Seahawks drafts studs, but can’t match the depth of the early ’10s
We’re now well into the territory of players that are still active. Well, the good ones, anyway. Bear with me as I indulge in a few career projections. Nothing mathy, just my gut feeling, largely based on their performance so far. 2015 brought three good ones to the Hawks.
Their first pick (in the second round) was defensive end Frank Clark. As with so many players that left the Seahawks, his asking price was too rich for Seattle. He’s still crushing it – literally – with the Chiefs. He has 55 sacks and counting. I know the Hawks couldn’t afford to keep him, but the pass rush would look a lot better with him here. His sacks would place him fifth all-time in Seattle.
Even better was their next pick, the amazing Tyler Lockett. He’ll likely pass Doug Baldwin for third all-time in receiving yards in his next game – he only needs 74 yards – and he’s already tied for third in touchdowns. He’s having the quietest great career I’ve ever seen. The Hawks rounded out their excellent draft with guard Mark Glowinski, still opening holes for the surprising New York Giants.
2016 saw another dropoff for the Seahawks brain trust. Guard Germain Ifedi is about done, and DT Jarran Reed has never come close to his spectacular 10.5 sacks 2018 season. Quinton Jefferson has been serviceable, but he’s definitely a rotational player. He’s a good one, but not a star by any means. Let’s move on to 2017, one of the Hawks oddest drafts ever.
Their first-round pick, Malik McDowell, never played a down for Seattle. He finally made it to the league last year in Cleveland, but is currently without a job in the NFL. That tends to happen when you’re arrested for assault for the second time in three years. The picture got a little brighter with Seattle’s second pick, offensive line jack-of-all-trades Ethan Pocic. After five years with the Seahawks, he’s started all six games at center for the Browns this year. He’s been decent, but I don’t think he’ll pan out to warrant inclusion as a major success.
That’s not the case for the Hawks third-round pick, cornerback Shaquill Griffin. After four solid years in Seattle – including a Pro Bowl selection – he’s playing his trade in Jacksonville. While I don’t see him ever becoming a player of the stature of Trufant or Sherman – um, not ever – I do believe he rates as a success story. The Hawks whiffed with their next six picks until they found an absolute gem in running back Chris Carson.
Yeah, yeah, I shouldn’t rate a player on potential – they all have potential, or they wouldn’t be drafted, right? But Carson is a special case. Even with all the injuries, he still ranks eighth in rushing yardage and sixth in touchdowns. Everyone ahead of him was a first-round pick, with the exception of Sherman Smith, second round, and Chris Warren, fourth. If Carson wasn’t a great success story, please tell me what is.
Beginning with 2018, we need to do some major projections. Entering the fifth year for these players, it’s clear that none are bonafide stars. Running back Rashaad Penny is the closest by far, but another injury has set him back for the entire season. If he can return to full health, he promises to be a major threat again with the ball in his hands. But that’s a major “if”.
At this point, TE Will Dissly looks like a better bet to be a major contributor. He’s battled his share of injuries too, but he already has three touchdowns on the year, just one shy of his career best. The one player from the 2018 draft that is a lock for stardom is punter Michael Dickson. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie but somehow hasn’t made it back. Even if Penny makes it back, Dickson is the star of this draft.
I know it’s early, but there’s no doubt that 2019 further tarnished the reputation of Carroll and Schneider. Second-round pick DK Metcalf is clearly a generational talent. He’s only six games into his fourth season, and he already ranks ninth in receiving yards and eighth in scoring. If he continues this season even at his reduced pace – read that as the Hawks didn’t trust Geno Smith to air it out – Metcalf will climb another rung in the ladder for yardage.
Other than DK, it looks pretty grim. After starting all 16 games in 2020, first-round pick L.J. Collier had almost as many healthy scratches in 2021 as appearances. He has yet to get a snap this year, as he’s been on injured reserve all year. Safety Marquise Blair showed equal amounts of game-breaking play and game-killing penalties.
Despite the loss of safety Jamal Adams, the Seahawks have not invited Blair to return. Linebacker Cody Barton looked great in the last two games of 2021, subbing for the injured Bobby Wagner. This year, he’s been completely lost. Travis Homer is the only other player of note from the 2019 draft. While he’s been terrific on special teams and some third-down duty, it’s clear he’s strictly a role player. An important one to be sure, but not a standout.
That gives the latter half of the decade nine winners – and I’m being very generous there- out of 49 picks. The problem is that I’m really reaching on most of those players. Only Clark, Lockett, Dickson, and Metcalf are safe bets to continue their stardom. Overall, the past decade saw the Seahawks hit on 22 of their 97 picks. That’s by far the best decade in Hawks history, but half of those picks came in the first three years of the Carroll-Schneider brain trust. Add that five or even six of those could eventually enter the Hall of Fame, and it’s clear there’s been a major dropoff in their draft.