Ruskell, Webster look for diamond in rough

Renton – Seattle Seahawks vice president of player personnel Ruston Webster likes finding the diamonds in the rough.

Who could blame him, considering the success he and Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell have had in the draft.

Linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill, along with tight end John Carlson, were all picked after the first round and have paid big dividends for Seattle.

No wonder Webster considers Seattle’s second round pick at No. 37 nearly as important as the team’s No. 4 overall pick.

“I think there’s good value in 37,” Webster said. “And we’ve got a chance to get a heck of a player at 37. People talk about four and being excited about four, but sometimes from a personnel man’s point of view you kind of know those guys up top are pretty good players and everybody knows that. But it’s getting the value picks. And 37 is a value pick.”

Ruskell said Thursday that he’s heard from teams interested in trading up to Seattle’s fourth pick. He’s heard even more, however, from teams interested in Seattle’s second-round pick.

Evaluators see the talent level in this year’s draft as about the same from the middle of the first round to the middle of the second round, so teams think they can get a good player and not pay top-10 prices.

New England is a prime example. The Patriots got a second round pick from Kansas City in the trade for quarterback Matt Cassel. Now New England has four picks in the first two rounds, staring with No. 23.

Ruskell reiterated that the Seahawks have their first four guys identified, but won’t know who they can select until the first three teams pick.

Ruskell said it’s been tough to get an idea what Detroit, St. Louis and Kansas City will do with their picks.

“There’s a lot of lying going on,” Ruskell joked. “And I can call them right now and they’ll tell me something they want me to believe. It’s a difficult draft that way.”

Webster said the deepest positions in the draft are receiver and center/guard. He also shared his thoughts on Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree and USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, possible Seahawks selections.

“I see a good decision-maker,” Webster said of Sanchez. “An accurate thrower. Excellent feet. Ability to move in the pocket. Throws with good timing and doesn’t hold the ball. Not scared to make a tough throw if he has to. I saw a competitor.”

On Crabtree, Webster said, “Crabtree is a competitive, physical wide receiver with good quickness and hands. He’s kind of one of those guys who’s angry after the catch. You know, he doesn’t go down, he goes for more. A talented guy.”

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437