Oct 13, 2012; Shreveport, LA, USA; Texas A

Seattle Seahawks Draft: High Risk, High Reward

If there was a theme for the Seattle Seahawks’ picks in last week’s draft, it was that almost all of the players offered high risk, high reward scenarios.

Let’s take a look at some of the situations I’m talking about.

Christine Michael

Risk: Well publicized “attitude problems” that caused his college coach to limit his playing time.

Reward: If he can keep his head on straight and deal with being Marshawn Lynch’s backup for the next year or two, Michael has the potential to become a franchise running back who has been compared to Adrian Peterson.

Jordan Hill

Risk: Poor run defender who was driven backwards by college guards.

Reward: Elite pass rusher who has been compared to Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins. The question is whether his poor run defense will allow him to get on the field often enough to make an impact.

Chris Harper

Risk: Unpolished prospect with speed concerns and has a lot to learn about route running.

Reward: As I pointed out yesterday, Harper is extremely strong and knows how to use that strength to fight off defenders and make the catch. He still has a long way to go, but his college game tape is reminiscent of a young Terrell Owens.

Jesse Williams

Risk: Major concerns regarding the health of his knees.

Reward: If Williams’ knees hold up, the Seahawks will have gotten an elite defensive tackle that can dominate in a way that no Seahawk defensive tackle has since Cortez Kennedy.

Tharold Simon

Risk: Lacks speed, needs a complete overhaul of his technique.

Reward: Big, physical corner with great length. If he’s coachable and can fix his technique problems, Simon has the potential to be every bit as good as Brandon Browner.

Luke Willson

Risk: Rarely played in college. Extremely raw and unpolished.

Reward: With his tremendous physical talents, Willson has all-pro potential similar to that of Vernon Davis. After four years of college ball, Willson remains a long-term project and a question as to whether or not he will ever live up to his potential.

Michael Bowie

Risk: Violated some undisclosed rule that was severe enough for him to be kicked off the Oklahoma State team before his final year of college.

Reward: Before his incident, Bowie looked like a potential franchise left tackle similar to Russell Okung.


All of these players have the potential to become elite players. They were also available when the Seahawks drafted them because they come with considerable risk.

This is a game that Schneider has played, and won, before. Other teams questioned if Kam Chancellor was a fluid enough athlete to play safety. Richard Sherman was too big. Russell Wilson was too small. Even Bobby Wagner dropped to the Seahawks because he was seen as a “project.”

It is unlikely that all of these players will work out the way that Schneider envisions. The risk associated with  these particular players is real and Schneider is hoping at least a few will pan out.

Ultimately, that’s probably okay. The Seahawks don’t need to nail every pick. If a few of these players reach their potential, this will be remembered as an amazing draft for Schneider and the Seahawks. 

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  • Grammar Nazi

    Do you spell check before you put this stuff out?

    • Wheelmg

      I have noticed this over and over again with Fansided. Are your writers lazy? Bad at their craft? To stupid to use spell check? Do you not have an editor? I really enjoy Fansided but the spelling and grammar is so bad in most of these articles that it is really distracting. Authors: take another 5 minutes to proofread what you publish. You look very unprofessional and kind of stupid when you print so many errors.

      • Trakar

        Volunteer blog writers are, by definition, “unprofessional.” I’ve seen much worse among ESPN’s paid writers. It is a blog after all, if you don’t want to comment on the substance of the post, why waste everyone else’s time with such irrelevant and insulting derails? What a waste of bandwidth.

        • 12thMan_Rising

          Thanks Trakar.

        • wheelmg

          Please see my addition to my previous comment. My bad, the product of growing up with an English teacher as a father.

      • 12thMan_Rising

        I know that my writing isn’t always perfect. I might be worried about it if I was a professional writer, but I’m not. I’m a physicist, complete with the stereotypical problem of not having the best grammar.

        I do proofread my articles, but stuff gets missed. My time is extremely limited. Ultimately, it becomes a trade off between editing and taking time do research or film study for content. I make no apologies for choosing depth over well-polished fluff.

        Ultimately, both would be ideal. I get that. As Trakar pointed out, this isn’t a paid gig. Writing for Fansided is something we do for fun in our spare time. When my work calms down and I have more time, my pieces end up more polished. When things are crazy like they have been for the last week, things are more rushed. That’s just the way it is.

        • Hawk_Eye

          Keith, you’re doing all of us Seahawks fans a great service writing your football articles. Keep it up. I for one, appreciate it. Nothing is worse than a blog Grammar Nazi. I kind of find it amusing that is what he calls himself.

