Ahead of Percy Harvin’s debut, a salute to the F.O.

November 13th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

The Percy Harvin trade still looks smart, despite his injury

They know what they’re doing in Seattle.

The front office, that is.

It doesn’t mean they’re perfect. They will make mistakes. But you can trust them with the big decisions.

You can’t say that about a lot of other teams.

As fans we love the idea of high picks. The more the better. It makes the build up to a draft more exciting. And sometimes — as we saw with Seattle in 2010 — it can really set your franchise up for years to come.

IF you hit on those picks.

The Seahawks thankfully did when they chose Russell Okung and Earl Thomas. Others haven’t been so fortunate.

It’s always celebrated when a team has more than one first rounder. The pundits usually give you an ‘A’ grade for sheer quality in numbers. In reality, it’s still a crap shoot.

We’ve seen a few high profile trades in recent years. None caused a stir quite like Percy Harvin’s move from Minnesota to Seattle.

Coincidentally, Harvin will make his Seahawks debut against the Vikings this Sunday. But how do we view that trade months later?

On the one hand, he’s yet to play any football after having hip surgery in pre-season. Fans have waited patiently to see Harvin feature for his new team. And the anticipation of his return couldn’t be greater this week.

But when he is back on the field, the Seahawks will know what they’re getting — one of the more dynamic playmakers in the NFL.

In return the Vikings got an extra first round selection in 2013, a seventh rounder plus a further pick next year.

I’m guessing the fans in Minnesota were pretty excited at the time. As good as he is, Harvin was on his way out — one way or another. Now they could spend a month or so plotting how to spend multiple first round picks on big name prospects.

I’m willing to bet that excitement grew when they were able to snag Sherrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and then Cordarrelle Patterson in round one (they traded up to get another first rounder to take Patterson).

I was never a fan of Rhodes’ and he’s struggled whenever I’ve watched Minnesota this year. Patterson is the same player he was at Tennessee — an explosive return man but an inconsistent receiver. Floyd has a lot of upside and for a time was being touted as a top-five pick. In reality the tape didn’t match the hype.

Still, they were all big names. They all carried perceived value. And the fans would’ve celebrated those picks.

Yet in reality the team has regressed badly this year. They moved out a proven performer and brought in three unknowns. At 2-7, their season is virtually over — just a year removed from a playoff berth.

It’s not all on Harvin’s absence — of course not. But when you make a high profile trade and acquire three first round prospects — going from 10-6 to 2-7 is unacceptable.

The ‘winner’ of this trade won’t be decided this weekend or even this season. If Harvin can’t stay healthy, the Seahawks can’t claim victory. But at least they know what they’re getting if he does get on the field. The three Vikings rookies might go on to be franchise cornerstones — but the way their team has struggled could lead to the firing of the GM and coaching staff that drafted them.

And then what?

The Vikings have been a disorganised mess this year — and it starts at the top. They’ve made a complete hash of the quarterback situation and undermined their coaches.

They’ve also potentially undermined the other five first round picks they’ve spent in two years. They’ve put their own futures on the line. Imagine being the guy who comes in to a team that spent six first round picks since 2011? Tell me you don’t spend every day wondering how much better you’d have done.

Basically, it’s the kind of thing that would never happen in Seattle (and I’m not trying to be smug here — honest).

Even so, I’m guessing if you log onto Google, you’ll find plenty of articles praising Rick Spielman and co. for that Harvin trade. Why? Purely because they ended up with more picks.

I’ve always been sceptical of a ‘more picks is best’ approach. Quality wins football games. And there’s more quality in proven players and higher draft picks.

I’d argue most front offices in the NFL are simply incapable of making the best use of multiple high picks. In fact they’d almost be better off going after veterans or trying to trade up. They can’t be trusted.

Fill a team with bad first round picks and the rebuild can be even tougher.

Would Tim Ruskell have made best use of the two 2010 picks that he — quite skilfully — acquired for the Seahawks? If the Aaron Curry pick is anything to go by, probably not.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider on the other hand, nailed it.

Returning to present day, even with Harvin’s injury the move looks like another Seattle steal. Who was available at #25 you’d rather have right now? I can’t think of anyone as we prepare for the big debut.

While acknowledging a Harvin trade was almost inevitable, has the same front office that drafted Christian Ponder with a top-15 pick made best use of their subsequent bounty? A 2-7 record and painful-to-watch football team suggests not.

There are other similar examples.

In 2011 the Falcons made an expensive yet shrewd move to get Julio Jones. Cleveland — believing more picks would be better for a big rebuild — moved from #6 overall into the 20’s. And with the three first round picks they eventually owned in 2011-12, they selected Phil Taylor, Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden.

The Mike Holmgren era in Cleveland didn’t last another draft.

It works both ways though. The somewhat overrated front office in Indianapolis (led by reigning GM of the year for the tough decision of drafting Andrew Luck, Ryan Grigson) sent their 2014 first round pick to the Browns for Richardson — a move which so far looks like a bad move.

Perhaps there’s some hope for Cleveland fans? Their current front office might know what they’re doing. Once again they have a bounty of picks. Once again they’ll try to be more like Seattle and less like their predecessors.

Indianapolis, perhaps trying to mimic the Seahawks when they traded for Marshawn Lynch, could pay for their aggressive approach.

