The Seahawks have the 26th overall pick in this year’s draft. We look back at the notable selections — including Seahawks Ring of Honor member Dave Brown — at that spot since the NFL merger.
The Seahawks have the 26th pick in the first round in the NFL draft, which is April 28-30 in Chicago.
And if they actually use it — always a dangerous assumption — it would be their highest pick since they took linebacker/end Bruce Irvin with the 15th overall selection in 2012.
Since then, the Seahawks have not picked higher than No. 45 (receiver Paul Richardson in 2014), either dealing their top selection (for Percy Harvin in 2013 and Jimmy Graham in 2015) or simply trading down to acquire more picks.
The Seahawks often have traded down under general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll. The draft is such a crapshoot that the odds of success are better bringing in more players — even if more of them are from the mid-to-lower rounds — than counting on just a few higher picks to all cash in.
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The history of the 26th overall pick helps illustrate the point. Even first-round picks are far from a sure thing.
There have been 45 drafts since the NFL merger in 1970, which provides a nice, clean number to work with.
Of the 45 players taken with the 26th overall pick, one-third (15) played in at least one Pro Bowl.
Another 14 were judged by Pro Football Reference to have been the primary starter at their position for at least one season. That includes Chris Spencer, a center who was the Seahawks’ first-round selection in 2005 — the only time they have picked at No. 26.
The other 16 players taken 26th overall were never, or have yet to become, a full-time starter, combining for just 74 starts in their collective careers.
That list includes the past three players taken at No. 26, one of whom comes with an asterisk — receiver Breshad Perriman, chosen last year by the Baltimore Ravens before suffering a knee injury on the first day of training camp and missing the season.
The other two simply have yet to produce much — linebacker Marcus Smith, taken by the Eagles in 2014; and defensive end Datone Jones, taken by Green Bay in 2013.
The most recent star taken at No. 26 is linebacker Clay Matthews, selected by Green Bay in 2009. The recent run of 26th picks includes one of the bigger first-round busts — receiver Jonathan Baldwin, who was selected by the Chiefs in 2011 and was out of the league by 2014. The Chiefs would have been far better off that year taking another receiver named Baldwin: Doug, who famously went undrafted that year before signing with the Seahawks.
A couple other notable 26th-pick busts:
• Ted Gregory, a defensive lineman taken by the Broncos in 1988 out of Syracuse. He was released by Denver before the regular season and ended up playing just three games in his career.
• Jim Druckenmiller, a quarterback out of Virginia Tech taken in 1997 by the 49ers. He was out of the league by 1999 after throwing just one touchdown pass.
Seahawks fans, though, undoubtedly would prefer to focus on those drafted 26th who hit it big.
Here are five of the most successful 26th picks, including one Seattle fans know well:
• Defensive back Dave Brown, 1975. Drafted by the reigning Super Bowl champion Steelers, Brown played one year in Pittsburgh and was chosen by the Seahawks in the 1976 expansion draft. He played 11 years with the Seahawks, intercepting 50 passes — most in team history — and spent another three years with Green Bay before joining the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor.
• Linebacker Ray Lewis, 1996. In terms of All-Pro picks (seven) and Pro Bowls (13), the former Baltimore Ravens star is the most successful 26th pick of all time. Seattle had the 21st pick that year, and Lewis’ college coach, Dennis Erickson, helping call the shots. But Seattle instead chose offensive lineman Pete Kendall.
• Offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure, 1973. The former Buffalo Bill is the only Hall of Famer taken at No. 26 (though Lewis undoubtedly will be), making six Pro Bowls in 12 seasons.
• Offensive lineman Alan Faneca, 1998. Faneca is the most-decorated 26th pick other than Lewis, making it to nine Pro Bowls in 13 seasons and also likely someday headed to the Hall of Fame.
• Quarterback Jim Harbaugh, 1987. Harbaugh was drafted by the Bears in 1987, who just a year removed from winning the Super Bowl were looking for depth behind oft-injured Jim McMahon. Harbaugh made just one Pro Bowl but started 140 games in his career before embarking on a coaching career you might have heard a bit about.