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.

The Seahawks Re-Sign Marcus Trufant

For the record:  I’m for it!

This feels awkward, doesn’t it?  This time last year (and every year before this, dating back to the moment he was drafted) Marcus Trufant was our starting cornerback.  You could just pen him right there into our lineup.  Not that he was the greatest there ever was, it’s not like he’s a Hall of Famer or anything.  But, he was far and away the best the Seahawks have had at the position for as long as I can remember (reader alert:  my memory isn’t that great).  That says more about the Seahawks’ past ability to recognize talent in the secondary than it does about Trufant’s overall skill level.  Nevertheless, Trufant was no slouch.

And now, here we are.  Trufant was released about a month ago, he was on the open market during prime Free Agent signing time, he went and visited exactly one NFL team (that we know of, the Denver Broncos), and now he’s back.  On a one-year deal.  With no guarantee of even having a JOB going into the season, forget about a starting job!

I think the odds are pretty good that he’ll make the team, but crazier things have happened.  This team went out of its way to trade for LenDale White on Draft Day, then proceeded to cut him a couple months later.  Regardless, I don’t think there’s any way Trufant is starting for the Seahawks this season unless someone gets injured.

And there is the primary reason why he was signed.  Depth.  Richard Sherman is a lock on one side, and Brandon Browner is pretty much a lock on the other side (you have to figure his chances are a little worse than Sherman’s considering he led the league in penalties last season).  This team will give Walter Thurmond every opportunity to be that third corner, but he’s coming off of a major injury and will likely need extra time to come back this season.  We have a couple other guys, younger guys, inexperienced guys (like draft pick Byron Maxwell, who isn’t actually a former Seattle Sonic, no matter how much his name sounds like he should be), but they don’t figure to be competing for any kind of significant minutes.  Roy Lewis just re-signed, so you figure he’s in there for some playing time.

But, none of those guys (nor any of the possible rookies we draft later this month) has what Trufant has.  Trufant has experience and he has savvy that only comes with being in the league for a 10th season.  Just imagine this secondary of ours!  Two tall, physical corners on the outside, two fast, hard-hitting safeties in the middle, and Marcus Trufant as your Nickel guy when teams go multiple wides against us.  If these guys manage to stay healthy, I think we’re looking at the greatest Seahawks secondary of all time!

This is a great move by Carroll and Schneider.  Maybe they knew this would happen all along, but I still gotta figure we’re a little bit lucky.  Trufant could’ve left this team if he really wanted to.  But, for some reason he didn’t let his pride get in the way.  Now he’s back and we’re looking at a really special defense for 2012.

I can’t wait for the Draft.  I can’t wait for Training Camp.  I can’t wait for September 9th.  This is going to be a LONG summer.

Why I’m Still Looking Forward To Baseball Season, In Spite Of All Of This

Remember how, before the 2010 season, the Mariners traded for Cliff Lee and everything was exciting?  This past off-season was like opening a heart-shaped box of chocolates and finding a big ol’ turd.

A backup catcher, a bunch of relievers, a starter from Japan, and a backup short stop from Japan.  Until the Mariners made the big splash of trading away a flashy starting pitcher for a hopefully-successful catcher/DH, the Mariners arguably did more to bolster their triple A affiliate than they did their Major League club.

Then, we get the harsh reality that the Mariners – after losing nearly 200 games the past two seasons – are looking to severely cut payroll for the 2012 season; throwing out the time-worn adage, “It Takes Money To Make Money” in favor of the wordier, less fan-friendly, “Be Enough Of A Tight-Fisted Prick & It Doesn’t Matter How Few Tickets You Sell To Regular Season Games, Because Fuck You … To Make Money.”

In spite of all of this, I’m taking a page out of my blogger-brethren:  Baseball Is Better Than No Baseball.

I don’t usually go in for these hokey, Give Thanks For What You’ve Got types of posts, but if nothing else, I’m going to talk MYSELF into this season if it’s the last thing I do.  Yes, we all know the odds of the Mariners making the playoffs in 2012 are slim-to-none, but the fact remains that I’m GOING to watch these games, I’m GOING to listen to them on the radio, and I’m GOING to follow this team in print.  It can’t all be in vain, it just can’t!  If I truly believed there was no point to the 2012 season, then why should I even bother following this team?

So, for the next few paragraphs, this down-and-out Mariners fan is going to look on the bright side.

