A Look Back at the Impressive Draft History of the John Schneider Era

With the draft coming up in a couple days, it’s always fun to look back at all the success the Seahawks have had in their current regime, overhauling a franchise in the toilet and propping it up as world champions.  You don’t get this good, this fast, without some remarkable drafting and some remarkable coaching.  Who can say if all of these guys would have been just as good under the tutelage of lesser men?  What we know is that a lot of these guys panned out in a big way, thanks to the system we have in place.

To give the full picture, you actually have to go back to the 2009 draft, when we had Jim Mora Jr. as our head coach and Tim Ruskell calling the shots on the personnel side.

Like all of Ruskell’s drafts after his first one back in 2005 – where he nabbed Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill, to solidify the middle of our defense – his 2009 class was a huge disaster.  The Seahawks had the #4 pick and wasted it on a bust of a player in Aaron Curry.  Given the downward trajectory of the franchise at that point, you had to wonder where Ruskell found his erroneous sense of job security, as he traded away Seattle’s second round pick (37th overall) to the Denver Broncos for a 2010 first round pick (to further confuse matters, the Seahawks ended up trading 3rd & 4th rounders to get back into the second round – 49th overall – to select Max Unger, the last bit of good from the Ruskell regime).

With that 2010 first round pick, however, the Seahawks would build their dynasty.  As we’re all well aware, the 2009 Seahawks ended up being a trainwreck just like the 2008 variety, leading the franchise to earn the #6 draft pick in 2010.  The 2009 Broncos did their part by going 8-8 and failing to make the playoffs, which meant that their first round draft pick (which was now ours) was 14th overall.

While the 2010 draft wasn’t quite up to the elite level of the 2012 class, it seriously jumpstarted things in a big way.

  • First Round, #6 – Russell Okung (LT)
  • First Round, #14 – Earl Thomas (S)
  • Second Round, #60 – Golden Tate (WR)
  • Fourth Round, #111 – Walter Thurmond (CB)
  • Fourth Round, #127 – E.J. Wilson (DE)
  • Fifth Round, #133 – Kam Chancellor (S)
  • Sixth Round, #185 – Anthony McCoy (TE)
  • Seventh Round, #236 – Dexter Davis (DE)
  • Seventh Round, #245 – Jameson Konz (WR/TE/DE/FB)

Of note is that the Seahawks were originally slated to draft much earlier in the second round, but ended up swapping picks with San Diego (along with giving them a third rounder in 2011) to trade for Charlie Whitehurst.  So, you can’t tell me there weren’t some roadblocks in the early going of the John Schneider era.

Also, it wasn’t all peaches and cream out of Tim Ruskell in the 2009 draft, as he sold off our 2010 third round pick to get Deon Butler in that 2009 class.  The Seahawks also ended up trading back in the 4th & 6th rounds with Tennessee to grab LenDale White and Kevin Vickerson.  Vickerson proved to be an adequate defensive tackle; White never made the roster.

In a much happier deal, the Seahawks acquired their extra fourth round pick (which they used on E.J. Wilson, who didn’t pan out) and managed to get Chris Clemons from the Eagles (who very much DID pan out), and all we had to give up was Darryl Tapp.

More deals to come.  The Seahawks traded away their original fifth round pick to the Jets for Leon Washington and the Jets’ 7th round pick.  But, the Seahawks got back into the fifth round (ahead of their original pick) in a deal with Detroit where we also received some defensive end, where we only gave up Rob Sims (a guard who was never all that good with the Seahawks) and a seventh round pick.  The Seahawks would use that pick to draft Kam Chancellor, locking down their two starting safeties in the same class.

As far as I can tell, the Seahawks didn’t really get much from the undrafted free agent class of 2010, though Lemuel Jeanpierre and Breno Giacomini were both brought in that year.  And, obviously, the Seahawks would bring in Marshawn Lynch via trade during the season.  But, when you look at that draft class, you’ve got 6 key contributors, including 4 starters (Okung, Thomas, Tate, and Chancellor) and great ones at that.

That brings us to 2011, or the mule of the John Schneider draft classes.  It gets a lot of flack for being mediocre, but upon further review was pretty underrated.

To kick things off, the 7-9 Seahawks of 2010 were stupidly allowed into the playoffs by way of winning one of the worst divisions in recorded NFL history.  Even though that team had literally no chance of winning the Super Bowl, it still made some noise with the Beastquake run and the unlikely upset of the previous year’s Super Bowl champion Saints.  Of course, the Seahawks would go on to lose the very next week in Chicago, meaning that for all the hubbub, the Seahawks would end up picking 25th overall in the 2011 draft.

If you were like me, you saw this as a sign of doom.  The 2010 Seahawks were not good.  Not by a longshot.  And, to be hampered with drafting so low in the first round (and in subsequent rounds) would only set things back that much further.  Apparently unable to find a partner with which to trade back, the Seahawks made that selection James Carpenter, who started as our right tackle before getting bumped inside to guard.  Everyone thought this was a reach, and history has proven this to be true; Carpenter was adequate at best, but not a true impact player you’d hope to get in the first round.  Nevertheless, he was a starter all four years, so he wasn’t quite the crime against humanity everyone makes him out to be (indeed, his current salary with the Jets would speak to how other teams have come to value his strong run blocking abilities).

  • First Round, #25 – James Carpenter (OL)
  • Third Round, #75 – John Moffitt (G)
  • Fourth Round, #99 – K.J. Wright (LB)
  • Fourth Round, #107 – Kris Durham (WR)
  • Fifth Round, #154 – Richard Sherman (CB)
  • Fifth Round, #156 – Mark LeGree (S)
  • Sixth Round, #173 – Byron Maxwell (CB)
  • Seventh Round, #205 – Lazarius Levingston (DE)
  • Seventh Round, #242 – Malcolm Smith (LB)

The Seahawks ended up trading away their second round pick to the Lions to pick up an extra third & fourth round picks (used on Moffitt and Durham).  Recall they gave away their original third round pick in 2010 to get Charlie Whitehurst.  All in all, nothing too impressive with any of these moves, as Whitehurst was a bust, Moffitt ended up getting traded to Denver after a mediocre rookie season, and Durham never panned out with Seattle.  In that same Lions trade, the Seahawks moved up in the fifth and seventh rounds, which they used to grab Richard Sherman (GREAT!) and Lazarius Levingston (WHO?).

The Seahawks gave up their original fourth round pick in the Marshawn Lynch trade (as well as a conditional 2012 pick that ended up being a fifth rounder).  However, the Seahawks got back into the fourth round by trading Deion Branch back to the Patriots.  Branch was a turd sandwich in Seattle, and we used the pick we got from the Pats to grab K.J. Wright, who has been a stalwart for our linebacking corps.

That above trade wasn’t the last time we’d deal with the Lions.  In a spectacular move, the Seahawks traded away former bust under the Ruskell regime, Lawrence Jackson, to get the Lions’ sixth round pick, which we used to grab Byron Maxwell, a huge part of our success in his final two years here (and a great special teamer and backup overall).  That made up for giving away our original sixth round pick to the 49ers for Kentwan Balmer, who would go on to be cut prior to the 2011 season.

To wrap things up, the Seahawks traded their original seventh rounder to Philly for an offensive lineman who did nothing.  However, the Seahawks were granted a compensatory pick, which we used on Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith.

Among the 2011 undrafted free agents, we have Doug Baldwin (WR), Ricardo Lockette (WR), Jeron Johnson (S), and Mike Morgan (LB).  This would also be the year the Seahawks took a flyer on Brandon Browner from the CFL, among many other free agent acquisitions.

When you look at the haul of just the rookies, though, you’re talking about 10 contributors, including 5 starters (Carpenter, Wright, Sherman, Maxwell (eventually), and Baldwin).

That brings us to 2012, or one of the greatest draft classes you’ll ever see.  The 2011 were again 7-9, but thankfully weren’t saddled with a futile playoff appearance.  As such, they were granted the 12th overall selection, which they promptly traded to Philly to move back to 15.  The Seahawks were granted picks in the fourth (Jaye Howard, DT) and sixth round (Jeremy Lane, CB), and away we go!

  • First Round, #15 – Bruce Irvin (DE/LB)
  • Second Round, #47 – Bobby Wagner (LB)
  • Third Round, #75 – Russell Wilson (QB)
  • Fourth Round, #106 – Robert Turbin (RB)
  • Fourth Round, #114 – Jaye Howard (DT)
  • Fifth Round, #154 – Korey Toomer (LB)
  • Sixth Round, #172 – Jeremy Lane (CB)
  • Sixth Round, #181 – Winston Guy (S)
  • Seventh Round, #225 – J.R. Sweezy (G)
  • Seventh Round, #232 – Greg Scruggs (DE)

Not to be stopped, the Seahawks traded back in the second round as well, this time with the Jets.  We would pick up extra picks in the fifth and seventh rounds (Toomer & Scruggs, respectively).  That one didn’t totally pan out, though I would argue injuries to both players hampered their ability to make a significant impact early in their careers.  Nevertheless, you can sense a theme:  the Seahawks wanted as many picks in this draft as possible, as it was laden with talent.

No more trades until the seventh round, where the Seahawks got the pick they’d use to nab Sweezy from the Raiders, in addition to a conditional 2013 pick (which ended up being in the fifth round) for the privilege of jettisoning Aaron Curry (who would only last with the Raiders for a little over a year before being waived).  The Seahawks did trade away their original seventh rounder for Tyler Polumbus (from the Lions), who was a starter here, but wasn’t any good.

The Seahawks also got Jermaine Kearse (WR) and DeShawn Shead (CB) from the ranks of the undrafted free agents.  All told, this class netted the Seahawks 9 contributors, with 5 starters (Irvin, Wagner, Wilson, Sweezy, and Kearse), with Lane expected to start this year, given the big money he made this offseason to re-sign with the Seahawks.

