The biggest gamble in Seahawks history?

September 27th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Fancy playing in Philly, Russell?

Can you imagine life without Russell Wilson?

Try and picture it.

Last year Matt Flynn would’ve been the starter. You’re probably looking for a more long term answer in the 2013 draft (aka the draft nobody seemed to want to take a quarterback) and a whole era of Seahawks football wouldn’t quite be the same.

I think they still have a winning record last year without Wilson. They probably don’t start quite as slowly as we saw in week one against Arizona. But they also probably don’t have the same emphatic finish.

Flynn, for me, equals more field goals and less touchdowns. You don’t get that game-winning throw against New England, those rushing touchdowns against the Bills, the sheer emphatic nature of Seattle’s victories at the end of the year.

And you definitely don’t get the comeback in Atlanta.

It wouldn’t be the same. You know. I know it.

Seattle needs Russell.

Flynn would’ve been another place-holder, Seattle’s third in three years under Pete Carroll. That had to stop.

And yet they were one team away from missing out on Russell Wilson. One moment away from being a pretty good team instead of a potentially great team.

Adam Schefter reported last week that Philadelphia had a deal in place to trade for Colin Kaepernick ahead of the 2012 draft. They backed out at the last minute, mainly because they were planning to draft Russell Wilson.

“One league source maintains that the Eagles backed out of the proposed deal when they decided they would be able to draft Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson, whom they geared their whole draft around, league sources said. But then, just before Philadelphia could draft Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks selected him, leaving the Eagles to take Nick Foles, another quarterback they rated highly, though not nearly as high as Wilson.”

So according to Schefter’s sources, the Eagles geared their entire draft around getting Russell Wilson.

This, for me, emphasises the gamble Seattle took. I’ve no doubt they too were also gearing their draft around Wilson. But they weren’t the only team and could’ve easily missed out.

In hindsight it was a masterstroke. Instead of drafting him in round two — which apparently they were prepared to do — they wait until the third round and get Bobby Wagner too.

The risk was incredibly high with at least one other team so determined to add Wilson to their roster. The Eagles had the #88 pick, the Seahawks took Wilson at #75.

What makes this gamble so incredible is the fact Philly also had a pick at the very end of round two and chose Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry instead of the guy they supposedly geared their draft around.

Is Curry a good enough player to risk missing out on the guy you’ve “geared” your draft around? If you believe Schefter, the Eagles could’ve taken Wilson at #59. And Seattle would’ve had to eat it.

It’s not something they need to worry about now. Wilson is a Hawk. But it goes to show the complex nature of these drafts and how fitting players into specific rounds can be a franchise defining gamble. You have to get your tactics right.

This time the Seahawks went all in and won.

54 Responses to “The biggest gamble in Seahawks history?”

  1. Colin Sowards says:

    Seeing Russell Wilson succeed always make me hesitant to criticize other teams who make, in the public eye, poor decisions. Christian Ponder is a great example. It was a consensus puzzling pick at the time but he was someone the Vikings identified as THEIR GUY and they went on took him. Bravo. They didn’t beat around the bush. Now, the pick has obviously not worked out as planned, but at least they aren’t sitting around waiting for things to happen and can spend this offseason working to fix that mistake.

    Unlike Cleveland. Cleveland is a horrible mess, largely based on indecisiveness. They could’ve had RGIII, but weren’t willing to pony up the stock to do so. Instead, they settled for Brandon Weeden. You cannot tell me for a minute anyone in that front office legitimately believed he was “their guy” going forward. They are the poster child for showing that gathering draft picks is useless if you don’t identify players that are talented and can fit your scheme.

    • Michael says:

      Speaking of gathering picks, I wonder if St. Louis will take advantage of their final year of double 1st rounders to find a Bradford replacement. Through 4 weeks he’s posted a QBR of 37, which is lower than his rookie season. He’s completing 58.3% of his passes over his 46 game career, and to my untrained eye he is simply not “the guy”.

      I would be very curious to see if the Rams agree.

