Seattle Seahawks Draft Review
State of the franchise before the draft
After becoming the worst playoff team in NFL history in 2010 (and actually winning a game once they got there) the Seahawks let longtime franchise QB Matt Hasselbeck leave for Tennessee in free agency, missed out on every significant QB on the block and were stuck with the devastating crucible of deciding between Tavares Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst to lead a woefully underwhelming supporting cast.
Yep, the Hawks were squarely in the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes. Much to the chagrin of some of their fans, they were actually decent and their draft position put the top quarterbacks in the 2012 draft out of reach. So they signed free agent Matt Flynn from Green Bay just months after he set the single-game Packers passing record, and are hoping he can be the next Green Bay backup to lead the Seahawks to sustained success.
As for the rest of the roster, there was a good core of the excellent young players like Earl Thomas, Marshawn Lynch, Russell Okung, Sidney Rice, KJ Wright and Brandon Browner, but there were also plenty of areas that could use upgrading. Epic draft bust Aaron Curry and the departure of Lofa Tatupu left a huge hole at linebacker. Outside of Brandon Mebane, there was very little to get excited about what they have going in the defensive front.
Rice remained the only legitimate outside pass-catching threat on the roster, and he has battled serious injuries each of the past two seasons. Outside of Chris Clemons, there was little to no pass rush. Clemons accounted for 11 of the team’s platry 33 sacks, with no other player garnering more than four.
Seattle is also in something of a unique position, as the powerhouse in their division, San Francisco, doesn’t buy into the cliché of the modern NFL game being “passing game.” The construction of this defense has to be somewhat geared to stopping a power running game, whereas the rest of the league is moving towards smaller, quicker defenses.
Round One, Pick 15: Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia
A year after pulling the biggest first round surprise by taking offensive tackle James Carpenter with the 25th pick. That was nothing compared to this pick.
I agree with Mel Kiper when he called this pick “flabbergasting”, but apparently there were other teams waiting to pounce on this undersized, one-trick pony. The Jets, Chargers, Ravens and 49ers, among possibly others were interested in the only high school dropout that I am ever aware of to go in the first round. That still doesn’t mean I have to like the pick.
I think it says an awful lot that Irvin’s production dipped drastically (sack production cut almost in half) his senior year when he was asked to play full-time. The guy is simply no good against the run, and probably can never be asked to do anything but provide a speed rush off the edge.
He is blindingly fast with a great get-off, and could reasonably draw comparisons to Von Miller. The big difference is that Miller is not a liability on any downs and can win with more than just speed.
Irvin has admitted he doesn’t really know what he’s doing yet, and his pure speed will probably be neutralized at first, especially if he is only playing on obvious passing downs. The challenge for Pete Carroll and staff will be finding a way to reach Irvin, who has clearly had issues with authority in the past.
Round Two, Pick 47: Bobby Wagner, ILB, Utah State
This is another pick that seemed about a round too early.
I just about never accuse a team of panicking, thinking they prepare too much to not have a plan when their board falls apart. I just might make an exception for John Schneider, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. Mychal Kendricks, who went to the Eagles one pick ahead of Wagner, would have been a great addition and a genuine upgrade over the void they have there now.
However, Wagner is just not worth a second rounder IMO. He has marginal instincts and average speed. I like his physicality, and apparently, he is a real hard-working kid. I thought he probably fit better in a 3-4, but now he’ll have to man the middle in a defense where the line will offer him little protection.
Round Three, Pick 75: Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
I just don’t get it.
This is what good teams do, take developmental prospects when they don’t have a glaring need for impact players on the field. That’s not where the Seahawks are at this point.
I have a feeling John Schneider or offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (a former Wisconsin QB himself) just fell so in love with him at some point in the draft process that they just had to get him, no matter what it cost. Foolishness. You can never allow your judgment to become so clouded by personal preference that it leads you to make luxury picks when you have no luxury.
It’s hard not to really like Russell Wilson, but the fact is he’s a 5’10” QB without a Doug Flutie-type arm, and his only great season came when he was protected by one of the best running games in college football history.
