Do the Seahawks draft better when they aren’t forcing it?

Pete Carroll and John Schneider built a Championship roster in four years

I don’t like using the word ‘reach’. It suggests clumsiness. The reality is all teams ‘reach’. It shouldn’t be considered such a tragic negative.

You’ll hear a GM mention ‘best player available’ during an interview, but every team has goals and aims going into a draft.

The first round is a mix of value and reach. Some teams aggressively pursue needs. That in turn creates value for other clubs.

The 2013 class is a good example of this.

The New York Jets didn’t need Sheldon Richardson. They had a solid defensive line and had recently invested first round picks in Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson. Richardson wasn’t even an obvious scheme fit as an orthodox looking three technique for a 4-3.

Yet they took him. Why? The value was unbelievable. Arguably the best player in the draft was sitting right there at #13.

Compare this to some of the other picks we saw in round one. Buffalo drafted E.J. Manuel after trading down — having already made their mind up to take a quarterback. The Falcons needed to bolster a weak secondary — and crept up to select Desmond Trufant. The Cowboys, after aggressively moving down to #31, selected center Travis Frederick to fill a vital need.

All of these moves were premeditated. All of these teams knew with a degree of certainty what they were going to do.

They had needs to fill.

If anyone thinks the Seahawks haven’t used this tactic too — they’re mistaken.


2010 was probably a fun draft for Seattle’s front office. They could pretty much do anything. The roster was a shambles.

Even then they had a very good idea about what they wanted to do in the first round. It’s my understanding at one point in the process they believed there was a chance they could select Eric Berry at #6 and Trent Williams at #14. Williams rose considerably after a fantastic combine and quickly established himself as the top tackle in the class — ending those hopes.

But a tackle/safety combo was the preference if it was possible. It couldn’t have worked out much better for Seattle, with Russell Okung available at #6 and Earl Thomas somehow getting to #14. They got the two key building blocks they wanted in round one.

The rest of the draft seemed to be about value. They had a first round grade on Golden Tate so took him in the late second. Walter Thurmond also received a strong grade and only fell due to injury concerns. They took a low-risk gamble in round four. Kam Chancellor was a raw safety in a linebacker’s body — 5th round. And Pete Carroll picked up Anthony McCoy — a faller due to off-field concerns — in the 6th.

The Seahawks were picking off value and ended up with four contributing players beyond the first round — including two key factors in the Super Bowl run (Tate & Chancellor).


This apparent tactic of filling needs early and then hunting for value continued in the next two classes, with different results.

In his end of season press conference after the 2010 season, Pete Carroll discussed his unproductive run game. That was going to be Seattle’s identity — and yet they were among the worst in the league at running the football.

They’d brought in Marshawn Lynch and needed to establish a run/power approach on offense. So they went out to draft a really good run blocking offensive lineman. James Carpenter was the left tackle at Alabama as Mark Ingram won a Heisman. He was a road grader — a man mountain who could move people out of the way to create running lanes.

This was filling a need. And at the time — this was the priority. Forget any other position. This is what they had to do — get the running game going.

In hindsight it was no surprise they went after a similar player in round three (after trading down) in John Moffitt. Wisconsin always run the ball well and they clearly hoped Carpenter and Moffitt could combine on the right side to significantly improve the blocking. Robert Gallery was also signed in free agency to play left guard.

This was an aggressive, premeditated ambition of the Seahawks. Not a case of sitting around waiting for the draft to come to them. I liked Carpenter enough to mock him to Philadelphia at #23 in my final 2011 mock draft — so Seattle drafting him at #25 didn’t shock me personally. But were there better players available at other positions?


As much as I liked Carpenter, I liked Jimmy Smith (a cornerback from Colorado) even more. Jabaal Sheard looked like an ideal LEO and Colin Kaepernick (yep) was my final mock pick at #25 for the Seahawks.

All three looked like better players — that’s my read on the situation. All would’ve filled needs at the time. But not Carroll’s biggest need.

As we know now the decision to draft Carpenter hasn’t completely paid off. He’s been injured, he’s had to switch positions and his play has been inconsistent. He’s had some extremely sloppy games and was benched for the playoff game against New Orleans. Yet he’s also had consistent success against Justin Smith — one of the top defensive linemen in the NFC.

He faces a potential make or break year in Seattle. Either way he didn’t do what was intended — lock down the right tackle position and become a great run blocker.

When the Seahawks reverted back to value in the later rounds, they once again started to collect starters. K.J. Wright was a steal in round four. The word ‘steal’ doesn’t come close to sufficiently describing the addition of elite cornerback Richard Sherman in round five. Byron Maxwell was a sixth round pick and now starts opposite Sherman, while Malcolm Smith — the Super Bowl MVP — was a seventh round pick.

