When the Seahawks – barring an unlikely trade up – make the 63rd overall choice (second round) in Friday’s NFL draft, it will mark the lowest “first” pick in franchise history (Christine Michael No. 62 overall in 2013). Seattle is without a first-round choice for the third consecutive year, having dealt their latest No. 1 March 10 to New Orleans for TE Jimmy Graham.
But with four compensatory picks banked due to the loss of unrestricted free agents following Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks will have a league-high 11 choices spanning Friday and Saturday. In addition to the 63rd overall pick in the second round, Seattle will select 95th overall in the third. After that, the Seahawks own three fourth-round choices, two fifth-and three sixth-rounders and a seventh-rounder.
Since GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll began their collaboration in 2010, no team has created more mid-round magic than the Seahawks. In five Schneider-Carroll drafts, the Seahawks have selected four Pro Bowl players – LB Bobby Wagner, QB Russell Wilson, SS Kam Chancellor and CB Richard Sherman – in rounds 2 through 5 and four others – LB K.J. Wright, TE Luke Willson, CB Byron Maxwell and OG J.R. Sweezy – who became full or part-time starters.
The Schneider-Carroll genius for mining mid-to-late round gems extends well beyond the draft, as the starting lineups for Super Bowl XLIX demonstrate.
Fourteen of the 24 players (punter and kicker included) who started against the New England Patriots came from the draft, including seven from rounds 3 through 7. Another five were undrafted free agents and four joined the Seahawks as unrestricted free agents.
That leaves RB Marshawn Lynch, acquired in 2010 for a 2011 fourth-round pick and what became a 2012 fifth-round choice. Schneider and Carroll got one of the greatest rushers of his generation with mid-round picks and the Bills will never live that down.
These were Seattle’s starters in February’s Super Bowl an how they were acquired:
Draft choices (14)
|LT||Russell Okung||2010||1||Only Pro Bowl after 2012|
|FS||Earl Thomas||2010||1||3-time 1st-Team All Pro|
|LG||James Carpenter||2011||1||Signed with Jets in free agency|
|OLB||Bruce Irvin||2012||1||16.5 sacks in 3 seasons|
|C||Max Unger||2009||2||Pro Bowl 2012-13; traded to Saints|
|MLB||Bobby Wagner||2012||2||1st-Team All-Pro, Pro Bowler in 2014|
|RT||Justin Britt||2014||2||Played in 16 games as rookie in 2014|
|QB||Russell Wilson||2012||3||Has accounted (pass, rush) for 83 TDs|
|OLB||K.J. Wright||2011||4||56 starts, 107 tackles in ’14|
|SS||Kam Chancellor||2010||5||3-time Pro Bowler taken 133rd|
|LCB||Richard Sherman||2011||5||3-time 1st-team All Pro taken 154th|
|TE||Luke Willson||2013||5||Decisive TD vs. Carolina in ’14 playoffs|
|RCB||Byron Maxwell||2011||6||Signed with Eagles in free agency|
|RG||J.R. Sweezy||2012||7||34 starts since joining Seahawks|
Unrestricted free agents (4)
|LDE||Michael Bennett||2013||TB||Has 15.5 sacks last 2 seasons|
|LDT||Tony McDaniel||2013||Mia||32 games, 29 starts last 2 seasons|
|RDE||Cliff Avril||2013||Det||Started every game in ’14|
|RDT||Kevin Williams||2014||Minn||Played first 11 seasons with Vikings|
Undrafted free agents, waivers
|P||Jon Ryan||2008||Regina||Played first two seasons with GB|
|WR||Doug Baldwin||2011||Stan||35 starts since joining team|
|PK||Steven Hauschka||2011||NC St.||Made 88% of FGs last 4 years|
|WR||Jermaine Kearse||2012||Wash||GW TDs in 2 NFC title games|
|WR||Ricardo Lockette||2013||FV||Started 2 games in 2014 playoffs|
Beyond the startling fact that all four Seahawks receivers who caught passes in Super Bowl XLIX came to the club as undrafted free agents, what leaps out is that 16 of Seattle’s 24 starters came to the Seahawks as mid-to-late round picks, as unrestricted free agents, or as undrafted free agents, including one player not listed, receiver Chris Matthews, who caught four balls for 109 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots — the first statistics of his career.
All teams score with undrafted free agents –New England signed Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler out of West Alabama after no team drafted him — but the Seahawks do better than most at both identifying late-round pearls they can coach up, or players ignored entirely in the draft.
Specifically, 12 of Seattle’s 24 Super Bowl starters came to the club in draft rounds 3 through 7 or via the undrafted route — 50 percent of the opening lineup. New England’s roster, featuring 11 No. 1 or No. 2 picks to Seattle’ seven, featured 10 such players, 41.6 percent of the Patriots’ lineup.
The Seahawks rely somewhat less on the draft’s seven rounds than most teams, but also do better than most with the picks they make, particularly in the middle rounds. Schneider and Carroll have 11 opportunities to extend that success Friday and Saturday.
Where The Seahawks Will Pick
- Second Round — No. 63
- Third Round — No. 95
- Fourth Round — No. 112, No. 130, No. 134
- Fifth Round — No. 167, No. 170
- Sixth Round — No. 181, No. 209, No. 214
- Seventh Round — No. 248
The Seahawks have twice held the 63rd overall pick. In 1978, they selected DB Bob Jury of Pittsburgh (played 15 games) and in 2006 picked DT Darryl Tapp of Virginia Tech (30 games).
Seattle has never selected at No. 95, 112, 130, 134, 167 or 214th overall, but they have had three picks at No. 170: WR Ron Johnson, Long Beach State, 1981; DE Michael McCrary, Wake Forest, 1993; DB Steven Johnson, Tennessee, 1999.
The Seahawks also selected RB Paul Miles, Nebraska, 1986, and DB Winston Guy, Kentucky, 2012, at No. 181; DB T.J. Cunningham, Colorado, 1996, at No. 209; and DE Ben Otto, Idaho State, 1985, and TE Cameron Morrah, California, 2009, at No. 248.