Obviously, the 2012 squad made a huge leap, thanks to the Seahawks’ tremendous draft success.  In those three classes alone, you’re talking about 14 starters, and 25 contributors overall.  The 11-5 record, and first round victory against the Redskins, meant the Seahawks would draft 25th again in the first round in 2013 (as they did back in 2011).  In something of a stunner of a move, the Seahawks would trade away this pick, as well as its seventh rounder, and a 2014 third rounder, for the right to get Percy Harvin and sign him to an ill-advised huge free agent deal.

  • Second Round, #62 – Christine Michael (RB)
  • Third Round, #87 – Jordan Hill (DT)
  • Fourth Round, #123 – Chris Harper (WR)
  • Fifth Round, #137 – Jesse Williams (DT)
  • Fifth Round, #138 – Tharold Simon (CB)
  • Fifth Round, #158 – Luke Willson (TE)
  • Sixth Round, #194 – Spencer Ware (RB)
  • Seventh Round, #220 – Ryan Seymour (OL)
  • Seventh Round, #231 – Ty Powell (DE)
  • Seventh Round, #241 – Jared Smith (OL)
  • Seventh Round, #242 – Michael Bowie (OL)

The 2013 draft has proven to be the real dog of the John Schneider classes.  Nevertheless, let’s run through the moves that got it to where it was.  As a volume drafter, Schneider found multiple ways to recoup draft picks after spending so much on Percy Harvin.

To start, the Seahawks moved back in the second round, from 56 to 62, and received from the Ravens a fifth and a sixth (165 & 199).  As you can see from above, the Seahawks didn’t draft at either of those positions.  That’s because the Seahawks traded both of those picks to the Lions to get pick #137 (Williams) at the top of the fifth round.  The very next selection came from the Raiders in the Aaron Curry deal, which we used on Simon (who has been good, but has never been healthy).

The flurry of seventh rounders (none of whom were worth a damn) came from the Saints (pick 220, for some linebacker we gave them), and a couple of compensatory picks (#241 & #242).

Alvin Bailey was the only notable undrafted free agent in this class; he was a quality reserve along the offensive line, but nothing more.  All told, the Seahawks only managed to get one eventual starter in this class (Luke Willson, who has only been a starter thanks to injuries to Zach Miller and Jimmy Graham), and three other contributors (Michael, Hill, and Simon), though Spencer Ware got a crack at a job with the Chiefs and seems to be pretty good.

We all know what happened with that 2013 team, built on a rock solid foundation of draft picks.  Following that year, the team started to get picked apart a little bit, with free agents going to other teams.  With the 2013 class already looking like a bummer, the pressure was on John Schneider to right the ship with a banner 2014 draft.  He started it off by trading away our first round pick to the Vikings for a second straight year.  The Vikings would select Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd pick in the class; the Seahawks would get Minnesota’s second and fourth round selections (40 & 108 overall).

Before Seattle could make a pick, we traded back again, this time with the Lions.  The Lions picked at 40, and also received our fifth round pick at 146 (which we got from the Raiders for Matt Flynn) in exchange for second, fourth, and seventh rounders from Detroit (45, 111, & 227).  At 45, the Seahawks finally made their first pick, selecting Paul Richardson.

  • Second Round, #45 – Paul Richardson (WR)
  • Second Round, #64 – Justin Britt (OL)
  • Fourth Round, #108 – Cassius Marsh (DE)
  • Fourth Round, #123 – Kevin Norwood (WR)
  • Fourth Round, #132 – Kevin Pierre-Louis (LB)
  • Fifth Round, #172 – Jimmy Staten (DT)
  • Sixth Round, #199 – Garrett Scott (OL)
  • Sixth Round, #208 – Eric Pinkins (DB/LB)
  • Seventh Round, #227 – Kiero Small (FB)

To make up for the loss of our third rounder (to the Vikings, in the Harvin deal the previous year), you can see why the Seahawks wanted to trade back so many times to start the draft.  They were able to pick up two extra fourth rounders.  That pick we got from the Vikings would go to Marsh, who has been a quality reserve and special teamer.  The Seahawks would use that 111th pick to trade with the Bengals to get pick 123 (Norwood) and an extra sixth rounder (Scott, who never made the team due to health concerns).  That seventh rounder from Detroit ended up being Kiero Small, who also didn’t make the team (the Seahawks would trade away their original seventh round pick to the Raiders for Terrelle Pryor, who never amounted to much of anything).

Among the undrafted free agents, we grabbed Garry Gilliam (OL), Brock Coyle (LB), and Dion Bailey (S).  At first glance, this class doesn’t look any more impressive than the 2013 class, but there are a number of under-the-radar players in there.  Right now, we’re looking at 2 starters (Britt and Gilliam), with four other contributors (Richardson, Marsh, KPL, and Coyle).  Depth guys, special teams guys, people to round out the roster.  When you figure so many of this team’s starters were already on the team ahead of this class, it’s not like you’re talking about a huge number of available openings.  Granted, a lot of this class hinges on Britt and Gilliam improving, and Richardson remaining healthy for a full season.  Should they fail, then you could make an argument that THIS is indeed the worst class of the John Schneider era.  But, until another couple years pass, it’s still TBD.

A second Super Bowl appearance for the 2014 squad meant that the 2015 Seahawks would be drafting quite low again.  With the obvious disaster of the Harvin trade looming over the franchise, the Seahawks opted to take another swing for the fences, trading away their first rounder (along with Max Unger) to the Saints for Jimmy Graham (and their fourth round pick, #112 overall).  We kick off the 2015 draft DEEP into the second round, with a controversial pick in Frank Clark (with domestic abuse allegations swirling around him, yet with an obvious cliff after him with regards to pass rushers in this draft class).

  • Second Round, #63 – Frank Clark (DE)
  • Third Round, #69 – Tyler Lockett (WR)
  • Fourth Round, #130 – Terry Poole (OL)
  • Fourth Round, #134 – Mark Glowinski (G)
  • Fifth Round, #170 – Tye Smith (CB)
  • Sixth Round, #209 – Obum Gwacham (DE)
  • Sixth Round, #214 – Kristjan Sokoli (OL)
  • Seventh Round, #248 – Ryan Murphy (DB)

The Seahawks had a ton of extra picks in this draft, which I’ll get to below.  They used a package of third (95), fourth (112), fifth (167), and sixth (181) round picks to move up to #69 from the Redskins.  That pick at 95 was our original third rounder.  That fourth rounder at 112 came from the Saints in the Jimmy Graham deal.  That fifth rounder at 167 was our original fifth rounder.  And that sixth rounder at 181 came from the Jets when we gave them Percy Harvin.  So, obviously, we sent away two picks that we got in deals, and two original picks.  We were more than happy to do so because 1) Tyler Lockett is a special player, and 2) we had extra picks throughout.

Poole was from our original fourth round pick; Glowinski was from a compensatory pick.  Tye Smith was also a compensatory pick, as were both of our sixth round guys (Gwacham and Sokoli).  That’s what you get when you don’t over-pay to keep your own players who aren’t necessarily worth big-money deals.

The only notable undrafted free agent from 2015 was Thomas Rawls, who very well may be our starting running back in 2016.  Combine him with Lockett (a Pro Bowl returner, and #3 wide receiver), Clark (valued rotation guy on the D-Line), Glowinski (projected starter at right guard in 2016), and Tye Smith (someone who will battle for minutes this pre-season) and you’ve got the makings of a very good draft class, that could be great if some of these players turn into elite starters.

With the 2016 draft class supposedly dripping with talent throughout, it wouldn’t be crazy to see the best Seahawks draft class since 2012.  Obviously, we’re drafting pretty low again, this year at #26, but with compenatory selections, the Seahawks already have 9 picks to select from, with a real opportunity to trade down in the first round to pick up some more (and gain some flexibility within the draft, in case we want to move up later).

I’m pretty excited for this year’s draft.  I’m sure I won’t know who these players are when I hear their names, but over the ensuing months, I look forward to getting to know them.

Ranking All The Draft Picks of the Pete Carroll/John Schneider Era

Has this been done to death?  I have no concept of what’s been done and what hasn’t.  I feel like it has, but I also don’t care.  There’s probably a larger blog post at play here – Ranking All The Draft Picks In Seahawks History – but I’ll be damned if I’m the man to grapple with that nonsense!  Hell, I wasn’t even alive for the first 70 picks the Seahawks ever made!

Best Front Office In Football ...

Best Front Office In Football …

But, that’s neither here nor there.  I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on the last five drafts this team has made, so I’m going to throw in my two cents and you’re either going to read it or not.  Of note:  I’m only talking draft picks here.  You undrafted free agents all hold a special place in my heart, but you don’t hold shit on this list.

Also of note:  the plan is to update this yearly, as long as Pete Carroll and John Schneider work together for the Seahawks.  So, look for there to be a page under the Best of Seattle heading up top.

To date, there have been 48 draft picks in the Carroll/Schneider Era, across 5 drafts, from 2010-2014.  For this exercise, I’m going to break these players up into four groups:  Great, Good, Too Soon To Tell, and Bad.  Simple, right?  I’m basing these rankings mostly on my gut, so take that for what it’s worth.  I’m going to try to weight this towards what these players have done for the Seattle Seahawks (as opposed to what they’ve done for other teams), but I’m not going to totally discount what they’ve done elsewhere (after all, it’s quite the numbers game in Seattle, and a few of these guys were cut loose after hard-fought battles).  Let’s begin:

Great Draft Picks By Carroll/Schneider

1.  Russell Wilson (2012, 3rd round)
2.  Earl Thomas (2010, 1st round)
3.  Richard Sherman (2011, 5th round)
4.  Bobby Wagner (2012, 2nd round)
5.  Kam Chancellor (2010, 5th round)
6.  Russell Okung (2010, 1st round)
7.  Golden Tate (2010, 2nd round)
8.  K.J. Wright (2011, 4th round)
9.  Byron Maxwell (2011, 6th round)
10.  J.R. Sweezy (2012, 7th round)

This is a massively tough list to rank at the top.  You could easily interchange any in the top three and you wouldn’t be wrong.  I don’t want to make this all about “value picks” but you also can’t discount the fact that the Seahawks have one of the best quarterbacks in football and they plucked him out of the third round.  I mean, every team had multiple chances at taking him!  But, we’ve got him, and I promise you, we wouldn’t have been as successful as we’ve been without him.