All of these players filled holes, but all were taken in spots that matched a specific grade. Good scouting, preparation and development turned them into winners. Nothing was forced. For example, had K.J. Wright been drafted before Seattle’s pick in round four would they definitely take another linebacker?

I’m pretty confident Carpenter was one of maybe 4-5 tackles they would’ve taken in round one — ticking them off as they left the board. They knew they’d get one.


Fast forward to 2012 and another post-season press conference. Carroll is now name-checking speed in the front seven as the priority. So that’s what they go after.

I understand a pass rusher was always the intention in round one and I sense the Seahawks — with Carroll’s ties to Bruce Irvin — always knew what they were going to do. There’s been talk of interest in Mark Barron and Luke Kuechly — but teams know how a draft will likely play out in the first 10-15 picks long before the first pick. They’ll have known neither player was going to fall to them, making (I suspect) the Irvin pick all the more predictable in the front office.

We’ll never know whether interest in Irvin elsewhere was legit. The Seahawks claimed afterwards that other teams would’ve drafted Irvin in round one right after them. The Jets were revealed as a possibility — a rumour they later denied. It was called a ‘reach’ given Irvin’s main role as a third down specialist for West Virginia. Yet he filled the crucial need Seattle identified. That’s why they drafted him — not necessarily because they thought he was the absolutely best player available at the time.

The stars aligned to add more speed in the front seven in round two. Bobby Wagner — a player many mocked to the late first round (including ourselves) lasted until #47. Great value — and while they probably intended to draft a linebacker here, I doubt they would’ve forced it had Wagner and Lavonte David both been off the board.

After that they got Russell Wilson in round three, a pick that kind of worked out I guess. In all seriousness that was a classic example of patience and preparation. Seattle believed they could wait to get him — to hunt for the value. Waiting on Wilson shows they weren’t forcing anything later on. They were willing to miss out on him altogether to make sure they got the right value. Wagner and possibly missing out on Wilson was considered superior to Wilson and definitely no Wagner.

Robert Turbin filled a hole in round four — they needed a backup to support Lynch. Then more value — Jeremy Lane in round six, J.R. Sweezy and Gregg Scruggs in round seven are the best examples.

Once again when the Seahawks were letting the board come to them and searching for value — the results were very positive. Although as with Carpenter — Irvin so far as the early pick hasn’t delivered as expected. He went from “the ideal LEO” (in Carroll’s words) to a project linebacker in the space of a year. Now he’s on Twitter pining for a return to defensive end, while Dan Quinn says in an interview he’s staying put. Who knows what the future holds there.

It just occurs to me that it might not be a coincidence why Seattle has had more success in the later rounds. They’ve found a franchise quarterback, a lockdown corner, the best strong safety in football and some other pieces in rounds 3-7. Their two first round picks since 2011 haven’t prospered as hoped (although nobody’s writing them off just yet).

And sure — they haven’t hit on every mid or later round pick. But you’re picking from a much smaller talent pool compared to the first round. You’re not going to nail every choice.

(NOTE: I’ve not included the 2013 class here because it’s still too early to judge — and most players were redshirted anyway.)


The point of this piece isn’t to say the Seahawks should just go BPA at #32 next month and they’ll get another elite talent. That’s too simplistic.

But it’s perhaps a cautionary note that while we as fans pine for that offensive lineman or big receiver — trying aggressively to fill needs early doesn’t always pan out for the best.

So maybe if a player at a different, lesser need position falls — Seattle should consider it instead of simply drafting the next best OT or WR?

After all — the Seahawks aren’t trying to build a Championship roster any more. They’re trying to maintain one. They have less needs than most. And as we’ve seen this off-season — a certain degree of planning is required to anticipate needs in future years, not just now.

They lost Golden Tate in March. They’ll lose other guys too.

Perhaps you do run the risk of missing out altogether on addressing vital needs? But isn’t that just an opportunity for the Michael Bowie’s, Alvin Bailey’s or whoever else to step up?

While I still think it’s likely they go OT or WR at #32 and possibly #64 too — it doesn’t mean they need to feel backed into a corner either. And with a longer list of prospective free agents in 2015 and 2016 — some forward planning could be crucial.


  1. kevin mullen

    I count 8 full time starters: Thomas, Sherman, Wright, Carpenter, Avril, Baldwin, Maxwell, Smith, and 9th would be Kearse that have contracts terminating next year. Of these, I would safely say Thomas, Sherman, and either Wright/Avril would be retained.

    All others are probably gonna play into FA and see who gets what from other teams. (My emotional pick would be to sign Baldwin long term, dude just makes highlight reel catches.)

    I would say that our WILL would be easier to replace than Avril, not only did Irvin do admirably in Wright’s absence but I believe Norton can coach the next man up. (Think Shazier isn’t on his wishlist?) Only problem is that Avril will probably command Michael Bennett’s contract to say the least, not sure if we can afford two of those contracts.

