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.