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Seattle Seahawks Draftland: Where the First Round Doesn’t Matter

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Marshawn Lynch

It’s been said that the Seattle Seahawks are a “draft-and-develop” team so often that we generally accept it as fact. What’s more true of recent Seahawks squads is that the blue birds excel at drafting and developing later-round prospects. The top two rounds? Not so much. 

Can you have a good team without hitting on first- and second-round draft picks? The Seahawks think so. Different question: Can you have a good draft without hitting on first- and second-round draft picks? Again, the Seahawks offer proof that you can. All you need is for the entire NFL to collectively undervalue NFL draft prospects that you end up selecting. Repeatedly. 

How They’re Built

Take a look at this list of the biggest stars of the current Seattle Seahawks, with how they were acquired in parentheses:

  • Russell Wilson (third round, 2012)
  • Marshawn Lynch (trade [2011, fourth-round pick to Buffalo])
  • Jimmy Graham (trade [2015, first-round pick to New Orleans])
  • Michael Bennett (originally a rookie free agent [2009], cut, signed later as veteran free agent [2013])
  • Richard Sherman (fifth round, 2011)
  • Earl Thomas (first round, 2010)
  • Russell Okung (first round, 2010)
  • Kam Chancellor (fifth round, 2010)
  • Bobby Wagner (second round, 2012)


These are the Seahawks players most likely to sell jerseys. Bonus: Since they are currently the top two starters at the wide receiver position, you could also include Doug Baldwin (2011) and Jermaine Kearse (2012) if you feel this list isn’t long enough. Both were acquired as rookie free agents. 

The Curse of Aaron Curry?

A quick look at these notable players reveals that with the exception of the impressive 2010 windfall of top talent, the Seahawks have not only not gotten much out of their top draft picks, they often don’t even bother making first-round draft picks. Going back as far as 2009, the Seahawks are more “miss” than “hit” with respect to their top picks, if they haven’t just passed entirely on making those picks. 

How long is that going to continue to work? Clearly, the Seahawks think they can do well without homegrown top-drafted talent. Looking at this from another angle, here is what the 2015 Seahawks are looking to get from their most recent top draft picks:

  • 2015 first round (no pick)
  • 2015 second round (TBD)
  • 2014 first round (no pick)
  • 2014 second round (Paul Richardson, unknown)
  • 2014 second round (Justin Britt, starter)
  • 2013 first round (no pick)
  • 2013 second round (Christine Michael, third-string)
  • 2012 first round (Bruce Irvin, part-time starter)
  • 2012 second round (Bobby Wagner, starter)
  • 2011 first round (James Carpenter, gone)
  • 2011 second round (no pick)
  • 2010 first round (Earl Thomas, starter)
  • 2010 first round (Russell Okung, starter)
  • 2010 second round (Golden Tate, gone)
  • 2009 first round (Aaron Curry, gone)
  • 2009 second round (Max Unger, gone)


If you want to include newly arrived pass-catching savior Graham among the draft considerations then you also have to include pass-catching savior of the recent past, Percy Harvin, among this troubling list. The Seahawks mortgaged their 2013 first-round selection, seventh-round selection and 2014 third-round selection — in addition to many, many millions of dollars — to acquire Harvin. Call it a wash, if you’re being charitable. 

With respect to some of the “impact” players still here to make impacts, Irvin (the Seahawks’ most recent first-round pick) is considered by some to be a borderline bust. He shows flashes of great production, but also misses significant chunks of time due to off-field issues and injuries. He has started 25 of a possible 48 regular season games, with 16.5 total sacks. More is expected of a 15th overall selection in the draft. 

Of the 13 top picks the Seahawks have made from 2009 to 2014 (not counting the picks they gave away), they currently are relying on four to be full-time starters again and one (Irvin) to be a part-time starter. 

First-round draft selections are the top collegiate talent. Second-round draft selections are players whose mothers and agents believe should have been first-round selections. Few teams draft first- and second-rounders with the idea that they’re taking a flier — starting production is expected. 

Better Late Than Never

Seahawks fans can be thankful that the draft lasts more than two rounds. The Seahawks are on an extremely rare streak of not drafting in the first round, having traded away their first-round selection three years running. Combined with the relative lack of impact of their 2012 first-round pick and the absence of their 2011 first-round selection (Carpenter), you have to go all the way back to 2010 to find the last time the Seahawks struck gold in the early draft. Still, they let go of their highly productive second-round selection of that year (Tate) before the 2014 season. 

The Seahawks are getting good production from players acquired in other ways. That’s good. That they’re doing it without great production from top college talent is an interesting twist in the Seahawk way. Does anyone believe the Seahawks can continue to remain at or near the top without amassing first- and second-round impact players? The Seahawks are counting on it — for one more year at least. 

No pressure, new Seahawks second-round pick-to-be. 

The 2015 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 30 with first-round selections. Barring an unexpected (prohibitively expensive) trade back into the first round, the Seahawks’ first draft selection will not take place until the second round, which occurs on Friday, May 1. Rounds three through seven take place on Saturday, May 2. 

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.


Related Slideshow: Oregon’s Most Devastating Sports Injuries

Here is GoLocalPDX's list of Oregon's most devastating injuries that have occured within the past 10 years.

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Greg Oden

Sept. 2007 — Micro fracture surgery on right knee

Dec. 2009 — Fractured left patella 

Nov. 2010 — Micro fracture surgery on left knee

Dec. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on right knee

Unfortunately, Trail Blazer fans everywhere already know how drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant worked out for their team. After being be the #1 selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Oden was never able to play a full season due to ongoing knee injuries. The team eventually waived him in March of 2012.