Reason To Live (for Mariners baseball) #1 – Felix Hernandez

I’m still on the fence as to whether or not I want to attend any Mariners games this season, which is saying a lot because just a year ago I was contemplating buying a 16-game plan.  I LOVE going to baseball games, even if the Safeco crowd tends to give me moron aneurysms; but why in the hell should I spend any money on this team that has proven it’s unwilling to spend any money to entertain us fans with a quality product?

Well, Felix Hernandez is that reason.  He looks so good throwing a baseball, I’d suck his daddy’s dick I’d look on approvingly from a legal distance.  You’ve got to take the time to appreciate greatness when it peaks.  Felix has been peaking these last two seasons and I don’t see any reason why that should stop now.

Reason To Live (for Mariners baseball) #2 – Justin Smoak & Franklin Gutierrez

Bet you would’ve thought I’d have some other guys ranked higher, but you’d be wrong.  Because I’m ALWAYS a sucker for “Best Shape Of My Life” stories.

You know how they go:  guy has a down year, looks a little sluggish, maybe spends some time on the DL, then he goes into the offseason with his job in jeopardy.  Instead of resting on his laurels and fat contract, he takes the bull by the horns, gets himself in the “best shape of his life” and comes into Spring Training (or Training Camp, or whatever depending on the sport you play) looking like a million bucks and ready to dominate once again!

Yeah, that's me, taking the bull by the horns. It's how I handle business. It's a metaphor.

This year, we’ve got two guys in Smoak & Guti who fill the quota.  Of course, the “Best Shape Of My Life” guys are pretty hit or miss.  Remember LenDale White when he gave up tequila, or Carlos Silva when – in lieu of actual diet or exercise – took up yoga with his hippie girlfriend?  Remember how they came back to their respective teams just as respectively worthless as ever?  BUT, then again there was last year with Mike Carp.  He was charged with getting fit so he could transition to playing Left Field, and he really did that Bull By The Horns metaphor proud!

See, where so many people fall flat with the “Best Shape Of My Life” comeback is, more often than not, they only decide to get in great shape after their skills have already started to decline to the point where they now NEED to be in shape.  So, not only is it a slap in the face (because, ostensibly, you have to figure these players – if they were in the best shape of their lives back when they were in their PRIME – could have been so much better!), but it’s also a huge waste of time, because instead of being a worthless pile of crap, you’re now a worthless pile of physically fit crap.  Regardless, I’m still plugging my nose whenever I’m around you.

However, in the case of Guti and Smoak (as with Carp), you are talking about guys who are (hopefully) closer to the beginning of their careers than the end.  Getting into the Best Shape Of Their Lives at this point in their careers can ONLY be a plus!

Especially when we’re talking about Guti.  Because all along – ever since we learned of this IBS he’s been suffering with – we’ve always said, “As soon as he gets his illness figured out, and packs a few pounds back on, he will be back to his glory days in no time!”  I still stand behind that statement, and I can’t wait to see him prove me right this season.

Reason To Live (for Mariners baseball) #3 – Other Young Guys

I’m just going to lump all the rest into this section for obvious reasons.  Will Dustin Ackley continue to show why he was taken #2 overall?  Will Jesus Montero justify why he was worth Michael Pineda?  Will Seager, Wells, Carp, and the rest of the guys who ultimately get a shot with the big club make strides in becoming bona fide Major Leaguers?  Will we see some surprises come out of nowhere to make a big impact on the Mariners?

Likewise, will the Big Three pitching prospects – Walker, Hultzen, and Paxton – get to show what they’re made of later this season?  Remember when the Mariners had another highly-lauded Big Three of Gil Meche, Joel Pinero, and Ryan Anderson?  Remember how THAT turned out?  Will Walker, Hultzen, and Paxton be just like those guys, or will they actually be, you know, good?  To think about all the trades we could’ve made with that prior Big Three … it makes my stomach turn.  Hopefully, holding onto this trio of talent doesn’t bite us in the ass like it did a decade ago.

Reason To Live (for Mariners baseball) #4 – Ichiro & Chone Figgins

Yes, I know, you think I’m batshit crazy for listing these two guys, but hear me out!

I’m not exactly thrilled with Ichiro after last season, but there ARE some interesting storylines about him right now.  First is:  he might not be batting first anymore.  That may not mean a whole lot as far as Wins & Losses are concerned, but it’s interesting nonetheless.  I can’t remember him EVER hitting anywhere else in the lineup.  That novelty alone will be pretty cool … at least for the first couple weeks of the season.

