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!
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?