If Wilson is a success in the NFL, it will be in a WCO like the one Seattle runs. He is smart, sincerely humble and gets the most out of his ability. He deserves every bit of success coming his way and he’ll be a delight to every member of the organization not named Matt Flynn or Tavares Jackson. That still doesn’t justify the selection.
Round Four, Pick 106: Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State
Finally, a pick that is not a reach.
Turbin is a gifted, physical back whose game mirrors that of incumbent Marshawn Lynch. He averaged six yards a game for a program that has risen over the past couple of years from the dregs of the FBS to a legit mid-major power.
The biggest question with Turbin is his ability in the passing game. And it really is a question. The Aggies rotated three different backs in the game, and Turbin wasn’t in on a lot of passing downs.
Round Four, Pick 114: Jaye Howard, DT, Florida
Back to reaching again.
Howard has early round talent, but the production isn’t great. He is very inconsistent, and has poor strength which demonstrates a lack of work ethic in the offseason.
He is yet another Pete Carroll project. The fact that it took them this long to address the defensive line is mind-boggling.
Round Five, Pick 154: Korey Toomer, OLB, Idaho
Toomer is one of the better, under-the-radar flyer picks in the draft.
He tested off-the-charts in Indy and had a great senior campaign. A juco transfer, Toomer only has one year of starting experience and lacks instincts, but he has size, speed and effort. He should make a big mark in special teams while he develops as a pass-rushing outside linebacker.
Round Six, Pick 172: Jeremy Lane, CB, Northwestern State
I cannot comment. I know nothing about this guy.
Round Six, Pick 181: Winston Guy Jr., S, Kentucky
His clippings and stat line would lead you to believe he should go much higher than this.
Guy is a tough, instinctive football player’s football player who made plenty of tackles in the box. However, his lack size and speed greatly limits his upside.
Round Seven, Pick 225: J.R. Sweezy, DT, N.C. State
I cannot comment. I know nothing about this guy.
Round Seven, Pick 232: Greg Scruggs, DT, Louisville
Scruggs is a versatile, high-effort, high-character lineman who can play either tackle and end. He has battled injuries in the past, but if healthy he can compete for a roster spot.
Well, I just can’t get behind this draft.
As I indicated throughout the draft, I don’t think the Seahawks had a good feeling for the real values of the players they drafted, and furthermore, I don’t think they evaluated these guys properly.
The structure just isn’t there some of their early picks to reach their potential, and they consistently neglected their biggest holes when there were players of value to fill those holes. They are no better equipped to handle the power running games of San Fran and Arizona, and they also didn’t make any efforts to strengthen their big free agent signing of Matt Flynn.
I might be wrong, but if you draft like this, you won’t be drafting long.
Way too early draft grade: D
I'm on the otherside with the Seahawks. I think Irvin has by far the most pass rush potential from this draft. It's unfair of you to blame his lack of sacks solely on haivng to play more downs, rather than acknowledging that maybe take a 245 kid who you still hadn't been taught a thing yet and asking him to play DE in a 3 man front isn't the best idea. He needs a lot of work but the kid is a trooper, has a great head on his shoulders, having turned his life around from his teenage years, and that raw upside is tantalizing, especially in Seattle's scheme where, in a couple of years, he could be making what Chris Clemons is doing look pedestrian. I'd say given how raw he is and the questions about how much more weight he can put on I'd have loved him to get picked around 20-25, so going 5-10 picks before that to a team where he's a great scheme fit is a strong pick in my eyes.
I like Wagner to, not as much as I liked Kendricks and Spence, but you're selling his athletic ability short. Behind that massive DL he, like Irvin, will be able to give them athleticism and big plays.
And the Russell Wilson pick just seems to me like further proof that no one, not even the Seahawks, or sold that Matt Flynn is a franchise QB. Russell is someone with the arm talent and work ethic to become a good spot starter/backup for them on their continuing quest for a franchise QB.
Turbin got a lot of comparisons to a less explosive Marshawn Lynch, getting him to beat up on teams with Lynch can make that rushing attack just ferocious.
The Russell Wilson pick was terrible.
I think Irvin will bust real bad.
Here's yet another Pete Carrol draft class where he reaches for players with the bust potential. Just about every prospect is drafted a round earlier than projected.
