Seahawks pick later in the draft than any other team

The last guy the Seahawks drafted early in the draft

The Seahawks haven’t had an early pick since 2012, when they selected Bruce Irvin at #15. They’ve since consistently picked later in the draft than any other contender over the last five years.

Why is this is noteworthy? I’m glad you asked…

We’re currently experiencing the greatest example of parity in the NFL. The 2016 season is a jumbled mess of flawed teams. For the first time in a good few years there isn’t an elite three or four. Any team making the playoffs probably has a shot to make the Super Bowl.

The Seahawks themselves have suffered a regression. Having won the DVOA title four years in a row, they were 10th this season before the Rams game. They’re ranked #14 for explosive plays in 2016, down from #3 in 2015.

The defense ranked #1 vs the run in 2015. They’re down to #8 in 2016. Offensively they were #3 in the run game last year but they’re only #18 this season.

Seattle’s turnover differential is -1 this season. It was +6 in 2015 and +9 in 2014.

The defense also needs three interceptions in the last two games to match 2015’s total of 14.

They’re virtually down across the board apart from sacks and points conceded. They have 36 sacks this year and should be able to surpass 2015’s 37 in the next two games. The Seahawks have the #2 scoring defense, having given up just two more points than #1 New England.

Staying at the top is difficult and most teams, even the regular contenders, fall back into the pack. Seattle’s consistent run of winning since 2012 — especially within a very competitive division up until this season — is only matched by two teams (the Patriots and Broncos).

The silver lining of a down year or two is the ability to pick earlier in the draft and add a core player to your group. An injection of pure talent. The Giants, having been competitive for several years and winning two Super Bowls, fell back in 2013 and that allowed them to select Odell Beckham Jr.

Other teams that have contended over the last five seasons are peaking now after several years of picking early. Carolina selected Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly and Star Lotulelei in consecutive years before having their charge to the Super Bowl. Atlanta reloaded with three picks in the top-17 over the last three years. They currently have as many wins as the Seahawks this season.

Seattle’s consistency in terms of winning has somewhat hurt them in the talent acquisition stakes. They’ve not had a top-20 pick to get things going again. Most teams only give out 10-20 first round grades in a given draft. The Seahawks haven’t been able to get near those players.

While they have in the past found gems in the middle or later rounds — that’s a very difficult thing to maintain over multiple years.

They’ve somewhat tried to compensate for this by making big trades for star players like Jimmy Graham and Percy Harvin, with mixed results.

Nothing, however, can replace the cheap quality you get if you nail an early pick. And that’s something the Seahawks haven’t been able to do — and it’s perhaps one of the reasons why they’ve not been able to continue just loading up on talent after a historically great run of recruitment between 2010-2012.

Eleven teams have competed in a NFC or AFC Championship game in the last five years. Here is the average draft position of each teams first pick since 2011:

New York Giants — 16.8
Arizona Cardinals — 17.5
Carolina Panthers — 17.8
San Francisco 49ers — 18.1
Atlanta Falcons — 19.0
Baltimore Ravens — 23.8
Denver Broncos — 24.3
Indianapolis Colts — 25.5
Green Bay Packers — 27.3
New England Patriots — 35.1
Seattle Seahawks — 40.1

So over the last few years, on average the Seahawks are making their first pick nearly 25 spots lower than division rivals Arizona, 21 picks lower than the Falcons and even 13 places lower than Green Bay.

This is arguably one of the reasons why they’ve struggled to match the 2010-12 draft success in 2013-16. The later round gems have dried up, possibly because other teams are now looking to mimic Seattle’s approach and are taking ‘Seahawky’ players earlier. Overall they’re picking much later than any other team not named New England.

That’s also possibly why they’ve been creative. It’s probably why they’ve made trades, it’s probably why they’re looking for deliberate traits and specific physical profiles. If you’re picking later and want to try and find great players — getting upside and trying to develop it is probably your best shot. Otherwise you’re just not getting close enough to the genuine talent in the top-15 or so picks.

If the Seahawks can get back to their best over the next couple of years without picking in the top-20, it’ll be a triumph and arguably an unprecedented achievement in a league determined to achieve parity. That’s what the record tells us. It’s how a team as well run as Baltimore goes from winning a Super Bowl and consistently picking in the 20’s or 30’s to suddenly being at #17 and taking C.J. Mosley or #6 and Ronnie Stanley.

It might also suggest the Seahawks will continue to be creative to get around this. More trades? Maybe, if the cap space allows for it. Would they trade up the board, ala Atlanta in 2011 for Julio Jones? Another possibility. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility they’ll think they need the spark of a top prospect to reinvigorate things.

Failing that, continuing to look for unique traits with the upside to develop into greatness seems likely. And it might be that way while ever they’re unable to pick the best fruit at the top of the tree.

