Best No. 16 picks in NFL history should have Seahawks fans thrilled about 2024 draft

Seattle has only had one pick at 16 in the history of the franchise.

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The Seattle Seahawks currently have the number 16 pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Only once before has Seattle had the 16th pick and that did not go well. Seattle chose quarterback Dan McGwire in 1991 and that was a waste.

But there is hope that Seattle, should they stick at pick 16 and not trade back (or up as that is a possibility), could draft a potentially great player. While 16 has not produced a ton of great players, there were two Hall of Famers chosen then. Five of the better 16s are as follows.

To be fair, Seattle will probably move back in an attempt to pick up a second-round choice. The team only has one first-round pick currently and then one in the third round. Adding selections would be better than sticking at pick 16.

Past number 16 picks that should give Seattle Seahawks fans hope in the 2024 draft

Jevon Kearse, Tennessee Titans (1999)

The Florida edge rusher was known as the Freak and for good reason. His raw athleticism was immense and he was immediately impactful for the Tennessee Titans. In his rookie season, he had 14.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. Both numbers would be the best of his career. Still, Kearse had double-digit sacks in each of his first three seasons in the league. Perhaps more astonishing, Kearse also forced 8 fumbles as a rookie on his way to winning the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year honor.

Beginning in his fourth year, Kearse would begin to have injury issues sporadically throughout the remainder of his career and never made another Pro Bowl. Overall, he did have six seasons with at least 7.5 sacks and six years where he forced at least 3 fumbles. He did not develop into a Hall of Famer but he was great early in his career.

Raymond Clayborn, New England Patriots (1977)

The cornerback from Texas did not get a chance to start in his first season but still in limited snaps had a safety, a fumble recovery, and a sack. His production was enough to make him into a full-time start in year two and he would stay that way for the next 13 seasons. He had five years where he had at least 4 interceptions with a career-high of 6 in 1985. That season would also be the Patriots' first appearance in the Super Bowl with no small thanks to Clayborn for helping his team get there.

He made three Pro Bowls and got a vote for Defensive Player of the Year in 1983. This was out of respect for teams simply not throwing the ball his way very much. He got a vote for being the best defensive player even though he did not have an interception, sack, or fumble recovery. That is how dominant he was as a cornerback during the middle of his career.

Russ Francis, New England Patriots (1975)

I guess during the mid-1970s the Patriots knew what they were doing with pick 16. They took Clayborn but two years before that they chose a tight end out of Oregon. Had Francis played in the current era, his receiving numbers likely would have been much higher. Tight ends were used more as blockers and occasionally caught a pass or three. But Francis made the most of what he got and averaged 15 yards a reception with New England over eight years.

He never caught more than 41 passes for the Patriots, however. He did play parts of six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers but his high in receptions was 44 with San Francisco. He was a good blocker but fast he caught the ball. Had he played now, he would probably have around 80 receptions every year and more than 1,000 yards receiving every season.

Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers (1985)

Rice was good enough at Mississippi Valley State, a little-known college, where he was worthy of being chosen in the first round. Of course, if there was a re-draft, he would have gone number one as Rice turned out to be arguably the greatest receiver in the history of the NFL. He is still far ahead of number two Larry Fitzgerald in terms of all-time receiving yards (Rice had 22,895), and receptions (1,549), and is 41 ahead of number Randy Moss in all-time receiving touchdowns (197).

Rice is also the only player on this list to have played at any point for the Seahawks. He did so in his final year where he played 11 games for Seattle and had 25 receptions for 362 yards and 3 touchdowns. His best year might have been 1995 with the 49ers when he had 122 catches for 1,848 yards, but in just 12 games in 1987, he had 22 touchdown catches. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers (2003)

The USC product is the second Hall of Famer on this list and he was inducted in 2020. His final two years in college he played under Pete Carroll who, of course, would eventually leave USC for the Seahawks. Polamalu didn't start his rookie season but he still made an impact and proved his versatility with being good in coverage but being able to blitz as well. He had 2 sacks in very limited snaps.

Beginning in his second season (2004), Polamalu would begin a run of making the Pro Bowl in seven of eight seasons and being named First-or-Second-Team All-Pro in six of eight years. Twice he had seasons with 5 or more interceptions and in 2013 he forced 5 fumbles. He was extremely disruptive and a great leader on his teams.

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