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On this date: Defense dominates Eagles

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks’ history that occurred on Sept. 6:

1992 – The Bengals beat the Seahawks 21-3 at the Kingdome in Tom Flores’ first game as coach. John Kasay’s 40-yard field goal provides the Seahawks’ only points, as Kelly Stouffer is sacked six times and the Bengals return fumbles 75 and 22 yards for touchdowns.

1998 – The Seahawks open their season with a 36-0 victory over the Eagles in Philadelphia. The defense collects nine sacks – 2.5 by Michael Sinclair – and Shawn Springs returns an interception 42 yards for a touchdown in the Seahawks’ first shutout since Week 14 of the 1986 season. On offense, Ahman Green rushes for 100 yards on only six carries and Warren Moon throws two TD passes to Joey Galloway.


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And the best first-round pick is …

The nattering nabobs of negativity delight in kicking the Seahawks for the first-round draft choices they have wasted on a trio of quarterbacks – Dan McGwire in 1991 (Chuck Knox wanted Brett Favre, Ken Behring wanted McGwire); Rick Mirer in 1993 (an influential member of the scouting department assured everyone there was no need to trade up a spot to take Drew Bledsoe with the first overall pick); and the 1989 first-round pick they traded to the Cardinals for the right to Kelly Stouffer, who was drafted by St. Louis in 1987 but refused to sign with the Arizona-bound club).

In addition to the franchise’s daft in the draft, however, there have been even more deft moves in the first round.

Just check this lineup: Jacob Green in 1980; Kenny Easley in 1981; Curt Warner in 1983; John L. Williams in 1986; Cortez Kennedy in 1990; Joey Galloway in 1995; Shawn Springs and Walter Jones in 1997; Shaun Alexander in 2000; Steve Hutchinson in 2001; Marcus Trufant in 2003; and Earl Thomas in 2010.

All but Galloway ended up playing in the Pro Bowl – with Jones going nine times and Kennedy eight times. One is the only player in franchise history to be voted league MVP – Alexander in 2005. Two were voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year – Easley in 1984, Kennedy in 1992. Four are in the team’s 10-member Ring of Honor – Green, Easley, Warner and Kennedy. Eight were voted to the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team – Green, Easley, Kennedy, Springs, Jones, Alexander, Hutchinson and Trufant.

One is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – Kennedy. Another will end up there – Jones.

But who is the best of the best – or crème de la crème, if you will?

This eight-day exercise to determine the team’s top pick in each round of the draft started because someone at NFL.com listed the best first-round picks in the 32 spots. The only Seahawk on that list was Walter Jones (at No. 6), so it’s difficult to argue that he isn’t the team’s best first-rounder, as well.

Jones played at a Pro Bowl level – no, an All-Pro level – from the first day he stepped on the field in a Seahawks uniform as a rookie in 1997 to his final game in 2008. In between, there were those nine Pro Bowl berths, six All-Pro selections and in 2006 he was named the top player in the league by The Sporting News. Not the best lineman, the best player. Period.

The Seahawks already have retired his No. 71 jersey and he will be the next player inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.

Connect the dots between all that, and it creates a portrait of the best first-round draft choice in franchise history. Longevity. Productivity. Durability. Dominance. That was Walter Jones.


And the best fifth-round pick is …

The fifth round of the NFL Draft has been special for the Seahawks.

Special in that they have used those picks to select a couple of Pro Bowl special teams players – return man Bobby Joe Edmonds, who was drafted in 1986 and voted to the AFC all-star team as a rookie; and coverage man Alex Bannister, who was drafted in 2001 and voted to the NFC all-star team in 2003. The fifth round also delivered kick returner Charlie Rogers in 1999.

There also have been a couple of standout defensive players who came to the Seahawks in the fifth round – tackle Rocky Bernard, who was selected 2002 and started 55 games in seven seasons; and strong safety Kam Chancellor, who was selected in 2010 and went to the Pro Bowl last season.

But the best of the fifth-round bunch played on offense – left guard Edwin Bailey, who was drafted in 1981, stepped into the lineup as a rookie and started 120 games through the 1991 season.

Bailey’s run with the team began under coach Jack Patera and spanned the tenure of coach Chuck Knox (1983-91). He opened holes for Sherman Smith, Curt Warner, John L. Williams and Derrick Fenner, and provided pass protection for Jim Zorn, Dave Krieg, Kelly Stouffer and Jeff Kemp. Bailey was a key component in the Seahawks’ advancing to the AFC title game in 1983, posting a 12-win season in 1984 and winning their first division title in 1988.

Until Steve Hutchinson was selected in the first round of the 2001 draft, Bailey was the best left guard in franchise history – as evidenced by his selection to the Seahawks’ 25th Anniversary team.

We caught up with Bailey recently, and you can find out what the player his teammates called “Pearl” has been up to here.