It goes to show there’s no right or wrong way of doing things.

You just need the right guys pulling the strings.

Seattle has the right guys.

54 Responses to “Ahead of Percy Harvin’s debut, a salute to the F.O.”

  1. chris says:

    Great write up rob. I totally agree this front office has earned my trust in most of their decisions. I initially wasn’t to fired up about this latest draft class, but I’m starting to see some valuable players develop for the future and there is still a couple players we have yet to see cause of injuries.

  2. cover-2 says:

    There always seems to be fans that want to trade down so we can acquire more draft picks regardless of who may be available. I’m all for trading down, but I want to see what prospects are available when we pick. There are always players that fall down the 1st round that were predicted to go higher, for example WR Cordarrelle Patterson (29th pick of 1st round) and LB Alec Ogletree (30th pick of the 1st round).

    Back in the 2010 draft I remember being devastated when the Eagles traded up from the 24th overall pick to get the 13th overall pick which was one pick ahead of the Seahawks. The Eagles at the time were in need of a safety and I was certain they were going to select Earl Thomas, who was one of my favorite players in that year’s draft. I was sooo relieved when it was announced that the Eagles selected Michigan (DE) Brandon Graham, who is just a guy at this point of his career.

  3. Belgaron says:

    Anyone who’s played enough fantasy sports with a mix of competitors of various skill levels will know that there are some guys who could draft 1st, middle, or last and still win their league. They just know who to select when their turn comes up to make a pick. Then there are other sorts who make a big deal about picking high up and talk a lot of trash about the guys they select only to fail year after year.

    Schneider has now earned well a reputation as a shrewd talent evaluator. Not always right, but often right. He is a winner. In the last few years, he has run circles around the Niners in the draft, for example, even though they’ve had more picks and higher picks. More and more teams are watching every move he makes and trying hard to claim his waived players.

    I used to look ahead at drafts so I could see who I would have selected so I could berate the manager at the time (like Tim Ruskell). I still enjoy looking ahead at the draft but I feel like a student getting schooled waiting to learn what Schneider knows about where the talent is hiding. This is a fun team to watch on and off the field. Even though the Seahawks could be losing a few free agents in the next few years, it will only lead to more compensation picks and I know those will be extremely valuable in the right hands–Schneider’s.

  4. JW says:

    Nice write up.

    Isn’t the question, though, not really who Minnesota drafted with our pick but who was available on or shortly after that pick? The issue isn’t that Minny chose Rhodes at 25 so much as it’s who was available from 25 to 62 (or 56, wherever you want to draw the line…). So, sure. Minny maybe didn’t nail their draft (so far). But in terms of the trade from the Hawks perspective, maybe we do end up with someone we like a lot.

    Another thought…given how we hear some teams were eager to move down, I can’t help but wonder what was available for the same pick bounty in terms of moving up.

    Just my initial response. I guess I’m very much still on the fence with the Harvin trade and the 2013 Seahawks draft overall.

    But yes, I do feel like this FO is much better than most. For the most part they’ve thoroughly nailed their draft and trades. Can’t complain much (but I will :) )

  5. Stuart says:

    Who has been better since 2010 than PC/JS? It has to be a very short list. What is amazing is the GM from Indy got the exec. of the year for his incredible talent evaluation of Andrew Luck with the number 1 pick.

    Has there ever been a draft where the number one pick was so automatic as the “suck for Luck” draft?

    • JW says:

      I think part of it was their cap management situation, and they did pretty well on some other picks, as well. To be fair, it wasn’t all about Luck.

  6. Sam Jaffe says:

    I agree that the Seattle front office is the best in the league. They are not the smartest. But they have a proven system for talent evaluation that clearly works, and they stick to it. Schneider and company actually have a pretty mediocre first round history–they hit home runs with Earl Thomas and Russel Okung. But they haven’t hit similar pay-dirt with James Carpenter, Bruce Irvin and last year’s first rounder, Harvin. It’s too early to tell regarding Irvin and Harvin (I’m ready to call Carpenter a bust), but you certainly can’t claim Schneider’s brilliance based on those three.

    I’m far more impressed with the late round drafting and UDFA evaluation of the front office. As I’m sure you can appreciate Rob, those are very different games then picking the right first rounder. I could literally choose my first rounders based on Internet mock drafts and probably have as good a batting percentage as most NFL general managers. But the later rounds take a tremendous amount of personell vision (knowing what you’re looking for) scouting skill and decision-making discipline. Schneider hasn’t just found roster members. They haven’t just found starters. They’ve found difference makers in the late rounds. That happens maybe once in a generation for most teams. Seattle has five or six of them (Sherman, Chancellor, Malcolm Smith, Sweezy, Bowie, Kearse). And then there are the UDFA’s, which is an even harder thing to get right because they choose you, not the other way around. How in the world did Seattle end up with Bailey, Mayowa, Jeron Johnson and Doug Baldwin? Through very good scouting and masterful sales jobs.

    In regards to the Harvin trade, the most legitimate criticism of it wasn’t about the draft picks, but about the exposure of the team to injury risk. That has been warranted. There’s a chance (a small one) that Harvin won’t fully recover from the hip injury. That fact that it got inflamed again when he first started practicing is very worrisome. I’m not suggesting that he’s done, but final judgment on the trade will revolve around the injury issue more than anything else.

