How Many Starters Have The Seahawks Drafted In The Previous Ten Years?

On the Brock & Salk podcast this week, they were talking to Daniel Jeremiah who made an interesting point about the NFL Draft. He said that every team’s goal should be to select three starters in every draft, ideally with one of those players being true blue chippers. You can define “starter” and “blue chipper” in any number of ways; I think as you’ll see, I’m pretty generous.

For example, I would count Nickel Corner among the “starters” because they play such a high percentage of snaps (usually). I would also count #2 tight ends, because the Seahawks value that position so highly (I would not, however, count #2 running backs, oddly enough; so you won’t see Robert Turbin on here). I’m also not counting players the Seahawks drafted who would go on to have more successful careers elsewhere (so, no Mark Glowinski or Spencer Ware among my picks); if they weren’t starters for the Seahawks, then I’m not interested. I don’t care about “hit rate” unless it applies to the team I love.

The discussion, of course, centers around how GREAT the Seahawks were at drafting from 2010-2012, contrasted with how TERRIBLE they’ve been from 2013 onward. So, without further ado, let’s a-DO this!

2010-2012: The Good Years

2010

  • Russell Okung (LT)
  • Earl Thomas (FS)
  • Golden Tate (WR)
  • Walter Thurmond (CB)
  • Kam Chancellor (SS)

2011

  • James Carpenter (LG)
  • K.J. Wright (LB)
  • Richard Sherman (CB)
  • Byron Maxwell (CB)
  • Malcolm Smith (LB)

2012

  • Bruce Irvin (DE/LB)
  • Bobby Wagner (LB)
  • Russell Wilson (QB)
  • Jeremy Lane (CB)
  • J.R. Sweezy (RG)

What a murderer’s row! That’s not even factoring in such quality starters/blue chippers as undrafted free agents Doug Baldwin, DeShawn Shead, and Jermaine Kearse! You can see why this team went to back-to-back Super Bowls; those are three drafts that produced 15 starters, with 8 of them being real blue chippers (Okung, Earl, Tate, Kam, K.J., Sherm, BWagz, and Russ) on top of, again, blue chipper Doug and two more starting-calibre players.

Now, you can nitpick, of course. Malcolm Smith might be the biggest stretch, but in base defense as a strongside linebacker he made some impact plays (and, of course, was MVP of the Super Bowl, so give me a break!). Lane and Thurmond were both nickel corners. And, some of these guys took a couple years before they developed into starters. Nevertheless, all of these guys made significant impacts on the Seahawks’ success for our glory years.

2013-2016: The Bad Years

2013

  • Luke Willson (TE)

2014

  • Justin Britt (C)

2015

  • Frank Clark (DE)
  • Tyler Lockett (WR)

2016

  • Germain Ifedi (RT)
  • Jarran Reed (DT)

That’s truly NOT GREAT! Frank Clark is arguably the best player on this list, and he’s not even on the team anymore because we didn’t see him as worthy of a contract at the top of the market. Lockett is probably the guy who panned out the best for us, given that we were able to extend him to a reasonable second contract (that he continues to out-play every time he steps on the field). Luke Willson is a HUGE stretch, because he’s only been a de facto #1 tight end when the guys ahead of him got injured; otherwise he’s at-best a #2. Britt and Ifedi you could argue were overpaid busts. Reed is still around, but obviously wasn’t able to capitalize on his one great year due to being suspended for domestic violence.

2017-2019: The We’ll See Years

2017

  • Shaquill Griffin (CB)
  • Chris Carson (RB)

2018

  • Will Dissly (TE)
  • Tre Flowers (CB)
  • Michael Dickson (P)

2019

  • D.K. Metcalf

Before we talk about these guys, I have one holdover from the 2016 draft – Joey Hunt – who became a starter for a large chunk of the 2019 season, but I’m hesitant to want to elevate him on my list unless he wins the center job out of camp in 2020. That might make the 2016 draft look marginally better, but still I don’t know if anyone expects Hunt to be here long-term.

Anyway, it’s pretty early to make definitive proclamations about the 2017-2019 drafts, but it’s encouraging that I’ve listed the same number of players here that I did for the FOUR drafts preceeding them. Griffin and Dickson have already made Pro Bowls (though, Dickson almost feels like cheating since he’s a punter). Dissly looks as good as any tight end in football when he’s healthy, as does Carson among running backs. And, D.K. really broke out as a rookie last year, looking like a stud for many years to come.

