Pete Carroll and John Schneider have a knack for drafting core players. Last year’s draft produced the likes of Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, JR Sweezy and Robert Turbin. The previous year brought Malcolm Smith, Richard Sherman, KJ Wright and James Carpenter into the fold. The most recent draft produced Luke Willson, Christine Michael and defensive tackles Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill.
The Seahawks brain-trust’s first draft may have been their best draft to date. Throughout the first six rounds the team drafted All-Pro safety duo Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, All-Pro Left Tackle Russell Okung, dynamic playmaker Golden Tate, quality tight end Anthony McCoy and cornerback Walter Thurmond. The last of whom could and should be starting for most teams, but he’s stuck behind possibly the two best corners in the league in Seattle.
Being that it was the front office’s first draft, it was important that they find a core group to build around. They did just that. Seattle got everything that it was looking for in Okung, an elite left tackle, and maybe more importantly, a long-awaited, long-term replacement with the potential to fill Walter Jones’ large, All-Universe-Tackle shoes.
Thomas and Chancellor have developed into the best safety pairing in the game, bringing power, speed and range to the rightly-vaunted Legion of Boom.
One of the more dynamic playmakers on a team with many, Golden Tate has the potential to be a standout receiver in the NFL. After a season in which Tate established career highs in nearly every statistical category with 45 catches for 688 yards, 7 touchdowns and over 15 yards a catch, look for the former Fighting Irish star to continue his ascension up the ladder of wide receiver hierarchy in the NFL.
McCoy is another solid piece of the puzzle that is the Seahawks. While not playing this year, due to the fact that he is on IR, McCoy brings stability and upside behind Zach Miller on the tight end portion of the depth chart when healthy. Had it not been for his unfortunate trip to Injured Reserve, we might be seeing him continue to produce in the second tight end role he carved out for himself last season when he amassed 291 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 18 catches. Then again, his injury may also allow rookie tight end Luke Willson to develop quicker than expected. This may benefit the team in the long run with McCoy and Wilson serving as the long-term replacements for current starter Miller.
Walter Thurmond is probably one of the better cornerbacks in the league. Some people might not know this because he has been previously hit with a massive rash of injuries and happens to ply his trade behind Sherman and Brandon Browner, two of the best cornerbacks, if not the best, in the league. Thurmond showed his talent in the first two weeks of the season, filling in for the injured Browner as he helped the Seahawks blanket the Panthers and
Forty-Whiners 49ers respective receiving corps.
If Okung returns healthy, if McCoy and Thurmond continue to develop to their full potential, if the Legion of Boom continues its superb form and if Golden Tate can replicate the potential he flashed against the Falcons in the playoffs (6 catches, 103 yards and a touchdown on 8 targets) on a more consistent basis, then the Seahawks will have themselves a draft class for the ages.