In past years, we’ve asked you to weigh-in on the best selections by round in the NFL Draft for the Seahawks, and also to vote on the best draft choice in franchise history.
But which was the single best day in the draft for the Seahawks?
The idea for this poll was planted during a hallway conversation at Virginia Mason Athletic Center with one of the team’s scouts, as we discussed what the team was able to accomplish on the second day of the 2012 draft.
That’s when Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson were selected in the second and third rounds. If you’re not familiar with their contributions to the team going 11-5 during the regular season and winning the franchise’s first road playoff game since 1983, well, you probably have no business voting in this poll.
But as a not-so-subtle reminder: Wagner led the Seahawks’ No. 4-ranked defense in tackles and finished second in balloting for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year; while Wilson tied the NFL rookie record by throwing 26 touchdown passes and finished third in voting for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
But was that the best single-day draft performance in club history? Here are three others to consider:
1990: The Seahawks began the day by trading up to the No. 3 spot in the first round with the Patriots to select defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who became the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last summer. But before that first day was over, the Seahawks also had added linebacker Terry Wooden and strong safety Robert Blackmon (second round) and eventual Pro Bowl running back Chris Warren (fourth round).
2010: In the first draft under GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, in the first draft where it was expanded to three days and the first round only was conducted on the first day, the Seahawks selected Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung with the sixth pick overall and then added All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas with the 14th pick.
1997: The Seahawks also had two first-round picks this year, and used them to selected Pro Bowl cornerback Shawn Springs (third pick overall) and All-Pro left tackle Walter Jones (sixth pick). While Springs was a solid starter for seven seasons, Jones was voted to more Pro Bowls (nine) than any player in franchise history and already has had his No. 71 retired. The 1-2 punch of Springs and Jones also trumps the other two years when the team had two picks in the first round – 2000 (Shaun Alexander and Chris McIntosh) and 2001 (Koren Robinson and Steve Hutchinson).
But which one day was the best day? You make the call …
NFL.com Around the League editor Gregg Rosenthal recently ranked what he considers to be the five NFL teams that are the best when it comes to finding talent in the NFL Draft.
Rosenthal stresses that his list is in no particular order, but the Seahawks, under the direction of general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, are conveniently Rosenthal’s first mention.
The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, NFC West rival San Fracisco 49ers, New England Patriots, and New York Giants round out Rosenthal’s top five.
On the Seahawks, Rosenthal writes:
“GM John Schneider and Pete Carroll have only been together three years, but their track record is outstanding. They see players differently than other teams. Last year’s three-pack of Bruce Irvin,
Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson were all controversial picks that didn’t fit the traditional mold. They were all outstanding.
2011 was a shakier draft, but they found an All-Pro cornerback in Richard Sherman in the fifth round. That’s also the round they found Kam Chancellor in their first draft in 2010. That crop included Earl Thomas and Russell Okung. The spine of the Seahawks were built in three drafts.”
Twenty-two of Schneider and Carroll’s 28 total picks from the last three years remain on the Seahawks’ current roster. Four of their picks have been named to the Pro Bowl (Okung, Thomas, Chancellor, Wilson). Three have been named first-team All-Pro (Okung, Thomas, Sherman). And 10 of their 28 picks were listed as starters on the Seahawks’ depth chart heading into last year’s divisional playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Below is a pick-by-pick rundown of the Seahawks’ drafts guided by Schneider and Carroll.
|1||6||Russell Okung||6-5||310||T||Oklahoma State|
|2||60||Golden Tate||5-10||202||WR||Notre Dame|
|4||127||E.J. Wilson||6-3||289||DE||North Carolina|
|5||133||Kam Chancellor||6-3||232||S||Virginia Tech|
|7||236||Dexter Davis||6-1||244||DE||Arizona St.|
|7||245||Jameson Konz||6-3||234||WR||Kent. St.|
|4||99||K.J. Wright||6-4||246||LB||Mississippi St.|
|5||156||Mark LeGree||6-0||211||S||Appalachian St.|
|1||15||Bruce Irvin||6-3||248||DE||West Virginia|
|2||47||Bobby Wagner||6-0||241||LB||Utah State|
|4||106||Robert Turbin||5-10||222||RB||Utah State|
|6||172||Jeremy Lane||6-0||190||CB||NW Louisiana|
|7||225||JR Sweezy||6-5||298||G||North Carolina St.|
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on April 22:
1990: The Seahawks trade up to the third spot in the first round of the NFL Draft and select defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy. He would be voted to eight Pro Bowls and named NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1992) during his career, and last year the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 2006, had his No. 96 retired last season and was voted the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team.
1995: Joey Galloway is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Galloway would lead the Seahawks in receptions for three consecutive seasons (1996-98) and catch 37 touchdown passes before being traded to the Cowboys for a pair of first-round draft choices in 2000.
