Starting Rotation, Luke Kuechly, and David Hawthorne

seahawks david hawthorne

Mariners Starting Rotation

Mariners manager Eric Wedge today announced the starting rotation for the start of the season. As expected, Felix Hernandez will be followed by Jason Vargas, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan, and Kevin Millwood. With Beavan and Millwood taking the final two spots in the rotation, Hisashi Iwakuma will be given a long-relief role in the Mariners bullpen.

Iwakuma has never pitched out of the pen during the regular season – he has done so during the WBC when pitching for Japan, as well as during Japanese Spring Training.

It’s safe to say that Kevin Millwood won the role as the teams fifth starter with his impressive performance in his last Spring Training start. Millwood pitched five innings and gave up one run in a game agains the Reds on Tuesday that Seattle won, 8-1.

Free Agent Dave Tollefson

Former Giants defensive end Dave Tollefson, 29, will visit with the Seahawks on Thursday and Friday. Tollefson recorded five sacks in two starts while playing in all 20 of the New York Giants’ games. He was a seventh-round selection by the Green Bay Packers in the 2006 draft and since then has 10 career sacks.

Seahawks defensive end Raheem Brock is an unrestricted free agent after two years with the team.

David Hawthorne

MLB David Hawthorne has been in the news lately with visits to interested teams. The Seahawks and coach Carroll have said that they would like to bring him back but that there is plenty of talent in the draft, so they aren’t forced to overpay for either Hawthorne or Leroy Hill.

The Saints were hit very hard by the NFL today with Sean Payton being suspended for an entire year. Saints linebacker John Vilma should expect to see something similar in terms of lost playtime. New Orleans would then be expected to go after Hawthorne as a replacement seeing that he already visited them last week.

Hawthorne is only 26 and he’s led the team in tackles the past three seasons. It’s safe to say that he’ll have no trouble finding a job for next season – it just may not be for as much money as he had hoped.

Rookie Luke Kuechly

Take a look across the internet at the latest mock drafts and you’ll see that Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly is moving up the board. The Seahawks have been linked to defensive players like Melvin Ingram, Quinton Coples and Courtney Upshaw. Kuechly hasn’t been associated with the Seahawks but that’s beginning to change because of the teams current linebacking situation.

Kuechly is a strict MLB prospect and is known as the surest tackler in the entire draft. Think of Brian Urlacher, minus 20 pounds. Looking at a few mock drafts that selected Kuechly as the Seahawks’ selection at 12, this is what they had as their reasoning/report:

Walter Football

Luke Kuechly was phenomenal at the Combine. Some scouts thought he would run a 4.8 in Indianapolis, but he silenced his critics when he showed off his terrific athleticism.

Kuechly is the best player available who makes sense for the Seahawks. They’ll need an inside linebacker if they don’t re-sign David Hawthorne. Pro Football Weekly recently reported that Seattle won’t “break the bank” to retain its current man in the middle. If Hawthorne leaves, a replacement will need to be obtained. Why not the top inside linebacker in the 2012 NFL Draft?

Todd McShay ESPN

Linebacker is among the Seahawks’ top needs, and Kuechly would immediately improve Seattle’s linebacker corps with his instincts, consistency, production and leadership.

Kuechly is a player that every team would like to have on their roster. The only issue the Seahawks face is that their defense won’t become truly elite until they resolve their pass rush issues. The 12th selection is too high of a pick to be used on a middle linebacker. Expect the Seahawks to go for the best pass rusher available (Coples or Ingram) in the first round. The Hawks have had success with selecting solid linebackers in later rounds or signing undrafted free agents (Wright and Hawthorne).

John Clayton discussed Kuechly a bit in this podcast. The conversation turns toward the rookie around the 12:50 mark. 

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