Second:  you’ve got the very real possibility that this is his final season in a Mariners uniform.  Say what you will about the guy, but he’s a Mariners Hall of Famer – and he’s probably also a Major League Hall of Famer.  Many people (myself included) think this SHOULD be his final season – he’s overpaid and he’s now under-producing.  But, that doesn’t mean you can’t take this season to truly appreciate all the things he’s done for us.

As for Chone Figgins, I’m mostly hoping that by him batting leadoff, he gets his mojo back and builds up some semblance of trade value so we can ship him off without eating the entirety of his fucking contract!  Not that I’m hoping to do the cheapskate Mariners’ front office any favors by saving them money, but if he were to prove to be an asset in the Major Leagues, who knows?  Maybe we get a good prospect back or something, in addition to not eating that salary.  It’s the best we can hope for.

The least we can hope for is:  he’s not the total fucking disaster he’s been the past two seasons.  I guess we’ll see.

For the record, the most we can dread is:  he IS the total fucking disaster he’s been the past two seasons, but the team won’t stop trotting him out there night after night, until they’re finally forced to cut him, where he lands on the Angels and helps lead them to a World Series championship by hitting the game-winning grand slam (off of Felix Hernandez, who was foolishly traded for some magic beans to the Houston Astros, who will be an AL West rival starting in 2013).  Moving on.

Reason To Live (for Mariners baseball) #5 – Ron Fairly

Seriously, Mariners, get him on some more games this season!  Give Fake Ron Fairly some more ammo on Twitter!

Draft Day!

With the 25th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks … trade with the Miami Dolphins for their second and third round picks (also going to Miami, let’s say a 6th round pick).

By the way, if that scenario really happens, my mind would officially be blown.

Why don’t Mock Draft guys do mock drafts where they predict trades?  I mean, because all you’re really doing is playing a game here.  It’s not like it’s THAT hard to look at all the NFL teams, compile a list of all their needs, and then figure out the best college players to fill those needs.

Oh, the Seahawks have an obvious need at Quarterback.  Jake Locker’s stock is falling, he’s a Northwest guy, so OF COURSE the Seahawks are going to take him.  Not taking him would be a huge upset!

It’s lazy, is what it is!  Predict the draft-day trades!  If you would’ve predicted before last year’s draft that the Seahawks would trade for both Leon Washington and LenDale White, you would be a GOD among Mock Drafters.

But no, everyone just keeps churning out the same Mock Drafts every damn year.  Mel Kiper has been on autopilot for the last decade!  For instance, you’d think, if you were so involved with the NFL Draft every year, that you’d KNOW Al Davis will make a stupid, out-of-right-field pick.  You know how in golf you have to account for wind and adjust your shot accordingly?  Well, in NFL Mock Drafts, you have to account for Al Davis’ crazy factor!

Anyway, I’ll shut up about that now.  Because all anyone around here cares about is:  1.  Where will Jake Locker Go?  and 2.  What will the Seahawks do with their 25th pick?

My official guess:  knowing nothing about the draft order or who needs what, I say that Jake goes somewhere in the Teens, and I say that the Seahawks don’t even MAKE a pick today.  We’re trading out of this round so hard, it’s going to make everyone’s head spin.

Which, in all honesty, wouldn’t bother me too much.  No, I don’t like the idea of not having a first round pick, but really, is the 25th pick even IN the first round anymore?  In an ideal world, we will have three draft picks tomorrow, and one of them will be Andy Dalton, one of them will be an offensive guard, and one of them will be a cornerback with some size.

Last year, we had one of our best drafts in YEARS and years.  This year, we probably won’t be graded so high initially, but I bet we’re able to grab a lot of pieces to help us in our road to recovery.

Just … for the love of God, don’t draft Mark Ingram!  One of our strengths next year is running back; PLEASE, don’t waste a First Round pick on another!

Welcome To Seattle, Marshawn

I pretty much only know the world through the filter of Fantasy Football.  In that sense, all I know about Marshawn Lynch – whom the Seattle Seahawks acquired in a trade with the Bills for a 4th round pick next year and another pick (likely a 6th rounder) in 2012 – is that he’s been kind of a disappointment lately, after coming on like gangbusters in his rookie season.