I’d recommend checking out this piece by Bob McGinn at the Journal Sentinel. Every year he publishes some of the best sourced info on the draft. He has some interesting insider tidbits on some of the prospects eligible for 2017. Have a read.


  1. dave crockett

    Great point Rob.

    One point I’d add is that once you have a roster that’s set, the natural inclination (especially in middle and later rounds) is to give more weight in evaluation to guys with a clear path to a contribution. In other words, Schneider is far less inclined to gamble on the next Russell Wilson today than he was in 2012. The better your roster, the harder it is to improve it (almost irrespective of draft position). Not only are you drafting late in every round, you’re also not equally open to talent at every position (regardless of best player available rhetoric).

    The interesting comparison for Seattle is New England. They’ve obviously set a standard for “creativity” in talent acquisition. They’ve also been helped tremendously in division by consistently sorry competition. The NFCW this year is what the AFCE is like every year for roughly a decade. I wouldn’t count on the teams in the NFCW staying down for that long.

    • Seahawcrates

      really good points Dave. I think your post meshes well with what I was trying to say below.

  2. Ishmael

    Totally unrelated to this piece, which I’ll comment on in a sec, but just watching the Panthers – Washington game. Newtown just got blasted in the head sliding, and somehow managed to get penalised for unsportsmanlike conduct. There really are two sets of rules for quarterbacks out there.

    • cha

      He’s not a QB there. He’s a runner in the open field. And suddenly sliding so his head is right in alignment to get blasted isn’t the tackler’s fault.

  3. Seahawcrates

    Interesting points, Rob. i think the situation is exacerbated by how many near simultaneous hits the team had early (supplemented by Avril and Bennett). That success created a hard top crust that makes it brutally difficult to punch through for new draftees. The team decided to let go of Ron Parker, Jaye Howard, Benson Mayowa, Spencer Ware and to a lesser extent Korey Toomer. All guys difficult to evaluate in part because they weren’t playing much. At one point Richard Sherman was buried behind Trufant and Thurmond. I’m not sure even Pete was certain what he had with him until Richard got a chance to play because of injuries to the other corners.
    Your larger point is worrying in that beyond Lockett, Clark, Reed, and Rawls, (and perhasps some of the offensive linemen) I’m not sure a newer, younger core is emerging at a rate that will replace the talent-studded core whose sustained success has put the team at the back end of draft after draft.
    it is too easy to imagine a Seahawk cliff if Pete and the current core all need replacing in a short window of time equivalent to the window in which they arrived.

  4. Alaska Norm

    I’m not saying it will, or should happen but…. what kind of draft compensation could Seattle get for Richard Sherman. If they need to think outside the box and use the Patriots model could it be so far fetched? Especially with the latest sidelines antics.

  5. Alaska Norm

    I’m not saying it will, or should happen but…. what kind of draft compensation could Seattle get for Richard Sherman. If they need to think outside the box and use the Patriots model could it be so far fetched? Especially with the latest sidelines antics.

    • Volume12

      Why would you ever trade Sherman?

      • Alaska Norm

        I’m not saying I would. I guess my question is in regards to how the Patriots have stayed relevant for all these years. Trading a player like Sherman to reboot a roster with fresh talent is a outside the box method, something Belichick has done in the past. if Pete is confident in his scheme, and JS is confident in finding players that fit the scheme, is it so unrealistic to sell high and buy low so to speak? Sherman came to mind as a player who could get a high return and his antics this year may be grating enough for Pete to look at as a possibility. I love Richard as a player and is one of my favorite Seahawks but todays “threat” to get a local reporter banned from media days and not helping matters with yet another jab at the coaching staff might be jest enough to make a GM think about what you could get in return for a obviously talented individual. Just a thought when reading Robs awesome write up. Food for thought and nothing else….

    • RealRhino2

      Quick answer: not enough.

    • LordSnow

      I’d rather sell our draft for Fournette or Miles Garrett than trade Richard Sherman.

      • Sea Mode

        Totally hypothetical: would you trade Rawls and our Rd. 1 this year for Fournette?

        • Greedo

          In a heartbeat.

        • KingRajesh

          In a heartbeat.

        • STTBM

          But who in their right mind would trade with us for Rawls and our first?!

        • STTBM

          But who in their right mind would trade with us for Rawls and our first?! I dont think we could get a fifth round pick for Rawls right now…

        • LordSnow


  6. Will

    But Rob, two of those first round picks turned into Percy and Jimmy. That same year we traded for Percy, we traded down again and picked up Christine Michael as the 62nd pick. If you redo the calculations with the picks that we actually started the draft with, we’re at 31.8. If you look at the actual first pick we ended up getting for Percy and Jimmy (before we traded down), it’s at 38.3.

    My point is, saying where we picked first doesn’t say a lot–is Jimmy Graham better than a lot of the first round talent that was available? Hell yeah. Was Percy? We thought so.