      • Rob Staton says:

        All the talk before the Niners game was about extending his contract. Yet he’s clearly not making any progress what so ever. Schottenheimer has to take a fair portion of the blame for a truly awful offensive scheme. But to spent five first round picks in three drafts and still need a franchise QB at the end of it (when you could’ve had RGIII) is pretty incredible.

        • Aaron says:

          Speaking of Rams draft picks – how about the way Tavon Austin is revolutionizing the wide receiver position in the NFL. Oh wait, that didn’t happen. I believe I had that one. :)

          • Colin says:

            Nope. I had that one. But I’m not convinced he is a bust. I think he needs time to learn how to play WR in addition to getting an effective quarterback.

            • SunPathPaul says:

              The funny thing I saw with Tavon Austin is that on most plays Bradford doesn’t even look at him. When he does in desperation, he throws a late and bad ball… Against the 9ers it happened again and again… When Sam did throw to him it was late, off, on the ground… Seems he doesn’t trust or have a connection with him yet… Sad really… Although for the Hawks – Great!

              Rams would be better w Manziel or Bridewater… But hey- I like the fact that they are struggling, more room for the hawks to soar! Still wish the could have beaten the 9ers…….

              Let’s go in and dominate the texans! Go Hawks!!!

            • Meat says:

              We all had that one.

        • Phil says:

          Rob – I agree that the Rams offensive scheme is truly awful, particularly because it doesn’t seem to fit what Bradford can do (too many dinks and dunks and not enough use of his strong arm). In contrast, PC and Bevell have done a great job of building the Seahawks’ offense around RW’s specific skill set. When you look back at the early games last year, RW was struggling and it wasn’t until they started throwing downfield that things seemed to pick up. Then, the next step seemed to be going with the read option as a changeup to the “regular” running game. RW’s skill set has expanded to where he can beat you with the read option, and he can also beat you being a pocket passer. I think this is what the Redskins are trying to do with RGIII, but the jury is out about whether he can make the transition to more of a pocket passer than a read option guy. I think the 49ers are also trying to get Kaepernick to stay in the pocket more and we will see how that works out …

          Regarding Tavon Austin, Schottenheimer has to study some tape of Percy Harvin and figure out how to get him more touches. I agree with what Mayock had to say about Tavon looking like he’s thinking too much instead of just using his god-given talents. It’s still way too early to be drawing any valid long-term conclusions about him.

  2. Michael says:

    For my money Russell Wilson is the single greatest draft pick since Tom Brady. I suppose you could make an argument for Aaron Rodgers given the results so far, but he was their first pick in that draft, so it’s not like they were sitting there sweating bullets wondering if he would make it to their next selection. Obivously the Seahawks were able to do this twice.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I’d argue Richard Sherman.

      • Ben says:

        Sherm is awesome, but even though he’s one of the best players in the league he’s not as good to have as a franchise QB.

        • Kenny Sloth says:

          I’d say right now, he’s better than russell. I don’t expect that to hold for long, though. Obviously.

          • Michael says:

            I agree that, relative to the other players at their respective positions, Sherman is better than Russell right now. However, QB is simply so much more valuable than any other position in the league that Russell still gets my vote (and I freaking LOVE Sherman)

  3. Hawkspur says:

    Signing Flynn may well have made it possible for the Seshawks to draft Wilson. Perhaps the Eagles crossed the Seshawks off their list of potential Wilson-drafters based on his signing.

    And while we’re on the subject of the Seahawks getting the upper hand over the Eagles in the draft – I find myself smiling every time I hear or read the name Brandon Graham. Thanks Eagles! It seems lkke you passed up on arguably our best player on each side of the ball.

    • Rob Staton says:

      That Brandon Graham pick was stunning. Truly amazing when they called Graham’s name. Particularly given Philly’s need for a safety at the time. Graham was one of the media darlings out there, a Greg Cosell type of over-hyped prospect who had a good Senior Bowl and was suddenly the next big thing. Not surprised at all at the way his career has panned out.