    • kevin mullen

    • Jon

      I think calling Carpenter, Smith and Kearse full time starters may be a bit doom and gloom type outlook, also Kearse will be RFA next year and get the Baldwin type tender as a 2nd. Baldwin is one of my favorites and is very consistent I would like to keep him. I feel that it is realistic to keep Thomas, Sherman, Wright, Baldwin and one of Avril or Maxwell.

      • kevin mullen

        Kearse won’t get RFA as he was undrafted.

        If Carp and Smith weren’t considered starters, then they’re very close to NBA equivalent of the 6th man. Either way, these guys played some serious snaps in some of the more important games.

        • David M

          Baldwin was also UDFA

        • Vin

          Wasn’t Baldwin undrafted and received a 2nd rnd tender this year?

        • NMD

          Only undrafted free agents can be restricted free agents because all draft picks are required to be given 4 year deals. So since the new CBA has been in effect since 2011 from now on only UDFAs and guys cut before their rookie deals are up will have the chance to be RFAs.

        • Jon

          Smith only started a few games when injuries came up with Wagner and Wright,, then got a lot of play time in the playoffs and Superbowl he was not a full time starter. Starter quality and full time starter are two very different things., and Carp started a lot of games but was part of a rotation. When I think full time starter, I think of a player that is not at a level that can be replaced by 2nd or 3rd string players that were 7th Bowie, or UDFA Bailey type selections and additions in there rookie year.

  2. Clayton

    I know OT and WR are really good possibilities at #32 and #64, but I have a different view. At WR, with the loss of Sidney Rice (as of now) and Golden Tate, it is logical that WR is a great need. But with Jermaine Kearse stepping it up last year, and with Percy Harvin primed to take a bigger role this year, I don’t see the loss at WR as great. The same with OT- Alvin Bailey and Michael Bowie both showed that they are capable. For me, I think the biggest need is at the 3-tech DT. I don’t know if anyone else agrees with me, but Clinton McDonald was a monster last year. But even if no one does, one would still have to consider that he is the team’s biggest loss if you factor in who you have left in that spot. Since Tony McDaniel is set to play the 5-tech, that leaves Jordan Hill and Gregg Scruggs at the 3-tech on first and second downs. I’m not saying that they are not good, I’m just saying they are unproven and remain a mystery at the position, unlike at WR and OT.

    • Jon

      Just remember that McDonald was released and resigned last year. Its not like he was some proven player. The coaching staff and excellent DL rotation last year made him worthy of being called proven and also remember he was not even a starter for us. Rotational.

      One more note. Scruggs got more playing time than McDonald in 2012 when he was healthy.

      • Arias

        All the guys were rotational and McDonald started the Super Bowl at DT next to Bennett and ahead of Mebane. That in itself speaks volumes.

        Scruggs might have got more playing time 2 years ago, but that says nothing about whether he would have gotten more playing time as last year’s version of McDonald who was a beast. Until Scruggs can show he can play that well I consider that doubtful.

        Tampa got a great deal on him, but ultimately I think he wanted to be closer to his family in Jacksonville, which was why he was so quick to jump on that opportunity in Florida. He might have even chosen them over a similar offer from the Hawks because he was partial to the home region discount.

    • Hawksince77

      What about Jesse Williams? Doesn’t he fit into the D-line picture somehow?

      • Robert

        Maybe, if his rickety knees hold up???

      • David M

        We will see this year, now his knees are healthy. I feel like we have a stronger d line rotation now than before

        • Jon

          If his knee is healthy I think we are as good as last year even with the release of Bryant, Clemons, and loss of McDonald. Hill will be just fine in McDonalds spot, Bryant was a 30% snap player and Clemons was somewhat low snaps while coming back. Though it hurts to loose these players it is more painful as a memory then it is a loss of actual production.

    • Belgaron

      At one point, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, and Russell Wilson were all unproven. It costs too much to have proven talent at every position. In order to maintain a high level of play and live within the salary cap, they are going to have to have a few unproven guys step up every year. But some of the unproven guys will break through and be stars so there is reward to go with the risk. It comes down to the talent evaluation team continuing to be the best in the biz.

      • MJ

        Perfectly stated. I do get a good chuckle when I hear, we have a few spots on the OL with unproven guys, we need to draft at least one OL at 32 or 64…as if those guys aren’t unproven as well.

        In the age of the salary cap, you have to take your hits in certain areas. It’s just impossible to have experienced starting talent at every position with legit depth behind them.

        • Jake

          Well said MJ!

          “…as if those guys aren’t unproven as well.” I love Bitonio the prospect as much as anyone, but how will he adjust to NFL competition? We can’t know that yet, especially because he played in a funky offense in a fairly weak conference. Meanwhile, Bowie and Bailey proved to be quality NFL football players last year. We don’t know their ceiling, but we know their floor and it sure ain’t the basement. Are they all-pros? No – at least not yet, but who knows what the future holds. They’ve already played in the NFL and played well. Bowie started a playoff game and looked like, at a minimum, a capable NFL starter.