    “If the Seahawks can get back to their best over the next couple of years without picking in the top-20, it’ll be a triumph and arguably an unprecedented achievement in a league determined to achieve parity.” No, it just means that Seattle has consistently placed a higher weight on players seen as “projects” or “underwhelming”, and we’ve either traded our first round picks for more draft capital, or for players that could be immediately productive.

    • Rob Staton

      I made reference to the trades in the piece. Picking later is probably one of the reasons they made the deals.

      • Will

        I mean, you referenced the trades in a throwaway sentence in the middle of your piece. I think my point is, that it’s not unprecedented–the Pats have been doing it for much longer than we have. The only reason why it looks like it’s unprecedented is because you calculated the average of the position of their first draft picks, which is skewed, because a) the Seahawks traded those for players and b) both the Seahawks and Pats have a propensity for trading down.

        • Rob Staton

          It wasn’t a throwaway sentence. The point is — they’ve not invested in cheap talent early. The trades are part of that. And when you trade away your early picks you’re picking later each year. So it makes it harder to ‘hit’ in the draft. A lot of people have remarked on Seattle’s weaker drafts recently. The point is — there’s an obvious reason for it. This article highlights that.

  7. cha

    Fun fact: Ifedi is the only first round draft pick on the active roster (Earl Thomas on IR).

    • vrtkolman

      What in the heck happened to Josh Doctson? I only bring this up because I heard his name tonight and I completely forgot the guy existed.

      • vrtkolman

        Man I can’t reply well today, wasn’t meant for you cha.

      • STTBM

        Been hurt pretty much all year, got put on IR.

  8. AlaskaHawk

    The only way to get into the 40 position is to trade back. The Seahawks have actively passed on first round talent to pick players of lesser abilities in greater quantities. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I find it frustrating when the perennial lets trade back talk starts.

    • TopJimmy

      The other is the Patriots way. Lose enough first round picks that it blows the average up.

  9. DC

    The lowest three teams have something in common. Green Bay, New England & Seattle all have great quarterbacks that keep their teams in the playoffs year after year after year. In the 15 seasons that Brady has started more than 1 game he has led NE to the playoffs an astounding 14 time(including this year). Since Rodgers took over as starter in 2008 GB (assuming they make it this year) is 8 playoff trips(straight) in 9 seasons. Russ is 5 for 5. Many other teams are using their high 1st round picks to find one of these types and busting. Make no mistake, we’ve got it good.

    Winning + trading away + trading back = picking late. As we’ve learned, if you can find them, there are gems to be had well beyond the first round.

  10. Volume12

    Ooh. Illinois EDGE Carroll Phillips going to the SR bowl instead of the Shrine game.

    I like this kid a lot. He’s got a ton of juice.

    My favorite part of the SR bowl is watching the DL go up against the OL in drills.

    • Trevor

      I really like Phillips too. Not sure he has the length the Hawks like but a great motor. Love the Sneior Bowl too Vol watching the practices and drills is one of my favorite things in the whole NFL calendar.

      I have found the Senior Bowl practices one of the best ways to identify players the last couple of years. The guys who dominate there have inevitably ended up being good players almost without fail and the guys who struggle tend to be busts.

  11. DC

    Also worth asking, do we miss Scot McCloughan? He was there for the foundational 2010/11/12 drafts.

    • Trevor

      I don’t think there is any question about. The single best talent elevator in the NFL IMO His track record speaks for itself and he will have the Redskins as perennial powers with one more draft. I am still not sold on Cousins though.

      • Sea Mode

        Agreed. Scouts for instincts, looks for “football players” above all, as he loves to say. Hope we can someday know which of our late round gems were unearthed specifically by him.

        RE: Cousins- I guess you make do with what you have, right? Could do a lot worse.

    • STTBM

      They miss his talent, but not his drunkenness. Must have been pretty damned bad for him to get asked to leave from two orgs (niners, seattle) and then announce he was setting up his own scouting service to sell info to the highest bidding teams before getting offered the DC gig.

  12. ROBERt Las vegas

    It was weird to hear what happened in the Broncos locker room after the game where the offense and defense got arguing and Russell Plunge is the spokesman.I am sure it happens all the time but it can’t be good .by the way if you hold Tom Brady for 16 total points you should probably win the game.and I would be very surprised if the seahawk make a pick in the first round.the lost some picks .just my thoughts.thank you Rob for your excellent work

    • STTBM

      Reminds me of Sherms BS behavior lately. Defense vs Offense locker room stuff not going to help Denver or Seattle get back to the SB…

  13. C-Dog

    A couple interesting things on the McGinn piece:

    “Bolles is a second-round player but he may go (first) because he’d be artificially pumped up there,” said one scout. “He’s more of a traditional mauler.” – Sounds a lot like what Seattle needs and probably wants at RT.