Just way too much bust potential in this class for my liking. Its in many ways similar to SF's class last year, but with a far far lower ceiling and floor.
I like Russel Wilson a lot more than other people here and in a system that moves its QB a lot, I think he's a great fit.
Also don't understand the criticism regarding their personnel evaluations the last couple of years. They rebuilt the entire team while still remaning competitve despite having atrocious QB play. If this class pans out, they can sell their soul to draft a QB.
All you guys talk smack about the Hawks, but they have had some great drafts the last two years ( Carroll's years ). In 2010 they got a good LT, two pro bowl safety's, a 3rd WR and a backup TE
In 2011 they drafted two very good run blockers to play RG and RT and both were great till being injured and their starting MLB that took the job from a bust of a 4th overall pick
We should maybe be drinking the cool aid that the Hawks are selling
3rd round. What's not to get? The Seahawks are solid in almost every area but QB and Flynn was the biggest gamble in FA. The only knock on Wilson is his size. Why not take a chance on a guy who looks like a great fit in the system at the most important position on the team? There were some analysts that absolutely loved Wilson as a legit starting QB prospect. It's worth the gamble for where the team is at.
I think Irvin is exactly what was said, a one trick pony. If the trick is getting sacks, the NFL will line up to pay up. He was a reach, but because of off field factors.
Russell Wilson was a great pick. He is an outstanding QB, and I think he will be a star in the league.
Other than that, I agree, very long arms.
I though ex HC Green of Arizona summed it up pretty well on NFL Network today.
Irvin was rated to go in round 2 by almost every team and in round 1, you take round 1 talent, you shouldn't reach for a prospect especially at #15.
He felt, Pete Carroll interfered with his scouting department in Seattle's first 3 picks and called all the shots. He said from the GM's he talked to, Seattle's second round pick was rated to go in round 3 and Wilson was a round 4 prospect.
This is what often happens when you allow your team's HC to make picks like Carpenter last year. They draft for immediate need and put BPA to the side. Very few HC's have ever made good drafters, most have been flops in this department with a few good exceptions but they are rare.
Carroll will rise or fall on his drafting as will Seattle.
Except you forgot to add Richard Sherman, who was their best cornerback last season.
Pete Carroll has shown he has a knack for picking up guys that nobody else wants and getting production out of them. Especially on defense.
I liked the Seahawks draft more than most, but that doesn't mean I love it. I thought the Irvin, Wilson, and Turbin picks were all decent... at least from a pure ability perspective. I do somewhat question drafting a guy with Irvin's off field concerns as highly as they did, given that his upside is being a situational pass rusher. If he flames out do to something off the field, Seattle is going to deserve plenty of criticism for that call, no matter who else they say wanted him. But in terms of making their team better right now, I think Irvin was the kind of player who stands a chance of really vaulting their defense to the next level. Add him to the rest of their defense and they're not going to be a fun team to play, especially at Qwest. Can you imagine an opposing OT trying to deal with him screaming off the edge on a blitz in that environment? Won't be pretty.
Turbin also makes good sense, I think. When you rely so heavily on a physical back like Marshawn, you've got to have an insurance policy. I think Turbin is a good one.
Wilson, I like very much as a prospect and a football player. My only issue with the pick is timing for Seattle. Having just brought in Matt Flynn, that's going to severely reduce the number of snaps and practice time for Wilson. It's even worse if they continue to view Tavaris Jackson as an option and give him snaps as well. So while I like the player, and in another year where Flynn was more established and Wilson could come in as the definite backup, I'd like the pick... as it is I can't give it a thumbs up. More of a qualified thumbs up, if they do everything they need to ensure his development is not hampered.
The real missed opportunity, I think, was a failure to find another receiving weapon for the offense. Given Rice's injury history at this point, I'm not sure you can rely on him being healthy at all. If he goes down, the Seahawks offense starts to look really one dimensional.
So, all that said, I'd give it a provisional C+ -- the provision being that they make sure not to hamper Wilson's development and get him the snaps he needs. Not entirely sure that will be possible... if it isn't, then I'd lower this grade to a C. (But of course, the disclaimer, grades at this point mean nothing. For all I know, Wagner will turn out to be the best player in the draft or something.)
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