I’ve got Earl Thomas in the 2-hole because he’s the man.  I gotta figure he’s the best player on an elite defense, which is pretty amazing when you think about it.  Sherm, Wagz, and Kam round out the Top 5, with Kam narrowly edging out Okung for his spot.  You can’t do what we’re doing without a solid left tackle, but what keeps Okung out of the Top 5 is the fact that he’s been injured so often that we actually HAVE done what we’ve done without him a lot of the time.  Tate makes my Top 10 because he’s awesome and easily the best receiver we’ve drafted in this era.  Wright has been a mainstay on our defense since he was a rookie.  Maxwell rose through the ranks to get to a near-elite level by the time Philly graced him with a bank-breaking contract.  And, you know what?  Scoff at Sweezy all you want, but he’s a 7th round pick who has started for us at right guard since day 1 and has been getting better every year (without any significant injury, I might add).

I didn’t mean to only pick 10 players to put in the “Great” category, but that’s just sort of the way it went.  What you’ll notice is that it’s quite heavy on the first three drafts of the era.  4 from 2010, 3 from 2011, 3 from 2012.  Want to know how to go from one of the oldest and worst teams in football to a Super Bowl champion in four years?  Draft your quarterback, your entire starting secondary, 2/3 of your linebackers, 2/5 of your offensive linemen, and your #1 receiver in your first three years.  I’d say that’s a rock solid foundation if I’ve ever seen one.  7 out of 10 of these guys have made at least one Pro Bowl in their careers.  I could go on and on, but you know how great these guys are.

Good Draft Picks by Carroll/Schneider

11.  Bruce Irvin (2012, 1st round)
12.  Malcolm Smith (2011, 7th round)
13.  James Carpenter (2011, 1st round)
14.  Robert Turbin (2012, 4th round)
15.  Luke Willson (2013, 5th round)
16.  Walter Thurmond (2010, 4th round)
17.  Jeremy Lane (2012, 6th round)
18.  Anthony McCoy (2010, 6th round)
19.  Jordan Hill (2013, 3rd round)
20.  Tharold Simon (2013, 5th round)
21.  Christine Michael (2013, 2nd round)
22.  Jaye Howard (2012, 4th round)
23.  Michael Bowie (2013, 7th round)
24.  Greg Scruggs (2012, 7th round)
25.  Winston Guy (2012, 6th round)

None of these guys were really all that close to making it into the “Great” category, and the only ones I can see with a realistic shot at potentially getting there would be Irvin, Willson, Hill, Simon, and Michael if he ever gets a crack at starting somewhere.  Irvin certainly leads the pack in the “Good” column though.  He’s been a significant role player since he entered the league, and has become a steady starter at strongside linebacker after the conversion in his second year.  Malcolm Smith – even though his Seahawks career ended poorly – still played a significant role as a backup weakside linebacker who got some injury starts late in the 2013 season and on through the playoffs.  Hell, he’s our Super Bowl MVP, and that wasn’t the only game where he made big plays.

Carpenter was held out of the “Great” pile due to injuries and inconsistent pass protection.  No one can question his run blocking abilities, and once he moved over to left guard, he really helped solidify our line (again, when healthy).  Turbin gets the nod over the three guys below him simply because he’s been a solid backup running back since day 1.  He spells our superstar and we don’t see too big of a drop-off.  He might be a marginal starter for another team, but he’s one of the better backups in football.  Luke Willson has made a moderate impact as a pass-catching tight end on a team that doesn’t throw the ball too much.  Drops (and being iced out by the likes of Jimmy Graham) will prevent him from ever being truly great.  But, he’s been solid, and drops can be fixed.

Thurmond and Lane are close.  Thurmond ultimately has made the bigger impact on this team, even with all of his injuries and suspension.  Lane – if he ever recovers from his devastating Super Bowl injuries – figures to pass Thurmond eventually, who hasn’t been as good as an ex-Seahawk.  McCoy was fine when healthy.  He could’ve been so much better as a great blocking tight end with surprisingly soft hands.  Hopefully, he can pull his career together.  Hill and Simon are hard to place, as both got their first big breaks in the 2014 season.  Hill started to come on as an interior pass rusher until he was knocked out for the year.  Simon was forced to take over for Maxwell at times and was so-so, as he was continuously picked on by opposing quarterbacks.  C-Mike can’t catch a break as the team’s third string running back.  He supposedly has all the talent in the world, but then again, you’d think with all that talent, he would’ve forced his way into more playing time than he’s had in his first two years in the league.  Jaye Howard is no longer with the team, but he’s a rotational guy for the Chiefs and was playing some serious minutes as of last year.  One that got away, it might seem.  Bowie was an okay spot-starter on the line who could play both tackle and guard spots; he was released due to injury and concerns with his weight.  He was quickly picked up though, and figures to be solid depth on another team.  Scruggs hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough to prove he belongs.  Both he and Guy are fringe “good” players who are oh so close to landing in the “Bad” category.  They’re still kicking around the league with better-than-decent chances at making a final 53, so I’m keeping them here for now.

Too Soon To Tell

26.  Justin Britt (2014, 2nd round)
27.  Cassius Marsh (2014, 4th round)
28.  Paul Richardson (2014, 2nd round)
29.  Kevin Pierre-Louis (2014, 4th round)
30.  Kevin Norwood (2014, 4th round)
31.  Eric Pinkins (2014, 6th round)
32.  Jimmy Staten (2014, 5th round)
33.  Kiero Small (2014, 7th round)
34.  Garrett Scott (2014, 6th round)

Obviously, this is the entire 2014 draft class.  And, obviously, this is a total cop-out, but I have a hard time saying if someone is good or not based on a single season.  If I were to eliminate the “Too Soon To Tell” category, I’d put Britt high on the Good list; I’d put Marsh, Richardson, and KPL low on the Good list; and I’d put the rest on the Bad list.  But, is it fair to call Kevin Norwood “bad” because he wasn’t all that productive as a rookie?  Who knows if he’ll make a huge leap in his second year?!  For him, it’s truly too soon to tell.  By the same measure, what if Britt takes a big step back in his second year and either gets hurt or gets beat on the reg?  That’s going to affect his ranking for sure.  So, to work around this, I gotta see what you do after two years in the league.  Even if one year is spent on the IR, at least I’ll have two different seasons to compare.  For the record, Garrett Scott – waived soon after he was drafted due to medical concerns – is a lock to be pretty low on the Bad list just as soon as the 2015 season ends.

Bad Draft Picks by Carroll/Schneider

35.  Kris Durham (2011, 4th round)
36.  John Moffitt (2011, 3rd round)
37.  Ty Powell (2013, 7th round)
38.  Ryan Seymour (2013, 7th round)
39.  Korey Toomer (2012, 5th round)
40.  Chris Harper (2013, 4th round)
41.  Dexter Davis (2010, 7th round)
42.  Mark LeGree (2011, 5th round)
43.  Spencer Ware (2013, 6th round)
44.  Jesse Williams (2013, 5th round)
45.  Jared Smith (2013, 7th round)
46.  Jameson Konz (2010, 7th round)
47.  Lazarius Levingston (2011, 7th round)
48.  E.J. Wilson (2010, 4th round)

Ahh, does the fun ever START?  Kris Durham leads the pack of the “Bad” picks as he somehow made a career for himself after the Seahawks waived him prior to his 2nd season.  Keep in mind, it’s not a GOOD career, but he’s still kicking.  John Moffitt ended up playing in 17 games for the Seahawks (mostly as a starter) after being drafted in 2011.  Alongside Carpenter, Moffitt was an injury-plagued disappointment who ended up getting traded to Denver before retiring early.  Ty Powell ended up jumpstarting his career in Buffalo last season; he’s racked up all of 19 games in his career thus far.

Those are the BEST of the worst, mind you.  It’s a steep drop-off from there.  Seymour has had 3 starts in his career – none in Seattle.  Toomer has always had talent, but has never stayed healthy.  He’s a pre-season dandy who’s still kicking around the league, but I’ll be damned if I know where he is now (the Rams still?).  Harper was cut before his rookie season could even begin.  I think he’s still kicking around, but he’s unlikely to even make a practice squad at this point.  Dexter Davis and Mark LeGree are in the CFL now, so at least they’re playing football!  Spencer Ware played in 2 games and is on a Futures Contract right now.  Jesse Williams is 2 for 2 on IR appearances.  He’s still with the Seahawks – hoping to somehow crack the roster – but his odds are beyond long.  Jared Smith has played in 0 games, but is on Atlanta’s roster for the moment.  Konz was an athletic freak who never really had a set position (he was drafted as a wide receiver, though he’s also played tight end, defensive end, and linebacker in his pre-season career); he might be on a practice squad right now, but who knows?  Levingston is OOF (out of football) having only played 7 games.  Wilson is also OOF, having played in only 2 games.

And that’s it!  The draft starts tomorrow, though the Seahawks have no picks in the first round, so who really cares?