      • Michael says:

        I always wonder what would have happened with stuff like this. I know we desperately needed a safety, and I thank God for ET every day, but I wonder what would have happened if the Eagles had snagged him right before our pick? Entering that draft I really wanted a DE, and was slightly deflated to see us pass on JPP. Ironic that the 6’5″ 280lb Adonis seems to have been plagued by more injuries than the quick little guy who’s, “body may not hold up in the NFL.” Funny how things work out.

  4. Cameron says:

    Ahhh Rob, perfect opportunity to embed the notorious b******r r****t video!

  5. JW says:

    More and more I feel like if you’ve identified a QB you like, you really cannot ‘reach’. Ponder was a reach by some draft optimization metric. Fine. But if he’d worked out, no one would think of it. If the Seahawks had drafted RW in round 2 and not gotten Wagner…would we be upset? Well….are we sitting here thinking about what they could have drafted in round 3 if they’d gotten Wilson in round 4? What if the Eagles took Russell in round 2? They’d look brilliant.

    If you’re ‘building your draft around” a player, you should probably not try to get cute about it. Just take him with your first opportunity and worry about the other picks later. Otherwise, he’s really not someone you’re ‘building the draft around”. At least not in a very intelligent way. Otherwise you’re left with a house with no foundation. Pretty useless even if it does have some nice decorations.

  6. Kenny Sloth says:

    Don’t mean to be, but where is Kip.
    Sure do like that fella as a writer.

  7. Kenny Sloth says:

    Demonte McAllister 3tech from FSU.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      Why is no-one talking about Chris Coyle out of Arizona State? His tape is coming across kosher. Thoughts, Rob?

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        Jarvis Landry WR LSU is intriguing, but wildly careless with the rock.

        • Kenny Sloth says:

          Don’t see what you’re talking about with Will Sutton. Looks like a phenomenal prospect. Enlighten me, please.

          • Rob Staton says:

            Not a fan at all of Sutton’s. Don’t see what everyone is so excited about. Marginal push, regularly gets destroyed in the running game, not a brilliant pass rusher. No great physical traits or upside. Just looks like a guy to me, who happened to have some production last year.

          • Colin says:

            Ironically enough, I just watched Will Sutton vs Stanford this morning.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b4T7KCuhI0

            Fairly unimpressive and shows a number of the things Rob mentioned. He looks to be this year’s Shariff Floyd, a guy I was not enamored with but the media couldn’t stop gawking about…. until draft day when he went from a “surefire top 5″ all the way down to 24.

            He’s still got time to show, but his performances this season have been underwhelming for a guy with his hype.

            • Kenny Sloth says:

              I don’t see him getting “destroyed” in the run game. He can get stood up, but I see him hold his ground against double teams often.
              I think he may just have leverage issues.

              • Colin says:

                Did you watch the Stanford tape? The guy gets plowed like a field.

                • Kenny Sloth says:

                  I’m sure I did. I’ll go back to it, man. Thanks for the heads up.

                • Kenny Sloth says:

                  Whoa. 3 minutes in it’s apparent that he isn’t playing up to his all american status.
                  He was just consistently blown off the ball.

                  • Colin says:

                    Maybe it was just a bad game… but it was bad. And he has zero production thus far. Not a good sign.

                  • Kenny Sloth says:

                    He definitely doesn’t have an elite getoff. And now that he’s packed on some pounds he can’t get anything down. I get it now. Tape finally makes sense.

    • DHawk says:

      Hmmm…Demonte McAllister writup:

      http://www.tomahawknation.com/florida-state-football-fsu-noles/2013/8/30/4654170/fsu-player-preview-2013-dt-demonte-mcallister

      Includes this statement:

      His profile was boosted by the rumor of Pete Carroll’s declaration that McAllister was “the best high school 3-techniques [Carroll] had ever seen”.