    And who would I rather have than Harvin? I would probably prefer Harvin. But that fact that DeAndre Hopkins was available makes the trade bittersweet. Hopkins plus next year’s third rounder might just end up being better than Harvin’s future.

    • glor says:

      you had me until the, bowie, kearse, smith, and sweezy comment..

    • PatrickH says:

      You forgot to mention Russell Wilson. Talk about a 3rd round steal!

      • Robert says:

        …and KJ Wright, Luke Wilsson and a slew of developing talent that could ultimately contribute. I have been skeptical of the Harvin trade since Day 1. But my concern was the financial commitment at a time when so many of our core players are about to command much larger paychecks. Patterson has amazing upside, but looked like a 3 year project to me (like Golden Tate). Deandre Hopkins was my favorite!

  7. kevin mullen says:

    Nothing wrong with being a little smug, Seattle deserves it since being steam rolled on their draft picks in the past 3 drafts. We now have the best depth in the NFL. Think about that for a minute. For 3 weeks we were missing 6 starters and still we sit at 9-1.

    As for who wins the Harvin Trade – I think its pretty evident on MIN’s current season. Harvin was the Ying to AP’s yang. Two outstanding playmakers that was essentially the entire offense for Minnesota last year. We already knew going in that we’d be pretty good, so regardless had we lost Harvin for the year, we were playoff bound. MIN couldn’t say the same thing. Harvin made a below average QB an average to above average (on terms of stats, though we all knew Ponder couldn’t pass the eye test).

  8. House says:

    Proven performer vs. Potential talent…

    The player I prayed fell to the Seahawks was DeAndre Hopkins. We traded for Harvin pre-draft, so the notion of Hopkins was dead and gone.

    The fact that we traded our 1st/7th rd picks in ’13 and our 3rd in ’14 seemed a little hard to swallow. Harvin is a proven stud, so it made the trade feasible in my mind. We then turned around and drafted Chris Harper in the 4th (happened to be our highest draft pick to not make the 53-man roster). We still had a pick in which we addressed WR and it ended to crap out.

    Hopkins has shown to be a special talent and can have a great career. Grabbing a talent like Harvin is a once-in-forever and in the end, I hope the choice was the right one.

    • JW says:

      I get the sense in this thread people are closing the book on Patterson as if he’s a finished product. He might not reach his potential as a WR because of their QB situation, but I gotta say, I’d love his future if he was in this Seattle offense (his role would be pretty much the same, I think, as Harvin’s), just as much as I would Hopkins. There were a handful of other intriguing offensive players and DT’s available in that ballpark, too. Both issues going forward for this team.

      The fact that they’d also cost about 38 million less over the next 4 years while this team is looking to re-sign significant players is pretty consequential, too.

      Harvin is a special, special, player. But I think those other guys can be, too.

      • Rob Staton says:

        The issue I have with Patterson is — explosive player, but he was always going to need to take great strides to be a competent receiver. The situation isn’t helped by the mess of a QB situation in Minnesota. But while Harvin was ultra-productive in that environment regardless, I’m not sure Patterson ever will be.

      • House says:

        I think the biggest thing with 1st rd picks is “what is the immediate impact” this guy can make as soon as possible. We knew in 2010 that we had 2 Top 14 picks and that those guys would help solidify the future of this team. It was a calculated risk to trade for Charlie Whitehurst and while CW didn’t work in SEA, we ended up drafting Golden Tate with the pick we swapped w/ SD. It has taken him time to grow, but he has flourished.

        SEA IMO opinion was looking for that “1 guy” to transcend us. Percy Harvin was available. Without knowing Harvin was going to get hurt, the IMMEDIATE impact Harvin could provide was deemed greater than drafting a Patterson or Hopkins.

        Here is my take on these 3 guys:

        Harvin: Proven PLAYMAKER… The guy has shown he changes games and teams have to gameplan for him. Very crisp routes, good hands and has a knack for getting the ball. With poor QB play, he was changing games for MIN. Yes the price tag was hefty, but it was an accepted calculation in regards to what we would get in return.

        Hopkins: Best WR to come out of the draft since Julio Jones. Great route-running, BIG-reliable hands and his only knock was he didn’t run a 4.4. That reminds me A LOT of a guy named Jerry Rice. While I am not comparing Hopkins to Rice, I am just stating the fact that a foundation is there, the upside may not be an astronomical growth, but you know what you’re gonna get from him.

        Patterson: Athletic as all hell!!! If this guy gets his stuff together, he could be great. Route-running is marginal-poor, his breaks are horrible and he doesn’t use his body to his advantage. Great return guy, but will need time to further develop if he doesn’t get in his own way.

        Best UPSIDE guy: Cordarrelle Patterson
        Most POLISHED: Percy Harvin, then DeAndre Hopkins (Edge goes to Percy because he had produced in the NFL AND he’s only 25).

        Best CALCULATED risk: Harvin…

        • ivotuk says:

          I LOVE DeAndre Hopkins and think he will be a Pro Bowler. He will win games for you when the game is on the line.

          Don’t like Cordarrelle, he doesn’t love football like most and he just doesn’t look that motivated. The thing that turned me off when watching Tenn was after the play was over, he would “saunter” back to the LOS staring at his feet. “Disinterested” seems like the most appropriate word for Patterson.