Seahawks 2014 Draft Roundup

Well, Mel Kiper gave the Seahawks one of his worst draft grades, so we should probably expect a couple of All Pros and a few more Pro Bowlers in this class.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Paul Richardson, WR (2nd)
  • Justin Britt, OT (2nd)
  • Cassius Marsh, DE (4th)
  • Kevin Norwood, WR (4th)
  • Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB (4th)
  • Jimmy Staten, DT (5th)
  • Garrett Scott, OT (6th)
  • Eric Pinkins, CB/S (6th)
  • Kiero Small, FB (7th)

At first glance, I like the chances of Richardson, Britt, and Norwood to make an immediate impact.  Marsh is the epitome of a wild card, though I think he’ll get every chance to win a spot in the LEO rotation.  KPL and Pinkins are practically guaranteed to be standout special teamers right away, with outside chances to be impact starters in 2015 and beyond.  I’ve got Staten as the leader in the clubhouse to be the first draft pick cut in training camp.  Scott looks like total practice squad fodder.  And Small could range anywhere from a starting fullback on this team (which, in and of itself doesn’t come with all that many snaps per game) and a key special teamer, all the way down to practice squad (if we can somehow sneak him through, which shouldn’t be too hard considering how fullback is devalued in the league nowadays).

This is a huge draft for the future of the Seattle Seahawks.  We’ve got a ton of guys entering their final year or two with this team.  It sounds funny to say, considering we just won the Super Bowl and were among the youngest teams in the league, but the Seahawks are really in need of an infusion of young talent.

I think it’s safe to say that last year’s class was a little underwhelming.  Luke Willson had the biggest impact of anyone, and he was a backup tight end who didn’t get a ton of snaps.  Our two defensive tackles rode the pine (one because of injury, one because he wasn’t ready/good enough for the rotation).  Our top draft pick hardly played at all considering the logjam at running back.  And, the guys with the most promise were a couple of unheralded offensive linemen who are looking to make a bigger impact in 2014.  But, when you compare the 2013 draft class to the three that came before it, there’s a lot for those guys to live up to.

We need these classes (2013 & 2014) to be future starters in the next year or two.  After a year with the 2013 guys, it’s reasonable to have your doubts.  It’s also a reason to be excited for some of the freakish athletes we picked up over the weekend.

Paul Richardson

LOVE this pick!  He’s a little under-sized, but so is Harvin, and what are the odds that BOTH of them get injured at the same time?

Richardson is a speed freak and a big play waiting to happen.  But, while Harvin is a guy you want to throw short to, in space, giving him room to create; Richardson is the guy we’ve been waiting for to seriously stretch the field.  I want to see him on the field as much as possible right away.

What are teams going to do with both Harvin AND Richardson on the field?  One guy will stretch the field and force defenses to protect the pass over the top, the other guy is going to use that space to his advantage for big plays underneath.  Or, if defenses focus on Harvin (as they rightly should), there’s the opportunity for deep bombs.

Kevin Norwood

Might as well keep it in the WR unit.  While Richardson is the speed demon we’ve been looking for, Norwood is the big body we’ve been looking for.  Unlike other big bodies we’ve tried out (Durham, Mike Williams, Sidney Rice), Norwood doesn’t appear to be an injury waiting to happen, a drop waiting to happen, or a big lumbering slowpoke waiting to happen.

One of Norwood’s gifts is his ability to find the quarterback after a play has broken down.  In case you haven’t been watching, that’s sort of Russell Wilson’s forte.  Norwood will improvise with the best of ’em, and he’ll make those twinkle-toe catches along the sideline.

Norwood’s presence makes Sidney Rice’s chances of winning a spot drastically reduced.  I’m seeing the Seahawks keeping:  Harvin, Baldwin, Kearse, Richardson, and Norwood for sure.  Rice might be able to win a sixth receiver spot, but it’s no sure thing.  It’ll depend on how the roster crunch plays out (doesn’t help him if the Seahawks opt to keep three QBs on the roster, with Wilson, Tarvar, and Pryor).

Justin Britt

One hope of mine was, if the Seahawks drafted a tackle reasonably high (as they did with this pick), it would be a guy who could, theoretically, shift over to left tackle in the event that the Seahawks aren’t able to re-sign Okung at the end of his deal.  Gotta find savings somewhere, and if you can use a guy on his rookie deal who isn’t a huge dropoff from the incumbent, all the better.

But, after listening to Tom Cable talk about the guy, it sounds like there’s zero chance Britt ever gets the nod on the left side.

Britt’s claim to fame is absolutely shutting down Jadeveon Clowney in the latest college season.  Don’t know if that’s one of those games that Clowney “took off”, but it seems to me Clowney playing at 60% is still better than most pass rushers, so I’ll take it.

Britt will come in and compete right away for the starting right tackle spot against Michael Bowie.  Love it.  Either he wins the job and we’ve got arguably an improvement at the position over the last few years, or he pushes Bowie to be even better than we thought.  That’s what you call a win-win.  At the very least, Britt should be great line depth for injuries (and you know there are ALWAYS injuries).

Cassius Marsh

As I said above, this guy is a total wild card.  If I let my imagination run wild, I’d tell you that he has the chance to be a J.J. Watt clone, but I’m not about to go that far.  My opinion all along has been that it’s VERY difficult for pass rushers to make an immediate impact.  Bruce Irvin did pretty well as a rookie, but he’s a beast with his speed rush.  Marsh doesn’t have his speed, but reportedly has some good hands, so he should be able to shed blocks pretty well.

I say if Marsh manages to find a way into the rotation on an occasional basis, improving as the season goes along, it’s a victory.  Failing that, I could see him as a guy who sticks to the 53-man roster, but is rarely active on gameday.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his hot-headedness.  That scares me a little bit, but if there’s any team that can rein that in and teach him how to use that aggressiveness to his advantage, I feel like it’s this team.  Also, don’t ask me why, but my gut tells me this guy is a candidate for failing the NFL’s drug policy in some way, shape or form.  I have no precedent to cite for this, but it’s just a feeling I have.

Kevin Pierre-Louis

This is EXACTLY what I was talking about when I said I wanted the Seahawks to draft a linebacker in the middle rounds.  He won’t play much on defense in 2014, but given his athleticism, he’s almost a lock to be a huge player on special teams (and probably force Heath Farwell out of Seattle).

And, if he finds a way to pick up the scheme quickly and refine his technique in the pass-coverage game, he should force his way into the starting lineup in 2015 when we have to make a difficult decision between K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith.  People are saying KPL is a natural weak-side linebacker, which is Smith’s natural position, so we may be seeing the final season of Malcolm Smith in a Seahawks uniform.

Eric Pinkins

Meet my absolute favorite draft pick of the 2014 class.  6’2, 230 pounds.  He was a safety in college for San Diego State; when the Seahawks picked him, we immediately thought of Kam Chancellor.  However, in interviews after the draft, it was noted that the team is looking at him to play corner.

So, now we’re thinking:  Brandon Browner.

This guy could be HUGE.  I’m, like, one interception in the preseason away from buying a Pinkins jersey and getting in on the ground floor.  You know the Seahawks are excellent at player development, especially in the secondary.  There’s no reason to think – with Pinkins being the athletic freak of nature that he is – that this coaching staff WON’T turn him into a viable starter.

Why is that big?  Byron Maxwell is entering his final season and is almost guaranteed to be playing for another team in 2015.  If Pinkins turns into a more athletic Brandon Browner, we’ve just fortified the Legion of Boom for years to come, and at a bargain to boot!

Other teams might have taken this guy and stuck him at safety where he’s comfortable.  The Seahawks see this guy and have the talent and know-how to convert him into a starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman.  I’m tingling.

The Rest

I don’t know anything about Jimmy Staten.  Looks like he could be a 3-Tech tackle in the rotation with Jordan Hill.  Maybe there’s an outside chance this team bulks him up another 30 pounds or so and tries him out at nose tackle, but who knows?

Garrett Scott looks like a project along the offensive line.  I don’t see how this guy DOESN’T make the practice squad.  Considering the talent we’ve got on the O-Line, it’s going to be difficult to get him in on the rotation.  But, he sounds like he’s really athletic and a perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme.  I’ve even heard that he’s going to get some play at left tackle.

Kiero Small is a fullback.  By the sound of things, he could be one to watch, but again, it’s fullback.  When you consider the fact that this team normally keeps five running back/fullback types, let’s count ’em out:

  1. Marshawn Lynch
  2. Robert Turbin
  3. Christine Michael
  4. Derrick Coleman
  5. Spencer Ware
  6. Kiero Small

It looks like it’s going to come down to Small vs. Ware, if he’s going to make the 53-man roster.  Which means it might come down to which of the two are better in special teams.  Ware might have worn out his welcome with that DUI last year, so Small probably has a pretty good shot.  We’ll have to see how he does in camp.

As for the undrafted rookies, the Seahawks have Keith Price.  Zero chance he makes the team.  Probably a pretty good chance he rocks it in the practice squad.  Then again, if you’re keeping three QBs on your 53-man roster, do you really need a QB on the practice squad?

It’s going to be tough for Price.  How often do you ever see four quarterbacks play in the preseason games?  You know how the Seahawks will play Wilson (a series or two in game 1, a quarter or two in game 2, into the third quarter in game 3, a series or two in game 4).  They’ll likely want to give Tarvar his share of reps to keep him warm and get him ready for the season.  And, you’d think they’ll want to watch Terrelle Pryor as much as possible to see if he’s worth keeping on the team.  And, don’t forget B.J. Daniels.

What does that mean?  If Price looks good in camp, MAYBE he gets a series or two in the entirety of the preseason games.  Don’t know if that’s enough to get him an opportunity with another team, but maybe just the fact that the Seahawks wanted him and brought him into camp, that might be enough for another team to pick him up and stash him.  We’ll see.

