Seahawks all-time undrafted free agent defensive squad
The Seahawks have practically made an art form of finding undrafted talent. Here’s a look at the all-time best gems on the defensive side of the ball.
First, the ground rules. No players who were initially signed by another team count. I just want to clarify I’m not talking about players who were undrafted and initially signed by another team. So no Brandon Browner. The Seahawks had to be the first team to sign the player, not the Denver Broncos or the Houston Gamblers or even the Hampton Roads Raging Storm.
Second, while it would have been easier to cheat, I didn’t rationalize that an 11th round draft pick in the 80’s would have been an undrafted free agent today. Sorry, Dwayne Harper fans, he’s ineligible for the list.
Finally, all of the following links for player stats go to the excellent pro-football-reference.com. For the complete roster of every player to ever wear the Seahawks uniform, I suggest a visit to the Football Database, footballdb.com. While its statistics for tackles are not as complete as the previous site, it does have its charms. Such as draft status. Or undrafted status, for each of the following great Seahawks.
Defensive End: Michael Bennett. Come on now, you aren’t a bit surprised at this. If you’re a new 12, don’t be fooled by the stats beginning with Tampa Bay. Bennett was signed by Seattle in 2009, played some preseason ball, but was waived in October of that year.
Defensive Tackle: Joe Nash. 169 starts, 47.5 sacks, and even a pick six. Almost forgot to mention he holds the club record with 218 total games. Not a bad fifteen years.
Defensive Tackle: Riddick Parker. In his four seasons as a Seahawk, he made 19 starts and chipped in three sacks and 54 tackles.
Defensive End: Randy Edwards. Edwards didn’t make the Pro Bowl like many of his teammates here, but he did play four years in the NFL. He got four starts, and had 16 career sacks. The amazing thing is he had 10.5 of those sacks in his second season, before he ever started a game.
OLB: Rufus Porter. In his first two seasons Porter played in the Pro Bowl both years. He recorded no sacks as a rookie, then apparently decided that sounded like fun. Over the next four seasons he dropped the quarterback 35 times. Beastly.
ILB: David Hawthorne. He played four years with the Seahawks and earned his first start in his sophomore season. 253 tackles, seven interceptions and six sacks in basically three years is pretty tasty for an undrafted kid.
OLB: Greg Gaines. A safety at the University of Tennessee, the Seahawks moved Gaines to linebacker where he thrived. Teammate Steve Largent said of him, “I would say pound for pound, there was nobody tougher than Greg Gaines.”
Proto Legion of Boom
CB: Jordan Babineaux. I’ll admit I skirted the edge here. Babineaux played a lot of safety, but it’s not like he just got three series in at corner. Not Tony Romo’s favorite player for obvious reasons.
CB: DeShawn Shead. I am fully aware Shead may never earn his starting gig back. It’s not my fault the Seahawks drafted Harper in the 11th round back in ’88, or I’d have him here. Not knocking Shead, but just compare their stats.
FS: Eugene Robinson. Three seasons over 100 tackles, three more over 90. Two Pro Bowl appearances and 42 interceptions, and that doesn’t even count his years in the wilderness of Green Bay and Atlanta.
SS: Jay Bellamy. He did play a lot of free safety, but like any good Seahawk, he was versatile. Let’s be honest; if Pete Carroll had his way, everybody on the Seahawks could block, catch, pass, and be a certified SCUBA instructor and EMT in their spare time.
I don’t know how you feel about it, but that’s not a bad defense at all. You have a couple of beasts on the line, major hitters behind them, and some great ballhawks in the defensive backfield. Is this group as good as the current Seahawks? Of course not. But without a single drafted player, it’s a heck of a unit.
Special bonus no-prize if you spot the ringer
Mea culpa, 12s. I cheated, just a little. I didn’t follow my own criteria for one player. What can I say, some of the positions were a little thin, and I really didn’t want to list a guy with no starts and practically no stats. I fudged a bit. Hit us up with the player that didn’t *quite* belong, and we will sing your praises eternally. Or for at least a few hours.