  9. James says:

    PC and JS are in lock step with a vision for a team made up of players with unique abilities. They are simply several steps ahead of the game. Take Alvin Bailey… only 6’3″, but showing tremendous potential as a pass blocking specialist. Few teams can get beyond the conventional wisdom that a LT needs to be at least 6’5″. Of course, these parameters were designed to stop 6’5″, 275# DEs, guys both fast and strong, but hardly 4.5 sprinters. But look at how the DEs are getting smaller and faster, and not just PCs version of the Leo. So many DEs are now 6’3″ or 6’4″, 255#. Bailey is much more compact and coordinated, and he can get his feet up and down faster than the current crop of LTs, so he is one of the few who can get to the edge before the blazing new crop of DEs, and his long arms give him an added advantage. Happy Days for Seahawks fans.

    • Miles says:

      It’s very interesting that he went undrafted, and I often wonder why that is. He was generally regarded as a 3rd or 4th round pick by many websites and yet he fell all the way out of the draft. Could this be simply because he is “too small”? Haven’t teams learned from watching us draft Russell Wilson right in their faces?

      • House says:

        Miles,

        I think the “TOO SMALL” notion is exactly what happened. Several teams deemed him as a “tweener”. Schematically, he probably didn’t fit a particular role. Prior to the Combine, he was listed as 6’5″ and him not being that hurt a bit too…

        The biggest thing I noticed about him was his ability to pick up protection packages. He was raved as a great performer in camp and looked good in the preseason. Not sure if he just needed more time to pick up the game speed or if there was a lingering injury, but he clearly showed last Sunday that he can play multiple roles and excel. Glad another undrafted (Baldwin and Kearse) came to us and is flourishing!

        • Miles says:

          Great points. It just seems to me that some teams just don’t put time into guys they consider are too small. Does it even occur to them that perhaps there is something special about the player that isn’t apparent on first glance? Smaller players often compensate for their height by becoming extremely well-learned in the fundamentals of the game ala Russell Wilson, Darren Sproles, Drew Brees…

          • ivotuk says:

            The knock on Bailey was that he took plays off. Surprised me that he dropped out of the draft though. He was worth a 6th or 7th easily Lucky us :)

    • Madmark says:

      I not sure but didn’t he come out of Arkansas the college that completely collapse and lack the will to compete.

  10. Darnell says:

    Great article Rob.

    -I like how you mentioned quality over quantity when drafting. The Patriots seem to get some sort of lifetime achievement award pass for their drafting, but can anyone remember the random assortment of nobodies they got for trading out of the Clay Matthews spot?

    – I really wish I could find more on the fairly legitimate rumor that Leslie Frazier banged the table hard and was insistent on drafting Russell Wilson only to be overruled and forced to stick with Ponder. The man is about to lose his job largely due to crappy QB play.

    – Any insight into who saw what and was sold on Charlie Whitehurst? In retrospect it seems so uncharacteristic given how good this front office has been, especially because Whitehurst didn’t have any top end tools. Still ended up with Tate after dropping 20 spots in the 2nd.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think with Whitehurst they wanted to create legitimate competition at QB. John Schneider was a fan during his college days and has admitted as much. But unfortunately Whitehurst didn’t come in and do what Russell Wilson did — ultimately act and live like the starter and win the job. It’s easy to forget in hindsight how much they paid for Whitehurst. It wasn’t a throw away move. They invested in him. And he blew the opportunity.

  11. Ukhawk says:

    I’m surprised it’s not been highlighted that not only did we give up a 1,3,7 draft picks but we also locked up considerable salary cap in signing Harvin. Clearly had the front office been successful in previous efforts to sign Brandon Marshall or Vincent Jackson, we would’ve (rightly IMO) paid top free agent dollars for a #1 WR. So essentially the opportunity cost is not only the picks but also a top tier free agent signing. Theoretically it may not have been the best trade vs other hypothetical, best case outcomes . However the point is that these types of players don’t become available often especially those in their prime and wanting to sign with Seattle. I support the Harvin signing as it fulfills the FOs long held strategy of signing a top tier WR threat.

    • CC says:

      I agree with you. In 2010/2011 no one wanted to sign with the Seahawks because they were a 7-9 team devoid of talent. WRs like Marshall and Vincent wanted a QB who could throw to them and they didn’t think MH/CW/TJack were the answer. We all know that has changed. Either side of the ball, now players want to come here because of what has been established. Percy’s pick up will be positive – and it will look like a brilliant move.

      The other draft choice from last year that has my attention is Luke Willson – he’s playing pretty well for a rookie, his blocking is coming along and he can catch the ball. He wasn’t the guy at Rice everyone said to draft, but he fit the Seahawks wants and needs. That is what has impressed me most about Petey and Johnny – they are not drafting for anyone else but their team needs make up.

      Like every team there are hits and misses – but if you look at the numbers, they have been more successful than most especially past the first round.

      In Petey and Johnny I trust!

      • Robert says:

        LW has nearly twice the catches and yards of the more “highly regarded” Vance MacDonald. I love his speed and blocking improvement. I expect in a year or two he will be another exhibit for us to laud the genius of PCJS!

