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Deja boo. Hours passed by as one franchise-altering talent after another went off the board in the first round. There were quick twitchers, tough thumpers, game breakers all being plucked from the candy box. The box was finally passed to the Seahawks, with some surprising choices left to pluck, and they waved it off. It was a move that was hard to argue with as there were so many good options remaining and by delaying gratification just a bit longer, they could gorge themselves on candy in the third round. Soon after, they were handed the box again with many of the same great choices left. Huzzah! More like harrumph. Seattle undoubtedly showed discipline and were rewarded with tremendous value by trading out of the first round entirely. They started the day with five of the top 106 picks in this draft, and ended it with seven of the top 111 picks. I might be dancing a jig if not for four years of mixed, but mostly disappointing, draft results. The truth is this team needs a injection of field-tilting talent. There is only one Reuben Foster, one Ryan Ramczyk. The Seahawks draft philosophy implies they know better and coach better than the rest of the league. Time to prove it.

Last season left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t like the way the team handled adversity. I didn’t like the pillow fighting pass-heavy offense. I certainly did not like the injuries and lack of depth ready to step in and step up. Most of those things can be tied back to a series of hollow offseasons that included oodles of draft choices. Remember when a Seahawks scout compared Kevin Pierre-Louis to NaVarro Bowman? How about when Seattle took Paul Richardson in a draft laden with receiver talent ahead of names like Davante Adams, Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, and Martavis Bryant? Or when they traded their first round pick and more for Percy Harvin instead of drafting Xavier Rhodes, DeAndre Hopkins, Alec Ogletree, Travis Frederick, Matt Elam, Kawann Short, or Le’Veon Bell?

I really do understand the logic and appeal of moving back three spots from 31 to 34 to gain a fourth round pick as the Seahawks did. There is just a flaw in that logic that seems to be missed. Good players do not make teams great. Great players make teams great. Super Bowls are won by teams with dominant attributes shaped by match-up nightmares. These are the guys who keep opposing coaches up at night trying to figure out how, by some miracle, he can keep those players from completely wrecking his game plan. Like it or not, those kinds of talents are not easily hidden. Sure, we hear about steals every year from the second round all the way through to undrafted free agents. But betting each year that the rest of the league is going to miss on that greatness 32 times on day one of the draft starts to feel like hubris more than clever at some point. Unless, that is, that you repeatedly prove your wisdom.

John Schneider and Pete Carroll proudly proclaimed that they did not have to give up “their guy” to move down. Schneider often talks about the notion that they scout for their team, not for the rest of the league. What he means is that the Seahawks offensive and defensive systems require players of certain shapes, sizes, and skills that may not necessarily match what other teams value. That is how they wound up with guys like Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor in the fifth round many moons ago. There is not a lot of evidence to support that of late. Remember when we all reveled in the “draft experts” panning the Seahawks drafts only to see star after star emerge?

 

Name the last surprise hit the Seahawks found in the draft.

 

It was not Frank Clark. His talent was recognized immediately. There were simply off-field concerns. It was not Tyler Lockett. Every football fan across the league seemed to recognize his value as soon as the selection was made. It was not C.J. Prosise, who like Lockett, elicited cheers from draft experts and groans from Seahawks opposing fans right away. I don’t think the Seahawks have “out-thought” the rest of league on a draft pick since 2012.

Schneider and Carroll seem to have settled into a rhythm where they target their guys and will move down if they think they can still grab one of them down the board. When a guy like Foster or Ramczyk fall in their laps, they do not alter course. When a guy like Jonathan Allen falls down to 17, after being generally recognized as a top five pick, they do not alter course. Sometimes, the right answer when a great player falls to you, is to open your arms wide and welcome him to the fold, even if you have greater needs elsewhere. There are even times when it is worth reducing your total draft choices in order to move up in the first round and get a game-changer. Seattle has given away first round picks for Harvin and Jimmy Graham. Why not give up a future first on a rare occasion when fortune smiles on you with a surprise fall of some blue chipper?

I won’t sit here and pound the table that what the Seahawks did on day one of this draft was wrong. I also will not sit here and kneel at the altar of John and Pete, blindly approving every move they make. The same way they ask their players to prove it year in and year out, we should all ask the same of them. I am fairly certain that if a player had performances equivalent to the last four offseasons for the Seahawks, they would be on the outside looking in. Harsh, but true. I still believe this is one of the best front offices in the NFL, just like I still believe this is one of the best teams in the NFL, but this draft represents a crossroads for this franchise. The arrow has clearly pointed down the last two seasons. It will take Schneider’s best work today and tomorrow to flip that trend. Greatness demands it.

23 Responses

  1. Bobby Rydell

    It’s quantity over quality again. Long shots R Us. And pretty good players.

    Sherman and Kam were so five years ago.

