Happy Draft Day! Today marks the start of the NFL draft, which is just about a holiday at this point. The whole nation is tuned in to their televisions to… watch as teams make their draft selections, and very slowly. People in the Pacific Northwest are paying attention today, too, even though the Seattle Seahawks don’t have first round a selection.
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The ‘Hawks were originally slated to pick 31st overall, so this wouldn’t have been a very first-roundy first round pick anyways. But then they went and traded that pick to the New Orleans Saints as part of the package used to acquire Jimmy Graham. New Orleans just used that pick on Stephone Anthony. Who would you rather have? Yeah, me too.
It’s no big deal that the Seahawks don’t have a first round pick. Graham is better than just about any first-rounder, and hey look, they’ve got Graham! But that alone isn’t why the ‘Hawks are fine without a first-rounder. That has more to do with the team’s leadership structure.
Note that the Seahawks are second-to-last in every round of the draft, not just the first. Their picks aren’t going to be well-placed at all this year, and hopefully every other year ever. But the ‘Hawks have been picking low in rounds for a little while now, and it’s safe to say that their draft standing hasn’t affected their ability to find talented players.
Under John Schneider and Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have made four first-round selections: Russell Okung and Earl Thomas in 2010, James Carpenter in 2011, and Bruce Irvin in 2012. None since then! Three of those four guys, obviously, have gone onto become stars. But it’s not like they’ve had to carry the team all by themselves.
Seattle’s success as a franchise comes largely from their non-first round draft picks. That 2010 draft also gave them second rounder Golden Tate and fifth rounder Kam Chancellor. Those two turned out alright, wouldn’t you say? And that was just the beginning.
The 2011 draft is one of legend, as the ‘Hawks found multiple core players in the later rounds. K.J. Wright (fourth round), Richard Sherman (fifth), and Byron Maxwell (sixth) all starred for the Seahawks in recent years. And don’t forget seventh-rounder Malcolm Smith. Dude was the Super Bowl MVP!
2012 was just more legendary drafting. After Irvin, the ‘Hawks grabbed Bobby Wagner (second), Russell Wilson (third), Robert Turbin (fourth), Jeremy Lane (sixth), and J.R. Sweezy (seventh). In 2013 they just stopped with first-rounders altogether, and it was Jordan Hill (third) and Luke Willson (fifth) who ended up stealing the show down the line.
We haven’t gotten to see results from much of the 2014 draft class just yet, but Paul Richardson (second) had some exciting moments and several other late round players showed up to help the team – or, at least, the practice squad. Now starting tomorrow we get to see who the Seahawks are going with this time around.
Point being: the Seahawks haven’t botched their first round picks, but they’ve made late-round steals their signature over the course of the Schneider/Carroll era. Yeah, the Seahawks didn’t get to pick in today’s first round. Big deal! Anyone can make a first round selection, but rounds two through seven are where this front office shines.