  12. Aaron says:

    I love this front office. So I think your article is highly appropriate. They’re almost beyond reproach at this point, even though as you point out, there’ll always be a couple misses here and there.

    The only statement that I slightly disagree with is when you said the anticipation for Harvin’s return couldn’t be greater. I actually think there’s a marked lack of buzz surrounding Harvin’s upcoming debut (particularly when compared to the media firestorm that erupted when he was first acquired) and I think it’s a great thing for the Seahawks. There’s been only cursory mentions of the fact that he will play this week in the national media, and low-key, matter-of-fact reporting in the local press.

    It stands to reason that this would be the case because as you point out we’ve had no choice but to wait patiently as fans. Everything that could be said about his addition to the team has been said weeks ago. So, it’s time to finally see what it’s going to look like on the field.

    Also, the fact that the Seahawks are such a complete team without him is a major factor.

    My main point is that I think because of the extended wait we’ve almost subconsciously discounted to some extent how great of a player he is, and what a huge impact he could have on this team – again, compared to when the news first broke. So, I think we should be more excited than we are.

    I’m guessing he get’s limited snaps this week, and thus limited buzz. But, I think he could have his “breakout debut” on Monday Night Football against the Saints after the bye week, and it could be truly magical – yet another one of those seminal moments for this franchise.

  13. dave crockett says:

    There is such a thing as a “winner’s curse” in terms of having more high draft picks. You can have too many, even if you are getting them via trades. The salary implications of high picks are not what they once were, but they are not insignificant either.

    Perhaps more importantly, teams have a need for quality role players–not stars (e.g., Michael Robinson, Jeremy Lane, etc.)–who can perform well for cheap. Those roles are not typically filled by high picks. To my mind, the most significant feature of Seattle’s rebuild is that they did from the 53rd spot going forward–not the first spot going backwards.

  14. Attyla the Hawk says:

    I’ve said this long before Pete/John arrived. Championship rosters are built in days 2 and 3.

    Seattle has owned this range. And in order to keep your roster reloaded perpetually, you have to succeed with the players that don’t look great on the hoof. There is a considerable level of uncertainty for these selections, particularly amongst outsiders.

    To stay competitive at high levels, the draft needs to be first and foremost, a clearing house of new talent at every position. Teams that don’t acquire multiple players who contribute by their 2nd season tend to manifest that deficit as teams that have to rebuild. Pittsburgh is a good example of a team that has uncharacteristically failed to draft well deep into the draft.

    While I agree, Kouandijo would be an awesome addition, the draft capital cost to move up to get him will almost assuredly be prohibitive. Even if he were to drop to the mid teens (14-18). Seattle’s draft acumen is leveraged best in the 70-150 range of players. Recognizing the players who will look significantly better after training camp than on draft day. Understanding the guys that are most likely to develop well post draft and have an impactful fit on this team.

    Personally, I think we could afford to take a page from the niners and stock up on future picks. They don’t draft deep like we do, but they do a marvelous job of getting better future picks in the 1st through 3rd round ranges. We don’t generally operate that way, but it’s shown there to be an effective way to keep talent level returns high year over year. With Seattle’s ability to get good talent on day 3, that seems like a very good means to acquire draft capital in bulk.

    With very modest immediate needs, this would seem a strategy worth copying. It certainly doesn’t have the same pre draft bling. But I have become accustomed to getting excited by players we acquired that weren’t headliners leading their draft class. We don’t have to go the Minnesota route to be pleased with our draft classes. That’s a truly powerful advantage to hold over rivals.

    • dave crockett says:

      Well said on Kouandijo. If he falls, sure. It’s just not likely.

      I look forward to seeing the breakdowns of other guys. So, I think a guy like Tiny Richardson might fall right to us. He’s got some flaws, but there’s a lot to like there too.

  15. dave crockett says:

    One additional kudo for the front office. They do more than just acquire talent. They develop it. That’s not something you hear a lot about in the NFL.

    With the Trojans, Carroll’s mega-hyped 5-star freshman frequently went from high school fields to high leverage situations in the Pac12. There are fewer examples of this with Seattle (see: Russell Okung). Most players have to wait their turn to see significant play–especially 2nd round or later picks. Russell Okung and Earl played right away. Sherman didn’t. Golden Tate didn’t, while Baldwin and Sweezey did. Christine Michael has not.

    What’s the difference?

    * Obviously, one difference is the talent ahead of a particular player. I think Jeremy Lane could start on Carolina’s excellent defense opposite Captain Munnerlyn, for example. He’s scrounging for snaps in Seattle. That happens.

    * Another difference–the one I’m praising–is that the staff demands that players earn their trust before getting meaningful snaps.

    Tate is the best example. It was obvious to anyone looking that Tate had enormous potential as a punt returner in his very first game vs. Denver. Seattle might have used him as a weapon all along, while easing him in as a receiver. CAR did it with Steve Smith while he learned the game. But, the staff was not comfortable at that time with Tate’s risk-taking. He had to earn their trust.

    In itself that’s not rare. What I like about Seattle though, is that once you earn the staff’s trust you have it. That’s the key. Look how much rope they give Tate on punt returns (after Leon Washington’s far more conservative ways).

    I think we are seeing the same thing play out with Christine Michael. I’m not in the slightest bit upset that he isn’t playing more. The staff knows he can be a dynamic playmaker in the run game. That’s why they drafted him. They do not trust Russell Wilson’s health in his hands; not yet at least. I don’t want to see him a snap sooner than they do.