    “Junior Zach Cunningham (6-3, 230) of Vanderbilt was compared by one scout to Seattle’s K.J. Wright in style of play. “He’s a modern inside backer,” said another scout. “He’s an athlete. He’s pretty (expletive) good but it’s not even close to Foster.”” – the prospect of having two KJ’s on this defense may not be a bad thing.

    McGinn also suggested the strength of the DL class is the edge rushers, and not the DTs. Kind of lends to the idea that perhaps Seattle might try to make a splash play in FA or trade for a veteran interior DL to help the pass rush

    He seems to think there’s a lot of talent at in the RBs, receivers, and DBs.

    If Seattle can find a way to acquire an impact veteran on the DL, be in position to draft Bolles or player of the like, and one of these stud running backs, I think that could go a long way to helping them stay in the chase for championships a good while longer.

    • Sea Mode

      And we soooo need a third guy on our defense that can do this =) :

      • C-Dog

        It would be a sweet thing, for sure.

    • Volume12

      I’m hoping BC DE Harold Landry declares.

      Quick twitch end that can capture the edge, and explode past tackles off the snap.

      Him, Joe Mathis, Carroll Phillips are just 3 of my favorite EDGE’s in this class.

      • Trevor

        Love all 3 guys Vol! Agree 100% the only 2 surefire 10+ sack Edge guys in the draft are Garrett and McKinley. After that I would prefer to wait till Rd #3 and take anyone of the 3 you mention above.

        Really surprised Landry does not get more mention and Phillips has a great motor and production.

        I think Mathis would have if not for the injuries but the Hawks should have good inside info on him. When he has played he has dominated IMO.

        • C-Dog

          The more this shapes up, the more I think they will probably address the running game early and address the subtle blemishes on defense later. In FA, they could very possibly find their inside rusher. The draft could go something like this:

          28: R1P28

          60: R2P28
          RB ELIJAH HOOD

          92: R3P28

          135: R4P32

          207: R6P28
          WR FRED ROSS

          214: R6P35
          S NATE GERRY

          225: R7P7

          Take the best OL available R1 because there won’t be much available beyond that. Take the best RB available that meets the athletic profile the team covets. Then look for your Bruce Irving missing piece, look for value at DL, DB, maybe try to grab a couple more offensive weapons.

        • JT

          Derek Barnett – has matched Garrett sack for sack in college and that could easily continue in the NFL. He’s been crazy productive and an impact DE for 3 years now.

          I don’t understand why he isn’t talked about more as a high first round pick. Barnett isn’t a twitchy, hyper-athletic EDGE in the the mold of Garrett, Mack or Von, but neither is Joey Bosa. Bosa was similarly productive in college and was universally considered a top 5 talent throughout the draft process. If Barnett can test as a solid athlete like Bosa did, I see no reason why he shouldn’t go high in the draft as well.

          Bosa – 38 games, 148 tackles, 51 TFL, 26 sacks
          Barnett – 38 games, 192 tackles, 51 TFL, 31 sacks
          Garrett – 33 games, 140 tackles, 47 TFL, 31 sacks

          • Trevor

            Those are impressive #S in the SEC without much talent around him for sure.

          • Rob Staton

            Bosa had a 6.89 in the three cone and a 4.21 short shuttle. That’s pretty special — and two vital workouts for D-liners.

            • JT

              Absolutely, his agility tests were both in the low 90s percentile for EDGE players. He’s certainly not an elite athlete Garrett/Mack/Miller, but I mentioned that Bosa tested like a solid athlete. I think Barnett could as well, and if that’s the case, I think he should be a top 10 pick at worst.

              • Rob Staton

                The problem with those percentile tests and SPARQ is it compiles a cumulative profile. Some guys are really good at specific drills and not so good at others. Bosa’s skill set is based around short area quickness and control. His short shuttle and three cone were sensational — but other tests not so good. We’ll have to see if Barnett can match that at his combine. At the Nike SPARQ combine his shuttle was similar (4.29) so he has a shot.

                • STTBM

                  Bosa didnt test out of this world, but he’s a straight football player. Just look at how quickly he racked up sacks after sitting out all offseason and a portion of the regular season AND having injuries.

                  Test all you want, but the highest testers arent always the best football players.

                  • Rob Staton

                    Bosa’s three cone and short shuttle were out of this world.

                • JT

                  A cumulative profile is necessary for scouting players, in terms of both their athleticism and their game-to-game productivity. Bosa isn’t an elite athlete; he has elite short-area quickness, which is one part of athleticism. A pass rusher can win in many different ways, and Bosa’s combo of quickness, power and technique make him great.

                  I think we might see Barnett’s athletic testing help tell the story of why he wins so much too. And if he can test like a solid athlete, as Bosa did, he would warrant a top 5-10 pick.

