Russell Wilson a Saint? Marshawn Lynch a Viking? Richard Sherman a Jet? Percy Harvin a Colt?
Say it ain’t so. OK, it’s not – thankfully. But that’s where four of the Seahawks’ best players ended up in Mike Silver’s annual Ultimate Mock Draft at YahooSports.com. And how does his exercise work?
“As always, we take the original draft order and allow each of the league’s 32 teams to select any human in his current physical condition,” Silver wrote. “Obviously, this is an imaginary exercise, though the sentiment behind the selections is absolutely authentic. Many of the league’s top talent evaluators and coaches helped me determine which players would be deemed most valuable in such a scenario. And this year, in some cases, the general manager (or another powerbroker) of the team in question was actually put on the clock before providing me with the hypothetical pick.”
Here’s the rational for how the Seahawks players ended up with other teams:
9. Jets — Richard Sherman, CB: Desperate to win in 2013, embattled coach Rex Ryan makes one, final plea for cornerback Darrelle Revis. Before he can finish the sentence, owner Woody Johnson shuts him down. New general manager John Idzik, formerly the Seahawks’ vice president of football administration, lobbies for Russell Wilson, who went from third-round draft pick to franchise quarterback in a matter of months last season. Johnson, however, pledges loyalty to Mark Sanchez, to whom the team must pay a guaranteed $100 billion dollars in 2013. (Yes, that’s a slight exaggeration. But it does allow me to link to Dr. Evil, so there’s that…) Ever the pragmatist, Johnson comes up with a solution: “How ’bout we take a cornerback and a Seahawk? Everybody wins…” Well, except Revis …
15. Saints — Russell Wilson, QB: The thought of Wilson, who showed exceptional poise and touch in his revelatory rookie season, teaming up with Sean Payton, who spent his year-long suspension conjuring cutting-edge plays the way Tupac summoned a surplus of brilliant rhymes in prison, is downright scary. Together, the preternaturally mature quarterback and the hyper-motivated coach could make beautiful music together in the Crescent City for the next decade. And given his experiences with (Drew) Brees, we know Payton has positive associations with short quarterbacks.
(And why would the Saints need Wilson? Because Silver has Brees going to the Browns at No. 6)
23. Vikings — Marshawn Lynch, RB: With the game’s preeminent running back gone, general manager Rick Spielman gives coach Leslie Frazier the next-best thing. Lynch, while not blessed with
Peterson’s breakaway speed, is a punishing runner who averaged five yards a carry while gaining 1,590 yards for a playoff team. If he can provoke seismic activity in Minneapolis, the man will truly become legendary.
(And why would the Vikings need Lynch? Because Silver has Adrian Peterson going to the Dolphins at No. 12)
24. Colts — Percy Harvin, WR: When the Seahawks traded picks in the first, third and seventh rounds for Harvin last month, it illustrated just how valuable this shifty, explosive receiver is in league circles. Second-year general manager Ryan Grigson can’t resist selecting this game-wrecker with rare skills, though the move is not without risk. Harvin has a history of getting grumpy toward his employers and making his frustrations known, and the fact that the Vikings deemed such a talented weapon to be expendable tells you all you need to know. Then again, Grigson’s willing to take a chance. When you’re the reigning NFL executive of the year, you can afford to swing big.
Also in this mock, the Seahawks get to keep the 25th pick they traded for Harvin. Silver has them selecting …
25. Seahawks — Darnell Dockett, DT: General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, who like to groove out to reggae music in the war room, do some Burnin’ and Lootin‘ of their NFC West rivals’ defensive line. While Dockett had his issues in Arizona last December, incurring a $200,000 fine for conduct detrimental to the team, the confrontation with teammate Kerry Rhodes that got him in trouble spoke to the player’s competitiveness: Dockett vehemently disagreed with the coaches’ directive to let the Jets score on purpose. Carroll can live with that, especially given Dockett’s consistently disruptive and aggressive interior line play.
Head coach Pete Carroll, quarterback Russell Wilson, left tackle Russell Okung, offensive guard John Moffitt, and cornerback Richard Sherman represented the Seahawks’ We Day contingent this morning at Seattle’s Key Arena.
The event, inspired by Craig and Marc Kielburger of Free the Children, motivates the power of youth to create positive change in their local and global communities. The more than 15,000 middle school and high school aged students that packed the arena earned their ticket to We Day through service, taking on local and global initiatives and reporting their progress back to Kielburger and Free The Children.
“The power to change the world is yours to own, but anything this great does not come easy,” Carroll said to the youth on hand. “It takes commitment. We Day has shown you that. It’s shown you that the power is yours, and every one of you has the power. I hope you can feel that today as you share it with your team.”
