Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the college side of things, though that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me, though, that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year, I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries, and a host of other things.
Up first? Well we’re moving in draft order so it’s the Seattle Seahawks
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
Kam Chancellor, S (134th overall pick in 2010): Eased into things as a rookie, it was the sophomore season of Chancellor’s where he made the world realize he was something special. He followed it up with excellent work in both the 2012 and 2013 regular seasons before stepping it up a level as the team marched to the Super Bowl with some of the best safety play we’ve ever seen in a four-game stretch.
Richard Sherman, CB (154th overall pick in 2011): The frustrating thing about Sherman is how a guy like him can drop to the fifth round. Not because of the player he turned out to be but because when he came into the league he was already extremely good. As a rookie he would score a +12.2 coverage grade, with that being the tip of the iceberg as he became one of, if not the best, cornerbacks in the league depending on who you ask.
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
K.J. Wright, LB (99th overall pick in 2011): Finding a top talent at linebacker with a third round compensatory pick is my idea of value. Wright doesn’t get the press he should but he goes about his business like few others.
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Max Unger, OC (49th overall pick in 2009): Hasn’t had an easy life with constant changes at guard either side of him but you need only look at his 2012 season to see one of the very best centers in the league.
Earl Thomas, S (14th overall pick in 2010): There aren’t many (if any) safeties like Thomas. He can at times be a little wreckless (just look at his missed tackle numbers) but he has the kind of range that allows the Seahawks’ defense to operate, making the safety position more valuable in the process.
Golden Tate, WR (60th overall pick in 2010): The lack of a prolific passing attack means Tate has never received the respect he deserves as a tremendous playmaker. With great hands and terrific after the catch skills, there’s no surprise that he turned his four years in Seattle into 2,598 snaps and a +28.0 grade.
Byron Maxwell, CB (173rd overall pick in 2011): It may be a little early to say the team has struck gold again with a late-round cornerback but the +12.5 grade Maxwell has already obtained in just 846 snaps means I’d be expecting him to jump a category next year as opposed to dropping one.
Malcolm Smith, LB (244th overall pick in 2011): Smith was the Super Bowl MVP (that may have done a disservice to others) but it doesn’t mean Smith shouldn’t have the spotlight shone on him. A late seventh-rounder, you can plug him in and play in any number of packages and he’ll deliver the goods.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Russell Okung, OT (6th overall pick in 2010): At times has been better than this and at other times worse. The kind of left tackle you’d be foolish to move on from but not so good that you think you have the best one in the game.
Walter Thurmond, CB (112th overall pick in 2010): They do know what they’re doing with cornerbacks don’t they? Thurmond may have missed his chance to become a starter when injury saw Richard Sherman supplant him but he’s always done a good job in his 1,229 Seahawk snaps.
0.0: It could have been worse
Deon Butler, WR (91st overall pick in 2009): Butler had his share of injury problems but still played a decent enough 974 snaps.
Mike Teel, QB (178th overall pick in 2009): Sixth-rounder spent a year with the team before being cut.
Nick Reed, DE (247th overall pick in 2009): Looked good as a rookie when he turned 173 snaps into a +4.6 grade but the team opted to go in another direction.
Cameron Morrah, TE (248th overall pick in 2009): Was given a chance to become a weapon in the passing game but never really had the top end talent to take it.
Anthony McCoy, TE (186th overall pick in 2010): I don’t expect a lot out of sixth-rounders, so while McCoy was an accident waiting to happen, I’m not going to criticize the team too much for trying to develop him.
Dexter Davis, DE (237th overall pick in 2010): Only had 86 snaps where he looked like a pass rush terror, but injuries meant playing time was hard to come by before a 2012 release.
Jameson Konz, FB (246th overall pick in 2010): Missed rookie year on injured reserve before a position switch that never amounted to anything. One more injury and he was done in Seattle.
Pep Levingston, DE (205th overall pick in 2011): Sixth-rounder who would play 43 times on defense but struggle to catch on in a crowded defensive line group.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Courtney Greene, S (245th overall pick in 2009): Didn’t make it to the start of his rookie regular season with the team.
John Moffit, OG (75th overall pick in 2011): Had the chance to cement one of the guard spots as his own but injury and poor play ensured he would work his way out of town. A -27.5 grade in 997 snaps is not what you’d expect to see in the third.
Kris Durham, WR (107th overall pick in 2011): Never good when you’re cut after just one year with the team after being drafted in the fourth round.
Mark LeGree, S (156th overall pick in 2011): Fifth-rounder who was ditched before the start of his rookie season.
-1.0: What a waste!
E.J. Wilson, DE (128th overall pick in 2010): Cut during his rookie season after playing 33 snaps on defense. For a fourth-rounder you’d expect him to at least last a couple of years.
James Carpenter, OL (25th overall pick in 2011): Tried at tackle and guard and not up to much at either spot. Carpenter is closer to a category below than he is one above and it would be no surprise if he doesn’t make it to the new season with the team. Simply put a -39.3 grade over 1,798 snaps in three years is not pretty.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Aaron Curry, LB (4th overall pick in 2009): Was touted as being NFL ready but looked incredibly raw, instead flashing his physical potential from time to time. That wasn’t enough for Seattle though who would trade him away after 1,932 snaps that earned a -21.0 grade.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf
Not here …
Click to see the draft graders for all:
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