SEATTLE — This year's NFL Draft has been labeled as starless and underwhelming. No marquis names, no dominant players and definitely a 3-day event that if it wasn't originating from Las Vegas, the needle on the sizzle meter would be hovering around zero.
That's not to say appearances by Donny Osmond and Wayne Newton didn't turn a few heads in the pre-draft festivities. I'll admit, It sent me diving into Wiki just to see just how old these guys are now (Osmond is 64, Newton is 80 and still killing it, Danke Schoen). I'm thinking the NFL may have been better off with David Copperfield and Criss Angel - two guys who could at least give the illusion this draft had some star power.
But in the big picture, that star power quickly fades after the draft and all teams are left with is a top athlete with an impressive past and the hope of a promising future.
Seahawks great Kam Chancellor used to talk about it all the time. The great players separate themselves by their degree of "want to." Are they just going through the motions or are they taking the field with the intent to perform at a high level not only for themselves but for the team paying them all that money?
This year's number one pick was Travon Walker, an edge rusher out of Georgia who was never named to an All-America team or even an all-conference team.
Here's a young man who wasn't even recognized as one of the best players in his own conference, yet now he's the top talent in the entire draft?
It's a little baffling.
But you know? So, what.
There have been plenty of highly-rated players who bust on or off the field and flame out.
Walker skipped the trip to Vegas and elected to stay home with family and friends. When was the last time the number one pick (excluding 2020) was sitting on his couch at home instead of basking in likely the brightest spotlight ever shined on him?
To me, it speaks a little to his character. He's thinking blitz, not glitz.
This brings us to the Seahawks.
They could have used their ninth overall pick to make a glitzy pick. Instead, they addressed their biggest need - the offensive line - the most maligned position in the Pete Carroll era.
For the last decade, Carroll and GM John Schneider have prided themselves on going off the board and finding talent where the other 31 teams may not have looked.
Not this year.
No, this time around we're hearing the words "safe pick" when it comes to their first-round selection of offensive tackle Charles Cross out of Mississippi State.
Safe is nice, but it's no guarantee it translates as productive.
In 2009, Seattle drafted linebacker Aaron Curry with the fourth overall pick. He wasn't just known as a safe pick. The experts called him the "safest pick" in the draft.
The Seahawks guaranteed him 34 million dollars. In return, Curry gave the Hawks two and a half seasons and five and a half sacks before he was gone.
When it comes to Charles Cross, there is plenty to like about him.
He's a huge dude at 6-5, 310 pounds and the fact he only gave up two sacks in 719 pass-blocking reps last season is nothing but impressive.
So what if Schneider introduced him Friday by saying he played his college ball at Mississippi instead of Mississippi State.
To his credit, Cross just smiled and looked the other way.
It's not about where he's from.
It's about where he's headed.