                  • Rob Staton

                    “A cumulative profile is necessary for scouting players”

                    To an extent. But IMO it’s better to work out what traits are related to success at a certain position and focus on those rather than a complete body of work. For example, there were better overall athletes than Bosa in the draft, even at his position. But his elite short area quickness and control are vital for his position. So him running a 4.8 isn’t as important to me, even if it impacts his cumulative profile.

                    Barnett ran a similar short shuttle to Bosa in High School so we’ll see how he does with extra weight at the combine.

                  • JT

                    Absolutely, and 3-cone is probably the most important EDGE test, right up there with the 10 yard split and explosion tests. I think short shuttle doesn’t matter as much for DLineman, as DLs don’t mimic the movements involved nearly as much as the other tests I just mentioned.

                    IMO – Mack, Miller and Garrett are elite athletes while Bosa is not, as they are elite or great in the agility, speed and explosiveness departments.

                    For the record, I was completely on board with Bosa as a top prospect. His productivity in college was fantastic and his agility testing was truly special for his size.

  14. Volume12

    Miss St OT Martinas Rankin is intriguing.

    Very raw, but he’s a 1st year guy from JUCO. ‘Last chance U’ aka MGCCC to be exact.

    Watched him against Carl Lawson, Daeshon Hall, and Myles Garrett.

    Strong at the POA, looks for work, good leverage, redirects his man nicely, good flexibility, movements skills are nice, pretty good anchor, drives his man off the ball.

    He gets out of his stance and into his sets very quickly. Unfortunately, those are probably penalties at the next level.

    I definetly get the appeal. Whether Seattle likes him or not, I hope he does declare, because not only does Seattle need help at OT, about 80-85% of NFL teams do. And the more talent acrossd the board the better. It means we get better football games.

    • Volume12

      *4 star recruit outta JUCPo and the #1 OT.

    • Trevor

      I like him and took a look after he was mentioned yesterday. Seems like he is a bit of a reacher / grabber. Perhaps that is from getting into is sets early as you pointed out.

      He does seem to have good athleticism, competed well and paid through the snap. Did not seem to be nasty but was physical.

      Would you agree more of a developmental guy than yr #1 starter? Any idea of is arm length and measurables?

    • JT

      I don’t buy the narrative that most teams are desperate for tackle help. Sure, offensive line play isn’t great across the league, but there are tons of teams that don’t have a need at tackle heading into this draft:

      Atlanta – Matthews & Schraeder are great long term bookends.
      Washington – Williams & Moses “…………………………………………….”
      Tennessee – Lewan & Conklin “………………………………………………”
      New Orleans – Armstead & Strief “…………………………………………….”
      Green Bay – Bakhtiari & Bulaga “……………………………………………” + Spriggs
      Cleveland – Thomas & Pasztor, with Shon Coleman waiting in the wings.
      Miami – Albert & James, with Tunsil waiting in the wings.
      Philadelphia – Lane Johnson replaces Peters when JP retires, Vaitai is the RT-in-waiting.
      Arizona – Veldheer & Humphries are a decent pair of tackles.
      New England – Solder & Cannon “…………………………………………”
      Kansas City – Fisher & Schwartz “……………………………………….”
      Houston – Brown & Newton “…………………………………………”
      Pittsburgh – Gilbert & Villanueva “…………………………………….”
      Indianapolis – Castonzo & Clark or Haeg
      Cincinnati – Whitworth (UFA) & Ogbuehi or Fisher
      Baltimore – Stanley & Wagner (UFA)
      Dallas – Smith & Free
      Detroit – Decker & Reiff (UFA)
      Tampa Bay – Dotson is a solid, locked-up RT, and Smith will probably get more time to improve at LT.

      Oakland & Buffalo could use a new RT to pair with their pro bowl LT’s, but RT is easier to find, and they have strong O-Lines overall.

      I look at that info above and think that 2/3’s of the league is pretty set at both OT positions heading into the offseason.

      • Rob Staton

        Most of the teams you’ve listed there will argue they are absolutely desperate for upgrades at tackle.

        If anything you’ve just put together a compelling argument for the dearth of talent at OT.

        • JT

          Lol you’re kidding right? I gotta strongly disagree with your judgement on this one Rob. Those teams all have solid tackle play or better.

          There are a good 10 other teams that need upgrades, and in some cases badly. But teams all can’t have all-pro play at the position across the league. The teams listed above surely have much greater needs at other positions on their rosters.

          • Rob Staton

            Nope I’m not kidding. Seriously — most of the teams on that list are unhappy with their tackle situation. It’d take me 30 minutes just to run down explaining why, there are so many.

            If you don’t believe me, look at how many teams are listed on here with a critical need at OT. These lists are put together by people following the specific teams

            • JT

              That’s a cool graphic those guys put together, I’ll bookmark that for more review. I can quickly see some flaws in the priorities listed at the OT position for some teams, but that probably balances itself out across the 32 teams.