    • Madmark says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head Dave. I truly believe that PC/JS are willing to give younger players they’ve drafted some time to get coached up and develop.

    • Robert says:

      Totally agree…there are obviously 2 equally critical components to developing such a deep roster: getting the right talent and developing it!

  16. Kyle says:

    If I may take a schadenfreude moment, let’s take a look at the 49ers picks in the Harbaugh era. I think we can all agree that Aldon Smith was a great pick despite the off-field issues. Kaepernick is a really good player and Eric Reid is having a solid rookie year. Other than that, what contributors have they drafted? LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter? *shrug* Looking back at the JS/PC picks from 2010-2012, I count 17 players that have been either starters or solid contributors, and that’s not counting UDFA like Kearse, Baldwin and Browner or even the 2013 class.

    • Colin says:

      Harbaugh struck a goldmine, no doubt. In fairness, they haven’t needed their draft picks to produce the way we did; they inherited a ridiculous amount of talent. An absolute travesty that Singletary couldn’t win with that group.

      The next year or two will really tell us how good they are a drafting, although I’d be interested to see how they’d hold up if they went through an injury situation like Seattle did earlier this year.

  17. AlaskaHawk says:

    I like our front office’s ability to draft players. It has been especially satisfying in their later round picks. But when you rely on later round players – really it is more about the coaching then their innate ability to play. Will a 7th rounder replace our 1st round offensive linemen? Possibly – but only if they are capable and trained by the coaches.

    So I would make the arguement that our drafting success has more to do with coaching then the actual drafting. Part of that coaching is moving players around until they are in the optimal position to make plays. Irvin is an example of a player being moved into a different and better role for the team this year.

    How else can you really explain the Vikings lack of success this year? They have one of the best running backs in the league and adequate receivers. It isn’t all on Ponders shoulders. I think it has to also be game planning and coaching.

    • Nolan says:

      Coaching plays a big part in it, listing to couches like tom cable on which late round guys to draft at OL, listing to Pete Carroll about the kind of DBS he is looking for. The front office has a knack for finding guys that will fit what the coaching staff is looking for. The coaching staff has the ability to find talanet and find playing time for that talent even if it means a position switch or an unorthodox approach.

  18. Madmark says:

    Here’s a list of players still on the roster this year that were drafted:
    2010 trade Chris Clemons
    2010 draft Russel Okung, Earl Thomas, Golden Tate, Walter Thurmond III, Kam Chancellar, Anthony McCoy.
    2011 draft James Carpenter, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Malcom Smith.
    2012 draft Bruce Irving, Bobby Wagner, Russel Wilson, Robert Turbin, Korey Toomer, Jeremy Lane, J.R. Sweezy, Gregg Scruggs.
    2013 draft Percy Harvin, Christine Michael, Jordan Hill, Jesse Williams, Tharold Simon, Luke Willson, Spencer Ware, Jared Smith, Michael Bowie.
    A lot of players early in the PC/JS era were given a couple of years on the roster to get coached up but they slowly disappeared due to better talent being brought in. A few names that stuck around for a bit were, Charlie Whitehurst, Leon Washington, Dexter Davis, Jameson Konz, John Moffit, Kris Durham, Jaye Howard, Winston Guy.
    The problem Seattle faces now is trying to get those guys they want to get coached up to the practice squad like Chris Harper. The Seahawks have come a long ways from that 2010 year with over 250 transactions taking place and as a fan you got to love the fact that people want to come here and play. I’m hoping Larry Fitzgerald would be willing to come play for us next year.

  19. Barry says:

    I sometimes wonder with hindsight in mind how things would have played out up to this point if we have stayed put at our pick at drafted Deandre Hopkins. Rob, you have mentioned a few times on here how nice it would be for Wilson to have a big physical receiver to throw to.
    With Harvin missing so much time, along with Golden really coming on in recent weeks, and Doug working the slot, in my mind for what our passing game is supposed to be (by design) I see Hopkins working really well within that design. All the injuries to the O-line it would have made it more opportune if Harvin had been healthy for the O to run screens and shuttles and plays of that nature with the pressure that was has been Wilson.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I never really saw Hopkins as a physical receiver. For me he is a savy, intelligent, technically brilliant, competitive receiver and a reliable target. I do think we have guys with those traits and Harvin offers different skills.

  20. Nolan says:

    The thing about this front office that makes them so good is that they have scored in every facet of the game. They have hit home runs in the first round, the mid rounds, the late rounds,UDFAs,FA, and trades. In the first rounds they have scored franchise pieces Earl Thomas and Okung, they also acquired a good piece in Bruce Irvin, the worst they have done is there starting left guard. In the mid rounds they found there franchise QB, most dynamic player, starting middle line backer, starting weak side line backer, nickle back, and competent back up running backs. You know the names here Wilson, Tate, Wagner, Wright,Thurmond, Turbin, and Micheals. In the late rounds they found a shut down corner, prob owl safety you know them as Sherman and Chancellor, they also got Malcom Smith, maxwell, Willson, and Bowie. UDFA have produced Doug Baldwin the teams most consistent receiver, jermane Kearse who has produced in his limited role, Benson Mayowa, and Alvin Bailey. FA have produced Browner,Bennett, Avril, Zach Miller, Sydney Rice, And Breno. Trades have brought them Marshawn Lynch, Chris Clemons and Percy Harvin. In addition they have gotten considerably better performance out of Red Bryant and Max Unger two of the only piece they had left from the previous regime. They have achieved these results through a combination of being unconventional in there scheme and through a willingness to play younger players. They have had missteps sure but by being so good in all aspects of roster building they have been able to cover for there missteps.