    • James

      Honestly, I was surprised that the Seahawks let Clinton McDonald go when they could have had him for a very reasonable contract of 4yrs/$12 mil. The guy played winning football, was never injured, and came cheap….seemingly the ideal candidate. So, you have to ask yourself, what are Pete and John thinking….for the cap savings, though important, can hardly be that significant. The answer has to be Greg Scruggs. We have seen glimpses, and been hearing from the locker room, that Scruggs is the next Sherm/Kam late-round gem. The guy is even up to about 310 lbs with crazy speed. PCJS must be convinced that Scruggs was going to beat out Clint, so why waste the money for a backup?

      • Jon

        Hill as Well

      • Arias

        I don’t think so for reasons I just mentioned in another post, but at the risk of repeating myself it sounded like he jumped on the opportunity to play in Tampa because his large extended family is in Florida, he’s from the Jacksonville area, and he’s very religious and family oriented. Nor does Florida offer any tax advantages being also a state with no income tax. I’m not sure he would have re-signed with the Hawks for the 4yrs/12 million we saw him lured away to the Bucs for.

  3. Madmark
    I thought this was a really good article about extending Thomas, Sherman, Avril, Wright, and Baldwin this year and still be able to roll over 4million for next year. Then we work on a Wilson and Wagner extension in 2015. In the article it talks about and a wait and see on Okung since he’s been injuried and hamper by a toe problem. After reading the article I just loved the plan and would love to see it happen.
    Take a look at it and tell me what ya think?

    • AlaskaHawk

      I enjoyed the article too. I think we resign everyone you named except Sherman will be too expensive. Fortunately we already have his replacement on the team. The tip off will be if they take another cornerback in the 5th round. Avril will get a Bennett type deal.

      • Belgaron

        Hold onto that thought on Sherman not being extended for two more weeks. This is about the time of year Kam signed his extension last year.

        • AlaskaHawk

          The article is talking about 6 year deals with Thomas at 10 million per year and Sherman at 12 million. That is a fair price, even a generous one. Sherman could make 16 million for the right team. Seems like there is one guy who gets that money every year. Team wise if we signed both then we will be paying 30 million a year for three guys in our secondary. Bennett and Avril would take up another 14 or 15 million. Which leaves about 14 million for every other defensive guy on the team, that would include 6 other linemen and 4 linebackers and two other corners.

          • Drew

            I could see Sherman getting 10 a year with a higher guarenteed amount.

    • Matt

      The proposed extensions for Thomas and Sherman look like they’re market value, while the deals for KJ and Avril look a little low. I doubt Avril would jump to sign an extension for less money than he’s already getting. It’ll be interesting to see who we lock up before the 2014 season.

    • Vin

      I thought it was a good article. I agree with the others that while the Sherman & ET contracts look on par with what they’ll get, the Avril/KJ/Baldwin contracts looked low, especially baldwin’s. I hope we can resign KJ. I think Malcolm and Maxwell end up getting contracts elsewhere….maybe Jacksonville.

      • Madmark

        There’s more to the deals than the eye sees and that is the signing bonuses.

        • Ben2

          I like KJ but I’m fine with letting him walk….he’s a linebacker. Linebackers seem to age like running backs in the nfl. I think he can be replaced. I think we should use those cap resources elsewhere. If we pay a linebacker it should be Wagner.

          • Darin

            Difference is, KJ is a Strong side backer who can cover, he has the size length and speed to cover TE’s and backs. Those guys don’t grow on trees.

            • Ben2

              He was a 4 th rd pick. Our FO does the best job of any team in the league at identifying defensive players in the later rounds with skillsets they can work with and coaching them up. I’d let KJ how the Tate route – someone will pay KJ 5 mil a year….and like I said, I’d rather use that loot somewhere else like Rusell Wilson’s contract extension.

  4. jake

    I actually think they’ll be at their best during the undrafted free agency period. They won the Superbowl, proven philosophy, and lots of success with undrafted free agents. Nearly half their roster was made up of undrafted.

    • Belgaron

      Actually, this has become a liability given their success at building a strong roster. The better and deeper their roster gets, the harder it will be to get guys to sign as UDFAs, it’s one of the reasons they are not afraid to stockpile 7th rounders so they can have a few of their choosing that they’d have no shot at otherwise.

  5. Jrockrichards

    I love the way you think Rob.

    These little tidbits make me realize how special of a thing those guys are building over at the VMAC.

  6. Hawksince77

    I don’t know, given the exciting WRs that will be on the board at 32, it’s hard to imagine them passing on the one they really like and waiting to see what’s left at 64. Of course, they may really like a guy they think will be there at 64, giving them the option of taking another favorite at 32.