You can probably close the book on the rest of the 2017 draft; none of the guys I left off look like they’ll be anything of note for the Seahawks. There’s marginal hope for a couple others from 2018. Rasheem Green has the highest upside, and figures to get a lot of playing time this year along the defensive line. He’s sort of a default starter for the Seahawks; we’ll see if he’s able to do anything with the opportunity. Tre Flowers – while it looks like he’ll lose his starting job to newcomer Quinton Dunbar (assuming he’s formally acquitted of robbery charges, AND isn’t suspended by the team/league) – still figures to be well involved in the defense. Also, if he can stay healthy and play well, Jamarco Jones has a higher ceiling than we might’ve originally expected.

As for 2019, there are a lot of hopefuls. L.J. Collier will get a long look this season. Marquise Blair hopes to win one of the starting safety jobs (and could also figure in the Big Nickel package, against the more difficult tight ends on our schedule). Cody Barton could eventually start at one of the outside linebacker spots if he plays his cards right (looking less likely, of course, with who the Seahawks drafted last month). Phil Haynes might win a starting spot on the offensive line in his second season. And, with a VERY outside chance, who knows? Maybe John Ursua takes over as this offense’s primary slot receiver!

As for the 2020 draft, all we can do is speculate. Jordyn Brooks figures to be a starter one day soon. Damien Lewis might be a starter from day one. And, everyone hopes Darrell Taylor gets a lot of play early at defensive end. Also, Colby Parkinson will have every opportunity to be this team’s #2 tight end as early as 2021.

So, it’s been a real rollercoaster over the last decade! Here’s hoping things are finally trending back in the right direction over the last 3-4 drafts. The one thing that worries me is the lack of blue chippers since 2013. From The Bad Years, I count only two from those four drafts (Clark & Lockett). From The We’ll See Years … again, we’ll see. D.K. seems like the safest bet. Griffin, I guess, you have to put in there (though, compared to blue chippers of seasons past, he doesn’t quite live up). Dickson, again, feels like cheating, but okay he counts. Carson and Dissly are definite blue chippers when healthy, but they both feel like incompletes.

The argument from 2013-2016 was that the Seahawks had so many great players from the previous three years that it was exceedingly difficult for younger guys to break through. That has, decidedly, not been as much of a problem over the last three seasons, particularly on defense where it’s been trending downward for half a decade. 2020 will be VERY interesting, because I don’t see too many sacred cows on this roster (again, particularly on defense). What I think is interesting is that the Seahawks don’t seem to be NEARLY as concerned with the defensive line as the fans are, which leads me to wonder what they know that we don’t. We have lots of stats and anecdotal information at our disposal, but they’re obviously embedded with these players fairly intimately. They get to see what these guys are capable of in practice, as well as talk to them and get into their heads.

Long story short: the team almost always knows more than the fans and “experts” do. So, maybe they’ll be right. Maybe we don’t need someone like Clowney because guys like Green, Collier, and Taylor will take huge steps forward! I remember fans being similarly up in arms in the early years of this regime, when a lot of the younger guys in the secondary won their jobs over established veterans. We were freaking out, but the Legion Of Boom proved us all to be pretty foolish. I hope we’re in for something like that again!

Geno Smith Is Returning To The Seahawks & That’s The ONLY Thing That Happened Yesterday. Yep. Slow News Day Otherwise …

Were you worried about the Seahawks’ quarterback room after All Pro Russell Wilson? Worried that maybe Anthony Gordon – an undrafted rookie out of Washington State – might not be up to the challenge if the worst happened and he had to be thrown to the wolves? Well, you’re in luck because mediocre backup Geno Smith figures to lug around the clipboard in another action-packed season as the Seahawks’ #2!

Oh, and the starting cornerback we got in trade from the Redskins who’s supposed to take over for Tre Flowers and seriously bolster our secondary – Quinton Dunbar – had an arrest warrent put on him for armed robbery at a houseparty a couple days ago in Florida … BUT HEY, HOW ABOUT THIS GENO SMITH GUY HUH?! FUN G.D. TIMES AND WHATNOT!

Clearly, I wasn’t born to have nice things. (why, in these COVID-19 times, was there a party happening in the first place?). Clearly, I wasn’t meant for happiness. (these are two players in the National Football League, earning millions of dollars!). Clearly, I’m doomed to walk the Earth in a perpetual state of tire-spinning, frustratingly taking two steps back every time I take two steps forward. (I mean, I know the shit they robbed was worth a lot, but these are young up-and-comers who’d be worth even MORE millions of dollars in a few years!). I’m not a bad guy; I’m reasonably well-liked; I try to do the right things when I can. (did they think they weren’t going to get caught? why didn’t they at least wear masks that covered their ENTIRE faces?). WHY DOES EVERYTHING BAD ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME?!?!

I need a hug.