  21. Ben2 says:

    Coaching vs talent evaluation? No, it’s the synergy between the two and the trust the FO and the coaching staff have in each other that truly sets the Hawks apart. I don’t think I can emphasize this point enough….that being said, I want to see what Harvin does for our offense. It’s easy to lambast the trade (especially because we use our picks so damn well!) because our offense is pretty good – but can Harvin help to make our offense GREAT? That’s what we gambled for – greatness and a chance for the superb owl!

  22. adog says:

    I was and am a fan of this trade. At 25 in the first you’re not going to get a better play maker than Percy. However let’s take this a step further and ask ourselves what one of our young players will Harvin’s bloated contract cost us? If it’s Earl Thomas, Sherman, or Tate…I would consider this trade a failure. Not only will(theoretically) we lose one of our good young and key this word ya’ll…”healthy” and “dependable” and solid locker room guys, we also will have to contend with Harvin’s locker room cancer and his inability to get on the damn field. This trade reminds me of the Whitehurst trade actually in that it’s not the compensation we gave up, but the contract we gave him.

    • House says:

      ADog,

      I’m not following the contract part. We gave Charlie $8M over 2 yrs and he only saw $6M of it. Percy is getting 6yr/$67M.

  23. ivotuk says:

    Wow! Lots of responses! Rob, coming up on the holiday season, I designate you a Saint! For keeping us slavering Seahawk draftniks satisfied with great article after great article! Thank you sir!

    A couple of thoughts on others draft, wow did Holmgren blow it! Phil Taylor was the only keeper there, fortunately they pawned off Trent R. Haha! We only paid a 4th plus for Marshawn! JS is a Superhero!

    Indianapolis is crap and has zero depth, they will be exposed as the season goes on. The GM of the Year as an absolutely worthless title as witnessed by the winners. I like Ozzie Newsome but I think his drafts have been very good, not super. Cleveland (Belicheck) was going to draft Ray Lewis before they became Baltimore. Haloti Ngata was a no brainer, Lardarius Webb and Suggs were good choices and I think Flacco was a no brainer because well, they had nobody for YEARS!

    Nobody has been as good as the tandem of John Schneider and Pete Carroll. Even John’s mentor, Ted Thompson hasn’t lived up to his prodigy’s levels. T.T. can pat himself on the back for the 2009 selection of BJ Raji though.

    What John and Pete have done is to be flexible, early on placing a premium on volume draft picks but as the depth built up, placing a premium on players that will actually improve the talent as opposed to sheer volume picks. This represents itself in trading picks for certain important players. How in the hell did he get Lynch for barely more than a 4th? Pure genius, and tenacity.

    But what’s really important here, and what I see as the coup de grace (sp?) is the out of character trade of a 1st plus for Percy Harvin. Why? Because they have the talent and are in a window now that they must take advantage of, and do so by trading for a hyper-talented player of Harvin’s ability. This trade is worthwhile because Percy will put us over the top when it comes to making the playoffs, and winning the Superbowl.

    For validation, we only have to look as far back as the Mike Holmgren Packers Superbowl win to see the payoff. One player made that win possible, a hyper-talented return man by the name of Desmon Howard who was the difference in the Packers win. Mike Holmgren gave Desmond a lot of credit in that win and one only has to refer to the stats for that game to see why.

    From Wikipedia:

    “In the third quarter, the Patriots cut the lead to 27-21 off of running back Curtis Martin’s 18-yard rushing touchdown. But on the ensuing kickoff, Desmond Howard returned the ball a then Super Bowl record 99 yards for a touchdown. The score proved to be the last one as both defenses took over the rest of the game. Howard became the first special teams player ever to be named Super Bowl MVP. He ran for a total 154 kickoff return yards, and also recorded a Super Bowl record 90 punt return yards, thus tying the Super Bowl records of total return yards (244) and combined net yards gained (244).”

    Well we have our very own supremely talented return man (men when you include Golden) who very well could possibly become the Superbowl MVP in 2014. And it only cost us a 1st round pick plus some other stuff that I would argue is neglible.

    A great trade indeed, and worth every penny. Consider this, here you are with a huge window for the Superbowl with an MVP caliber QB whose contract allows you to add Michael Bennett AND Cliff Avril to a loaded defense. If only you could add something to that punishing running game that would boost your chances of making and winning the Superbowl this year and for the next 2 to 3 years after this? What would you pay for that?

    How about a 1st rounder plus ~60 million? Would you pay that? I sure as hell would!

    The Seattle Seahawks are the trendy pick to win the 2014 Superbowl and there is one reason, and one reason only, Pete Carroll and his Win Forever philosophy. That one thing was the catalyst that led to our Win Forever GM being hired and his elite ability to build a talented deep team through the draft and shrewd trades.

