It’s been an interesting couple of years in Seattle since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took charge of the Seahawks. Faced with an aging and declining roster, they’ve overseen a massive overhaul in talent, with some moves that have worked and some that haven’t.
Continuing our Draft Grader series, we take a look at some of the talent Tim Ruskell had picked up for the two, while also examining their own first draft class. Each pick between the 2008 and 2010 draft classes gets a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:
• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for
Let’s take a look at how Seattle has drafted.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
Would they have started Tarvaris Jackson last year if they had?
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Kam Chancellor, S (133rd overall pick in 2010): Is this too high for Chancellor? It depends, to a degree, on whether you think he can cut back on the harmful (seven) penalties and continues to be one of the true playmaking safeties in the league. Our fifth-ranked safety in the league last year, he would have been in the Top 3 but for some unnecessary penalties.
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Red Bryant, DE (121st overall pick in 2008): It’s strange that while being a pick of the old front office, Bryant has only really developed since Pete Carroll took over. A defensive end who allows the Seahawks to run a heavily 4-3 hybrid defense, the former fourth round pick is the kind of player that forces runs away from where they’re intending to go. While he rarely offers much in the form of a pass rush, he is a huge part of an improving defense.
Justin Forsett, RB (233rd overall pick in 2008): Coming off his worst year, you shouldn’t forget just how good Forsett was over the 2009-10 seasons. The second most elusive back in the league in his rookie year, the former seventh-rounder has also made a big contribution at times on special teams.
Earl Thomas, S (14th overall pick in 2010): A tough at times rookie year made way to an impressive sophomore season that saw Thomas finish ranked eighth overall in our safety rankings. There are areas of his game that he can improve, but he is a very active player.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Max Unger, C (49th overall pick in 2009): You’re not going to get Unger confused with the top centers in the league. He’s capable of terrible games (Week 14 versus the Rams last year), but he’s a competent starter who should hold down the position for years. It’s also worth noting that he didn’t allow his quarterback to hit the deck once in 2011.
Golden Tate, WR (60th overall pick in 2010): A player who just doesn’t drop balls, Tate also has a knack for breaking tackles after finishing eighth among all receivers with 13–despite catching half as many balls as the guys above him. He looks to now have the trust of the Seahawks’ coaching staff and could be poised to break out.
Walter Thurmond, CB (111th overall pick in 2010): While still a developing player and coming off an injury, Thurmond has held up pretty well when he’s been on the field for a not-so-insignificant 563 snaps. He’s served as part of a deep rotation of cornerbacks.
0.0: Nothing ventured, nothing gained/ it could have been worse
Owen Schmitt, FB (163rd overall pick in 2008): Schmitt hung around the roster and got significant snaps on offense, but just was never a good lead blocker.
Brandon Coutu, K (235th overall pick in 2008): Stayed on the roster for an entire year but couldn’t beat out an established Olindo Mare. No shame in that.
Deon Butler, WR (91st overall pick in 2009): 969 snaps later we’re still trying to figure out if we like Butler, or if we’re giving him something of a pass for that horrific 2010 injury. 2012 which will hopefully help answer that question.
Mike Teel, QB (178th overall pick in 2009): Teel spent his first year in the league a game day inactive as the Seahawks’ No. 3 QB, but wasn’t part of Carroll’s master plan when he took over.
Nick Reed, DE (247th overall pick in 2009): Got some pressure as a rookie and would have been interesting to see how he developed, but he wasn’t a favorite of a new coaching staff and was waived after having his knee scoped.
Cameron Morrah, TE (248th overall pick in 2009): Morrah has found himself on the field for 416 plays, yet his biggest positive may be that he’s not Anthony McCoy.
Russell Okung, T (6th overall pick in 2010): A difficult sophomore season leaves Okung needing to take a big step forward to deliver on his potential as a sixth overall pick. A good run blocker, it’s his pass blocking that is something of a concern after giving up five sacks, three hits, and 24 hurries (to go with nine penalties). His rookie year earns him some leeway.
Dexter Davis, DE (236th overall pick in 2010): Prior to missing all of 2011 with a hip injury, Davis was strangely limited to just 85 snaps (including playoffs) as a rookie despite generating a sack, hit and eight hurries on just 44 pass rushes. We would like to see more of him as in (very) limited opportunities he has looked someone who could excel as a situational rusher.
Jameson Konz, TE (245th overall pick in 2010): Two seasons in the NFL and two season-ending injuries. A pair of tough breaks.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
John Carlson, TE (38th overall pick in 2008): After 55 catches for 627 yards as a rookie, everyone seemed to fall in love with the athletic tight end … so much so that they haven’t readjusted their opinions of him. A frankly terrible blocker whose impact as a receiver has lessened as teams have got more tape on him, Carlson turned out to be something of a disappointment. His new contract with the Vikings has raised some eyebrows with some of the PFF staff.
Tyler Schmitt, LS (189th overall pick in 2008): One begs to question the wisdom of using a draft pick on a long snapper, let alone one with a degenerative back condition.
Courtney Greene, FS (245th overall pick in 2009): Greene didn’t make it to the active roster or practice squad in his rookie year.
E.J. Wilson, DE (127th overall pick in 2009): Cut during his rookie year, Wilson saw the field for 33 snaps and was a waste of a fourth round pick.
Anthony McCoy, TE (185th overall pick in 2010): Is it harsh to punish a sixth round pick with a negative grade when he’s played 447 snaps in his first two years in the league? The -16.0 grade we’ve given to McCoy says so, with him being a liability in pass protection, a poor run blocker, and a frequent dropper of passes. That’s a full house in bad tight end play.
-1.0: What a waste!
Lawrence Jackson, DE (28th overall pick in 2008): Injuries didn’t help Jackson, but his failure in Seattle goes beyond that. The coaches didn’t seem to have the answer, with failed experiments such as using him as an inside rusher on passing downs failing to get the best out of him. His success in Detroit backs this up. A good player, badly used.
Aaron Curry, LB (4th overall pick in 2009): Remember when people said Curry was the most NFL-ready player out there? He’s looked lost dropping back, and failed to take over games the way you’d hope a linebacker selected fourth overall would. He’s not a bad player, but he’s also not a guy you’d want on the field for every down. He was traded to Oakland last season for a 2012 seventh round draft choice and a conditional fifth in 2013.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Not in these drafts.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
No Russell/Leaf hybrids in these classes.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to Seahawks fans that much of the better drafting occurred in 2010, with the previous front office and coaching teams failing to get the best out of a number of early-round picks. Instead, the encouraging development of the 2010 class shows a talent for finding the right college players to be developed and end up contributing when they’re ready. This is especially true with some of the later round picks.