It’s not difficult to see why so many mock drafts, including the latest from PFW draft maven Nolan Nawrocki, are predicting that the Seahawks will select Boston College LB Luke Kuechly with their first pick (12th overall) this year. With David Hawthorne, the team’s leading tackler each of the last three seasons, having signed with the Saints, Seattle’s biggest need appears to be a new starting middle linebacker to replace him. Kuechly, considered by Nawrocki a “can’t-miss” prospect who's capable of excelling either inside or outside, would appear to have everything it takes to become just as solid a middle 'backer as Lofa Tatupu and Hawthorne were during their stints in the Pacific Northwest.
“But the big question is whether (Seahawks head coach) Pete Carroll is willing to use a pick that high on a position that he doesn’t really put a lot of value on,” said one team insider. “I think they wouldn’t hesitate to move down a few notches in the hopes of still maybe being able to get Kuechly, though.”
In any event, look for the Seahawks to probably use at least two picks on linebackers this April, considering the dire need for new blood at that position. One option they could consider to replace Hawthorne in the middle of the defense is second-year pro K.J. Wright, who made former first-round pick Aaron Curry expendable on the strong side last season. Wright has shown he has the skills to play in the middle, but we hear Carroll believes Wright, whom he is planning on giving a much bigger role next season, is probably better off remaining as the starting strong-side 'backer.