All in all, as I said before, I’m a big fan of this draft.  The best part?  Our entire coaching staff is intact.  We didn’t lose Cable, we didn’t lose Quinn, we didn’t lose Bevell, and we’ve got everyone else.  Considering how good the Seahawks are, and how coveted those guys would have been had the Seahawks not made the Super Bowl, it’s like we’re playing with house money.  Another year with this full staff intact?  That’s going to be an insane advantage for this draft class to eventually make the jump to full time starters for this team in the years to come.

The 2013 Seattle Seahawks Drafted 11 All Pros

OK, I’ll bite.  Or rather suck.  The dicks.  Of the Seahawks executives in charge of this wonderful marvel of a team.  The following 11 draft picks are going to be just the depth, special teamers, and future starters we need to continue being the greatest team in the history of the National Football League.  19-0 is on the table.  Hell, why not 38-0?

57-0?

Unbridled enthusiasm aside, I don’t know how these draft picks are going to turn out, you don’t know how these draft picks are going to turn out, so let’s cut the shit.  There are any number of ways the careers of these 11 guys can go.  At the very bottom of the spectrum, they can be terrible busts and cut before we play meaningful games.  They could be terrible, but raw and/or coachable, showing something that the coaches think might be built up while playing on the practice squad.  They could be decent, but subjected to a numbers game, tried to pass through to the practice squad only to be snatched up by another team.  They could be good, make the 53-man roster, but spend the bulk of the regular season games on the Inactive List.  They could be good, make the 53-man roster, and play on special teams.  They could be good, play on special teams, and play occasionally on offense and/or defense.  They could play regularly on offense and/or defense.  Or, they could start.

Those are just some of the plethora of options.  So, I’ll give my semi-informed thoughts, which are based on the semi-informed thoughts of others (because obviously I’ve never seen any of these people play in real life).

Second Round – Christine Michael, RB

You think this guy hated substitute teachers growing up, butchering his name while taking attendance?  You think he was picked on just a LITTLE bit?  Right off the bat, you gotta like the Boy Named Sue potential of this kid.

Kill me, I like this pick.  I feel like, at this point, if you’re not saying, “What the fuck are they thinking?” when talking about the Seahawks and their first pick of the draft, then they’re not doing their jobs.  Did we NEED to make this pick?  Hell no!  I’ve got it in my head that we’ve easily got two more good years out of Marshawn Lynch, then we’ve got Turbin in the wings ready to take his place.  We could’ve held out, just drafted a run-of-the-mill running back in the later rounds, and had our running game of the future by way of far less premium draft slots.

But, this kid sounds like the real deal Holyfield.  Which leads me to wonder a couple things:

  1. How much longer does Lynch have with this team?
  2. How much does the team like Turbin?

Marshawn Lynch has carried the ball 600 times the past two years.  In his tenure with the Seahawks, he has played behind some dreadful lines.  Granted, for the last season and a half, they picked up their games, but he has taken QUITE the beating.  And that’s on top of the fact that he self-inflicts a lot of his beatings by being a bad-ass motherfucker who won’t take Go Out-of-Bounds for an answer.  He’s also been suffering from back spasms & other back-related issues (it’s difficult carrying a whole entire offense at one time) which leads me to wonder if this team isn’t worried about his durability for the next two seasons.

When running backs hit a wall, they hit it hard and they never come back the same.  Lynch is so tough, he could probably play through it and extend his career an extra five years like a Thomas Jones or a Curtis Martin.  Then again, it’s not like those guys were All Pros in their waning years.  Do you really want to risk being stuck with Turbin starting and some fifth rounder backing him up?

Which leads us into my other question:  do you even want Turbin starting at all?

It’s valid to ask.  Yeah, he averaged 4.4 yards per carry last year, but that was on limited duty.  Limited duty in between poundings with Marshawn Lynch Beastmoding the hell out of a defense.  Do we think Turbin can average 4.4 yards per carry over 300 carries in a season (as opposed to just the 80 carries he had as a rookie)?

Sight unseen, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’d trust the second round pick with a first round valuation (Christine Michael) over the fourth round pick from a non-BCS school (Guns Turbin).  I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Michael as your change-of-pace, give-Beastmode-a-break back, while we see Turbin in that third down, pass-catching, 2-minute offense role we all assumed would naturally go to Leon Washington more often last season.

Third Round – Jordan Hill, DT

Of all the guys drafted, I think this is the guy with the best odds to get immediate playing time.  He most likely won’t start, but he COULD.  He will have a place in this defensive line’s rotation because he’s big, he’s athletic, and he can rush the passer from the interior.  If Michael Bennett doesn’t re-sign with us after this season, we could be safe knowing that Hill will be able to take his spot.

Fourth Round – Chris Harper, WR

Fairly tall (6’1), fairly big (231 pounds), decent speed, great strength.  If he puts in the work, he could be the next Michael Irvin.  Or, you know, he could be nothing special.

Wide receiver is one of the hardest positions to predict.  Really, it comes down to:  Either He’s Got It Or He Doesn’t.  You can’t know until you see it in a game.  Even practice can be deceiving.  What makes an undrafted guy like Doug Baldwin a major player in a team’s offense while a fourth round draft pick in Kris Durham a total and complete washout?  Either you have it or you don’t.

I, for one, really REALLY hope that he does.  It would make things going into 2014 a whole lot easier.  If we hit with Harper, then we can lose either Tate or Rice and not miss much of a beat.  It’s going to be crucial to start replacing some of these over-priced guys like Rice with quality young players making their rookie wages so we can pay for the studs like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas (saying nothing of Russell Wilson who will be many arms and legs worth of salary).  So, let’s all root super hard on Harper being that replacement.  It helps that he has a good “wide receiver name”.  Doesn’t “Chris Harper” sound like a 10-year veteran with a handful of Pro Bowls under his belt?

Fifth Round – Jesse Williams, DT

It would be just like me to sit here and believe a fifth round wide-body from Australia is going to be the best player in this draft class.  Here’s my hunch, and pray to whatever god you choose that I’m wrong:  he WILL be the best and most-talented player in our draft class; but he’s also going to suffer from injury after injury and be out of the league in three years.

I’m not even saying that because he has the knee issue that caused his draft stock to fall all the way from a possible late-first round pick to the fifth round.  It’s just a feeling that I have.  And if it’s true, it would be SO a Seattle thing to have happen.

You gotta like what you read about the kid, though.  320 pounds, 6’4, and by all accounts – since he’s relatively new to this whole American Football thing – he has only gotten better and should CONTINUE to get better.

He can bench 600 pounds!  That’s, like, TWO offensive linemen!  If he’s able to reach his potential, we’re talking about not just a starter, not just an All Pro, but a Hall of Famer.  He could be that good.  I just hope his body holds out.

Fifth Round – Tharold Simon, CB

He’s in that mold.  6’2, long arms, big hands, athletic.  They’re talking about him being the replacement for Brandon Browner when we let him go in free agency because we can’t afford to pay EVERY defensive back on our team top dollar.

For the record, I don’t give a shit about his recent arrest.  I don’t give a shit about ANYONE’S arrests, recent or otherwise.  Boys will be boys and all that.  But, I refuse to believe that he fell to the fifth round based on a bogus arrest.  If you’re telling me the NFL is a copy-cat league, and that everyone is looking for the next Sherman/Browner duo in their cornerbacks, then why would a guy with length and speed and all that fall to the fifth round?  I’m sorry, there’s got to be more we’re either not seeing or not hearing about (because it’s ever-so-much-more-juicy to hear about someone being arrested).

Hopefully I’m wrong.  Obviously, the Seahawks aren’t going to hit on all of these guys, but if Simon turns out to be the heir apparent to Richard Sherman, then John Schneider really is a witch and he should probably be burned at the stake before he turns us all into his slaves.

Fifth Round – Luke Willson, TE

OK, honestly?  I’m calling bullshit on this one.  There is NO FUCKING WAY that a backup tight end out of Rice who caught 9 balls as a senior is going to make any sort of positive impact in the NFL.  No way.  Huh uh.  Sorry.

6’5, 251 pounds?  Don’t care.  Ran a 4.46 40-yard dash?  So what.  38-inch vertical?  Hnnn, stop it!  Stop it, I refuse to believe that this guy is going to be the next Aaron Hernandez!  There’s got to be something about this guy!  Stone hands, an inability to block, an inability to run proper routes, an inability to get open (but, if he’s so tall and can jump so high, couldn’t you put 11 guys on him and just let him catch the ball at its highest point?)

NOOOOOOOOOO!  I’m running away from this guy as fast as I can, no matter how much I want to believe he’s going to be the second coming of Christ.  No one who spells Wilson with two L’s can be counted on to make it in the NFL (how do you like THAT for hard-hitting analysis?)

Sixth Round – Spencer Ware, RB/FB

This pick just makes me sad more than anything.  I find it hard to root against a Seahawk succeeding, but I’m reading about the team using this guy almost exclusively at fullback.  And, not for nothing, but no NFL team in its right mind would ever keep two fullbacks on the roster.

And, gosh darn it, I like me some Michael Robinson!  I don’t want to see him as a cap casualty!  I want to see him win a ring with us, THEN be let go in favor of a younger, cheaper option because we have no choice.

How about this, okay?  Go with me on it:  Spencer Ware looks great in Training Camp and in the preseason.  Then, right before final cuts, he goes down with a season-ending injury.  He’ll have surgery, make a full recovery, and be better than ever NEXT year when we need him to start for us at fullback.  Kay?  Kay.

Seventh Round – Ryan Seymour, OL

OK, we can PROBABLY stop worrying about these guys making the team over beloved current Seahawks.  Seventh round is where I really start drawing the line at giving a damn.  Figure this guy probably makes the practice squad and gives things a run going into 2014.