      May or may not be true, but it looks like he’s taken awhile to become a decent player (injuries and maturity, but the injuries don’t appear to have been severe). Maybe this is a Pete/John late round flyer…

      Speaking of players who dropped off the radar but are still playing: Kaleb Ramsey has played in every BC game this year and had 5 tackles against USC last week. Maybe another late round flyer…

  8. peter says:

    Rob,

    I’ve tried to write this on my phone about ten times, but what are your thoughts about Cuaran Reid in say the 5-7th. I understand his tape is against inferior competition but it seems to me that the Princeton D is well coached and I like the fact that he lines up all across the line…I’m ust throwing this out there since I feel that the d-line could still be improved, who’s couldn’t really, but PCJS seem reluctant to get aggressive with the line, and when they do it’s in the form of Bennett who may make himself to expensive to stay in Seattle…

  9. Stuart says:

    Well said JW!

    I remember leading up to the draft that St. Louis was considering drafting RG III and trading Bradford. Initially the Rams felt they could get at least 2 first round picks for him. Just think how much different the Rams would look today with RG III and the good picks for Bradford. At the time Bradford’s stock was that of a “franchise quarterback.”

    While we are at it, just think if Cleveland had drafted QB Tannehill with their early first round pick and then drafted RB the “muscle hamper” with their later first round pick. They would be light years ahead of the sorry stage they are in now…

    In Seattle we are so LUCKY to have PC/JS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • JW says:

      part of the reason they didn’t trade Bradford was about a $15M cap hit for 2012. That’s a big hit, but…you only have to eat that poo sandwich once. Instead, they’ve no got leftovers for the next few years, and it’s still not cheap, nor fine, dining.

  10. Hay stacker509 says:

    Rob, what about will Clarke DT out of West Virginia? Against OK state he was really up front and collapsing the pocket quite a bit

  11. Colin says:

    The part that still confuses me- if the Eagles really geared their entire draft around Russell Wilson…. why didn’t they take him in round 2?

    I guess the same reason the Seahawks didn’t. They believed he’d be there in round 3.

    • JW says:

      It makes me think it’s an overstatement, and not 100% accurate.

    • Meat says:

      Yeah, the ‘Eagles’ reportedly have been stating this for months now. I don’t really buy it. If he was their guy they would have traded up at least in Round 3 instead of sitting in the back of the round.

  12. SunPathPaul says:

    Seems like Mike Evans WR out of Texas A&M is Solid! If we don’t grab him, whoever takes Manziel should double down and grab that guy! They all ready have great chemistry… Seriously

    • SunPathPaul says:

      …and on this same topic of drafting players that all ready know one another – which seems to be taboo and not considered…and stupid to boot… what about Wisconsin WR JARED ABBREDERIS? 6-3, 190. Seemed to be Wilson’s go to guy a bit at Wisconsin. They would know each other and maybe spark quickly!?

      What do you think Rob? Others?

  13. Kenny Sloth says:

    Chris Smith DE Arkansas. Crazy get off and times snapcounts.

  14. Bob Dole says:

    Congrats Rob!

  15. Zach says:

    It’s been mentioned a few other places, but I wanted to add (and reiterate) that I tend to find this story out of Philly to be utter nonsense. Seattle might have had more faith in Russ than any other team, but even they had plenty of doubts. Almost no one thought he’d be as good as he’s been, or obviously he’d have been taken third overall at the latest. Inevitably after a guy goes late(ish) in the draft and then becomes a star, you hear from other teams that they loved him. Yeah, that’s really easy to say in hindsight.

    • JW says:

      agree, Zach. You don’t wait until the third round to select the player you’re building your draft around. If you do, you deserve to get fired.

  16. James says:

    Everyone was wrong on Russell Wilson. Even the Seahawks and the Eagles were wrong. They were just less wrong than others. An elite QB goes in R1, and since RW did not go there, everyone was wrong in scouting him. A QB that you think has a very good chance to be elite, if certain flaws can be overcome, goes in R2 (where JS wanted to draft him). R3 is where you gamble on a guy who might be the jackpot but is likely not. You like the guy, but are willing to risk someone else who sees the same thing you do picking him ahead of you. To call the Seahawks selection of RW in R3 a gamble is the perfect description. Combine skill in scouting, with pure dumb luck, and you are on your way to a Super Bowl.