Wednesday’s gathering marked the first-ever We Day on U.S. soil and included special guests in NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, former Seattle SuperSonics star Gary Payton, recording artist Jennifer Hudson, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and more.
You can watch a live stream of We Day at www.weday.com/webcast
Richard Sherman appeared on the NFL Network’s NFL AM this morning, and the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback had a lot to say on several topics.
Here’s a transcript of the interview:
On the San Francisco 49ers trading for wide receiver Anquan Boldin:
“That was a great move. I was really surprised they got him for a sixth-round pick. I thought the way he played in the postseason and the way he played all season he was worth a lot more than that. But that was a great move by San Francisco and they got a great player who still has a lot of football left.”
On the areas the Seahawks need to address this offseason:
“We have a pretty solid team as we stand; we have a lot of playmakers. Obviously with (Chris) Clemons going down last year with a knee injury, they’re going to probably try to secure that and get some depth there. We let Jason Jones go into free agency so I think the defensive line is where we’re going to pick up some pieces. We have great depth at linebacker and at defensive back. I’ve heard rumors of us picking up a defensive back or two, and obviously I’m always happy for more competition. My teammates are too; whatever makes us better. We just picked up a great weapon on offense but I’m sure Pete (Carroll) and John (Schneider) are going to do whatever they think is best for the team. They’ve done a great job so far.”
On if he expects the Seahawks the highest paid cornerback in the league when he becomes an unrestricted free agent:
“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure. I don’t think I’m the one to comment on that. All I can do is play to the best of my abilities. We have a lot of great players on our team who are obviously going to want the same thing. We have Russell Okung, Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner – we have a lot of great players who are also going to need to make their money and to get compensated for everything they’ve done. Pete (Carroll) and John (Schneider) will do a great job making sure we all stay in Seattle, and whatever that means – if that means me being the highest paid corner – then that’s what it means. If not, then it is what it is.”
On what would interest him the most about the free agency process:
“You see other teams all of the time; you play against them. But you never see organizations for what they are internally. You hear about them through other players and you see them through osmosis; how they treat other players and how they deal with other players. The Seahawks have one of the best organizations and one of the best teams in the way they treat the team and the way they develop our chemistry and treat us like more of a college family atmosphere. That’s why a lot of players who are currently here enjoy playing for Pete (Carroll) and those guys because it’s such a great environment. It’s almost like you’re not in the NFL; we haven’t been exposed to that side of it as much as other players have. I’m appreciative for that and I’m kind of not looking forward to seeing that part of the game.”
LOS ANGELES – Richard Sherman was 10 minutes from the University of Southern California campus, so you just knew the question had to be asked.
And it was, on the last of Sherman’s three appearances Wednesday, when the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback returned to his roots to promote SWAG – Students With a Goal. That final stop was at the Brotherhood Crusade, and the question was one of the last that Sherman fielded on a day when he also appeared at his alma mater, Dominguez High School in Compton, as well as Verbum Dei High School in Watts.
“Why,” came the question, “did you pick Stanford over USC?”
The 45 high school-aged boys in attendance laughed. Sherman just smiled.
“Stanford is one of the best academic schools out there,” he said. “If you look at the Fortune 500 companies – the Googles, the Yahoos, the Apples – you will see Stanford people throughout. They’re some of the smartest people in the world. And that’s not saying anything against SC, at all. SC has great academics. They have great football. They have great everything.”
But the neighborhood university did not afford Sherman the chance to show that a kid from Compton could not only get into Stanford, but graduate and also play football well enough to be selected in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Seahawks.
Ah, the football. “On the football side, I like to be the underdog,” Sherman said. “I don’t like to drive the Ferrari. I want to see the bucket and make it a Ferrari. I like to take it from the ground up.”
Literally, as it turned out.
“My first year, we were 1-11 and it was terrible. It was awful,” he said. “But by the time I left, my senior year we went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl.”
That statement was greeted by applause.
Because Sherman was addressing the smallest of the three groups he faced, he was more direct with his message and in his responses during the Q&A session. He was talking directly to the students, rather than at the assemblies that attached several hundred students at Dominguez and Verbum Dei.
“I believe you’re the ones who are going to change the world,” he told the kids at the Brotherhood Crusade. “And I’m looking forward to seeing you change it.”
LOS ANGELES – Stop Two on the Richard Sherman SWAG (Students With A Goal) Tour took a detour to the Verb.
That would be Verbum Dei High School, an all-boys institution in the Watts area. Before Sherman’s presentation to the 220 students and Q&A session that followed, however, the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback came face-to-face with his past. Again.
Christian Pimentel, a junior at Verbum Dei, first met Sherman as a freshman at Dominguez High in Compton, Sherman’s alma mater and his first stop on Wednesday. Because of that meeting, Sherman became one of Pimentel’s favorite NFL players, so he decided he wanted to attend Stanford University – just like Sherman.
