As our countdown of all 44 Seahawks NFL draft classes continues with Nos. 22-12, we’re starting to get to some of the good stuff, the years when they added players who had major impact on winning teams.
But we start with a few star-crossed drafts, as well as some recent ones in which the value has yet to be determined.
Key players: DE Tony Woods, LB Dave Wyman, LB Brian Bosworth*.
Comment: So where to put The Boz? With the 1987 group because that was the calendar year in which he was selected in a supplemental draft? Or with the 1988 group, which was the first-round pick Seattle had to give up (and hence, the asterisk above)? The Seahawks, recall, won the rights to The Boz in June, beating 37-1 odds. There’s no blame for the Seahawks there, of course — everybody would have given up their pick a year later to get The Boz at that time. And no, The Boz wasn’t anything close to what everyone hoped on that giddy June day when Seattle found out it had won his rights. But he probably wasn’t quite as bad as he’s usually portrayed these days, ranking second and third on the team in tackles his first two seasons before injuries kicked in. Both Woods — whose career might be better than remembered — and Wyman were solid players and keys to the team’s first division title in 1988.
Key players: WR Brian Blades, CB Dwayne Harper, LB Brian Bosworth*.
Comment: We’ll consider this draft as basically in lockstep with the ’87 class listed above. The pick Seattle gave up to get The Boz was the 20th overall selection in 1988. The Rams instead picked there and took receiver Aaron Cox, who did very little, with two future Hall of Famers still on the board — running back Thurman Thomas and center Dermontti Dawson. Seattle’s first pick in the ’88 draft came in the second round with Blades, who with Doug Baldwin might be the best receivers in team history not named Steve Largent. Harper, taken 299th overall, was a starter in the league for nine years.
Key players: DE L.J. Collier, WR DK Metcalf, S Marquise Blair, LB Cody Barton.
Comment: We obviously don’t have near enough information to really judge the past two draft classes yet, so we’re maybe optimistically erring on putting them in the upper middle of our rankings for now. Metcalf already is on his way to being a really successful pick at No. 64 overall, and players such as Blair and Barton showed potential in Year 1. But a real key to how this class will be perceived long term is whether Collier can make a big leap in production the next few years.
Key players: RB Rashaad Penny, DE Rasheem Green, TE Will Dissly, LB Shaquem Griffin, P Michael Dickson.
Comment: The Penny pick always will be controversial in terms of whether Seattle could have gotten him, or a similar player, a little later. But it’s too early to declare anything definitive about Penny’s career. Dissly has battled injuries but otherwise has helped keep alive Seattle’s rep for finding mid-round gems. And Dickson could be Seattle’s punter well into the 2030s.
Key players: WR Joey Galloway, TE Christian Fauria, LB Jason Kyle.
Comment: Galloway was the eighth overall pick, so it was no surprise he’d go on to a long career. Still, give then-coach Dennis Erickson some credit for this one. At the time a lot of people questioned that Seattle took Galloway instead of UCLA’s J.J. Stokes, who went two picks later to the 49ers. Stokes had some decent years, but Galloway was unquestionably the better player. Fauria, taken after Galloway in a year Seattle had only two picks in the first 126 after making a few trades for vets, was also a solid contributor for seven seasons.
Key players: RB John L. Williams, DB Patrick Hunter, DB Eddie Anderson.
Comment: Williams was a surprise pick at No. 15 overall. But the Seahawks wanted to beef up their running game after it struggled some in 1985, and Williams was an immediate and long-term hit. While technically listed as a fullback working with Curt Warner, Williams got a lot of work of his own — he remains fifth in career rushing yards and seventh in receiving yards in team history. Anderson is one who got away — taken in the sixth round, he played just five games for Seattle before being waived and then spending 11 seasons with the Raiders.
Key players: CB Marcus Trufant, S Ken Hamlin, K Josh Brown, QB Seneca Wallace.
Comment: Trufant went on to be one of the better corners in team history, and Hamlin had a lot of talent (what might have been, had he been there for the Super Bowl in 2006). Brown had a long career and made a couple big kicks to key the run to Super Bowl XL. And there would never have been the “SeneCat” without Seneca Wallace.
Key players: DL Sam Adams, OL Kevin Mawae, RB Lamar Smith.
Comment: This class had the potential to be ranked a lot higher had Seattle held on to everyone, but that got hard to do in the chaotic mid-to-late ’90s. Seattle had just five picks, tied for the fewest in team history, after trading fifth- and sixth-rounders for veteran players. But Seattle made them count, getting linemen who each played more than 200 games — Adams and eventual Hall of Famer Mawae. The only problem is both did much of their best work elsewhere — neither made a Pro Bowl with Seattle but combined for 11 once they left. Same is true with fourth-round pick Larry Whigham, a safety who was waived before playing a game, then made two Pro Bowls as a special-teamer with the Patriots and Bears over a nine-year career.
Key players: DE Frank Clark, WR Tyler Lockett, OL Mark Glowinski.
Comment: So here’s another class where you also have to consider a trade, as well, as Seattle gave up its first-round pick and Max Unger to get Jimmy Graham and a fourth-rounder back (the Saints used the pick on linebacker Stephone Anthony, who has been with four teams in five years, only one as a starter). Clark was regarded as both a risk and a reach but gave Seattle four strong years before being traded (Seattle still has a second-rounder this year from that deal). And Lockett — for whom Seattle moved up by trading three picks, including the one it got for Graham — is on his way to becoming one of the better players in team history. Had Seattle kept Glowinski, now a starter with the Colts, this draft would rank more highly.
Key players: DE Jeff Bryant, LB Bruce Scholtz, TE Pete Metzelaars.
Comment: Maybe this draft should rank higher given that Bryant has the third-most sacks in team history (63) and Scholtz became a productive player during the glory days of the Chuck Knox era. But in terms of what Seattle got out of this draft, that was about it. Metzelaars was traded after three years to Buffalo for WR Byron Franklin, who didn’t do all that much while Metzelaars played until 1997. And 11th-round pick Sam Clancy went on to record 30 sacks — but none in his lone season with Seattle.
Key players: LB Lofa Tatupu, LB Leroy Hill, C Chris Spencer.
Comment: Talk about filling immediate needs. After going 9-7 in 2004 and finishing 22nd and 26th in points and yards allowed, Seattle used two of its top four picks on linebackers Tatupu and Hill. Both emerged as rookie starters — finishing first and fourth in tackles, respectively — as Seattle improved to seventh and 16th in points and yards allowed on the way to its first Super Bowl. Spencer, taken 26th, might not be remembered too fondly, but he did start 95 games in his career (though the Seahawks should have just gone best player available and taken receiver Roddy White, who went at No. 27 to Atlanta).