              I think this chart supports my point rather than the other way around. Only 9 teams have a #1 or #2 priority at OT. 23 teams are designated P3 or lower, which means they “will not reach” for starting-caliber talent, or do not need starting-caliber talent. My initial point was that most teams are not desperate for tackle help. Probably more-so than the average position, but no more-so than other premium positions like CB and EDGE.

              Half the teams don’t even reach the P3 designation, which according to their guide, means at the most they are “depth needs” for the the teams with P4 or lower designations.

  15. Trevor

    Has there ever been a great player with worse body language and more unlikable than Cam? He must drive the Panthers fans crazy there has never been a more physically gifted QB IMO but I would have no confidence in him winning consistently because of how he reacts to any sort of mental adversity. Last year they got on a role and things were all rosy and great then in the SB as soon as he struggled things went south quick. They have never bounced back.

    Can you imagine Russel Wilsons brain inside Cam Newtons body? Wow!

    • C-Dog

      I have a buddy who is a Carolina fan, and after the Super Bowl, he said to me, “I just wish Cam was a little more like Russell upstairs.”

  16. Trevor

    Rob I agree 100%. The NFL strives for parity.

    Both last years SB teams are going to miss the playoffs. Speaks directly to the parity in the NFL Rob talks about in this post. Also makes the last 5 years for the Hawks seem more impressive. This is why Brady and Bill will go down as the greatest QB / coach in history. Their consistency is the greatest feat in professional sports history IMO and I hate the Pats.

    The interesting part is the Hawks were not built on a bunch of high draft picks. As has been mentioned only 2 first round picks on the roster. It was built by selecting a certain physical and mental profile and then looking for bargain veterans to compliment the core.

    The problem IMO is not the lack of high pick but more that this is a copy cat league and many teams are trying to copy what the Hawks have done ie: tall long CBs. Many of the guys they have gotten later in the draft ie Kam and Sherm would go much higher in today’s NFL because of the Hawks success.

    That is why we had a couple of weak drafts 2013,2014 without any star contributors. PC/ JS seem to have adapted the last two draft and are starting to replenish the talent.

    In the NFL it truly is evolve or die because of the copycat nature of things IMO. The Pats do it better than anyone and I hope PC / JS can as well.

    • Sea Mode

      “Both of last year’s SB teams are going to miss the playoffs.”

      Exactly the opposite of “win forever” and what PC and JS have built and are trying to sustain. Anyone (ok, it’s not exactly that easy…) can backload contracts and make a run at the SB, but will almost inevitably fall apart the following year or soon thereafter.

      So we know the first part of the formula: get a good QB, nail the draft, hit on a few hidden gems, lock up the core players before their market value explodes, and sign budget FA. But I am curious as to what the next stage is in the masterplan. You know they have a plan for when they would inevitably hit this point.

      (I’m still trying to hash out the following in my own mind, just thinking out loud here to get your input, so nothing absolute at all below)

      As a blog, we have learned to look to needs to upgrade the roster. Rightly so, of course. If you have a hole and a draft prospect can directly fill it, great. But what happens, as Rob presents in the post, when there are no players within our reach at certain positions we need to upgrade (OL, pass rushing DT, game-changing RB, big-body #1 WR, etc.)?

      Then you do what they have done: use the pick for something else and fill the need through FA/trade. Free up the cap space to do so by trading veterans, as they did to get the big target receiving threat they wanted in Jimmy Graham. Will they do it again this year for one of the FA DTs or to move up for Fournette?

      It seems unlike what we would like to think of the way the Hawks “take care of their own”, but maybe the Patriot way is the only possible way, in that sense, to maintain the high level once you hit a certain point? I hope not, but bear with me.

      So no top tier interior pass rush is available to us in the draft, but the draft is so deep at DE that you could still potentially get a very good one at the end of Rd. 1/top of Rd.2, do you take one to try and replace Avril, gaining draft compensation (via comp pick or trade) and saving cap space on a big extension? This seems like a terrible idea and probably is. His production is at an all-time high. What rookie replaces 11.5 sacks and 5 FFs, plus what he brings to the locker room? Obviously none, but his value on the market is also at a high.

      It’s worse though at other positions, like secondary, which require a level of communication and tacit understanding that only comes from years of playing together. DE is more on an island or at most running stunts with another guy.

      The only other way I see, though, is to bank hard on hitting in the draft and coaching up, or suffer the consequences, as we have this year regressing in certain areas. At the same time, in spite of not having high picks, we have still managed to add serious talent like Frank Clark, Tyler Lockett, Jarran Reed, and C.J. Prosise. Guys like Marsh, Jefferson, Ifedi, and others may not hit their stride so soon but have potential down the road as well. Perhaps we can hold on to our core until the end because we already have the influx of new talent developing on our roster, not just “plug and play” from the upcoming draft. We didn’t see how good Sherman was until he got a chance to play, so maybe there are more like him waiting their turn already.

