I’ll never EVER get tired of mocking this Bleacher Report post that gave the Seahawks an F grade for their 2012 draft class. Let’s overlook, for a moment, the fact that grading a draft class the day of, or the next day, or even in the first year, is pretty ridiculous. You don’t know how good or bad players are going to be! All you know is what the Mel Kipers of the world have been blathering on about, and they don’t know anything either! Grading a draft class based on pre-draft projections and predictions is pretty silly.
But, there are some real juicy pull-quotes from that Bleacher Report link. They called Bruce Irvin, “one of the worst picks in the first round I can ever remember,” before going on to say that the Seahawks, “didn’t draft any positions of need or draft for the future.” Let’s run down those draft picks really quick:
- Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, 1st round, 15th overall
- Bobby Wagner, MLB, 2nd round, 47th overall
- Russell Wilson, QB, 3rd round, 75th overall
- Robert Turbin, RB, 4th round, 106th overall
- Jaye Howard, DT, 4th round, 114th overall
- Korey Toomer, LB, 5th round, 154th overall
- Jeremy Lane, CB, 6th round, 172nd overall
- Winston Guy, S, 6th round, 181st overall
- J.R. Sweezy, RG, 7th round, 225th overall
- Gregg Scruggs, DE, 7th round, 232nd overall
- Jermaine Kearse, WR, undrafted free agent
- DeShawn Shead, CB/S, undrafted free agent
I tacked on those key undrafted guys to bolster my argument, but also because they’re still significant players in the NFL. But, let’s look at this for a moment. I’m sure I’m not the first to rail into Bleacher Report on this very topic, but they mentioned the Seahawks didn’t draft any positions of need. Didn’t they? Let’s look at the 2011 Seahawks for a bit.
Regarding pass rush – which they addressed in the first round with Bruce Irvin – the 2011 Seahawks were in the bottom third of the league, with 33 sacks. They were essentially Chris Clemons and that’s it. Looks like a position of need to me.
Regarding the middle linebacker spot – which they addressed in the second round with Bobby Wagner – the 2011 Seahawks were rolling with the aging and injury-prone David Hawthorne. Lofa Tatupu was gone, K.J. Wright might have gotten a look there, but he’s better suited as an outside linebacker. And, let’s not forget Aaron Curry on the other side; no help there! I’d say middle linebacker was a HUGE area of need!
Then, there’s quarterback. I’ll forgive Bleacher Report if they didn’t believe that the short, running quarterback could hold up in the NFL. But, to say that quarterback wasn’t an area of need for this team – this team that was trotting out Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst the year before – is insanity. And, don’t give me Matt “2 starts in the NFL” Flynn, because he was never going to be a sure thing. In their analysis, Bleacher Report went on to say that Wilson, “doesn’t fit their offense at all,” and was “by far the worst move of the draft.” Even in the infancy of Wilson’s professional career, while I might understand some doubt, I can’t even remotely understand how drafting him in the third round would be one of the two worst moves in the entire draft (with Irvin being the other one). By all accounts at the time, if Wilson were only 2 inches taller, he would’ve been a first round, maybe even Top 10 draft pick. He had all the tools, all the intangibles, everything going for him but those two inches. The WORST pick? Seems like hyperbole got the better of Bleacher Report here. But, either way, what’s that about “fitting the offense”? What offense? You mean the one that likes to run the ball a lot? You mean the one where Tarvaris Jackson was under pressure on a near-constant basis? Seems to me a running quarterback – behind that suspect offensive line – was EXACTLY the right fit for our offense.
Anyway, I could go on and on. But, I didn’t really intend on this being a Kill Bleacher Report post. They’ve been killed enough, by a plethora of other writers out there. What I want to look at is just how great this class really was.
For starters, all of the guys listed above – each and every person drafted, plus those two undrafted cats – are still in the league four years later. That’s pretty big, when you think about it. How many busts have we seen get drafted and are out of the league a few months later?
Now, obviously, not all of these guys are still with the Seahawks. But, that just goes to show you how strong this class really was: we couldn’t afford to keep them all! Hell, at the moment we only have 5 out of 12 of those guys, and Shead’s on the last year of his deal! Nevertheless, everyone but Shead has seen a second deal, and Shead is all but guaranteed to join the party after the 2016 season, given his versatility.
On top of that, five of those guys have pretty wealthy second deals that they’ve recently signed, with another couple more making some serious money too. Below, I’ve re-listed all those guys, with how much money they earned on their rookie deals, as well as their general current contract terms next to it.
- Irvin – $9 million earned / 4 years, $37 million, $19 million guaranteed
- Wagner – $3.3 million earned / 4 years, $43 million, $22 million guaranteed
- Wilson – $2.2 million earned / 4 years, $87.6 million, $61.5 million guaranteed
- Turbin – $2.5 million earned / 1 year, $760K in 2016
- Howard – $2.5 million earned / 2 years, $10 million, $8.3 million guaranteed
- Toomer – $1 million earned / 1 year, $600K in 2016
- Lane – $2.3 million earned / 4 years, $23 million, $11 million guaranteed
- Guy – $1.8 million earned / 2 years, $1.42 million
- Sweezy – $3.4 million earned / 5 years, $32.5 million, $14.5 million guaranteed
- Scruggs – $1.6 million earned / 2 years, $1.3 million
- Kearse – $3.8 million earned / 3 years, $13.5 million, $6.3 million guaranteed
- Shead – $2.2 million earned / 1 year, $760K in 2016
All told, that’s $35.6 million earned, with another potential $251.4 million in their current contracts (with Shead’s second deal to come next year) and $142.6 million in guaranteed money. If you ask me, that’s a pretty nasty draft class. 2012 is the type of draft you only dream about. It not only sets you up to win now, but to win for many years down the line. We’re talking about 7 starters, 5 more reserve/rotation guys, with an All Pro and a Pro Bowler in the mix. Outstanding!