Seventh Round – Ty Powell, OLB/DE

Small school, fast kid, could play multiple positions from linebacker to LEO defensive end.  Considering what this team has done to improve the pass rush thus far this offseason, he’s going to have to make a Herculean effort just to get noticed.  If he makes this team, either something went very well (he’s a sleeper stud) or something went very wrong (a bus crashed into half of our defensive line).

Seventh Round – Jared Smith, G

Oh boy, another pet project for Tom Cable, who thinks he can make every under-sized, useless defensive tackle into a starting offensive guard.  Forgive me if I don’t die from a 96-hour boner.

Seventh Round – Michael Bowie, OL

You know when you’re selecting teams for a pick-up game of some kind?  Basketball, football, soccer, whathaveyou.  And there’s a guy who is obviously head-and-shoulders better than everyone else on the field who is picking for one of the teams.  AND, he makes it a point to pick as many scrubs as he can to show that he can make anyone into a winner?  That’s what Tom Cable is when he’s picking offensive linemen.  Three out of four seventh round picks were chosen exclusively by Cable as if to say, “Go ahead, rest of the NFL, draft your offensive linemen in the upper rounds.  I’m going to pick these losers nobody wants and they’re going to be BETTER than your overpriced thugs!”

I’m going to say the odds are pretty high that at least one of these guys becomes a starter before his career in the NFL ends, just because Tom Cable is a fucking madman.  Which one is anybody’s guess.  Whether or not he plays for the Seahawks is also anybody’s guess.  Teams like poaching from the castoffs of other, winning teams.  Remember, Breno Giacomini was a fifth rounder out of Green Bay and didn’t start a lick until he came to Seattle.

The Seahawks have found some excellent players in their last three draft classes.  Earl Thomas, Russell Okung, Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Kam Chancellor, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, among others.  For that reason and that reason alone, draft “experts” didn’t destroy the Seahawks for their 2013 class.

Normally I’m of the wait-and-see approach to anything like this, but can you really expect the Seahawks to be amazing EVERY year at drafting starters and stars?  Isn’t there a blip in there somewhere where we look back and go, “What were they thinking THAT year?”  Couldn’t that blip be this very class?

Fortunately, it’s not like the Seahawks NEED any of these guys to be All Pros.  They could all be released and this would still be an elite football team.  Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.  After all, Seattle has been shit upon enough.  It’s time to start getting greedy.  EVERY draft class will have at least two Pro Bowlers, or else!

Plus, you know, Percy Harvin.  Yeah, don’t forget that guy.

Seattle Sports Hell NFL Power Rankings, Final

I did a prediction column back in September after the first week of the season.  Let’s see how I did.

Well, for starters, I totally bungled the NFC East.  Not only did I have the Eagles and Cowboys winning 10 games each, but I had both going to the playoffs.  You’d think for a hard-line West Coaster, I’d know better than to let any East Coast Bias seep into my thinking.

On the flipside, I got Green Bay’s and Chicago’s records exactly right.  Of course, I didn’t see Minnesota’s hot streak coming, as I had the Bears in the other Wild Card.  So far, 1 for 4 on NFC playoff teams.  Not a great start.

I had the Falcons and the 49ers as my Top 2 seeds, but I had them reversed.  I LOVED the 49ers, guaranteeing 14 wins.  I liked the Seahawks for 8-9 wins, and I liked the Cards to be above the Rams.  Boy did my confidence in the Cardinals backfire!

I pegged the Patriots for 11-12 wins (right on the mark).  I was a little too in love with the Ravens, but either way, they still won that division.  I had the Bengals right there at 10 wins for the Wild Card spot.  And, of course, see below for my money quote on the Steelers.

I was also a little too in love with the Texans.  While they DID coast to my predicted 12-4 record, they lost out on the #2 seed.  Never saw the Colts coming, obviously, as I had them at 4-wins this season.  I liked the Broncos, but not to the extent that I saw this late-season run.  I was way off on the Chargers too, as they did not snag the final Wild Card spot.

Now, if I get to cherry pick things, I was right on 7 of 8 division winners, with Philly my only blemish (and what a blemish it was!).  I had 8 of 12 playoff teams (including 5 of 6 in the AFC).

In the playoffs, I had Green Bay and San Francisco advancing to the NFC Championship game.  As things stand right now, it’s impossible for that to happen because if Green Bay wins their Wild Card Round game, they will automatically play the 49ers in the Divisional Round.  I had Baltimore and New England in the AFC Championship game.  Technically, that’s still on the table if Houston wins against Cincinnati.  Baltimore would have to beat the Colts (possible) and then go into Denver and come away victorious (unlikely).

I had an All-Harbaugh Super Bowl, which is also theoretically on the table, but suffice it to say I will be rooting for anything BUT that to happen.

All in all, one of my best years at predicting NFL seasons ever.  Then again, I whiffed on all three of the playoff rookie quarterbacks.  Can’t say I’m all that embarrassed about that.  I did have the Seahawks as the best of the three teams, but ultimately I thought the Seahawks were a year away at best.  Couldn’t be more glad about being so wrong …

On to the rankings, for the final time this season:

  1. Denver Broncos (13-3):  Hottest team going into the playoffs somehow stole the #1 overall seed.  I know AP carried the Vikings, but I just don’t see how Peyton Manning ISN’T the MVP of the league (especially when you consider how bad the Colts were without him last season).  At the very least, co-MVP?  (Last Week:  1)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (11-5):  The Rams are tough, no way around it.  I take nothing away from a close Seahawks victory.  That was a solid way to finish the season 8-0 at home.  (Last Week:  2)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1):  Well, shit.  First round bye.  Giving them time to get healthy at some key areas.  BYE teams win something like 75% of the time in Divisional Round.  For Seattle’s sake, I have to root for the Pack so we get a crack at going indoors to play the Falcons in round 2.  (Last Week:  5)
  4. New England Patriots (12-4):  Ho-hum, just another win over a shitty team to get themselves to a #2 seed.  You’re VERY luck your division is one of the worst in football.  (Last Week:  6)
  5. Green Bay Packers (11-5):  God damn you suck, Green Bay!  You were supposed to force the 49ers to play next week!  Way to let ‘em off the hook.  Do we have to do EVERYTHING for you?  (Last Week:  3)
  6. Atlanta Falcons (13-3):  On the one hand, you rest your starters after a quarter or so; just enough to get them some work, but just little enough so (hopefully) they don’t get injured (which you chose to not do).  On the other hand, You Play To Win The Game (which is what you actually did).  You keep your starters in there, you throw 44 times, and you still lose at home to a 9-loss Buccaneers team.  It was ballsy, I’ll give you that.  Takes a lot of guts to play all-out in a meaningless game right before the playoffs.  However, remember how nobody feared you going into the playoffs BEFORE you lost this week?  Yeah, double down on some of THAT!  Enjoy shitting your pants during the BYE week, because you’re GOING to lose in the Divisional Round.  (Last Week:  4)
  7. Washington Redskins (10-6):  One of three rookie quarterbacks to make the playoffs this year.  Either we’re entering a new age where rookie quarterbacks can never be taken lightly, or this 2012 draft is historically good.  The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, but I would wager it’s closer to the “historically good draft” side of the spectrum.  (Last Week:  8)
  8. Houston Texans (12-4):  Lost your last two games, lost three of your last four games, lost your #1 seed, lost your first round BYE.  Ain’t life a bitch?  (Last Week:  7)
  9. Indianapolis Colts (11-5):  Helluva finish to a season.  All of a sudden, I’ve got ChuckStrong fever!  Or, you know, the Colts just beat up on a bad Texans team that’ll lose in the first round.  (Last Week:  13)
  10. Minnesota Vikings (10-6):  Color me VERY impressed.  I gave the Vikings zero chance to make the playoffs after they left Seattle as losers.  Since then, they won 5 of 7 and earned themselves a rematch with the Packers in Green Bay.  (Last Week:  11)
  11. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6):  Yeah, you beat the Ravens, BFD.  (Last Week:  10)
  12. Chicago Bears (10-6):  Tough way to go out.  10 wins gets you in the playoffs MOST seasons.  Also tough way to fire a head coach.  Really?  10 wins and you give him the boot?  Seems a little extreme for a guy who once brought you to the Super Bowl.  (Last Week:  12)
  13. Baltimore Ravens (10-6):  That’s right, best to rest your starters this final week.  After all, you totally gagged away your chance at a legitimate BYE week; might as well take this Week 17 to reflect on all the shit you’ve done.  (Last Week:  9)
  14. New York Giants (9-7):  Where was this all season, Eli???  You fuck!  (Last Week:  17)
  15. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1):  Yeah, they’ve got a nice core, but Sam Bradford will NEVER scare me.  He’s a Game Manager at best.  And in this division – going forward – a Game Manager just won’t be good enough to top Seattle or San Francisco.  (Last Week:  14)
  16. New Orleans (7-9):  Nice turd you laid there.  After all that turmoil, wouldn’t want to finish at .500 or anything.  (Last Week:  15)
  17. Dallas Cowboys (8-8):  Damn you Cowboys; why couldn’t you stop the Redskins???  We would have CRUSHED you in the playoffs!  (Last Week:  16)
  18. Miami Dolphins (7-9):  I don’t know what to tell you.  It all falls on Tannehill’s shoulders.  Personally, I don’t see it.  I think they remain mediocre for at least the next decade.  (Last Week:  18)
  19. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8):  Back on September 11, 2012, I wrote a prediction column for the NFL (referenced in the first half of this post).  Here’s what I said about the Steelers:  “I think the Steelers underachieve, end up 8-8, and start questioning whether or not they need a new head coach. “  They may or may not be questioning things on an organizational level, but the Steeler Nation is certainly giving second thoughts to what’s going on.  (Last Week:  19)
  20. Carolina Panthers (7-9):  Not a bad little 4-game winning streak to close out.  Did they REALLY just save their coach’s job?  (Last Week:  20)
  21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9):  I know they won their last game, but that’s coming on the heels of a 5-game losing streak.  Doesn’t speak well of a coaching staff that will surely be shit-canned within 2 years.  (Last Week:  21)
  22. San Diego Chargers (7-9):  I got nothing.  If they retain Norv again, I give up.  I would have the biggest boner today if I were a Chargers fan.  (Last Week:  22)
  23. Cleveland Browns (511):  Well, looks like they’re cleaning house again this offseason.  Still, with the players they have, it’s hard to believe they’ll be much better going forward.  (Last Week:  23)
  24. Buffalo Bills (6-10):  This organization deserves better.  If they don’t replace Chan Gailey, I might be forced to suicide bomb their headquarters.  It’s about fucking time they got rid of the dead weight!  (Last Week:  24)
  25. New York Jets (6-10):  This organization deserves exactly what they get.  QUIT BEING SO BORING!  Nobody likes you Jets!  Stop showing up on my local broadcasts most weeks!  (Last Week:  25)
  26. Tennessee Titans (6-10):  I really, REALLY would’ve liked to have seen more out of Locker this season.  I worry for the kid, I really do.  (Last Week:  26)
  27. Arizona Cardinals (5-11):  What’d you expect, dude, he’s the son of the devil!  (Last Week:  27)
  28. Detroit Lions (4-12):  Yeah, I’m starting to see what their big problems are.  All of their defense, for one.  Wide receiver for another (Kris Durham, getting significant minutes, really?  That’s one Pete Carroll/John Schneider dog that won’t hunt).  (Last Week:  28)
  29. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12):  Way to play hard for your local legend head coach right before he’s fired.  Good effort, you pricks.  (Last Week:  29)
  30. Oakland Raiders (4-12):  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha … (Last Week:  30)
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14):  What a time for the quarterbacks coming out of college to be so shitty.  (Last Week:  31)
  32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14):  And welcome to the #1 pick!  (Last Week:  32)