        • wheelmg

          Keith, maybe I was a bit too harsh. It’s not just you that I take issue with, it’s the big news outlets too. I didn’t realize this wasn’t a paid gig and you do it for fun. I understand hectic schedules, I’m a Cryptologic Technician in the Navy. I really do enjoy reading y’all’s articles. Keep it up and shoot, get back to work. The world needs more people in the scientific community. Thanks!

          • 12thMan_Rising

            There was no offense taken, so don’t worry. I have no delusions as to my talents with the written word, so people pointing out my mistakes is like pointing out that the sky is blue. If fact, that idea that you thought this might be an actual paying job is quite a complement. I’ll take it to mean that you appreciate the quality of the content here at 12thMR. Not sure you meant it that way, but I’ll take it anyways.

    • upstateNYfan

      Go on an English literature web site and post your grammar correction garbage. Maybe when your get out of school and realize the value of time you will have a little more appreciation for people who donate theirs.
      The real issue ( for football fans ) is the comparisons are ridiculous. AP, TO, Cortez Kennedy… c’mon man
      But I do appreciate the article, thanks…

      • 12thMan_Rising

        none of these were comps that I generated except the one to TO, and that only due to his strength. The rest are ones I’ve seen elsewhere. Some are decent, others appear to be a bit farfetched. The point was that people were making the comparisons, and that speaks to the potential quality of the player.

  • Trakar

    I think the main reason that we got so many of these High Risk/Potential picks is because our real needs were so small and primarily depth related in this draft that it was worth taking the chance that some of them might pan out. If they don’t, we’re missing a bit of depth, but that can also be addressed in free agency once other teams start cutting down to their final 53.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      This is definitely part of it. The Seahawks drafted 11 players and likely only had roster spots for 6 or 7. This allowed Schneider to take some risks, knowing that if he missed on a number of players it really didn’t matter. The benefit is that if he “hits” on a number of these player, he’ll end up with a huge influx of talent in spite of the fact that he lacked high draft picks.

      • cj

        Bingo! I’ve been trying to explain this to people who have been questioning this draft… as if we didn’t all learn a collective lesson last season. The truth is, it would have been worse for the Hawks if they’d taken safer picks; because when the time comes to cut as many as half of them, or to try and hide them on the practice squad, the ‘safe’ picks will be snatched up by our competitors. If a few turn out to be busts, it will be akin to Shel Silverstein’s ‘Prayer of a Selfish Child’ (if you don’t know it, you know where to look).

  • disqus_8uTkp82LAz

    Not sure if anyone touted these players to be as good as noted above. Regardless, the Seahawks don’t need much for 2013. These guys can slowly develop so I do like the high risk/high reward scenario. Last thing we need is to have multiple guys that can start right now and then have to cut a few of them.

  • kikiri

    williams has been medically cleared even if he were too get hurt in preseason or training camp HIGHLY very HIGHLY unlikely that seattle cuts him look at korey toomer despite not even playing at all last year pete carroll is still VERY high on him and that is why the WIL LB spot was addressed dont be surprised to see a name that you dont recognize on the starting lineup and I belive with the talent that is around him jesse williams can have 3-4 probably even 5 and 6 sack season because of the talent around him people really overrate that alabama defense they really had no true pass rush talent courtney upshaw was never really that great and his transition to the pros reiterated that and adrian hubbard isnt that great of a pass rusher at least not consistent my point guys like mebane bryant avril bruce bennett clem it will help and considering he has been medically cleared I also belive seattle will use him as a fullback like will takaufu for the niners and since williams has done it in college and proved effective I wouldnt be surprised to see williams with a variety of roles I know john schneider loves I have been high on him for a while and I think he will be a great seahawk he has great talent around him so no reason for him not to boom

  • JohnnyB

    I like the summary of players. Haven’t seen both sides like this anywhere. So thanks.

    But I think you’re off on the risk/reward concept. High risk is when you make a move that has the potential to hurt your team. Like the Harvin move, with his huge contract and impact on the cap is higher risk. A draft pick like Geno Smith is high risk because of his potential to create more chaos in the Jets QB situation which is a huge weakness of their team already.

    But the Seahawks have set the team up now so there are no high risks in any of these players. Cutting any one of them creates almost no impact on the team because there is a great player in front of pretty much all of them. And they can’t impact team chemistry because if they try they will be cut in a heartbeat with almost no downside to the team. It would have been better to call it “High upside/High downside.”

  • Hawkman54

    I always look forward to new articles and info on 12th man- Thank you for spending your time. I understand most of this draft if not the players taken. Hope JS gets a Gold star down the road , but it makes you cock your head and go HMmm .