With the 2015 NFL draft just two weeks away, let’s take a look back at the Seahawks’ draft history under coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, highlighting some of the highs and lows, by round, of the picks they have made in five drafts since taking control of the franchise.
And as a reminder, the Seahawks have 11 picks in this year’s draft, though none in the first round, having traded that pick to New Orleans for tight end Jimmy Graham. Seattle is scheduled to pick once in the second round (63rd overall), once in the third (95), three times in Round 4 (112, 130, 134), twice in Round 5 (167, 170), three times in Round 6 (181, 209, 214) and once in the seventh and final round (248).
2010: Russell Okung (sixth overall pick), Earl Thomas (14). 2011: James Carpenter (25). 2012: Bruce Irvin (15). 2013: Traded. 2014: Traded.
Best pick: Thomas. Okung, when healthy, has played at Pro Bowl level, but Thomas is such a huge part of what makes Seattle’s defense work, and when all is said and done, he could go down as one of the best players in Seahawks history.
Worst pick: If traded picks count, then it has to be the 2013 first-rounder that went to Minnesota, along with a third-rounder, for the right to pay a ton of money for one season of an injured Percy Harvin. If we’re talking about a player Seattle actually picked, then it’s probably Carpenter, more because of his injuries than his play. Irvin still has to do more to prove he was worth the 15th pick, but last year was encouraging, and he still has a future in Seattle, unlike Carpenter, who signed with the Jets this offseason.
Of note: Barring a very unlikely trade into Round 1, this will be the third straight year the Seahawks sit out the first round.
2010: Golden Tate (60). 2011: Traded. 2012: Bobby Wagner (47). 2013: Christine Michael (62). 2014: Paul Richardson (45), Justin Britt (64).
Best pick: Wagner. Tate was very good, especially in his final season with Seattle when he was the leading receiver on a championship team, but Wagner, who has established himself as one of the top middle linebackers in the NFL, gets the nod.
Worst pick: TBD. It’s too early to make a judgment on Michael, who hasn’t gotten a chance to play regularly, but if he never becomes a big part of the offense, that will look like a bad pick. If, however, he ends up being the heir to Marshawn Lynch — something he so far has not proven he can be — then that’s good value late in the second round. Richardson and Britt both did enough as rookies to show that there is promise in those picks.
Of note: The Seahawks have moved back in the second round in every draft under Carroll and Schneider, so if history repeats itself, they might not pick until Round 3.
2010: Traded. 2011: John Moffitt (75). 2012: Russell Wilson (75), 2013: Jordan Hill (87). 2014: Trade.
Best pick: Do we really need to answer this? OK fine, it’s Wilson, who not only is the best third-rounder the Seahawks have picked, but given his performance and the importance of his position, is also one of the best draft bargains to come into the NFL in years.
Worst pick: Moffitt. Sure, Moffitt did start at guard as a rookie, but that was more out of need than anything, and after being traded to Denver, he has since retired.
Of note: With just three picks made, the third round has by far been the quietest round for Carroll and Schneider thanks to trades for Charlie Whitehurst and Percy Harvin.
2010: Walter Thurmond (111). EJ Wilson (127). 2011: K.J. Wright (99), Kris Durham (107). 2012: Robert Turbin (106), Jaye Howard (114). 2013: Chris Harper (123). 2014: Cassius Marsh (108), Kevin Norwood (123), Kevin Pierre-Louis (132).
Best pick: Wright. The Seahawks have picked up a few important players in the fourth round, including Thurmond and Turbin, but Wright has been one of Seattle’s best and most versatile linebackers since his rookie season, and is the only one of Seattle’s fourth-rounders to earn a second contract with the Seahawks.
Worst pick: Wilson. The fourth round has been rough overall, with Wilson, Howard, Durham and Harper all failing to stick with Seattle, but Wilson “wins” this award because the others have at least managed to salvage careers with other teams.
Of note: For all the success the Seahawks have had at cornerback, they’ve yet to use a pick a corner higher than the fourth-rounder they used on Thurmond.
2010: Kam Chancellor (133). 2011: Richard Sherman (154), Mark LeGree (156). 2012: Korey Toomer (154). 2013: Jesse Williams (137), Tharold Simon (138), Luke Willson (158). 2014: Jimmy Staten (172).
Best pick: How do you choose between Chancellor and Sherman? You don’t. Sherman has earned more accolades and is arguably the more talented player, but Chancellor is the tone-setter and the leader of the NFL’s best defense. Simply put, it’s hard to see the Seahawks being the Seahawks without the contributions of either, so we’re going to take the easy way out and call it a tie.
Worst pick: LeGree. The Seahawks hoped they might unearth a small-school sleeper by taking the safety out of Appalachian State, but instead Legree was beaten out for a roster spot by undrafted Jeron Johnson. And in yet another reminder of how inexact a science the NFL draft can be, Sherman, a three-time, first-team All-Pro, and LeGree, who never appeared in a regular-season game, were taken just two picks apart.
Of note: While we’re focusing on the draft only in this post, Johnson beating out Legree for a roster spot is a good segue to the 2011 class of undrafted rookies. Because of the lockout, teams had to wait until July to sign undrafted players instead of doing so right after the draft, as is usually the case. When the lockout ended, the Seahawks signed a crop of undrafted rookies that included Johnson, Doug Baldwin, Mike Morgan and Ricardo Lockette, who all contributed to back-to-back Super Bowl seasons. That class also included Ron Parker, who just signed a five-year, $30 million deal with the Chiefs.
2010: Anthony McCoy (185). 2011: Byron Maxwell (173). 2012: Jeremy Lane (172), Winston Guy (181). 2013: Spencer Ware (194). 2014: Garrett Scott (199), Eric Pinkins (208).
Best pick: The Seahawks found two good corners in this round in consecutive years, but Maxwell gets the nod over Lane having been a starter on two Super Bowl teams. Maxwell, in fact, turned himself into such a good cornerback that the Seahawks couldn’t afford to re-sign him this offseason. He’s now with Philadelphia.
Worst pick: Ware. Both Guy and Ware had brief and unmemorable careers in Seattle, but Guy at least went on to do more after the Seahawks released him.
Of note: Four of Seattle’s seven picks in the sixth round have been used on defensive backs, so don’t be surprised if the Seahawks again look to find a DB in the late rounds.
2010: Dexter Davis (236), Jameson Konz (245). 2011: Pep Levingston (205), Malcolm Smith (242). 2012: J.R. Sweezy (225), Greg Scruggs (232). 2013: Ryan Seymour (220), Ty Powell (231), Jared Smith (241), Michael Bowie (242). 2014: Kiero Small (227).
Best pick: Sweezy. Yes, Smith won the Super Bowl MVP award and played well as an injury replacement, but Sweezy has gone from converted defensive lineman to one of Seattle’s most reliable and durable offensive linemen.
Worst pick: It’s not really fair to call any late-round pick a bust if they don’t work out, but so far the Seahawks have gotten very little out of their four seventh-round picks in 2013. Late-round or not, the Seahawks would like to have hit on at least one of those.
Of note: Because of compensatory picks, as well as their propensity for trading back to accumulate picks, the Seahawks have drafted 11 players in the seventh round, by far the most of any round. This year, however, the Seahawks have just one seventh-round pick — but of course that could change with trades.