Posted by: Shaun Dolence
The 2006 NFL Draft took place shortly after a heartbreaking loss to Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL. In the same off-season, Seattle lost Steve Hutchinson to Minnesota in what could have been the biggest personnel blunder in franchise history, and saw big name additions in Nate Burleson (3rd round pick surrendered to Minnesota) and Julian Peterson. For the draft, help to their defense was going to be a definite priority.
Although the Seahawks had some needs developing in some areas, they were determined to select the best athlete available. In an ideal scenario, the best player available when they picked 31st overall would fit a position of need. Drafting by this strategy has worked well in the past, bringing players like Shaun Alexander and Steve Hutchinson to Seattle. Both played integral roles in the run to Super Bowl XL.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, the 2006 draft class was unusually deep at the cornerback position, and Seattle definitely needed to bring help to the defensive backfield. Here is a look at the players drafted by Seattle that year:
This time around, Ruskell seemed to receive less criticism than the year before. Maybe after finding gems in Tatupu and Hill after the first round, Seahawks fans had more confidence in Ruskell and his staff. Analysts from all over were grading the Seahawk’s draft above average, with most grades close to B. Nothing spectacular happened, but definitely a good day for the Hawks.
The Seahawks draft was relatively easy to predict, with some writers such as The News Tribune’s Mike Sando predicting Kelly Jennings in the first round. This was because it was well documented the Seahawks were going to select the best available player, and this draft was extraordinarily deep in positions that matched the Hawk’s needs.
Some were surprised that the Seahawks went with Kelly Jennings, especially after Virginia Tech cornerback Jimmy Williams unexpectedly dropped to the bottom of the first round. There were also other cornerback prospects available, and Boston College defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka fell into their hands. It was a perfect scenario for the Seahawks, who decided instead to go with the small cornerback from Miami.
Tim Ruskell definitely showed his true colors in this draft – he stayed away from drafting to address needs, showed preference in players who contributed throughout their collegiate careers, put a definite premium on character and work ethic, and showed bias towards big college programs.
Looking back at the 2006 draft, I would still give a B grade. Kelly Jennings and Darryl Tapp have both contributed as starters, and although neither has solidified a starting spot, they have both shown great potential since their rookie seasons. Rob Sims looked like a steal on draft day, and has developed into a starting guard. He has been slowed a bit by injuries, but still has potential to become a good player in the NFL. The other picks, albeit later rounds, never developed into major contributors.
2006 Draft Outcome:
Kelly Jennings: He has played in every game since the Seahawks drafted him, including 23 starts. Jennings has tallied 137 total tackles, 29 passes defensed, and only 1 interception. Has yet to separate himself as the starting cornerback opposite Trufant, however, and was replaced last year by Josh Wilson. Jennings is consistently criticized for his size, or lack thereof, weighing in at 180 pounds at best.
Darryl Tapp: Has also played in every game since he was drafted, starting 27, including all 16 games in 2007. Like Jennings, Tapp has been unable to separate himself as a starting defensive end, and has shared time with 2008 first round pick Lawrence Jackson. Career totals include 137 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and 2 interceptions.
Rob Sims: Has played in 31 games, and started every game of the 2007 season. Was placed on injured reserved after suffering a torn pectoral muscle early in the 2008 season. Although Sims has appeared get overpowered by bigger linemen at times, he shows a lot of potential and should develop into a solid starter if he stays healthy.
David Kirtman: The first fullback selected in the 2006 NFL Draft, Kirtman spent his first season on the Seahawk’s practice squad. Released before the 2008 season, Kirtman has spent time on the practice squads of San Diego, San Francisco, and New Orleans.
Ryan Plackemeier: Immediately stepped in and handled the punting duties for the Seahawks in 2006. Consistently displaying a powerful leg and the ability to pin opposing teams deep in their own territory, Plackemeier suffered a pectoral injury before the 2008 season and apparently never recovered. After a poor outing in the 2008 season opener, Plackemeier was released – later spent time with Washington, and was recently claimed off waivers by Cincinnati.
Ben Obomanu: Spent the 2006 season on the practice squad. Made the active roster out of training camp in 2007, and caught 12 balls for 180 yards and a touchdown. Was supposed to compete for additional playing time in 2008, but broke his collarbone in the preseason and was placed on injured reserve.