I’ve been racking my brain trying to find the bright side here, and I think I’ve got something. It’s not much, but it’s all I’ve got. Now, assuming this isn’t as bad as it looks, that maybe he won’t go to prison and only misses a small handful of games due to suspension, but he’s otherwise a rehabilitated and dedicated football player from this day forward (as hard as that seems, given he fucking – allegedly – committed armed robbery), and in the games he DOES play in, he makes a huge impact and helps lead the Seahawks to a successful season with his clutch plays – to the point where the Seahawks would want to keep him around beyond this season, with his contract coming up – MAYBE an incident like this drives down his value to the point where he’s not necessarily so expensive to re-sign for 2021 and possibly beyond.

I told you it wasn’t much. A lot of clauses and caveats in that scenario there.

The downside is, obviously, the Seahawks feel compelled to cut him and he never plays a down for us. The next-worst thing is: he goes to prison and/or gets suspended for the entire season and never plays a down for us (how is that not the same thing? because in this situation I believe we’d at least have salary cap relief). Next-worst is: he misses a significant amount of games – a number we’re never really told, that’s just up to the whim of the commissioner’s office – but eventually returns to play, only he sucks because he’s rusty, doesn’t know the defense, and makes no positive impact whatsoever. The fewer games he misses due to suspension, the better it looks, but obviously the Ideal Scenario with Dunbar is never going to see the light of day. Not in 2020. Maybe not ever.

But, at least he won’t hold out for a bigger contract! I think that ship sailed right off the edge of the flat fucking Earth that’s taken over our lives because NOTHING MAKES ANY GOD DAMN SENSE ANYMORE AND WE’RE ALL LIVING IN THE AUTISTIC NIGHTMARE OF SOME SNOWGLOBE-SHAKING CHILD IN BOSTON!

I’m having a really good week, you guys. Honest and for true. I’m not having a nervous breakdown, you’re having a nervous breakdown, he said with cold, dead eyes, in an unsettling monotone while staring off into the middle distance trying to remember if he took his Clozapine today or not …

He probably did. What’s the worst that could happen, huh?

Remember when Earl Thomas’ wife pulled a gun on him for getting caught in bed sharing a woman with his brother? DOES ANYBODY REMEMBER LAUGHTER?!

Potential Players The Seahawks Could Trade For Draft Picks

Today’s the day! Day One of the NFL Draft! And I CANNOT stress this enough: don’t expect the Seahawks to make a pick tonight.

I really put this off until the last minute, so this post pretty much has a shelf-life of 12-36 hours, I’m guessing. I meant to talk about this earlier in the week, but what can I say? I just forgot; issa pandemic!

I keep saying that the Seahawks are bound to make some trades to acquire more draft picks, because they’ve never drafted fewer than eight times in any Pete Carroll/John Schneider draft, and the odds are pretty good that the Seahawks move down from 27th in the first round and get more mid-round picks that way.

But, you never know; there’s an outside chance the Seahawks trade an actual player already on the roster! So, let’s see who’s vulnerable.

Right away, I’m looking at Ethan Pocic. He’s in the final year of his rookie contract, he’s been trained across pretty much the entire offensive line, but for many reasons he’s been unable to secure a starting gig in spite of being a second round draft pick. Those reasons, of course, are: injuries & ineffectiveness (a lethal combo in – I’m gonna say it – pretty much every profession on Earth). Have the Seahawks lost faith in Pocic? Well, given how many street free agents we’ve signed this offseason, the odds are pretty high. Could we flip him for a 6th or 7th rounder? It only takes one team!

I don’t think this is a move anyone in his right mind would advocate for, but once the Seahawks traded for Quinton Dunbar, Tre Flowers’ future appeared to be in serious question with this team. He’s heading into his third year in the NFL, with two full seasons’ worth of starting experience. I’m not saying the Seahawks SHOULD trade Flowers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s on the block, at the right price. Honestly, I don’t think I’d take anything less than a third rounder for him; he does still have two years left on his rookie deal, after all. That has to be worth SOMETHING! Especially if you believe – like I kind of do – that he’s bound to make a leap in effectiveness in 2020. If it were up to me, I’d rather hang onto him and try him out on the inside (or start Dunbar on the outside in base defense and then move him inside in Nickel situations), but I think you at least have to listen to offers.

Bradley McDougald is another interesting candidate for this thought experiment. He’s in the final year of his contract and will cost approximately $4 million to any team that takes him on. Quandre Diggs looks like a stud, and Marquise Blair wasn’t drafted last year to play backup his entire career. Now, of course, the problem with trading McDougald is your depth at safety takes a SERIOUS hit. What if Blair isn’t ready? What if Blair is injury-prone? What if – *shudder* – we have to start Lano Hill as a result of this (someone I’m sure we’d all LOVE to see traded away, except he sucks so hard he has zero value)? This is another one I wouldn’t advocate for, but again, if the price is right (I’d say a fourth rounder or higher), you’ve gotta consider it.