    Trade down in the first and up in the fifth. Irregardless. A non flexible approach.

    Players 100% accountable /coaches not.

    Thanks for assembling a great team, JS & PC. Too bad the OC and OL Coach are a long, long way from good enough. And all the fallout that implies.

    I no longer kneel at the altar, either.

    Thanks for the run, PC & JS. But that Dynasty — wave bye-bye.

    • Kevin goodwin

      I completely agree w this article there is no evidence that these guys know something that the others dont and the talk has grown tiresome their ways are simply learned from others not named Belechik
      Thus we know the risks are too high w so called Seahawk way

    • Kevin goodwin

      While first rounders may not be worth their money historically what is equally clear is that the odds decline as you move down the draft and it takes superior coaching to win w low rounders UDFAs
      Which we don’t really have

    • Craig

      Well said! It is so true, Sherman and Kam was a longtime ago! They’ve tried to out think everyone and themselves and it has been pretty mediocre the last 4 years!

  2. Mark Stratton

    Thanks Brian and welcome back. I couldn’t agree more. When they traded back the first time I applauded. When they passed on Ramczyk I started to feel the same as you. If they trade down from 34 today I’m turning the Mariners game on.

  3. Stan

    The missing piece from those mid-late round draft successes we had and our recent mid-late round draft drought is Scot Mccloughan. His skill at evaluating talent is uncanny and was the both the key to those great draft years and the reason the Redskins made him their GM. It appears that he is still fighting his alcohol addiction, which is a loss for the football world.

  4. Belay

    i always believe those two men!
    they are the greatest!
    We need to relax and see what they are doing.
    @the end of the day we all smiles!!!
    Go seahawks!!

  5. Roger H

    Great post and I feel very much the same as you, Brian. I have two questions:

    Do you feel that this is a draft where trading down is a right thing to do because it is so deep? I keep hearing how deep the whole draft class is; specifically regarding DBs, DL, and WRs. We do have needs there.

    Question #2: We have a run of 5 picks in the late 3rd/early 4th rounds. What positions do you think we’ll draft with those 5 picks (barring more trades)

  6. Crispy

    Thanks Brian for voicing our frustration.
    Frustration based on the last few years of history.

    My “Go Hawks” is still there, I just don’t have the same confidence I once had.

    Sad

  7. Chris

    If the Seahawks get Robinson and Baker in this round I’m going to think trading down was brilliant strategy

  8. Byron Masterson

    Love your articles but I don’t think I agree with you this time Brian. Seahawks have moved up in the past for what they considered can’t miss but the guys you listed fell for a reason. Both Allen and Ramczyk had injury concerns. There are still a number of very good prospects on the board and they got a lot in return for their decision to move down. I will say I agree with your evaluation that in the past they’ve missed on some trades but right now I only see upside with their moves. To change their philosophy for one guy, I just don’t see them doing that.

    • Mark Dewees

      I think the frustration is coming more from the fact that always eschew the 1st round and go for quantity over quality. This year the trades may work out as there is plenty of talent in the 2nd and 3rd. But that does not change that the last 4 years it has worked out less often than it should. Sometimes you have grab the talent that there for. I do agree with your assessment of Ram though. But they still make picks that work out.

  9. Lee

    Eureka–finally, a Hawk fan dares to question the unqestionable! So, my wife took me to the Ferrari dealership last week for my birthday and offered me any car on the lot. Being a loyal Hawk fan and follower, I promptly walked her across the street to get us 2 Ford trucks–solid, reliable rigs. Now, we both have good trucks. What a smart, brilliant guy am I? Make the wife happy and get a truck! Yet…that guy driving my Ferrari still kicks our asses at the stop light, again and again. (Hint: Ferrari=studs who have the ability to stop the other teams’ Ferraris from killing our Ferrari QB. Ford trucks just can’t keep up…)

  10. Jim Robertson

    I wanted to see us take Kevin King with our 1st round pick. we pick second today and he’s still there along with 3 extra picks in the draft. If they pull this off then I tip my cap to them.

    • Mark Dewees

      And now he is a Packer. Thats just awesome 🙁

  11. Jay

    They moved down 2 picks with the trade to the niners and got more picks. How much less value is that. first round second round doesnt matter look at the pick number. Prolly already got a guy in mind and were safe to move. You are way too near sighted. Also frank clark and locket were rnd 3 of 2015. We pick guys that fit.

  12. Brad

    Well, I am a little shocked and surprised how sour you have become during this last year. You sound like my wife when she’ s hungry, haha. I will wait and see, and yes, I may praise the two architects once the building is done. See what they are setting up to do. We will see how they follow through. Usually you pick me up…not today.

  13. SikhHawk

    1st SB win was awesome, & not possible without Harvin who terrified a good Broncos D backed up by the greatest ever offence led by the greatest ever QB, with those two jet sweeps & TD run. Would La’veon Bell or Kawann Short have had the same effect?

