When the Seahawks cut ties with linebacker Aaron Curry Wednesday, the former Wake Forest star automatically became the highest-drafted (fourth overall in 2009) bust in franchise history. The departure of Curry also means that there are no No. 1 draft picks remaining on the Seattle roster from Tim Ruskell’s inept GM regime (2005-09).
The Seahawks sent Curry to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for two undisclosed draft choices, one in 2012, the other in 2013, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. The Seahawks would not confirm that report, and only issued a one-paragraph statement from GM John Schnedier.
“On behalf of Mr. Allen, Coach Carroll, and the entire Seahawks family, we want to thank Aaron for his contributions to the Seahawks and wish him all the best with his fresh start in Oakland,” said Schneider.
Curry lost his starting job in September to rookie linebacker K.J. Wright. In last weeks 35-26 win over the New York Giants, the Seahawks replaced Curry with free agent David Vobora at times during the fourth quarter. Vobora had been re-signed by the Seahawks just a week earlier.
K.J. Wright has made this possible, Carroll said. Hes played so well. He played that Mike (middle) and that Sam (strong-side) backer spot and took over the Sam backer spot three weeks now starting and did a beautiful job.”
The Seahawks restructured Curry’s contract after last season, dropping the final two years, the first step in the Seahawks and Curry parting ways. Of the seven players taken in the 2009 draft, only center Max Unger, taken in the second round, remains healthy and on the active roster.
Despite his pre-draft characterization as the “safest” pick in the draft, Curry struggled to find a productive role, often ineffective in rushing the passer as well as in dropping back into pass coverage. Curry regularly found himself out of position to make a play, while Wright was praised by head coach Pete Carroll for his instinctive play.
With Curry gone, nine players on the 53-man roster remain from the team Carroll and Schneider inherited: punter Jon Ryan, running back Justin Forsett, cornerback Marcus Trufant, center Max Unger, defensive end Red Bryant, nose tackle Brandon Mebane, wide receiver Ben Obomanu and linebackers Leroy Hill and David Hawthorne.
Curry was the last remaining first-round pick from Ruskell’s time in Seattle. For those No. 1s, the Seahawks received a starting linebacker in Wright, fourth and sixth-round picks in the 2011 NFL draft, a backup defensive tackle, a third-string cornerback, an inactive wide receiver and, now, two more future picks from Oakland.
Center Chris Spencer (2005, 26th overall) played in 82 games for the Seahawks, making 70 starts, before he signed a free agent in July with the Chicago Bears, for whom Ruskell works. Spencer played in more games (with more starts) than any of Ruskell’s No. 1s.
Cornerback Kelly Jennings (2006, 31st overall), saw action in 77 games for the Seahawks between 2006-10, but made only 42 starts. Frequently burned, Jennings went to the Cincinnati Bengals in a trade for defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.
Ruskell in 2007 traded Seattle’s first-round pick to New England for wide receiver Deion Branch, who appeared in 51 games, making 40 starts. Branch, who never scored more than five touchdowns in a season in Seattle, returned to the Patriots last year in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2011 draft.
Defensive end Lawrence Jackson (2007, 28th overall) played just two seasons in Seattle before the Seahawks swapped him to Detroit in August 2010 for a sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft (CB Byron Maxwell). Jackson had played for Carroll at USC.
Curry appeared in 35 games for the Seahawks, sixth fewest of any No. 1 in franchise history. Of the five No. 1s who played fewer games, three — LB Brian Bosworth (1988), OT Chris McIntosh (2000) and DT Marcus Tubbs (2004) — all had limited playing time due to serious injuries.
Dan McGwire, the club’s No. 1 pick (16th overall) in 1991, simply couldn’t play at an NFL level, which was why his Seahawks career (1991-93) included just 12 appearances and five starts. Jackson, Seattle’s No. 1 pick in 2008, failed to live up to expectations.
Fewest Games Played By A Seahawks No. 1 Draft Pick
|Year||No. 1 Pick||Pos.||College||Overall||Starts||Tot. Gms|
|1991||Dan McGwire||QB||San Diego St.||16th||5||12|
|2009||AARON CURRY||LB||Wake Forest||4th||33||35|
|1976||Steve Niehaus||DT||Notre Dame||2nd||20||36|
|1993||Rick Mirer||QB||Notre Dame||2nd||51||55|
In 2009, the Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists ranked the most notorious “Draft-Day Debacles” in Seattle pro sports history. This is how GBSSL saw it:
10. (tie) Ryan Anderson, Mariners 1997, Robert Swift, Sonics 2004. Both were first-round, big-upside giants ruined mostly by injuries. The Mariners were hoping for a duplicate of Big Unit Randy Johnson when they picked the quickly monickered Little Unit, a 6-10 lefthander out of Southfield, Mich. But two shoulder surgeries and a dubious work ethic prevented Anderson from reaching the majors. Swift, 7-1 and 270, was taken out of high school in Bakersfield, Calif., with the 12th pick. In his first three seasons he played in 71 games, thanks largely to injuries that included a torn knee ligament.
