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The Front Row with JASON ELLIOTT April 24, 2010

| April 24, 2010 9:00 PM

After five years of a consistent playoff run, the past two losing seasons have made it seem like ages ago when the Seattle Seahawks were playing in an NFC playoff game against Washington in 2008.

But with some of the draft picks they've picked up in the last two days, those glory days may be back a little sooner than later.

THURSDAY NIGHT, Seattle fans debated for months over who their first selection may be. Then again, when you fire your coach after one season, you create a buzz around your team anyway.

Fast forward three months and the Seahawks pick up a replacement for Walter Jones in Oklahoma State lineman Russell Okung with the No. 6 pick. Okung, who has since been thrown right into the starting lineup, joins a line that will need to keep either Matt Hasslebeck or Charlie Whitehurst on their feet to be successful.

Seattle, thanks to a trade with Denver, also had the chance to add safety Earl Thomas from Texas to a depleted secondary with the hopes those big pass plays disappear over time.

In another interesting pick on Friday, Seattle added Notre Dame receiver Golden Tate in the second round. Tate, who Carroll has seen up close and personal during Irish-Trojan games, will add depth at wide receiver immediately.

Just with the addition of these players via the draft, the rebuilding process could come sooner than later.

SEATTLE ALSO caught a break when the league announced the NFL regular season schedule on Tuesday afternoon, opening (Sept. 12 against San Francisco) and closing (Jan. 2 against St. Louis) the season at home.

Based on last season, the Seahawks will play the fourth-easiest schedule in the league this season. Not that surprising, as the other three NFC West teams (Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis) are also in that top five.

The Seahawks will have San Diego, Kansas City, Carolina, Atlanta and the New York Giants coming to Qwest Field this season. The chances of a 7-9 or 8-8 record is possible this year.

Then again, those games on the East Coast (Chicago, New Orleans, Tampa Bay this season) haven't been very good to watch in recent years. In fact, with the exception of St. Louis, I can't remember the last time the Seahawks won a game outside of the West Coast.

AS MUCH as I'd like to tell myself that the Seahawks have done enough to contend for the division title with these picks, the 49ers' addition of former Idaho standout Mike Iupati to their offensive line has probably given them the upper hand to dethrone Arizona.

San Francisco has all the talent at running back and receiver with Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, along with a young defense led by Patrick Willis.

No matter what, someone is going to come out of this division - no matter how bad games look.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d'Alene Press. He can be reached at 664-0239 or via e-mail at jelliott@cdapress.com.

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