In that rookie season, according to his ESPN page, he had 1,115 yards in 13 games, averaging an even 4.0 ypc.  The next year, he had 30 less carries and only 1,036 yards, but for a 4.1 ypc average.  After that, for whatever reason, Buffalo decided it needed another running back to spell Lynch (L-Y-N-C-H … but I digress) and he fell to 120 carries for only 450 yards last year (with a 3.8 ypc average).  Then they drafted C.J. Spiller (yes, THAT C.J. Spiller, the guy the Seahawks could have drafted if they were so inclined), and that spelled the end of the Marshawn Lynch era (t-h-e e-n-d …).

Fantasy Bust?  You betcha!  But, that doesn’t make him a bad running back.  That doesn’t mean he can’t come in here and immediately help this ballclub, with his 215 pound frame and his 24 years of age.  By all rights, if he’s kept himself in shape, refrained from smoking too much reefer, and hasn’t half-killed his liver in long, booze-filled nights, Marshawn Lynch should have a good 6 years left to his career.

In other words, this COULD be the running back we see heading our attack for a while.  What do you think about that?

I think the price is right, first of all.  A 4th round pick is pretty much Mansfield Wrotto, so if you look at it that way, we just raped Buffalo in their junk!  A 6th round pick is pretty much Steve Vallos, so there you go.

Secondly, I don’t know if I necessarily buy the whole Thunder & Lightning theory when it comes to a running game (which goes:  you need a big bruising back to tenderize the defense while getting those tough yards, then you pop them across the jaw with a small, shifty guy with a lot of quicks who can get to that second level and take some longer runs to the house).  I think if your offensive line is bad, anything short of Adrian Peterson will look a whole lot like Julius Jones.  However, if your offensive line is good, you can have Thunder & Thunder or Lightning & Lightning and do just fine.

Overall, I don’t hate the move.  I’m not enamored just yet, but if he comes in here and gives us some offensive stability, I could be.  I think this is just a piece.  In the offseason, it was clear we needed another running back (and less of a Julius Jones who’s FINALLY been officially cut thank Christ).  We tried with trades, but found that Leon Washington is quite similar to what we have in Forsett (only better on kickoffs) and we found that Lunch Pail is who we thought he was.  We opted to NOT go via the draft which I think is fine because Earl Thomas will be YOUR Defensive ROY.  So, once again we tried the trade route.  We didn’t give up too much, and we got someone considerably younger and considerably better than Lunch Pail.

Lynch might not help us too much this season.  But, next year?  The year after?  We could have something there.

Player Profile: Mike Williams

Will a feel-good story turn into a productive member of an NFL team, Mike Williams?

Back when he never met a rack of lamb he didn't like

It’s no secret that the Seahawks have been a revolving door of tryouts this offseason.  For the most part, we’re talking about real bottom-feeders just trying to be that 53rd man on a roster.  Some of the bigger names to get a look – Lunch Pail, Reggie Williams – were pretty obviously not what the team was looking for and summarily dismissed.  One of the reclamation projects, however, looks to be making a major impact, zeroing in on a starting job potentially.

Mike Williams – to this point in his career – has been the epitome of Bust.  Highly touted out of college, he was a monster for USC.  Over 2 seasons, he caught 176 balls for 2,579 yards and 30 touchdowns.  Along with his 6’5 size, that made NFL teams drool over him, with Detroit ultimately picking him 10th overall.

Then came the doughnuts and cheese-steak sandwiches and everything else piled with gravy.  Some say he weighed as much as 270 pounds.  Some say they mistook him for an offensive lineman.  SOME say, the man-beast could eat his weight in maple bars.  We may never know how such a creature made it onto a football field, but after the 2007 season he surely wasn’t allowed onto one again.

Until Pete Carroll got a job with the Seahawks, took one look at a guy who once again cared about physical fitness, and decided to take a shot.  It’s a good thing too, because he looks like he could become our most productive receiver.  It’s still early yet!  But, there’s nothing to dislike about a guy as big and strong as he is, with some speed and a whole lot of hunger (this time, for footballs).

In our best season, 2005, we had another 6’5 receiver who was strong with good hands.  His name was Joe Jurevicius and he caught a career-high 10 touchdowns in his lone season here.  That, I think, is what we can reasonably expect from a guy like Mike Williams.  He’s not going to catch more than 70 balls probably, but when he does catch them, they’re going to count.

Player Profile: Leon Washington

Will everyone’s favorite emergency fantasy football reserve once again be Leon Washington?