    It’s almost not fair…to the rest of the league.

    • Belgaron

      I expect they’ll trade down, probably with Dallas, and still get a solid guy plus a few more picks.

  7. Robert

    Any updates on Okung? Is he expected to be healthy for training camp?

    • Rob Staton

      I believe the surgery he had was just a procedure. Not likely to keep him out for months.

  8. Mike


    This is an excellent piece. You continue to churn out quality, thought-provoking articles that slake my thirst for all things Seahawk. Do you have another 3 weeks in you? I really hope they move the draft back up next year–this is excruciating.

    • Rob Staton

      “Do you have another 3 weeks in you?”

      Oh yes!

      • oz


  9. Stuart

    When Okung is healthy and playing, he is a pro bowl LT. However, he misses significant game time, annually. I dont have the percentage of time missed but 30% would seem fair.

    Some want to re-sign Okung now, me, I would wait until after the season to make an assessment. If he misses less than 2 games he will likely be offered a big contract, if he misses significant time again, he will likely not be resigned via a low-ball contract offer in his words, similar to the way Golden Tate left town.

    I really hope he stays healthy but he makes an awful lot of money that could be used elsewhere….In Pre-Season it will be especially interesting watching Bailey play LT, or draft pick-UDFA.

    Great write-up today Rob! Missed you yesterday too.

    • Belgaron

      I don’t see the need to extend now. He is already well paid for his position. His next contract will also be well paid but no one is going to back a truck full of money up with his injury history. Seahawks should be able to resign him for a fair market value after the season.

      • cha

        2014 should really tell us where the future lies with Okung, whether it’s in Seattle or somewhere else. Another year of 4-6 missed games, with Bailey or Draft Pick in his spot might spell the end of his time as a Seahawk. A fully healthy year and a Pro Bowl appearance would force the Hawks’ hands with him. Here’s hoping they have another ‘good problem’ with too much tackle depth.

        Slight defense of Okung’s injury history – one wasn’t the result of him being injury-prone necessarily. I’m still irritated by Trent Cole body-slamming him to the ground with a cheap shot in Dec 2011, not getting flagged and then fined only $7500, or in other words, less than players who wear the wrong color socks. Okung was out 6 months rehabbing that injury…grrr…

        • Arias

          Yeah the body slam that led to injury was a bummer.

          But incidentally, we would have never seen in a million years anyone body slam Walter Jones to the ground. It was always the other way around. But I’d imagine if someone did manage to body slam him he’s just get up and snap them in half like a twig on the very next play.

  10. Saxon

    So, in summary, draft BPA instead of reaching for need. Got it. If Shazier is there Draft him before OL/WR…

    Oh, and Carpenter is terrible. Can’t wait to find his replacement. Bowie played well at LG versus the Saints. He needs to get stronger and better conditioned but he showed more in his first start at LG than Carp has in his entire career.

  11. Ray bones

    Kj wright in the 4th, Richard Sherman in the 5th, Byron Maxwell in the 6th and Malcom Smith in the 7th… Wow that is an unbelievable haul when you look at it now.

    • Belgaron

      It is. But it is par for the course for this talent evaluation staff. They are good, probably the best. Snagging Scot McCloughan was a steal, but I think there are another half dozen guys on the team that nobody knows about that are just as good working the board all off season. It would be interesting to know who they give credit for each guy they uncovered but I imagine they don’t want the rest of the league to know that.

      • Ray bones

        It’s better then par, it’s birdie, hole in one, eagle birdie good!! It is not out of the realm of possibility that you could see all four in the pro bowl this year. Quite possibly the best late round draft ever!

  12. Christon

    Awesome read Rob. Well done.

    If the pattern continues with PCJS being aggressive in targeting needs with their first picks it will be OL & WR (like we think) with the first two picks and just select value where it falls to them in rounds 4th – 7th. That’s not to say that they don’t follow the BPA approach with their early picks – I do remember JS saying after last year’s draft that Christine Michael was their highest rated player on their board and RB wasn’t necessarily a position of need (although adding depth was likely going into the 2013 draft). PC said after the SB that the team doesn’t have any glaring needs, so who knows? They have courted a lot of DE/DT FA’s so I could see them going in that direction early on as well.

  13. Nathan

    I know this is an NFL blog but I just wanted to take a moment to bring some attention to a sporting tragedy that is very close to my heart. 25 years ago today 96 football fans went to see Liverpool vs Nottingham Forest and never returned home. I am lucky that my father was not among them but 96 families were not so lucky. I would urge everyone who reads this to take a moment to remember them. JFT96.

    For those who need more information this article should provide it:

    • EranUngar

      Thank you Nathan.

      Maybe it’s symbolic that Liverpool is 4 wins away from a championship that alluded them for 25 years.