    Last years draft could prove great, recall what CJP did to SB winners Pats. Russ was a 3rd rounder. Even 2nd Britt almost made the pro bowl. PRich finally caught fire in the PO’s.

    We can still get the Budda, a CB King & Forrest Gump…Lump…Lamp.

    The last 2 years since Okung failed to block for the Beast’s TD run on the play before the Butler INT, have been frustrating, but come on 12’s, to get 7 picks in the first 111 is awesome. Even if just 3 rookies from the last two drafts become PBer’s will win us the next two SB’s.

  14. Uncle Bob

    Whew! Nothing like a Seahawk draft performance to peg the angst meter! I was away from any media stream during day two activity so missed the blow by blow bewilderment, only to read the summary comments at late evening when the deeds were done.

    My initial reaction is well reflected in Brians remarks above. But then, everything depends on context, and maybe we fans haven’t framed our view of management correctly. Several of us around here have used the word “hubris” to describe our perspective of the management/coaching team. Perhaps we just don’t understand where they think they are. They have won their Super Bowl rings, that puts them in an elite club. Maybe they don’t think they need to win another, just play in their little football laboratory with some crazy notions they’ve fostered for years……….see what happens when you mix this with that sort of thing. Okay…………….I’m rationalizing here…………..mainly because I share the frustration.

    It sounds, in post pick commentary, that PC/JS are crossing their fingers big time over McDowell. Quotes from their phone call to the lad make it sound almost like begging….”…remember our pep talk, don’t embarrass us.” Okay, the kid is only 20 and likely has some more maturing to do. Yep, he’s got talent, but all of the indicators lean most heavily toward this being a river boat gambler play. Statistically the draft is pretty much a 50/50 crap shoot anyway, so maybe it’s not so crazy, but still…………………. The other day I saw a stat attributed to Elias that there were more UDFA players on active rosters last week than first and second round picks combined. PC/JS have a pretty good record with those UDFA choices. But still………….. The Pocic choice is a bewilderment to me, but on the positive side his choice now pushes the complaints about over drafting Britt to the second round waaayyy back. The rest of the choices? We’ll see.

    Every year fresh talent is brought into this NFL market, and hope springs eternal. Teams add this or that potential super star and each is perceived to be the silver bullet that elevates their team to the upper echelons of the league. But rarely does that happen as the fans dream. Sad sack teams usually remain sad sack teams even when they add high first round talent……………….until they get some meaningful change in management and coaching talent and philosophy. The Hawks made that transition a few years ago and it paid off. It appears the Titans are on that path now, and have displayed a three year improvement curve. Not by acquiring that singular silver bullet solution, but rather by a steady positive building block approach. The Falcons and a couple others could be added to that list. Once a team gets there it gets harder to stay at the top (with the exception of one team that will not be named). The choices for the Hawks have been made, now it’s time for the coaches to make it all work………………..hopefully they have the skills to be successful, but doubting is not unwarranted. We’ll see…………..it could be a long season.

    • Josiah White

      Malik McDowell is way less of a “river boat gambler” play than Frank Clark was, and Clark worked out just fine. Both McDowell and Pocic did better the year before than they did last year. Other than that, I know little about Pocic.

      McDowell would almost certainly have been a top 10 pick if he had come out the year before. But Mark Dantonio talked him into staying an extra year, basically promising Malik that the coming year would be the Spartans’ year to shine, but only if Malik stayed with the team. So how do you think Malik felt about Dantonio’s promise as the year went on, and MSU slid further into mediocrity?

      It was hard for Malik to keep putting forth the effort to excel, knowing that he made the wrong decision to stay in college ball for another year. But why would this get all of you to question that Malik has that game-changing greatness? He had it the year before last. And there’s no reason why he won’t have it again in the future.

      Malik’s got a strange body for a DT, tall and relatively lean. Yet he can stand firm against the run every bit as well as Jarran Reed can. In rushing the passer, he’s basically got only one excellent move (whether lining up as DT or DE), and that’s to fake left and go right. However, he certainly has the ability to learn from folks like Bennett and Avril how to also fake right and go left. And he also certainly has the ability to learn the art of the speedy, powerful bull rush from Frank Clark. When he adds these other moves to his repertoire, there’s nothing he won’t be able to accomplish.

      My only question is whether he’ll eventually be seen as worth a top-10 pick, or whether he should have been picked first overall. I believe that eventually the only front 7 defenders in the entire NFL who will be mentioned as better than Malik will be JJ Watt and Khalil Mack. Malik will be in the HoF some day. He’s the best draft pick the Hawks have made since Russell Wilson.

  15. Steve

    Trade very good players for many average players. WOW what a trade. Still depending on Cable creating great offensive linemen which usually fails like last year.