In honor of the Seattle Seahawks not having a draft pick last night, I decided to go through all the drafts and rank all the best Seahawks first rounders.
I don’t want to shock you, but there are Hall of Famers on this list! There are some Ring of Honor folks, there are some good players, there are some guys still playing, and there are busts. A whole lotta busts. And not-busts who are just sorta sub-par. You get the idea.
I didn’t totally discredit what these players may have done once they left the team, but I weighted heavily their time in Seattle. For the record, there are people I’ve never heard of on this list, as well as people I don’t remember very well (because who remembers offensive linemen from teams they followed when they were five?), so don’t expect the most thorough of analysis. Just sit back and bask at how much you disagree with my order.
The Hall of Famers
1. Walter Jones (1997, #6 overall)
2. Cortez Kennedy (1990, #3 overall)
You know me (no, you don’t), I love me some Tez. That guy was right behind Steve Largent for my Most Favorite Football Player Of All Time pretty much since he won Defensive Player of the Year back in
the day 1992. But, Walter Jones is Walter Jones. Cortez Kennedy is a Hall of Famer, but Walter Jones might be the best who has ever played his position. He’s a legend. And if you don’t think he’s a legend, go look up some stories about his off-season training regimen. How many guys do you know who go around pulling cars to get in football shape?
The Ring of Honor-ers
3. Shaun Alexander (2000, #19 overall)
4. Jacob Green (1980, #10 overall)
5. Kenny Easley (1981, #4 overall)
Shaun Alexander is the best running back to ever put on a Seahawks uniform. He was an MVP, he set the single-season touchdown record (until it was broken by LDT the very next year), and he led us to a Super Bowl. THAT’S why he’s ranked ahead of the other two. Jacob Green is the career sacks leader in team history. And Kenny Easley is one of the greatest safeties in league history. Had he not been injured, he would’ve been in the Hall of Fame. Easily.
Next-Tier, Really Good Players
6. Steve Hutchinson (2001, #17 overall)
7. Marcus Trufant (2003, #11 overall)
8. Jeff Bryant (1982, #6 overall)
9. John L. Williams (1986, #15 overall)
10. Curt Warner (1983, #3 overall)
11. Joey Galloway (1995, #8 overall)
12. Earl Thomas (2010, #14 overall)
I can’t imagine Hutch ever making the Ring of Honor, simply because he played elsewhere for longer than he played for Seattle. Though, had Ruskell not fucked things up so royally, Hutch would’ve been on the inside track and probably would’ve landed at #3 on this list. Good going, stupid.
People are kind of down on Marcus Trufant because he’s old and washed up, but you have to remember that for most of a decade he was a quality starter for this team. Right out of college! Remember all those shitty secondaries that were run out there by Ruskell? Well, don’t lump Trufant into that group, because he was the only thing holding the back end of our defense together!
Jeff Bryant was another quality starter for our defensive line through most of the 80s. He and Jacob Green really tormented opposing quarterbacks. Bryant lands at 3rd all time in sacks.
We can argue John L. Williams and Curt Warner’s spots on this list until the cows come home. Curt Warner had 6,705 rushing hards, good for third on the Seahawks career rushing list. And that’s WITH all his injuries that drastically shortened his career! I mean, let’s face it, Warner is in the Ring of Honor and Williams is not. Do the Seahawks know more about this than I do? Probably, but here’s my rationale for putting John L. ahead of Curt. Yes, Mr. Warner is third all time rushing. But, John L. is fourth, with 4,579 rushing yards. And don’t forget, John L. Williams was one of those hybrid fullbacks who could run you the ball, could block for you, and who caught a lot of passes. 471 to be precise, for 4,151 yards (6th all time). If we’re talking total yardage, then we’re talking John L. Williams – 8,730, Curt Warner – 8,172. Advantage: me.
Joey Galloway was a firecracker when he hit the scene in 1995. He would’ve been a surefire Ring of Honor guy too had he been willing to play ball and not hold out on Holmgren. We ended up trading him, and he ended up having a nice little career for himself. Injuries prevented him from really breaking some records, but his longevity was impressive considering what he was forced to play through.
Earl Thomas is a curious choice to have so high on this list, considering he has only played three seasons. But, I’m giving him a little extra juice because I fully expect him to be great. Also, not for nothing, but you’ll see why he’s so high as we get to the rest of the names.
Good Guys With Better Careers After Leaving Seattle
13. Pete Kendall (1996, #21 overall)
14. Sam Adams (1994, #8 overall)
15. Shawn Springs (1997, #3 overall)
Pete Kendall played his first five years in Seattle and played pretty well along our line. He was never a Pro Bowl guy, but paired with Walter Jones, he really helped improve this team’s running game. Then again, who knows? Maybe Walter Jones just made him look better than he really was. Either way, he went on to Arizona and seemed to improve. I think his three years as a Cardinal were better than any he had as a Seahawk. He would go on to finish his career with the Jets and Redskins, playing many more years as a non-Seahawk than a Seahawk.