    • Ulsterman

      I remember watching the match on RTE (Irish state broadcaster) and seeing people starting to spill onto the pitch. After a while, it became clear many were in a very bad way. Horrible day. I’m not a Liverpool fan (though don’t mind them), but hope they wil the PL this year.

  14. EranUngar

    Great work Rob as always. Looking at the big picture is always eye opening.

    Reading what JS had to say about their drafting and grading methodology made me see the full picture differently then i did in the past. Now, i think they always let the board come to them. I believe they create an improvement factor rating and pick the players that will improve the roster the most.

    They start with self scouting and evaluation and rate their own players based on performance, cost and length of contract. Once they have their internal rating they rate the potential prospects and compare them with the current rating of the players already on the roster.

    Example :

    They may rate Carp at 80 and Bowie at 87. A Bitonio/Moses rated at 90 would be a plus 3 at RT and plus 10 at LG. (Carp approaching end of contract effects his rating)

    They may rate Kearse at 82 and Baldwin at 85 due to end of contract coming. A Latimer at 90 is plus 5 at WR 2 and plus 8 at WR 3.

    A Shazier will probably be very similar – higher over Smith but less then the proven Wags and K.J.

    The ranking or rating of the current roster is the mathematical manifestation of our “needs” or “holes” and it effects the improvement factor of the potential picks. Once those are calculated its just a matter of letting the board come to them and draft strategy. (Hence, the weirder the pick, the better our current roster is)

    Draft strategy is the look ahead and evaluation of what the rest of the teams will do.

    Example – If they have a plus 8 on a certain QB and a plus 7 on a good LB. They estimate that they can get that QB at the 3rd but the LB will only be there in the 2nd. Picking the QB at the 2nd will leave them with a plus 3 LB at the 3rd. It’s better to get plus 15 by picking the lower rated LB at the 2nd and the higher rated QB at the 3rd rather then getting plus 11 doing it by the net rating. That’s how we got Wags and RW.

    The above is just simplified examples of the concept they use IMO.

    It’s not a revolutionary concept. The reason we are drafting that good is the interaction between the coaching and the scouting staff as to what it is we are looking for. The great work by the scouting staff and the excellent work dedicated in training and upgrading those picks.

    The reason it all works out so well is the team’s dedication top to bottom to be the perfect growing ground for young talents. You hear a lot about the hawks defense actually playing very simple scheme wise even at the SB. If you envision a team that dedicates more time to the personal development of each individual player it works better when you don’t run a very complicated Ryan type of defense. When you invest the time to work on individual skill set you don’t have that time to work on complicated ever changing team schemes. Suddenly turnover Wednesday makes perfect sense.

    Bottom line – it all works.

  15. Shane


    I have greatly enjoyed reading the pieces you have been writing lately when you single out a specific player and value their abilities in regards to how beneficial their addition will be to our current roster. A player that I’m interested in getting your take on is Davante Adams. Opinions vary widely as to where he will be selected in the draft. I have watched a bit of tape on him and I’m not quite sure where I stand. He is a smooth athlete and has a definite ‘wiggle’ in his game, especially apparent on screen passes, which allows him to get separation. His production is impressive, although the numbers where enhanced because of the pass happy system at Fresno St. But even given this fact, 24 touchdowns receiving is far and away the most in CFB. He displays great body control and leaping ability (39.5 Vert 10’3 broad) and really fights when the ball is in the air.

    But saying all this, when I watch the tape I don’t see him run a diverse route tree, and a lot of his production comes from screens and shallow drag routes (much of which, I imagine, would be run by a healthy Percy Harvin in 2014, making this skill set a bit redundant). And while I do like Adams there is something holding me back from being really wowed by him. Anyway I would love to hear if you have similar concerns about Adams and how would you rate him against this talented WR class.

  16. Ulsterman

    The great thing this year is that the Seahawks’ needs match with the strength of the draft – OT and WR. Wasn’t 2011 considered a poor year for OL? They shouldn’t have to force it this year, though wouldn’t shock me if they go DLine.

    • oz

      Any position wouldn’t shock me other than RB.

  17. Cysco

    Seems pretty likely that there will be a “good” player at a position of need sitting at #32 and in all likelihood, a potentially “great” player available at a position that is not a direct need. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens if #32 rolls around and we’re looking at:

    possible position of need
    WR – Martavis Bryant
    WR – Cody Latimer
    WR – Donte Moncrief
    OL – Joel Bitonio

    possible potential for greatness, but less need
    DT – Ra’Shede Hageman
    LB – Ryan Shazier

    I suppose the dream is that somehow a player that fits in both categories falls
    WR – Odell Beckham Jr

    Hey, a man can dream.