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Dennis Dixon

Nov. 2007 — Torn left ACL

During the 2007 season Dixon had the Oregon Ducks as the #2 team in the country. That was until he suffered a torn ACL against Arizona State and attempted to play on it the following week against Arizona. After Dixon went down for the season the Ducks lost their remaining two regular season games. Fortunately, they were able to end their season on a high note with a victory over South Florida in the 2007 Sun Bowl.

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Brandon Roy

Sept. 2008 — Cartilage removed from left knee

April 2010 — Meniscus tear in right knee

Jan. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on both knees

Brandon Roy is perhaps one of the most beloved Trail Blazers in the history of the franchise. After being drafted in 2006, and leading the team out of the "Jail-Blazer" era, he had to make the tough decision to retire at the young age of 28. His degenerative knees prevented Rip City from seeing their superstar ever play to his full potential.

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Jacquizz Rodgers

Nov. 2008 — Grade II separation of the acromioclavicular joint

During the second to last game in 2008 Jacquizz Rodgers suffered a separated shoulder that ended his season. Unfortunately, this meant that he wasn't able to play in the Civil War, which was perhaps the biggest game of the year for the Beavers. If the Beavers had been able to defeat the Ducks they would've been able to book their tickets to play in the Rose Bowl. Instead, they went to the Sun Bowl where they defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers.

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James Rodgers

Oct. 2009 — Torn left ACL

After participating in only 4 games during the 2009 season Rodgers went down with a torn ACL while playing against #9 Arizona. This couldn't have come at a worse time for Rodgers considering he was expected to have a breakout season. Rodgers, who was a senior at the time, was able to end his career at Oregon State as the career leader in all-purpose yards.

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Joel Pryzbilla

Dec. 2009 — Ruptured right patella tendon and dislocated patella

In December of 2009 the Trail Blazers' backup center, Joel Pryzbilla, was lost for the season with a ruptured and dislocated patella. This was a huge blow to the Trailblazers' frontcourt because they had already lost Oden for the season a few weeks before. Pryzbilla was also the team's defensive anchor who provided an inside presence. "The Vanilla Gorilla" was sorely missed for the rest of the year.

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LaMichael James

Oct. 2011 — Dislocated right elbow

The 2011 season couldn't have started any better for LaMichael James. After the first game James became Oregon's career rushing leader, surpassing Derek Loville. During the second game he rushed for over 200 yards against Missouri State. Unfortunately, James' year was slowed by a dislocated elbow suffered against Cal. Luckily for Duck fans he was able to return to end the season.

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Nate Costa

Nov. 2010 —Torn Right ACL

After suffering a multitude of knee injuries throughout his career at Oregon Costa was forced to officially retire from football after tearing his ACL for the third time in agame against Washington. Although Costa's career was hobbled by injuries many of his teammates looked to him as their leader. Oregon's coaching staff referred to Costa as the "heart and soul" of the 2010 team that won the Rose Bowl.

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Sean Mannion

Oct. 2012 — Torn Left Meniscus

During the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Sean Mannion was enjoying one of his best as a Beaver. Unfortunately, he tore his left meniscus against Washington State that resulted in him missing around half the season. With Mannion leading the way the Beavers had the Pac-12's fourth rated offense, averaging 459.5 yeards per game. With Mannion sidelined Cody Vaz became the starting quarterback

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Marcus Mariota

Oct. 2013 — Partial MCL Tear

Marcus Mariota is widely regarded as one of the greatest Oregon Duck quarterbacks to ever play at Autzen. Unfortunately a knee injury hobbled his sophomore season. After Mariota suffered a partial MCL tear against UCLA he conintued to play the remainder of the season. With Mariota's knee not allowing him to be as mobile as he was accustomed to teams were able to take advantage. In the weeks following the injury the Ducks suffered losses to Stanford and Arizona. Duck fans everywhere would like to know what that season woud've loked like if Mariota had stayed healthy.

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CJ McCollum

Oct. 2013 — Broken fifth Metatarsal In Left Foot

After being taken 10th overall during the 2013 NBA Draft the shooting guard out of Lehigh wasn't able to start his career the way many had hoped. After breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot the rookie wasn't able to take the court until January of 2014. Before the injury McCollum was in consideration for playing time behind Lillard. 

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Alex Morgan

Oct. 2013 — Stress reaction in talus bone

During the 2013 season Morgan suffered an injury that doctors misdiagnosed as a mildly sprained ankle. After a few additional tests were performed it turned out that Morgan had suffered a far more serious injury. She actually suffered a stress reaction in the talus bone that put her immediate future with Team USA in question. After rehabbing for 7 months Morgan was able to make a full recovery.

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Bralon Addison

April 2014 — Torn left ACL

After exceeding expectations as a freshman and sophomore at the University of Oregon Addison was expecting big things from his junior year. Unfortunately, Addison suffered a torn ACL during last year's spring practice that kept him sidelined the entire year. Without Addison in the lineup the receiving core never lived up to their full potential. If he had been able to play this season the National Championship may have wielded a different outcome.

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Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Dec. 2014 — Torn ACL

In preparation for the first ever college football playoffs Ekpre-Olomu ended up tearing his ACL during a routine practice. This was a huge blow to the Ducks considering Ekpre-Olomu was one of the team's better defenders. He was also one of the best corners in the country who many analysists expected to be selected as high as the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

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Wesley Matthews

March 2015 — Torn left achilles

Just 2 months before Matthews suffered a torn achilles he had become the Trailblazers' all-time leader in 3-point field goals made. It looked as though the Trailblazers were poised to make a deep playoff run. Things took a drastic turn when Matthews was lost for the season. With the team in a 0-2 hole against the Memphis Grizzlies it doesn't look as though they will be making it to the second round of the playoffs this year.

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