    And just look at how they make use of IR, PUP and the PS! Rotating players through there so that they can keep far more than the allotted 53 standard and 8 practice squad player limitations. I don’t know how many players they keep track of but I think it’s about 12 players they rotate through the PS in order to keep them up to speed and ready to go should someone on the active roster go down.

    As an example, suppose they have WRs, DBs, DL and OL on the practice squad but a LB goes down on the active roster. No problem! Because even though there currently isn’t room on the PS, they have been rotating LBs through there that are currently “on the street” but familiar with the team and ready to go! That’s how you plan for unexpected injuries and make full use (and then some) of the active roster and practice squad roster limitations. That’s how you know your Front Office is the best in the league and that’s how you make it through a full season and in to the playoffs with a relatively complete and healthy roster.

    Nobody else in the NFL does this. And there’s an added bonus to all this, by playing and practicing more players than anyone else, you have the ability to find those hidden gems that otherwise might never have made a roster in the NFL. Just look at Mayowa! Not only did they find him in some random regional tryouts, they were smart enough to recognize his potential and able to manipulate the roster to keep him around and bring him up to speed.

    We don’t hear the on the news “Seattle has made 2 billion and 46 moves in the last 18 months” anymore, but that just shows the short sightedness of NFL reporters who don’t recognize what is going on here. Hell, they didn’t even recognize it back when the numbers were big, all they saw were numbers, and they missed out on the fact that Seattle was taking extended looks at as many players as they could in order to better the talent on the team, but to also know what was out there if a player went down and they needed a replacement.

    Their non-stop method of evaluating every football player from pee wee to the CFL is how they’ve found players like O’Brien Schofield, Clinton McDonald, Breno Giacomini (okay so John cheated on that one), Brandon Browner and Michael Robinson. These are key players that made the team better on a small budget.

    Add to that Pete’s ability to make playing for the Seattle Seahawks fun and we have become THE destination in the NFL. I can’t think of a place right now that anyone, without consideration of contract size, would rather play. Other players can just look at our guys on the field and in interviews and tell that they are having a blast. It’s not like New England where you have to watch yer ass, or Bill Buttcheecks will cut you or trade you. Seattle is much better, they win, AND they are happy. To copy recent Ford commercials, that’s better than winning OR being happy.

    To quote Cortez Kennedy, God Bless the Seattle Seahawks. And I’ll add my own bit, God Bless Pete Carroll, John Schneider, and the rest of the coaches and crew!

    • ivotuk says:

      One other thing I wanted to add, something I’ve been saying since day one, half of the “talent” on the Seahawks would not have reached their potential on any other team. The value of how Seahawks players are scouted, interviewed, vetted, inculcated in to the team and coached up cannot be understated. I firmly believe Pete has the recipe for success when it comes to his players because his methods are thorough, involved and encompassing. He makes these players a part of his family, makes them brothers in arms, just like soldiers in the military. You hear soldiers all the time when they are wounded and have to leave the field, all they want to do is get back out there and fight next to their “brothers” again.

      It’s one of the things that makes our military the best. And you can see that closeness on this Seahawks team. These guys talk about it all the time how they love each other, don’t want to let their team mates down and spend a lot of time together off the field. There is no “me” on this team. Ego has popped up a couple of times where a player wants to be the one making the play, and our team suffered for it. Pete put an end to that in short order though, and now our run defense is back on track.

      I believe because of the way Pete treats his players, and because we have the best, coolest, calmest QB in the NFL that many of our players when their contract comes up will give a home discount. Just look at how reasonable Marshawn’s, Mebane’s and Chancellor’s contracts are. These guys could have gone elsewhere for more money, but instead they wanted to be here.

      That makes me really optimistic when it comes to keeping this team together. I really really hope that John Schneider gets the DBs together all at once and says “I want to keep the Legion of Boom intact, how about we come up with the numbers that will keep you guys here while staying within our cap limit?”

  24. ivotuk says:

    In response to JW’s post

    “”JW says: Nice write up.

    Isn’t the question, though, not really who Minnesota drafted with our pick but who was available on or shortly after that pick? The issue isn’t that Minny chose Rhodes at 25 so much as it’s who was available from 25 to 62 (or 56, wherever you want to draw the line…). So, sure. Minny maybe didn’t nail their draft (so far). But in terms of the trade from the Hawks perspective, maybe we do end up with someone we like a lot. “”

    To be clear, there wasn’t anyone available to us that I would have taken over Percy Harvin.

    The only 2 guys I liked in the first that would have been available were DeAndre Hopkins (imaho not as valuable as Percy) and Alec Ogletree. Myself, I would have take DeAndre first, then Alec second but I was always uncomfortable about Ogletree. I believe he has the ability to be elite, but there is something I can’t put my finger on. Maybe it’s desire to be great?

    “http://www.nfl.com/draft/2013/tracker#dt-tabs:dt-by-round”

    In the 2nd round prior to Christine, there was Kawaan Short who I loved, Kiko Alonso (JSeahawks convinced me on that one), Gavin Escobar TE SD State, and Margus Hunt. Not sure if the “Eastern Bloc” will make it in the league but he would sure be valuable on those last second field goals like the one last year in Atlanta. :)

  25. Not Mike McGinn says:

    No one has mentioned Keenan Allen? Looking like best WR from his class.