      One thing that could help is avoiding the mid-level contracts. I was surprised to see they went against all they had done in the past and gave Kearse and Lane extensions. They had avoided APY in the $2-6m range almost completely (excl. rookies and ST) up to that point, and it had paid off nicely as they are able to replace mid-tier talent fairly successfully. One thing is to try and replace a unique star like Earl Thomas, where the next guy might bring 50% of what Earl brings, and another would have been to replace Kearse, where the next guy up could be 80-90% of him (trying not to use hindsight here, but I think it would have held true even if he hadn’t gone on to have a down season).

      There were plenty of good reasons to keep Kearse and Lane (especially Lane due to how banged up the secondary was), but if we are not willing to move on from players like them, we might be stuck with the even tougher decision of having to let a player like Avril go before his play drops off, which would suck a lot more, obviously.

      Well, that’s where I’m at, still trying to see the way forward and understand what the Hawks plan to do. Hope you guys enjoy the thoughts and can help. I suspect they will continue to bet on themselves in the draft and development, and their future success will entirely depend on it. If you think about it, our holes right now are exactly at the positions they threw the most picks at in 2013/14 (DT- Hill, Williams, Staten // RB- Michael, Ware // OL- Seymour, Smith, Bowie, Scott // WR/OW- Harvin, Harper, Richardson, Norwood)

      Please don’t take this as a doomsday tone on the state of the team either. We have a historically great team and are primed for another SB run. Just thinking out loud as to how to sustain the greatness we already have moving forward and win forever!

      • Trevor

        I agree with almost all points actually.

        They have never done mid level FA deals till this past season. Webb, Kearse and Lane. All were bad signings in hindsight. I hope they go back to the old method of paying market for core players and letting the others walk. Willson at TE would be an example of that this year. I love his attitude and he has made some big plays but he will likely get a bigger mid level deal than he should. Where as Britt has shown he can be a core piece on the OL to build around and I hope they lock him up long term.

        Also the idea of always taking care of your own vs the Patriot way. It is a great ideal which I would love to have come to fruition allowing all these guys to retire as Hawks like Beast Mode. In reality it would likely result in them siging bad deals with aging players which is a recipe for disaster. Particularly at the back end for Kam and Bennett for example.

        Truth be told win forever is a great ideal but with the way the NFL is setup a Great coach, QB and culture seem to be the only way to have any chance and the Hawks have created this under PC/ JS. The question is whether then can evolve to allow it to become a long term anomaly in the NFL like the Pats.


        • The Hawk is Howling

          Great write up Sea Mode, and thanks for your effort and time put into it brov!

          Go Hawks

  17. Trevor

    That Tennessee Roster is going to be absolutely loaded f they have another draft like the last two. They have had a ton of draft capital and used it well unlike the Browns. I am predicting Titans 2018 AFC Champs.

    How much fun would thier draft blog be this year with all that draft capital.

  18. Trevor

    Dallas collapsing last year was the best thing that could have happened to them. If you are not going to make the playoffs they lower you finish the better IMO so you can replenish the talent. Ie Elliott, Malik Collins, Anthony Brown and Dak have all been impact rookies. Then they have Jaylen Smith and Tapper whom have been hurt but have huge upside.

    They are the team to beat the next 5 years in the NFC from a talent standpoint. Jones creates so much drama though that a blow up is equally likely.

    • vrtkolman

      I agree completely. On the flipside, Carolina always seems to end the season strong. They are looking at a 7-9/8-8 record and missing out on a top 10 pick. Sure they go into next season on a winning streak, but does that actually help?

  19. vrtkolman

    If we don’t draft a RB this year, I would love to bring aboard Jonathan Stewart. He’s as close to a Marshawn Lynch as you will get in the NFL, with his ability to run over people and always turn nothing into something.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      No thanks. They’d have to trade for him. And his 2017 cap hit is $8.25M.

      • Sea Mode

        *haha, beat me to it =)

      • vrtkolman

        I guess I’m just assuming they will cut him, if they draft a RB high it could happen?

    • Sea Mode

      Well, he’s due $8.25m next season so… (I know you’re just saying you like what he brings.)

      I myself think Ivory is closest to Lynch. Von Miller listed him as the toughest he has played against in an article on the Players’ Tribune. Of course, we are not likely to get him either.

      With RB’s and the mileage they accumulate (career average is 2.57 years), one would have to think the draft is pretty much the only way to go, especially looking at cost and the fact we already have our starters set in Rawls and Prosise.

      Here’s my draft order at the moment for punishing back to complement and back up our current starters and get the tough yards:
      1. Samaje Perine
      2. Kareem Hunt
      3. Royce Freeman (if he declares)
      4. James Conner

    • Rob Staton

      Always loved Jonathan Stewart. Unfortunately he’s under contract until the end of 2018 on a modest deal. With Carolina’s massive cap room number for 2017, hard to imagine he gets cut.