I love the way you get me first downs

Seahawks fans the region over were pretty excited on the draft weekend with first rounders Russell Okung and Earl Thomas, and with the awesome find that was Golden Tate later in the 2nd round.  But what really got the rest of the country to pay attention were the trades for veteran running backs LenDale White and Leon Washington.

Most people know that LunchPail was released not too long after being acquired (the real victory in that trade with the Titans is sure to be defensive tackle Vickerson), and I don’t think that hurt our overall A-grade for the draft weekend one bit.  Because we still have Leon Washington, and by all accounts he’s returning ahead of schedule from his nasty broken leg.

Anyone forced to endure the 2009 season knows one irrefutable truth:  that team lacked playmakers.  No one on defense, no one on special teams … the best you can give me is Nate Burleson but even then, it’s not like other teams are specifically game-planning to stop Nate Burleson.  He’s a nice complementary player, sure.  But he’s not what I – or many outside of the Burleson family – would call a playmaker.

It would seem that’s been rectified somewhat in 2010 with a guy like Tate and a guy like Washington.

Leon Washington has never been a #1 back since being drafted in the 4th round in 2006.  But, as a 3rd down back and a return man, he’s about as good as it gets (like a Darren Sproles type).  For his career, Washington has averaged 4.8 yards per carry, and his reception totals have improved every season until last year’s freakish injury.  Culminating in 2008 with 47 catches for 355 yards and 2 TDs (which says nothing of that season’s 448 yards rushing – a whopping 5.9 per carry – and 6 TDs).  THEN, go ahead and tack on a 26 yards per kickoff return average (where he broke 4 TDs over the ’07 and ’08 seasons), and I’d say that’s the making of a playmaker right down to the letter.

What are my expectations for Washington this year?  To be honest, if we get what he was able to produce when he’s been healthy, it’ll be a boon for the entire organization.  I’m just happy to have him on the team.  Between Washington and Forsett, we could really have the makings of an explosive backfield that everyone in Seattle can be proud of.

Twenty Ten Round Two Thru Seven: Leading The League In Past-Prime Backs

We got an A from Mel Kiper! I don’t think that’s ever happened before. I also don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing.

For one, I feel like these grades rely too much on people who can step in Right Away and help us Win Ballgames. For two, these grades rely too much on perceived talent. For three, these perceptions are made by goons who spend way too much time watching college football. And, for four, Mel Kiper is a tool.

That being said, I’m a big fan of what the Seahawks did this weekend, LenDale White notwithstanding.

I LOVE Leon Washington. I’ve loved him mostly from afar, as a Fantasy Football player who’s oft-used him as an emergency running back in hopes that he’d break a long run, a kick return for a TD, or catch 5 balls for 55 yards during a regular starter’s bye week. Leon Washington can do pretty much everything and is FINALLY the pass-catching guy out of the backfield we’ve been lacking since the days of John L. Williams.

As for the actual draft picks after Round One, LOVE Golden Tate. He’s fast, he’s shifty, he’s the slot-receiver of the future and the kick-returner of today. And I think he’ll play bigger than his short frame indicates.

After the third round, it’s hard to expect too much from draft picks outside of contributing on Special Teams. Thurmond is a cornerback who was injured in college and would’ve otherwise been picked higher had he been healthy. I like it when teams go this route, because you know the potential is there; and frankly, there’s a threat of injury for everyone. You never know when it’ll happen, so you might as well draft for talent over not drafting out of fear of someone getting freakishly hurt again.

E.J. Wilson looks to be another Defensive End who’ll rarely touch the quarterback, but apparently he’s decent against the run. There weren’t a whole lot of quality Ends available when the Seahawks were picking, so I don’t blame them for not reaching. Hopefully Wilson can hold his own.

Chancellor is another safety, picked in the 5th round. Looks to be a special teamer/practice squad guy.

The first USC guy we got from our 6th Round pick. Another tight end, Anthony McCoy. Man, we are loading up at this position; I guess they’re right when they say we’re going to be in a lot of 2-TE sets. Apparently, this guy is a good blocker. Could be another practice squad candidate.

Dexter Davis, in the 7th round, is a linebacker from ASU. He’ll be looking to replace Lance Laury on special teams; he better know how to tackle.

Jameson Konz out of Kent State is listed as a FB on ESPN, but apparently he’s an athletic freak of nature who’ll be trying out at WR. This guy might be the most interesting cat we drafted after the 2nd Round; seems to be hella-raw. Definite Practice Squad potential.