    • AlaskaHawk

      Drafttek has Odell Beckham Jr sliding to us in their current mock up. They have more defensive players going in the first round then most mock ups, especially corners. So it is possible that OBJ will slide to us, just not very likely. There will be some awesome receiver available to us in the first. It would be new ground for this staff, they have never picked a wide receiver in the first round of the draft.

      • Cysco

        I would do the happiest of happy dances if that happens, I just can’t imagine it being possible. I guess crazier things have happened.

        I mean seriously, could you imagine Beckham Jr and a healthy Percy Harvin on the same team? Throw Christine Michael in the backfield at the same time and the combined speed could bend space time.


        • Jake

          OBJ is a nice player with Tate-like abilities. They low-balled Tate, so I highly doubt they target a Tate clone. It seems like OBJ is a Seahawks Draft Blog favorite, but I don’t get the attraction. He’s good, but with Harvin and ADB on the roster, he is redundant. I’d much rather take a swing at the fences with Latimer or Shazier or Hageman. Those guys are special athletically and have the ideal size to match. OBJ is another sub-6’0 receiver, he isn’t an upgrade on Tate and he sure as hell isn’t an upgrade on Harvin.

          Letting Tate walk without even trying just to turn around and draft his clone, screams of Ruskell’s move with trading Julian Peterson (to the Lions even) just to turn around and draft Aaron Curry. OBJ may be a very good WR, but why not just keep Tate if the staff wanted a third sub-6’0 WR more suited to catch and run than downfield playmaker/red-zone threat.

  18. David M

    Rob, what do you think of Mohammed Seisay, Cb Nebraska?

    could be a later round pick, had pretty good numbers at Pro day

  19. Ted

    Excellent piece Rob as per usual. I think that a lot the success SEA has had drafting in the later rounds has to do with the fact that, according to PC, they focus on “what a player CAN do, and not what he cannot do”. If you look at most of the later round success stories, each of the players had limitations, but have been able to mitigate that with “special” attributes. Sherm’s length and intelligence, Smith’s speed and athleticism, KJ’s instict and length, etc. SEA seems willing to pick players with some deficiencies, but use them in ways that tailor to their strengths and mitigate the weaknesses. Of course, there are players who haven’t worked out such as Durham, Harper, etc. but the vast majority of reserve players still on the team have some sort of unique quality.

    This brings me to my next point that I think we all need to look at player tape through the lens of “what can he bring to the team that’s special?”. Personally, I haven’t really been doing that. I’ve been focusing on SPARQ scores, stats, production. Take Cody Latimer, for example. I love the guy and have been advocating him for a while, but of all the WRs in this class, is he really unique enough for SEA to draft? What can he do that a guy like Jermaine Kearse can’t handle? Kearse has shown that he’s a terrific blocker and has a knack for highpointing the ball and making tough catches in traffic, which are Latimer’s main strengths. That’s why I wonder if SEA may gravitate more towards guys like Martavis Bryant, Brandin Cooks and OBJ (doubt he’s there at 32, but he’d be ideal). Bryant especially just pops off the tape in terms of how much separation he gets. His skillset is something that the current roster lacks and would bring another dimension to the offense.

    Now, I know that there are a lot of other considerations such as their attitudes and personalities that we can only guess at. I’m just giving my two cents on the subject that I think I personally need to start focusing on “special” players in some respects. Rant finished.

    • AlaskaHawk

      We should also give credit to the Seahawks staff and training program. There is a reason all these players slipped to late rounds. They didn’t suddenly become brilliant players that everyone overlooked. They were trained to be that way. The secondary is a Pete Carroll specialty, they are given very specific training as to how to play the positions. I believe we have had enough time and pumped out enough awesome safeties and cornerbacks to prove that case. Everyone else wants our players.

      Likewise with the defensive line. How many times have we picked up someone elses cast off? Or someone who plays on a one year deal because no one else offered them much? A year later they look like rockstars. It is the training and having an awesome team surrounding them!

      So lets give three cheers to Pete Carroll and his training staff!!

    • Robert

      Concerned at the thought of Martavis in the film room with RW and co. Latimer has a well documented work ethic and articulates so well in interviews. But MB has the very rare qualities of great acceleration in a big man combined with that long stride top speed that very few players can hang with. When you combine that with Percy Harvin and RW’s scrambling/deep ball combo, DC’s will lose a lot of sleep. FS’s must watch PH and be prepared to help. But with Martavis streaking down the sideline, the FS will bail to help and PH will own the deep middle. Terrifying combination!

      • Robert

        But then I wonder what they think they have in Ricardo Lockette. He has been an under-achiever, so far. But last year, he started to make some contributions. And he can fly down the sideline and force the FS to bail, as well. I think we’ll see that every game. Because PC loves to take the deep shots. But if the FS takes that away, PH owns the deep middle…pick your poison!