  20. Clayton

    This excerpt is from Michael Silver’s article on on John Schneider, The Story Behind the Seahawks’ 13th Man.
    “John is very smart, he’s a hard worker, he’s intuitive and he has no fear — you put all that together, and it’s very, very impressive,” says New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, the 2015 NFL Executive of the Year. “But when you’re on the road with him and he looks at players, it’s not just the ability part; he’s looking at the whole person. What they do in Seattle is they identify a lot of good players, but they get the right kind of personality types for their team. That’s what sets them apart.”
    I think this has something to do with picking later in the draft. When they start to look at the whole person, and the right personality fit for the team, it changes their board entirely from the rest, and they can reap value that other teams did not see.

    • Clayton

      Just wanted to clarify that the comment above supports what Rob is saying his piece.

  21. Sea Mode

    The exact needs we as fans/draft junkies see evident on the field this season, JS already saw ahead of time last year: DT, OL, RB. I mean, 8/10 picks last year went to those positions, nine if you consider Vannett is primarily a blocking TE to help the run game. (a meager Rd.7 pick on Lawler being the only other)

    Anyway, the OL need was already obvious cause it always is. The RB need as well since Lynch retired and Rawls was hurt. We will very likely continue to add to that again.

    But the more I think about it, the stronger I feel the DTs might already be on our roster.

    Interior rush: Quinton Jefferson, Jarran Reed (potentially)

    Jefferson they traded up for, something they hadn’t often done in the past, so they clearly think a lot of him. He’s not that far off from Rankins really in measurables:

    Jefferson: 6037, 291, 4.93 40yd, 1.69 10yd, 4.37 SS, 7.95 3C, 24 bench, 29 vj, N/A bj
    Rankins.: 6011, 299, 5.03 40yd, 1.73 10yd, 4.59 SS, 7.44 3C, 28 bench, 34.5 vj, 9’10” bj

    DT- more size vs. run: Garrison Smith, Jarran Reed (actually)

    While we certainly can and likely will throw a few select picks at those needs to hedge our bets, I wouldn’t be surprised to see JS more focused on the holes that will show up a couple years down the road instead. Now what might those be…?

    • C-Dog

      I’ve had that same feeling that the DTs might already be on the roster in Reed, Jefferson, and Smith. What I don’t feel confident in is that a work horse back is on this roster and they need big time help at OT.

  22. Scotia Seahawk

    I know PC’s whole mantra is Win forever but if the pattern was 4 years very good, one year terrible I’d accept that. It always galled me that the Colts had all those years with Manning then gets injured; they stink it up for a year and land Luck. Not that it’s overly helped them. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots cope post Brady. That has given them incredible flexibility in the draft for such a long time.

  23. Aaron

    Good overview of this very “seahawky” subject. I disagree with the central thesis though. I don’t think that this is a situation that has been thrust upon the franchise simply due to circumstance. Rather, I think it is an active ongoing strategy to eskew higher draft slots in favor of receiving multiple opportunities in the later rounds. The Seahawks have obviously proven themselves to be exceptionally effective with those late-round picks, as we all know.

    To me the bottom line question to ask is “If we somehow ended up with a top 20 pick in the upcoming draft, would anyone want to bet against JS trading down (and down, and down…)?

    • Sea Mode

      I think it would depend on how many Rd. 1 grades JS had on his board.

      They always say there are tiers. If there were only, let’s say, 15 prospects with a Rd. 1 grade, and they are all off the board by our top 20 pick, then why not trade down and grab extra draft capital? The guy you will be getting at that point is in the second tier just like the one you will be able to get 10-20 picks later.

      But if a blue chip talent (Hawks grade for their team, not the league) is still sitting there, JS will take him.

      So basically, JS trades down not only to get more picks and raise his chances of hitting later, but mainly because the spots he moves down to do so have essentially the same value on his board. Heck, you might even get lucky and see the guy you would have taken earlier still available at the later spot. (as happened with Paul Richardson and, in a sense, Jarran Reed) Then you just picked up the extra capital for free.

      So I would stand with Rob on his thesis, because the main point is that the more sure-fire top tier prospects are usually out of reach for the Hawks because they have been consistently winning. This makes it that much harder to replenish the core players because it is difficult to consistently hit big in later rounds.

      This is the unavoidable hand they are dealt, and the trading down is often just the best way they see fit to respond given that circumstance.

  24. Sea Mode

    Cardinals release Tharold Simon. (Just like to keep tabs on ex-Seahawks)

  25. The Hawk is Howling

    I made this musical loop the other day. I started by playing my darbuka with cymbals, a hand drum. Then I looped two parts with guitar. Lastly which is live I had turned to a page of my words and randomly came up with this verse which I sang. I just wanted to paint a picture of the Man I am. I Love watching American Football and The Hawks and Huskies are my team’s. I Root for them unconditionally. alas, I Love you All!

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