To be honest, I remember Sam Adams having all the potential in the world when we drafted him. I also remember him largely being a disappointment. I wouldn’t call him that; I like the guy. I’ve got one of his old practice jerseys signed by him; I think he’s great. But, you can’t deny the fact that he really stepped his game up once he left Seattle and started playing for Baltimore. He was a Pro Bowler both seasons he was in a Ravens uniform. And, oh yeah, he helped them win a Super Bowl with one of the best defenses of all time.
Shawn Springs had a couple of good seasons with the Seahawks, but he wasn’t worthy of hanging on to for the duration of his career. I seem to remember him having a bigger impact with the Redskins than with the Seahawks, even if the numbers don’t necessarily bare that out.
Linemen! (Both offensive & defensive, so leave me alone)
16. Tony Woods (1987, #18 overall)
17. Russell Okung (2010, #6 overall)
18. Steve August (1977, #14 overall)
19. Andy Heck (1989, #15 overall)
20. Ray Roberts (1992, #10 overall)
Right here, we’re talking about guys who were starters, who were fairly productive, but who were never superstars. The exception might be Okung, who has a lot of room to climb this list as long as he stays healthy and keeps his production up.
Old Guys I Know Next-To-Nothing About
21. Terry Taylor (1984, #22 overall)
22. Keith Simpson (1978, #9 overall)
23. Manu Tuiasosopo (1979, #18 overall)
I went and looked them up on Pro Football Reference and I STILL have no idea who these people are or what they did for the Seahawks. I know what Manu did for the Huskies, he fathered one of the greatest Husky quarterbacks of all time. Good for you!
24. Anthony Simmons (1998, #15 overall)
25. Koren Robinson (2001, #9 overall)
26. Rick Mirer (1993, #2 overall)
27. Chris Spencer (2005, #26 overall)
28. Kelly Jennings (2006, #31 overall)
29. Jerramy Stevens (2002, #28 overall)
These are players who flashed some potential, but ultimately didn’t live up to the hype. I always remember liking Simmons, and lamenting he couldn’t stay on the field. I also forgot that he was a first round pick. We all know about Koren Robinson. He’s the guy who drank and drugged his way out of the league, right? I don’t really care enough to look it up to confirm; all I know is that he was supposed to be a stud receiver for us and he wasn’t. Mirer was the pick just AFTER Drew Bledsoe, who was drafted by the Patriots (who were also 2-14 in 1992). Why was he drafted by the Patriots? Because the Seahawks BEAT the Patriots, thereby giving the tie-breaker for the #1 overall pick to New England. Spencer was supposed to lock down the center position for us for a decade; he did not. Jennings was a joke, but he started for us because this team was incapable of finding anyone better. The less said about Jerramy Stevens the better (because I hate that guy).
Hopefully NOT A Bust
30. Bruce Irvin (2012, #15 overall)
He had a fine rookie season with 8 sacks. Is that the best we’re ever going to get from him? Or, will he explode for double-digits pretty soon? It could go either way and it wouldn’t surprise me. He could be a fast-climber on this list too if he plays his cards right.
A Supplemental Bust
31. Brian Bosworth (1987 Supplemental Draft, #28.5 overall)
This guy, QUITE the character. If you have a few hours to spare, I’d recommend reading his biography. If you like The Boz, then I’d recommend NOT watching that 30 for 30 featuring Bo Jackson. Because The Boz looks like The Bitch.
32. Steve Niehaus (1976, #2 overall)
33. Marcus Tubbs (2004, #23 overall)
34. James Carpenter (2011, #25 overall)
The Seahawks entered the league at the same time as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs received the #1 overall pick. That, and a lot of weird happenstance, has resulted in the Seahawks never having the #1 overall pick. Ever. Steve Niehaus was the first player drafted in franchise history and he was largely injured for his brief career. Tubbs was a force on the inside during our Super Bowl run. But, he got injured and never recovered. He played in 29 games over 3 seasons and was out of the league. Carpenter is a 2-year vet and he has finished both of his first two seasons on the IR. Not a good sign. Here’s to 2013 being where he turns his career around.
The Huge Busts
35. Lawrence Jackson (2008, #28 overall)
36. Aaron Curry (2009, #4 overall)
37. Lamar King (1999, #22 overall)
38. Chris McIntosh (2000, #22 overall)
L0-Jack was a microcosm of the Tim Ruskell years. His inability to draft quality players in the lower half of the first round doomed this team. Many other teams are able to find starters in the second and/or third rounds. It would stand to reason, then, that you SHOULD be able to find a starter with the 28th overall pick in the first round. Think again.
Because of all the shitty drafting, the Seahawks found themselves the very next year with the #4 overall pick. Aaron Curry was the “safest” pick on the board and we all looked at him to dominate for years to come. He did nothing of the sort and ultimately got Ruskell’s ass fired.
Mike Holmgren’s first couple drafts resulted in a couple of terrible players. Lamar King was just a bad pick any way you slice it. McIntosh was supposed to be good, but he couldn’t stay healthy (and was soon replaced by Steve Hutchinson). Put them together, and you wonder how the Seahawks ever turned their fortunes around under Holmgren.
The Very Worst First Round Draft Pick In Seahawks History
39. Dan McGwire (1991, #16 overall)
This doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. Rest assured, it’s picks like this and Mirer two years later that doomed this franchise to the wilderness for the entirety of the 1990s.