice fourth-round addition to Clemons and Irvin.
Cornelius Washington -- a 6-4, 265-pound end from Georgia -- could be a nice project pick in the fifth round. With coaching and strength development, the athletic rusher seems to have the tools to develop in a couple of years.
HAWK DRAFT TALK
**The Seahawks have met with Datone Jones twice (at the Senior Bowl and at the Combine) and obviously are interested in him. He has to be the odds-on favorite for the pick at 25 right now.
**Arizona QB Matt Scott reportedly followed a good Combine with a great Pro Day and might end up getting picked in the second round. If he stays down in the third or fourth, the Hawks might be tempted to look at him as a backup for Russell Wilson -- assuming they trade Matt Flynn.
**Speaking of trading Flynn, might the Hawks be thinking of trying to use him to move up in the draft? The Seahawks seem quite high on Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson, but he figures to be drafted in the top 15. If the Jets (No. 9) were interested in Flynn, the Hawks could trade the quarterback and their top two picks to move up and take Richardson -- or Florida's Sharrif Floyd, if he slipped to ninth.
Datone Jones continues to be the favorite, while a couple of mockers have top-10 ends sliding to Seattle and another reaches for a receiver (which fits Seattle's MO):
DL Datone Jones, UCLA
Rob Rang and Dane Brugler, CBS/NFLDraftScout.com; Derek Stephens, Scouting the Seahawks
Brugler joined Rang and Stephens on DJ's play list. They like Jones for his versatility and potential as an interior rusher.
DE Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Rob Staton, Seahawks Draft Blog
Staton's most recent mock draft has Jones sliding to Seattle and Pete Carroll taking his one-time USC player despite questions about spinal stenosis.
DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
Todd McShay, ESPN.com
McShay has Werner sliding out of the top 10 all the way to Seattle. Considering several top analysts have him as a top-five pick, a drop to 25 seems pretty unlikely. But if he does fall, would the Hawks want the 6-3, 266-pounder? Especially if they sign a veteran? Probably be hard to pass up.
WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech
Russ Lande, National Football Post
Patton is listed as a second- or third-round option by most top analysts, but Lande says, "Patton is a tall receiver who accelerates to full speed fast, runs sharp routes, has the burst to easily get separation and the run-after-catch ability to make big plays."