9. Tito Nanni, Mariners, 1978. Selected in the first round, sixth overall, Nanni never even made it out of the low minors. Instead of drafting Nanni, the Mariners could have had Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken Jr., or Dave Stieb, In fact, a top Seattle scout at the time, Jerry Krause, who went on to some basketball success with the Chicago Bulls, futilely insisted the club take a slugger named Kirk Gibson.
8. Frank Oleynick, Sonics 1975. Selected with the 12th overall pick, Oleynick was a popular choice because he starred at Seattle University. But he did nothing in his two years with the Sonics, never starting and averaging just five points per game. Instead, the Sonics could have had Joe Bryant, Ricky Sobers, Kevin Grevey, World. B. Free, Dan Roundfield or even Gus Williams, whom they signed as a free agent two years later.
7. Roger Salkeld, Mariners, 1989. Selected in the first round, third overall, Salkeld spent parts of two seasons (1993-94) with the Mariners, going 2-5 in 15 career starts. The Mariners traded Salkeld and his 7.17 ERA to Cincinnati in 1995 for Tim Belcher. Salkeld pitched one year for the Reds (1996). Although he went 8-5 in 19 starts, he washed out of the league with a 5.61 career ERA.
6. Patrick Lennon, Mariners, 1986. A high school shortstop and the eighth overall pick, Lennon played just 10 games with the big club. Bo Jackson, still on the board when the Mariners selected, not only became a major league All-Star, he became a Pro Bowl football player. Lennons troubles nearly scared the Mariners away from taking another high schooler in the 1987 draft, but owner George Argyros was finally prevailed upon to allow the selection of Ken Griffey Jr.
5. Owen Gill, Seahawks, 1985. A fullback from Iowa, Gill was the first player taken by the Seahawks with the No. 53 overall (no first-rounder). Gill not only didnt play a down in a regular-season game, he didnt make it through training camp. Gill came to symbolize the bankruptcy of the entire 85 draft. From the second through the fifth rounds, the Seahawks selected Gill, WR Danny Greene, TE Tony Davis, C Mark Napolitan, CB Arnold Brown and RB Johnnie Jones. The six combined to play just six games for the Seahawks.
4. Rich King, Sonics, 1991. Selected in the first round, 14th overall, out of Nebraska, the 7-2, 260-pound King barely registered during four unproductive seasons. In 72 games, he made just two starts and averaged 1.9 points per game. He never played in the league after the Sonics released him.
3. Andre Hines, Seahawks, 1980. Seahawks bosses planned to use their second-round pick on Brian Holloway, an All-America tackle from Stanford. Instead, in an epic case of mistaken identity by bullheaded head coach Jack Patera, who refused to admit he was wrong, Holloway’s pudgy backup was picked. Once drafted, Hines freely admitted he rarely played at Stanford. He rarely played for the Seahawks nine games, starting none. In one memorable Seahawks embarrassment, a 51-7 blowout loss at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, 1980, Patera inserted Hines late, whereupon Cowboys defensive end Harvey Martin immediately drew Hines off-sides by yelling, Boo!
2. Al Chambers, Mariners, 1979. The first pick in the first round, Chambers knocked around in the minors for nearly seven years before the club gave up on the outfielder and released him. He played just 57 career games at the major-league level, batting .208 with two home runs. Rather than taking Chambers, the Mariners could have selected Andy Van Slyke, an outfielder who made three All-Star teams.
1. Dan McGwire, Seahawks, 1991. Younger brother of baseball star Mark McGwire, the tallest (6-8) quarterback in NFL history made only five starts and played in 12 games after the Seahawks or, rather, meddlesome owner Ken Behring made him the 16th overall pick out of San Diego State. Despite needing a successor to Dave Krieg, coach Chuck Knox objected furiously to taking McGwire, who by 1993 could not even beat out Stan Gelbaugh to back up another bust, Kelly Stouffer. Not only was McGwire a terrible choice, but on the draft board below him was Brett Favre.