Pimentel’s mother then decided that enrolling her son at Verbum Dei was the best way to help him accomplish this goal.
So there Pimentel was, re-introducing himself to Sherman – who has not forgotten that initial meeting.
“I know that he came from a tough school, so I felt that maybe if I could come here I could possibly do it like he did – get into a good school,” Pimentel said. “I would have stayed at Dominguez, but my mom found out about this school and she wanted to give me a good opportunity to succeed.”
Instead of football, Pimentel is eying a career as a lawyer – and working one day a week at a downtown law firm to fulfill that requirement to attend Verbum Dei.
As for Sherman’s message to the students at Verbum Dei, it followed the same path as the talk he delivered at Dominguez High.
“You guys are more important than anything,” he said. “Including myself.”
COMPTON, Calif. – Apparently you can go home again.
Richard Sherman proved just that on Wednesday, when the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback was the surprise guest speaker during a seniors-only assembly at Dominguez High School. Sherman is a frequent visitor to his alma mater, but this trip was different because he was talking to the 300 students about achieving their goals and fulfilling their dreams – not just to the football players.
“I want them to know that there’s a big world out there and that goals can be achieved and that it really doesn’t matter where you come from or what situation you started from,” Sherman said after the event that was sponsored by SWAG – Students With a Goal.
“Like coach (Pete) Carroll, it kind of goes back to football. He says, ‘It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you finish.’ And it goes back to life. It really does, especially in this regard, because you start from a city where nobody really gives you a chance.”
Sherman made the most of his chances, going from Dominguez High, to Stanford University, to the NFL – as the Seahawks’ fifth-round draft choice in 2011.
“I’m trying to show them there are positive sides to the city,” Sherman said. “There are some building blocks here. There’s a lot more to it. There’s a lot more to them than they even know. And I want them to know that they can achieve anything they put their mind to.”
The assembly turned into a family reunion, as Sherman was joined his mother, Beverly; older brother, Branton; cousins and a niece and a nephew.
But it was the students who were the winners on this day, because of Sherman’s visit and the message he left them with.
“It means a lot of have Richard come back like this,” said Kalan Montgomery, a cornerback on the Dons’ football team who is heading to San Diego State University in the fall. “It shows good character qualities and he’s a real inspiration.”
Sherman also will make stops at Verbum Dei High School and the Brotherhood Crusade later this afternoon.
INDIANAPOLIS – Richard Sherman’s good-natured “feud” with Darrelle Revis over who is the best cornerback in the league has become can’t-avoid TV here at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider was distracted during his podium stint on Thursday by a graphic on the NFL Network comparing the stats of the team’s All-Pro corner to those of the Jets’ Revis. Friday, it was Pete Carroll’s turn, as the Seahawks’ coach was asked about Sherman taking his case to Twitter, TV and seemingly everywhere else.
“It’s obvious that Richard’s got a lot of free time on his hands,” Carroll cracked when asked about Sherman in the hallway at Lucas Oil Stadium after completing his Q&A session in the media center.
Asked if he agreed with Sherman’s contention, Carroll offered, “I haven’t read one word that he’s said. I just see the pictures with the mouth open and I know what’s going on.”
After the laughter subsided, Carroll added, “Richard knows what he’s doing. He’s having fun playing with the whole thing. He had a tremendous season. So he’s got something to stand on right now.”
Like his league-high 24 passes defensed and eight interceptions, which tied for second in the NFL. Then there’s that All-Pro berth.
“It’s better than when he used to talk when he didn’t,” Carroll said with a smile.
Asked again if he thought Sherman was the best corner in the league, Carroll said, “I think he’s a great corner. I think he’s playing tremendous football. I think not enough people know about him yet, although he’s working on that.”
Carroll then admitted he has never known how you gauge who is the “best corner” in the league, adding, “But he’s up there in consideration.”
INDIANAPOLIS – It happened on an almost-weekly basis during the 2012 NFL season. Ask the opposing coach what impressed him about a Seahawks defense that would end up allowing the fewest points in the league and rank No. 4 in average yards allowed and the response would be, “They’ve got a couple of giants playing cornerback.”
That would be 6-foot-4 Brandon Browner on the right side and 6-3 Richard Sherman on the left side. And at the NFL Scouting Combine this week, the talk isn’t just about how well they played, but how they were obtained.
Sherman was a fifth-round pick in the 2011 draft, while Browner was signed that same year – to a future contract in January, no less – after spending four seasons in the CFL.