I’m gonna put this one among the LEAST likely moves – for a variety of reasons – but Chris Carson is in the final year of his rookie deal. He’s an absolute STAR, but he’s had to overcome a lot of injuries in his own short career (and, frankly, I don’t even know if he’s healthy NOW). Nevertheless, if the Seahawks look to be major players in drafting a running back (or two), then they might want to clear the deck of any entrenched starters (particularly if they select a running back in the first couple days of the draft). Trading Carson is, of course, unlikely because running backs are a dime a dozen, as well as those injury issues I talked about. MAYBE we’d look at getting a 6th or 7th rounder in return, but that hardly seems worth it when you consider how dominant Carson can be when he’s on his game. I’d rather just let him play out his deal and let him walk.

Finally, because I could be here all day, I wonder about Jacob Hollister’s future. As has been noted before, the Seahawks have A LOT of tight ends on one-year deals, so you have to figure they’re looking to draft someone for the future. My hunch is, if they select someone early enough, they might flip Hollister for a mid-to-late round draft pick. OR, they could flip him for a pick in the 2021 draft (maybe make it conditional up to a fourth rounder, if he has a great season). I’m choosing Hollister for this exercise because Greg Olsen obviously figures heavily into our 2020 plans, Dissly is too good to give up on just yet (plus his value is low after a second consecutive injury-shortened season), and Luke Willson is really only valuable to the Seahawks at this point (we picked him up off the street partway through 2019 for a reason).

The Seahawks Traded For Quinton Dunbar (Isn’t That Enough For You?!)

The Seahawks had a BIG need to improve their cornerback play. I don’t know if this will do the trick or not, but it’s a nice step in the right direction.

We traded a 5th rounder to the Redskins, which sounds like a steal according to reports. 2020 will be his sixth season in the league, which will see him making just over $3 million (the final year of his current deal). He’s 6’2 and coming off of the best season of his career (he was one of the higher-rated cornerbacks, depending on where you look).

But, of course, there’s a catch. With the type of production he had last year (4 picks and 8 passes defended in 11 games), he’s already demanded a trade or a raise from the Redskins, so presumably he won’t be happy playing for just under $3.5 million from ANY team. Also, not for nothing, but his last two seasons – really his only seasons as a starting cornerback – ended prematurely with leg/hamstring injuries. When you factor in the relatively small sample size, combined with what I’m expecting to be a pretty high demand for a contract extension, you can see why this might blow up in our faces.

Does he show up to play? Does he hold out into the regular season? Any pre-season holdouts will significantly hamper his value, as he’ll need that time to learn our system. Or, do we sign him to an early extension right away? That could be great! But, what if he doesn’t fit our system? What if injuries creep into play? And, what if recent Pro Bowler Shaquill Griffin – who, himself, is heading into his first opportunity to nab an early extension (he’s set to earn just over $2 million in 2020, the final year of his rookie deal) – ends up disgruntled that the Seahawks opted to reward a newcomer (arguably a less-accomplished newcomer, compared to Griffin, who has started all three years) before him?

There are just SO MANY WAYS this can go haywire!

Look, in a bubble, obviously it’s a great deal. Just like we did with Quandre Diggs in the middle of the 2019 season, we were able to flip a fifth round pick for a quality starter in our secondary. But, there are so many other things that can happen (and we still have to either sign Clowney or another elite defensive end to help round out our front seven), that it all feels a little daunting. I’m not saying I regret it happening; but I’m saying there’s still a lot to be done in just this situation alone to make being excited about the 2020 Seahawks defense more palatable.

In that aforementioned bubble, of course, is the fact that Dunbar probably takes over immediately for Tre Flowers. Dunbar also has experience playing the slot, if it comes to that. I’ll be honest, I don’t HATE Flowers, but I think he got thrown to the wolves a little bit as a rookie (converting from safety to corner for the first time in his career), and unfortunately I don’t think he quite made as much progress as we’d hoped for in Year 2. He had a particularly brutal run in the playoffs that had a lot of people calling for his head. I think those wishes have been granted, to an extent. But, I also don’t think we’ve seen the last of him. Shaquill Griffin had an up & down rookie season, then struggled mightily in his second year (flipping from the right side to the left side of the defense, with Richard Sherman leaving), but he made a big leap last year, his third season. Well, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if Tre Flowers did the same thing.

The only question I want to worry about with the Seahawks is who plays the right side, and who plays nickel? I’d like happy players, under reasonable contracts, to take all other concerns off my plate. Because, if we can get THERE (and, of course, if we can continue to improve our pass rush), then I’ll be willing to let my excitement level bubble over.