        • Ted

          I’m not even sure Lockette makes the final roster. His best contributions now are on special teams and a go route here and there. I believe he’s the oldest WR on the roster now since he was an older UDFA to begin with. Has great speed, but that’s about it. With the allegations swirling, he may not even make it into TC. Though it seems he didn’t do anything wrong, the whole weed part of the story won’t sit too well with PCJS if true.

          • Robert

            I think PCJS realize that numerous players on our roster smoke weed. My point is that Lockette could fly down the sideline with his insane speed and force the FS to the sideline, which opens up the deep middle for Harvin. I think this strategy is a likely possibility. And a reason that Martavis Bryant is probably high on their board despite his laid back appoach to interviews and questionable work ethic. Its the speed on the outside that leverages and maximizes Percy Harvins speed over the middle or on short routes with the FS out of position. But I did not mean to imply that I think Lockette will suddenly become a top tier WR, Rather that PC is the master of tapping into special abilities and leveraging them for significant contributions…and Lockette’s speed is special!

        • MJ

          Lockette is also 28 years old. Kind of passed the development phase. He is what he is IMO. There’s always hope for him to be more, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

  20. David M

    tell me why the hawks shouldn’t trade up and draft the receiver of their dreams? the’ll have plenty of comp pick next year, the time is now for an impact player.. and PC/JS seem to do great in later rounds, so why not trade up and get that receiver that would do everything we want? Im talking a Mike Evans, Marquise Lee, Odell Beckham Jr trade with a team in rounds like 10-15

    • MJ

      I’ve gone back and forth on this idea. Quite honestly, if OBJ fell to a certain point (pick 18-20), I’d be all in to trade up. He’s just so dynamic and can play outside on Day 1 but also be Harvin insurance (that is serious value, especially for this team). I know this isn’t a popular idea, but OBJ has star written on him and he comes across extremely level headed and tough for a WR. Won’t happen but we can dream.

      And you do bring up a great point about Compensatory picks in 2015. If the guy you like falls far enough, why not go after him, knowing you are loaded with picks next year to rebuild depth?

    • hawkfaninMT

      Just to play this idea out a bit…

      If the Hawks were to trade their 1st this year and “X” pick next year, how many spots does that get them moved up?

      For example:
      1st this year, 1st next year gets them into the top 10
      1st this year and 2nd next year gets them ???
      1st this year and 3rd next year gets them ???

      • David M

        im all in for this years 1st ad nexts years 1st to grab Mike Evans. this offense will be top 5 so easliy, Wilson will have a field day with Evans out there..

        • SHawn

          I hate agreeing with this since it wont happen. But i agree with this. Evans/Harvin/Baldwin/Kearse. Yep. Ill take that over any secondary in the game.

          • David M

            we can only dream haha. but that WR corp would dominate

  21. Cysco

    Getting high enough to get any of the top three receivers is, do I dare say, impossible.

    Simply going by Rob’s latest mock you need to get up to #7 to grab Evans. According to the trade value chart:

    Pick 7 – 1500 Pts
    Pick 32 – 590 Pts

    So right there you have conservatively 900 points to make up. Future picks are always discounted because of the uncertainty of where they’ll be. Any team is going to assume Seattle’s pick is going to be around the same place next year, and with a discount you’re probably talking about another 500pts of value so:

    Pick 32 this year – 590
    next year’s first – 500

    Now you still have another 500ish point to make up equal value!

    Our 2nd round pick this year can throw another 270 pts onto the pile. Now we’re almost there
    we throw our 2nd next year onto the pile at a discount and we’re getting there. Throw next year’s third round pick and now you’re talking.

    There is no way the seahawks are giving up

    2014 1st
    2014 2nd
    2014 1st
    2014 2nd
    2014 3rd

    for Mike Evans.

    I imagine the best you could do is this year’s 1st and next year’s 1st to move to pick 20.

    • David M

      ok after looking at this, i see why ATL gave up 6 picks for Julio Jones at 6th overall?

      so i dont see the hawks trading up unless for soem reason, Evans, Lee or OBJ fall into the 15-20 range.

      I expect evans to be gone by 12, Lee/OBJ by 18-20 ish.. so if one goes past the hawks project number, will they make a move??

      • Cysco

        yah, such is the price of success. lol I used to get so excited because the Seahawks had such high picks. Now I’m excited that we don’t.

        It wouldn’t shock me to see the Hawks jump up a couple spots to leapfrog the 49rs. Especially if there’s a receiver there they really like. SanFran is also in need of a receiver and I don’t think the cost would be overly high to say swap with new england and snipe the guy they want before their division rival grabs him.

        • Robert

          I think Hardblow wants Kelvin Benjamin to counter LOB beating the crap out of his receivers…

          • Layne

            Ya! We don’t have a 3rd so maybe Robert Turbin and a 5th. Then to fine a trade partner. just not happening

  22. Dan

    Taking a step back… Ebron and Shazier are my two favorite “unforeseen” picks

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