As Pat Kirwan, a former NFL scout who is now an analyst for CBSSports.com, put it, “Every team in the NFL is trying to build what the Seattle Seahawks have created with four big secondary players who are physical and can take away the passing game in man-coverage schemes. The four corners at the top of this draft all have Seahawk size, but can they run like the guys out in the Northwest?”
The rest of the Seahawks’ secondary is comprised of 6-3 strong safety Kam Chancellor and All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas. Thomas (first round) and Chancellor (fifth round) were selected in the 2010 draft, the Seahawks’ first under GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll.
Included among those top four corners that Kirwan mentioned is Desmond Trufant, the University of Washington product and brother of Marcus Trufant, the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2003 who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month.
What do Chris Clemons, Bobby Wagner and Richard Sherman have in common?
Well, they’re all members of the Seahawks, as well as the leading sacker (Clemons), tackler (Wagner) and interceptor (Sherman) for a defense that ranked No. 4 in the NFL during the 2012 season. But they’re also All-Joes, as selected by USA Today. Nate Davis tabbed the trio of defenders for the publication’s 21st annual All-Joe team.
The team was first selected in 1992 by Larry Weisman as a tribute to Joe Phillips, a 14-year defensive lineman who did “yeoman’s work” for the Chiefs that season. USA Today has honored the unsung Joes ever since and compiles them in a 53-man roster that has at least one representative from every NFL team, and only players who have never been named to the Pro Bowl are eligible.
And that makes Sherman a good place to start with the trio of Seahawks who were selected. He was voted All-Pro after leading the league with 24 passes defensed and tying for second in the NFL with eight interceptions, but not selected to the NFC Pro Bowl squad.
Davis on Sherman: “It’s rare when the All-Joe team lands a first-team All-Pro; Sherman’s (successful) battle to overturn a drug suspension probably kept him away from Hawaii but not this roster. His combination of size (6-3, 195 pounds) and in-your-face attitude (just ask Tom Brady) make him one of the league’s toughest competitors. And he more than backed up the swagger with a league-high 24 pass break-ups to go along with eight interceptions and three forced fumbles.”
Davis on Clemons: “High-effort player has at least 11 sacks in each of his three seasons in Seattle and doesn’t come off the field. Hopefully he’s back on it soon after tearing up a knee in postseason.”
Davis on Wagner: “One of the many members of Seattle’s impressive 2012 draft class, he nearly took the tackle crown (140) and defensive rookie honors from (Luke) Kuechly (of the Panthers).”
Robert Griffin III was available. So was Andrew Luck. But when Elliott Harrison at NFL.com selected his “All-Under-25” Team, he opted for neither of the top two picks in last April’s NFL Draft, but the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson as his quarterback.
Cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas, a pair of All-Pro performers during the 2012 season, also made his 25-player team. The idea behind selecting the team – an All-Start-Up Team, if you will – was picking those players under 25 that you would want if starting an NFL franchise from scratch.
So Wilson over RGIII or Luck, who finished ahead of Wilson in the voting for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, shows that Harrison was paying attention all of last season – when Wilson only got better as the season progressed, and also was the last of the rookie QBs standing in the playoffs.
Harrison on Wilson: “Wilson remains a narrow choice over Luck, but you can’t go wrong with either. Robert Griffin III’s style of play causes durability qualms. Wilson’s efficiency and leadership set the tone in Seattle.”
And just how difficult was it to pick Wilson? “Russell Wilson was the choice, after much consternation and internal strife,” Harrison wrote.
Harrison on Sherman: “He has a big mouth, but certainly backs it up. Sherman led the NFL with 24 passes defensed, while only allowing QBs to complete 45.7 percent of their passes against him. Great size, to boot.”
Harrison on Thomas: “Truth be told, the Seahawks’ All-Pro safety might be a hair overrated. Yet, he makes clutch plays and has more of a track record than Minnesota’s Harrison Smith and Denver’s Rahim Moore.”
Overrated? Can that term be used to describe a player who has been a starter for each of his three seasons with the Seahawks, a Pro Bowl player the past two seasons and an All-Pro pick this season? Also, Thomas has ranked fifth, third and fifth on the team in tackles and intercepted 10 passes since being the 14th pick overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.
And what about Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks’ middle linebacker and leading tackler during his rookie season? Harrison went with the Panthers’ Luke Kuechly, who also topped Wagner for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. “Kuechly edges out Seahawks stud Bobby Wagner because of his ability against the run (still crucial, despite the NFL’s pass-happy ways). He recorded 165 tackles as Defensive Rookie of the Year.”
Wagner had 140 tackles, but also three interceptions (to two for Kuechly) and two sacks (to one for Kuechly). Just saying.
But then the Seahawks were one of only two teams to land three players on Harrison’s team. The other was the Bengals, while the Buccaneers, Cowboys, Dolphins and 49ers had two each.