Pre-Season Analysis 2012: Seahawks vs. Titans

The Seahawks beat the Titans 27-17.  Since that’s not important, let’s get that out of the way at the top.

The thing on everyone’s mind is:  how did Matt Flynn look?  On the surface, I think you’d look at his numbers and say they look okay:  11 for 13, 71 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT.  But, I mean, come on.  Look at the yardage.  The INT was a tough one because the linebacker kind of came out of nowhere to drop back and snatch a slightly under-thrown ball he was trying to get to an open receiver.  His best completed pass of the night was a 14-yarder to Zach Miller.  Unfortunately, while the pass was zipped in there pretty good, Flynn led Miller right into a hit that left him with a concussion and will likely cost him some practice time this week.  All the other passes were of the short, check-down variety.

Now, there are things we don’t know, obviously.  How vanilla was the offensive gameplan, for instance?  Flynn noted in his in-game interview with Curt Menefee and Warren Moon that he was just taking what the defense gave him.  If that’s the case, then I guess the defense was in a cover-2 zone all first half.  You’ll note, if you watched, that the offense seemed to really open up in the second half.  I’m thinking adjustments were made as they wanted to see what the rookie could handle.

I’m sure the local beat writers are going to play up the quarterback competition battle as being fierce right now, but I’m here to tell you all Russell Wilson’s play showed us yesterday is that we might be one step closer to Tarvar’s release.  After that, I mean, come on, let’s get real here.  He was largely playing against the Titans’ third string defensive unit.  Of COURSE he was going to go 12 for 16 with 124 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT (with another rushing TD at the end to clinch it).

The TD pass was a thing of beauty.  On the first possession of the second half, with 2nd & 5 at the Titans’ 39 yard line, Wilson launched the ball high and a couple yards short of the endzone.  Braylon Edwards had to stop, come back a little bit, get around the defender playing him one-on-one, and jump high in the air.  He caught the ball flawlessly and fell down into the endzone for the touch.  To be truthful, it wasn’t a reckless decision by Wilson as he did have one-on-one coverage and his target was an athletic Braylon Edwards.  But, really, this was a feat of sheer beauty by the receiver.  One, as I’ve mentioned before, that will get your hopes sky-high only to be dashed during a big moment of a big game in the regular season.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

After that, not a whole lot of great work by Wilson, short of a couple of really nice scrambles.  Wilson ran for 59 yards on the night, 32 of which came on a naked bootleg against the perfect defense (or lack thereof) for our final TD.  When you combine the wheels, the smarts, and the arm strength, you can see why a lot of people really like this kid.  But, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.  He’s still a rookie playing against a third string defense.

That all having been said, I’m not ready to name a starter just yet either.  It’ll be interesting to see how the Seahawks go next week.  Will they give Tarvar a shot to show what he can do?  Or, will they give Flynn the nod to see how he bounces back?  Will we actually get to see Flynn attempt a pass longer than 20 yards?  Will they put even MORE on Wilson’s plate by giving him the start and see what he can do against a very fearsome starting defensive unit in Denver?  I honestly couldn’t be more intrigued.

As for other players, I guess the … Turbinator (*sigh*) had an all right debut.  Nothing special about his 24 yards on 10 attempts.  It was interesting to note that Leon Washington was given some carries on that first drive; he looked damned impressive averaging over 5 yards per carry.  Hopefully Guns will get more of a chance to run behind the starting line before he gets eaten alive next week.

As far as the receivers are concerned, the only guy who really helped his cause was Braylon Edwards.  He caught just the 2 balls, but he was easily our best receiver of the night.  Granted, I don’t remember him playing much (if at all) in the first half, so take from that what you will.  Golden Tate had 2 grabs for 13 yards, Deon Butler had 1 for 10.  Obomanu and Kris Durham both had 0 catches and only 1 target apiece.  But, like I noted, not a whole lot of receiving yards period in this game.

On the defensive side of the ball, you saw a WHOLE lot of vanilla.  Of course, that vanilla was still good enough to shut down their running game for most of the first half.  It looked like our starters were in there for the entire first quarter, which was nice.  On the first play of the game, you saw a very opportunistic interception by Browner returned for a touchdown thanks to a crazy bobble by the receiver as he was falling to the ground.  At first, it was tough to tell if the ball hit the ground or not, but replays made it look obvious.  Seek that play out online, it’s worth your time.

Not a lot of sacks or pressure, but as I said before, this was a vanilla gameplan.  There weren’t a whole lot of blitzes or weird schemes being thrown the Titans’ way.  I thought rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner looked really good, active, and around the play at all times.  I thought Irvin had a so-so effort.  He’s got some get-off, he just didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities to make any plays.  Still, you could see him a few times getting in the QB’s face, causing him to get rid of the ball before he was ready.  He should be a menace for QBs for years to come.

As for the Titans, Hasselbeck didn’t look great.  He played just into the 2nd quarter and had 45 yards passing with 2 interceptions.  One, on the opening play, and one on his very final play, which served as a defacto punt deep in Seahawks’ territory.

Jake Locker looked much better, but then again he didn’t have to deal so much with the rabidness of the fans (who got progressively quieter as the game went on), nor the Seahawks’ number 1 defense.  Still, I was shocked to find out he wasn’t still playing in the 3rd quarter.  Made the second half of this game much less enjoyable.

If I had to guess, I’d say that Locker ends up winning this job by the time the season starts.  He was strong, decisive, and looked to throw first rather than tuck and run.  He was bitten by some drops, but I don’t think they’ll hold that against him.

As for the Seahawks, more questions than answers.  None of the receivers on the bubble really helped their cause.  None of the QBs really hurt their cause.  We’ll see what happens next week.

Seahawks vs. Titans, Pregame

I am irrationally excited about this game tonight.  You’re not supposed to look THIS forward to a pre-season game.  But, this game has it all!  Jake Locker, Matt Flynn, Matt Hasselbeck, Russell Wilson.  And, most importantly, no Tarvar!

You know who I’m most looking forward to seeing?  Bruce Irvin.  All I’ve been hearing about is how fast this kid is; if he comes out in his first pre-season game and throws down a couple sacks, I may just lose my shit.  If there was ever going to be a current Seahawks jersey I was going to buy, it just might be a rookie defensive end who gets a billion sacks.

Other than that, I’m going to have all eyes on our wide receivers.  It doesn’t sound like T.O. is going to play.  I heard Lockette and Baldwin might be out too.  And, of course, Sidney Rice won’t be anywhere NEAR this field.  So, this is the time for Obomanu, Butler, Tate, Durham, Edwards, and all those undrafted guys to get a crack at possibly making this team.  Jobs could be on the line!  When do you ever say that about a first pre-season game?

The Bud Light is going to be flowing like wine at the Taylor household tonight.  Look for me blowing Twitter’s shit up starting at 7pm Pacific.

Will Mike Williams Make The Team?

As long as we’re speculating wildly about veteran Seahawks without a shred of anything other than hearsay, I might as well look at our Wide Receiver position and take a look at things.

It’s tough to say right now how many guys the Seahawks are going to keep at the position, but I think it’s appropriate to believe six is the magic number.  Field Gulls talks about it a little bit and seems to believe there are already five guys who are as safe as safe can be, considering no formal Training Camp or Preseason has taken place  yet.  They say:

Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, Mike Williams, and Kris Durham should all make the team.

Leaving one spot for three other guys (Obomanu, Butler, and Lockette).

First and foremost, the only guy who is ACTUALLY safe to consider a lock for this team is Doug Baldwin.  You gotta figure Sidney Rice is at least a 90-95% lock, but that other 5-10% involves whether or not he can stay healthy.  At some point, you get tired of watching a guy lose half a season to some malady and just cut ties.  I figure Golden Tate is fairly safe, but he’s going to have to take a major step forward or else this will be his last go-around with the team.

