Looking Back: 2005 Draft


Posted by: Shaun Dolence

As mentioned in a previous post, after identifying some draft trends that have been established since Tim Ruskell became general manager, I was going to look back at preceding drafts. I’ll post year by year, and we’ll see if we can notice anything that may be helpful in predicting what direction the Seahawks will go in this year. It’ll also be fun to see how each draft turned out.

The 2005 draft was the first for Ruskell as the Seahawk’s general manager. A look back on the picks that were made the draft before the Hawks unforgettable Super Bowl run:

Pick (Overall)PlayerSchoolPosition
Round 1
26Chris SpencerMississippiCenter
Round 2
45Lofa TatupuUSCMiddle Linebacker
Round 3
85David GreeneGeorgiaQuarterback
98Leroy HillClemsonOutside Linebacker
Round 4
105Ray WillisFlorida StateOffensive Tackle
Round 5
159Jeb HuckebaArkansasDefensive End
Round 6
196Tony JacksonIowaRunning Back
Round 7
235Cornelius WorthamAlabamaOutside Linebacker
254Doug NienhuisOregon StateGuard

Initially, the Seahawk’s 2005 draft was met with some criticism – they failed to address their need at defensive end and traded up in the second round to “reach” for a “slightly undersized and slow” linebacker.

Scouts were quickly mistaken, however, as Lofa Tatupu proved to be an integral part of the defense that year, and now number 51 jerseys can be seen all over Qwest Field every Sunday.

The Seahawks traded down (possibility this year?) in the first round and settled for Chris Spencer, a center from Ole Miss who was the best player available according to their draft board. This set of events was triggered by the top defensive ends being selected before the Seahawk’s first choice – Erasmus James to Minnesota, Marcus Spears to Dallas, and David Pollack to Cincinnati. The Seahawks also had needs at linebacker and cornerback, but had recently signed Jamie Sharper and Andre Dyson, so they could afford to wait until later rounds to address those positions.

Although this draft does verify some draft trends for Tim Ruskell (big schools, best available, high effort players, etc), he does break on one tendency. Chris Spencer had declared early for the draft, and only started at center for one year at Mississippi. As we’ve seen in more recent drafts, Ruskell prefers players who’ve started, or at least contributed, throughout their collegiate careers. This was not the case for Spencer, who has yet to become the impact player the Seahawks envisioned when they selected him in the first round (insert Crabtree comparison here).

The 2005 draft was considered by many to be very conservative; the Seahawks didn’t do anything great, but also didn’t make any poor decisions. A lot of scouts graded the Seahawks fairly neutral, and somewhere around the average (B-C).

Looking back, this draft gets an A-. I’ll give Chris Spencer benefit of the doubt, and assume the jury is still out on his progression as a starting center in the NFL. Lofa Tatupu ended up being value in the second round. Tatupu, plus the addition of Leroy Hill in the third round, has solidified our linebackers since then, and in the foreseeable future. Ray Willis has proven to be a capable backup, and may develop into a starter somewhere down the road. The other picks, most notably David Greene, did not turn out as expected.

2005 Draft Outcome:

Chris Spencer: Highest center drafted in franchise history, only the third center to be taken in the first round since 1993. Spencer became the starting center after Robbie Tobeck announced his retirement, and has started 27 games in two seasons since.
Lofa Tatupu: An absolute steal in the second round; a perfect fit in our defense. 430 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, and 9 interceptions in 63 career games. Tatupu has been the starter at middle linebacker since his rookie season, and has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times.
David Greene: Never played an NFL game; was the third quarterback listed on the depth chart until his release from the team in 2007. Greene moved on to join other teams (Patriots, Chiefs, Colts), and ultimately retired in January 2009.
Leroy Hill: Another steal, and arguably the best linebacker for the Seahawks last year. 329 tackles, 13.5 sacks (7.5 his rookie season), and 6 forced fumbles in 56 games. Has contributed every season since his rookie year, and is currently facing the prospect of free agency.
Ray Willis: Has played on the offensive line in 21 games, including 10 starts this past season. Willis was mostly inactive his first few years, although he did contribute some on special teams. Scheduled to become a free agent; likely will re-sign with Seattle after proving to be a capable backup.
Jeb Huckeba: Never played an NFL game; released in 2006 after failing a physical. Huckeba missed his entire rookie season with stress fractures in both feet.
Tony Jackson: Waived following the 2005 preseason; spent time with the Giants and Raiders after his short time in Seattle.
Cornelius Wortham: Played in 8 games, mostly on special teams. Wortham was released prior to the 2006 season.
Doug Nienhuis: Cleared waivers and signed to the practice squad in 2005; signed and actived later by the New York Jets. Nienhuis spent a short amount of time with the Broncos and was released in March of last year.