Seattle doesn’t have any picks in the second or third rounds — which makes you think Pete Carroll and John Schneider will want to deal their No. 18 pick. This isn’t the time to dodge the first round, however.
If you write about the Seahawks, your fingers typically get a break on the first day of the NFL draft. No scrambling to uncover details. No instant analysis or evaluation. No frenzied rush to beat deadline because, well, they rarely pick anyone that Thursday.
Since 2013, only once have the Seahawks drafted a player in the first round, and that was still after they traded down to get Germain Ifedi with the 31st pick. And not since 2011, when they selected James Carpenter at the 25th spot, have they kept their original first-round pick.
The strategy is clear — trade your top picks in exchange for more picks to give yourself more opportunities to strike gold. And considering Pro Bowl selections such as Bobby Wagner (second round), Russell Wilson (third), K.J. Wright (fourth), Richard Sherman (fifth) and Kam Chancellor (fifth) you’d be hard pressed to convince folks the Seahawks should change their approach.
But what if I were to tell you that they haven’t scored a true impact player in the draft in five years? What if I were to suggest that moving down on the draft board has eventually caused Seattle to move down in the standings? What if I were to say that, despite a strong case to once again trade for more picks, the Seahawks should buck convention this time?
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Maybe this year — the Seahawks should just get the best guy they can.
Many would be shocked if they actually did adopt this approach. This year is different in that Seattle doesn’t have any picks in the second or third round. They also don’t have a second-round pick next year, and after signing D.J. Fluker, Ed Dickson, Tom Johnson and Barkevious Mingo this offseason, they gave up all of their compensatory picks.
I realize to the casual fan this is me speaking sportuguese, but just know that, for the next couple of years, draft picks are particularly sparse for the Seahawks.
This would be a year that nearly every team in their situation would trade down to try and get more selections. But guess what? The Seahawks have been surprising people since January.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel, defensive coordinator Kris Richard, offensive-line coach Tom Cable — they were staples of that organization before head coach Pete Carroll cut ties. Sherman and Michael Bennett — they were icons on the team and in the city, but were shipped off in March.
Carroll and general manager John Schneider even said that they were altering their draft plans this year, by “making less excuses for players” and putting fewer names on the board.
Could that possibly mean keeping that No. 18 pick?
Critics look at players such as Wilson, Chancellor, Wagner, Bennett, Sherman, Wright and that 40-year-old quarterback in New England and think “it really doesn’t matter when you’re picked.” What they don’t realize is that, though they’re not quite anomalies, drafting players that good that low is rare. Scroll through previous drafts and you’ll see that the overwhelming number of future Pro Bowlers were picked in the first round. Same goes for the overwhelming number of Hall of Famers.
There is a reason Spotrac projects the total contract for the 18th pick of the first round will be worth $12.1 million, and the 18th pick of the second round will be worth $5.5 million. It’s essentially saying, on average, that first-round pick is more than twice as valuable.
Round 1 | Pick 27 | No. 27 overall (via GB)RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
Round 3 | Pick 12 | No. 79 overall (via PIT)DL Rasheem Green, USC
Round 4 | Pick 20 | No. 120 overallTE Will Dissly, Washington
Round 5 | Pick 4 | No. 141 overallOLB Shaquem Griffin, Central Florida
Round 5 | Pick 9 | No. 146 overallDB Tre Flowers, Oklahoma State
Round 5 | Pick 12 | No. 149 ovr (via DEN)P Michael Dickson, Texas
Round 5 | Pick 31 | No. 168 overallOT Jamarco Jones, Ohio State
Round 6 | Pick 12 | No. 186 overall (via GB)LB/DL Jacob Martin, Temple
Round 7 | Pick 2 | No. 220 overall (via PIT)QB Alex McGough, Florida International
Obviously, scouting should play a role in how the Seahawks go about this Thursday. If there is nobody they think is remotely worth picking at 18, then they have to trust their evaluators and trade down. But they shouldn’t trade down for its own sake.
Carroll and Schneider went to two Super Bowls because of what they accomplished through the draft. Sure, they’ve signed some influential free agents, but the reason there was a parade in Seattle is because of the players Carroll coached up from their rookie seasons.
But over the past few years, they haven’t found the same success with their selections. And as a result, the Seahawks have slowly separated themselves from the top tier of the league.
Seattle had perhaps its most explosive offseason in the Carroll era this year. Mainstays of the franchise — both on the field and the sideline — have been removed.
Carroll and Schneider haven’t been afraid to do things differently. They should apply that same attitude to the draft Thursday.
Keep that top pick. Get that top player. Make the writers actually have to work.