As for Kris Durham and Mike Williams, I don’t think they’re safe AT ALL.  Here’s my take on the matter:  why would you want two guys on your 53-man roster who are pretty much the exact same?  Both are tall, relatively slow, and not particularly big leapers.  Essentially, they’re both 6’5 slot receivers, which makes absolutely no sense!  Yeah, they’re going to play one of the flanker positions, but how productive can you expect them to be?

Kris Durham has a slight advantage over Williams in that he’s younger, but the same red flags remain.  He’s a guy who missed most of last season with an injury.  Williams played most of last season, but was seemingly CONSTANTLY battling some nagging thing or another.  To say he had a down season last year would be sugarcoating the obvious:  he was TERRIBLE.  And, for once, we can probably say that Mike Williams had a terrible season unrelated to him dogging it with his physical fitness.  I just think his body is breaking down and he will never again be able to contribute at a high level for a full 16-game season.  Yeah, he’s only 28 years old, but when you’re talking about a guy who has battled weight issues for a long stretch, that’s certainly going to take some years off of your legs.  Last year, Mike Williams played football like a 34 year old would play football:  slow and invisible.

If Durham can figure out a way to make a dent this offseason, I could see the Seahawks just keeping him and dropping Williams.  Then again, if they both come out and struggle, I could easily see the Seahawks waiving both.

Personally, I don’t think the Seahawks would be at all smart to let Ricardo Lockette go.  That guy might have only caught two passes last season, but those were some impressive fucking catches!  With the dearth we have as far as high-end wide receiver speed, the Seahawks can’t afford to let this guy go!  Rice isn’t a speed guy.  Williams and Durham certainly aren’t speed guys.  Obomanu and Baldwin are quick, but I wouldn’t say they have the kind of down-field burning speed we’re looking for.  As far as I can tell, it’s just Lockette and Butler (but who knows if Butler has recovered from his leg fracture?).

If I had to give you the six wide receivers the Seahawks will keep going into the 2012 season, I’d say it looks something like this:

  1. Sidney Rice
  2. Doug Baldwin
  3. Ben Obomanu
  4. Ricardo Lockette
  5. Golden Tate
  6. Kris Durham

But, we’ll see.  Maybe I’ll be surprised by one of these undrafted free agents.  Maybe some other team cuts a guy that we like.  Either way, I don’t think there’s any way in hell Mike Williams makes this team.  He was a nice feel-good story for a while there, but it looks like his time is up.

Last Dance With Golden Tate

I was thinking about the Seahawks’ receivers before I even read this, but I figure I might as well acknowledge it.

The Seahawks are currently set on exactly two receivers for next season’s team:  Sidney Rice & Doug Baldwin.  As was noted all last season, Doug Baldwin is the real deal.  He was easily our best receiver (as an undrafted rookie) with 51 catches for 788 yards.  That’s with Tarvaris Jackson as quarterback!  So, you know with a guy like Flynn, he’s probably capable of double that!

And say what you will about Rice, but when he’s healthy, he’s a force.  Granted, you have to take that health into consideration, which is why I gotta figure the Seahawks will be looking to keep an extra receiver around just for emergencies.

In the middle of the pack, all pretty safely on the team, but still fighting for significant playing time, you’ve got Mike Williams, Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham, and, of course, Golden Tate.

There’s no denying that Big Mike had a down year last year.  A little probably had to do with nagging injury, a lot probably had to do with the lack of a rapport with Tarvar, and a decent-sized amount probably had to do with Big Mike acting like a little bitch when he didn’t get the ball thrown his way.  I don’t mean to single him out, because in general I think all wide receivers are little bitches when it comes to not getting enough targets, but it’s not like that’s something I can ignore when I’m evaluating his season last year.

Obomanu has continued to make this team out of training camp in defiance of his actual on-field talent level.  He’s not big, he’s not fast, he doesn’t have the greatest hands in the world, I guess he runs okay routes, but what does that matter when he’s not that big or fast enough to create separation?  I would expect him to continue to make this team even though there’s no rational reason for that to happen (unless, of course, he’s due a big bonus or all the other receivers on the roster blow him out of the water).

Durham is a draft pick, and he’s got that size Pete Carroll loves.  He missed almost all of last season with injury, so you know Pete’s going to want to see what he’s got.

That just leaves Golden Tate.

Last year, I wrote, “Golden Tate absolutely MUST make strides this year towards being a pro receiver.”  The big question on everyone’s minds is:  did he?

Technically, yes.  He increased his receptions from 21 in 2010 to 35 in 2011 (that’s after learning a new offense AND not having a proper offseason with which to do it).  He increased his yards from 227 to 382 (which, I’ll admit, aren’t exactly mind-blowing numbers in the least).

What’s encouraging is not the season as a whole, but how he finished last season.  In his last 8 games, Golden Tate racked up 286 of his 382 yards (and 24 of his 35 catches).  That coincides with the premature end of Sidney Rice’s season, which means he took advantage of a direct opportunity.  It also shows that the team was comfortable enough with him to significantly increase his playing time.  The increase in overall targets is there, which means he was developing a better chemistry with the quarterback.  These all bode really well for Mr. Tate!

What doesn’t particularly bode well for him is that he and Doug Baldwin are essentially the same player.  With Baldwin’s overall production being through the roof last season, you have to figure he’s ahead of Tate on the depth chart for that slot position.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have two slot receivers on your team, but with this offense, how many times do you expect them to go beyond a 3-WR set?  Not bloody often, considering they love to run the ball and they love the tight end position.

Not the least of Tate’s worries are the guys below him on the depth chart.  Deon Butler is still kicking around on this team (though, you HAVE to figure this is his very final opportunity, and if he doesn’t make the team out of camp, he will be cut).  I’m sure if the Seahawks don’t draft another receiver this year, they’ll at LEAST bring in one or two undrafted guys to compete.

And, let us not forget Ricardo Lockette.  Dude spent most of the season last year not playing a lick of football, but then he finally got an opportunity in the last two games of the season.  Granted, he only caught two passes in those two games, but my GOD what an impression he made with those two receptions!

On the second play of the game, against the 49ers, Tarvar to Lockette for 44 yards from the Seahawks’ 20 yard line to the 49ers’ 36.  The Seahawks would go on to score a touchdown for an early 7-0 lead.

In the fourth quarter of the Arizona game, down by a touchdown with less than 8 minutes to go, the Seahawks forced a 3-and-out and got the ball on their own 39 yard line.  The very first play of the drive saw Tarvar launch a bomb to Lockette for a 61-yard touchdown to tie it up.

Two plays, 105 yards.  What Tate has going for him, with regards to Lockette, is that Lockette is a bit taller (6’2), so in theory if he develops properly, he could be an outside flanker type of speed burner guy.

Nevertheless, there is quite a bit of talent on this team at receiver.  It’s time for Golden Tate to step his game up.  I’m talking over 50 receptions and over 700 yards.  It’s time.  Because I can’t imagine this coaching staff is going to wait around forever.

Is There Room For Golden Tate?

I’m starting to wonder.

While expectations for guys like Aaron Curry and James Carpenter may be higher because they’re first round draft picks expected to start and produce right away, it’s pretty obvious that the Seahawks have had high hopes for Golden Tate since they picked him in the 2nd round of the draft last year (a presumptive steal at the 60th overall pick).  He was a minor star at Notre Dame with all the tools to be a flashy Number 2 (or slot) receiver in the NFL.

What he has become in reality is nothing short of a huge disappointment.

Aside from that Denver game last year where he caught 1 pass for 52 yards (and returned a couple punts for 82 total yards), Golden Tate has been nonexistent.  Surely we could attribute that to his being a rookie (and rookie receivers traditionally being slow to impact the NFL game), but even with rookies you hope to see progress being made as the season wears on.  Golden Tate seemed to regress as the season wore on last year, with his role less defined than an amorphous Blob (and no less frightening).

This year, expectations are understandably higher for our steal of a prospect.  That may or may not be fair, considering he didn’t have any semblance of NFL coaching this offseason thanks to the stupid fucking lockout.  Nevertheless, he’s coming into this with a full year’s experience under his belt.  And yet he’s competing with guys like Doug Baldwin and Kris Durham for the final roster spot.

It’s unnerving!  Look at who we have so far who are locks to make the team:

  1. Sidney Rice
  2. Mike Williams
  3. Ben Obomanu

With the way Doug Baldwin is playing this season – making a serious run at that slot receiver position Golden Tate had his eyes on – and with the fact that Durham is a draft pick (and the type of tall receiver Pete Carroll loves), those could be your fourth and fifth receivers right there.  That’s not even taking into account Deon Butler is still coming back from injury, and Isaiah Stanback is a freakish athlete on special teams.

So, my question remains:  is there any room for Golden Tate on this football team?

It’s been proven time and time again that this team loves preaching that competition motto (starting quarterback aside) and isn’t afraid of roster turnover in the slightest.  Pete Carroll has also proven that he plays no favorites with “his guys”.  Granted, Tate didn’t play for Pete in college, but Tate was still one of Pete’s very first draft picks as head coach of this team.  It’s safe to say any draft pick of Pete’s is one of “his guys”.

It’s also safe to say that I never know what Pete Carroll is thinking.  He is as unpredictable as he is constantly upbeat.  But, I would have to think that in spite of a mostly-down rookie season, and a turbulent preseason this month, Golden Tate likely will be given another chance to prove his worth.  If I had to guess, I’d say this team won’t have a problem keeping Durham on the Practice Squad, thereby saving the fourth or fifth receiving job for Tate.

Nevertheless, Golden Tate absolutely MUST make strides this year towards being a pro receiver.  If a guy like Doug Baldwin has taught us anything, it’s that you can get quality wide receivers from the ranks of the undrafted free agent pool.  Next year is sure to give us another crop of hungry young pass catchers.  And, at that point, all the promise in the world might not save a roster spot for Golden Tate.