Seahawks can blame Pete Carroll for not matching 49ers rankings

Seattle has lately has more productive drafts but in the late 2010s, the Seahawks had some issues.
Rashaad Penny for the Seattle Seahawks
Rashaad Penny for the Seattle Seahawks / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

Since 2015, the Seattle Seahawks have had eight picks in the first round of NFL drafts. Seattle's NFC West rival, the San Francisco 49ers, has had ten picks. This is important to note because theoretically, Seattle could have had just as productive first-round choices as San Francisco. They haven't, though, and there is a vast difference.

In fact, the 49ers making better selections with their first picks in the draft is one reason that the 49ers have lately ruled the NFC West while the Seahawks have sunk to third. For every pick that turned out to be Rashaad Penny for Seattle (chosen at 27 in 2018), San Francisco took Brandon Aiyuk (chosen at 25 in 2020). Sure, San Francisco had a greater number of extremely high picks, but Seattle failed to take advantage of most of the first-round choices they did have.

This offseason, there have been many on social media ahead of the 2024 NFL draft that implied general manager John Schneider could not have another bad draft. The truth is that while Schneider has been the GM of the Seahawks since 2010, he did not have the final say over roster moves or who got taken in the draft. Former head coach and Vice President of Football Operations Pete Carroll did.

The 49ers have been better than the Seahawks with first-round picks over the last decade

However the picks from 2024 turn out, Schneider can accept full blame or credit. Prior to 2024, the blame or credit goes toward Carroll. For much of the late 2010s, Carroll's first-round draft choices caused the team to hurt long-term. Seattle took Germain Ifedi in 2016, Rashaad Penny in 2018, L.J. Collier in 2019, and Jordyn Brooks in 2020. None of those players are still with the team. Most were not consistently good.

Meanwhile, the 49ers chose players such Arik Armstead in 2015, DeForest Buckner in 2016, Nick Bosa in 2019, and Aiyuk in 2020. Bosa and Aiyuk are still with the 49ers and are elite players.

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Pro Football Focus (subscription required) recently released a ranking of the best picks at each slot in the first round since 2015. As one might assume, Seattle has no picks listed. The 49ers have two: Bosa at pick two overall, and Aiyuk at choice 25 overall. (The Baltimore Ravens have three players listed so if new head coach Mike Macdonald gets an eventual say in who the Seahawks choose, maybe some of the Ravens magic will rub off on Seattle's drafts.)

Speaking of Macdonald, he replaced Carroll. Carroll needed to go because his defenses had become terrible and the team was stuck in mediocrity. Had Carroll made smarter choices with his first-round selections, though, he might still have his job.

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