2008: Shaun Alexander, the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, is released. After being named league MVP and leading the NFL in rushing with 1,880 yards in 2005, injuries limited Alexander to fewer than 1,000 rushing yards in 2006 and 2007.
2010: Russell Okung and Earl Thomas are selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Okung, a left tackle and the sixth pick overall, started 15 games in 2012 and was voted to the Pro Bowl. Thomas, a free safety and the 14th pick overall, was voted Al-Pro last season and has played in the Pro Bowl the past two seasons.
Mike Sando, the NFC West blogger at ESPN.com, has turned Matt Williamson’s positional rankings for the division’s four teams into a series of informational and entertaining “conversations” with the website’s resident scout.
Williamson ranks the Seahawks as the second-best team in the NFC West behind the conference champion 49ers, but the Seahawks come out No. 1 at quarterback, running back, defensive line, cornerback and safety. They are No. 2 at wide receiver, offensive line, linebackers and head coach, and No. 3 at tight end.
It’s worth checking out the rankings and the dialogue on each:
Williamson: “If I were starting a team, (Colin) Kaepernick and (Russell) Wilson would rank among my top five picks. The upside for Kaepernick is so great. I don’t expect him to take a step back. I just don’t think he is as far along as Wilson in the fundamentals of quarterback play. Wilson coming into the league was ahead of Kaepernick in terms of being a pocket passer, reading defenses, not relying on his physical gifts so much and just in the mental side of things.”
Williamson: “Seattle has the best back in the division in Marshawn Lynch, and Robert Turbin is a heckuva backup. It’s not a knock on (Frank) Gore. I like LaMichael James and like Kendall Hunter, too. So, the 49ers have three guys to talk about instead of two for Seattle.”
Williamson: “I’ll take (Percy) Harvin every day over (Michael) Crabtree and that is not a knock on Crabtree. Harvin is more dynamic, more versatile. He frightens defenses way more. You can do so much more with him. He has big-play ability and is just a better football player. When I rank the wide receivers in this division, it goes Larry (Fitzgerald), Harvin and Crabtree, but Harvin is closer to Fitz than Crabtree is to Harvin.”
Sando: “The Cardinals were the only NFL team without a touchdown reception from a tight end last season. Bad quarterback play had quite a bit to do with that, of course.”
Williamson: “Breno (Giacomini) has been serviceable. Marshawn Lynch has room to run. I think they have two good players (Max Unger and Russell Okung) and then a bunch of guys. I do think the whole is greater than sum of the parts. There is some truth to that in Seattle, which goes to coaching (by Tom Cable).”
Williamson: “They have a wide skill set, which I like, too. (Bruce) Irvin and (Red) Bryant are totally different players at defensive end. Irvin, (Chris) Clemons, (Cliff) Avril and Bryant give you versatility. For the Rams, (William) Hayes is an important part of that equation. He had seven sacks last year. (Robert) Quinn and (Chris) Long are questionable against the run. Hayes can be a base run defensive end. Plus, he moves inside and can be a quality rusher there.”
Sando: “The Seahawks found one starter in the second round (Bobby Wagner) and another in the fourth (K.J. Wright). They plan to use Cliff Avril at strong-side linebacker in some situations. But with Leroy Hill apparently having run his course in Seattle, the team figures to draft a weak-side linebacker to compete with Malcolm Smith.”
Sando: “Seattle is really the only team in the division appearing set at safety for now. I could still see the Seahawks drafting one for insurance in case they have a hard time re-signing Kam Chancellor. In the meantime, Earl Thomas might be the best safety in the league. At least I’m assuming you’d agree in saying he’s moved past Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, who were long considered the standards.”
Williamson: “Seattle to me has the best set of corners in the league, clearly (in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner). And then (Antoine) Winfield might be the best slot corner in the league. It’s almost unfair.”
Williamson: “(The Rams’ Jeff) Fisher is a heckuva coach, but he is behind two of the top five in the league (Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll) when it comes to ranking head coaches in the NFC West.”
Russell Okung, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl left tackle, is among 21 current and former NFL players who will participate in the first NFL Franchising Boot Camp at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan on April 26-29.
The participants will hear from business leaders and professors during the four-day camp, including Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who spent more than three decades in the restaurant business and will serve as the keynote speaker.
“As both a former player and one who is still active in the food industry, I am excited and honored to address these players,” Richardson said in a statement. “There are many parallels to success in business and football and the opportunity to provide whatever insight I may have to this select group is appreciated.”
Richardson was a receiver for the Baltimore Colts (1959-60) and then purchased a Hardee’s franchise in 1961. He accumulated more than 600 Hardee’s and 200 Quincy Steak Houses before selling the business and becoming president and CEO for the new ownership.
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
The Seahawks’ 2012 Man of the Year was the man of the morning last Friday, March 22 at Vision House – a Seattle-based social service agency that provides support for homeless mothers and their children.
Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung was on hand as a special guest for Vision House’s Easter party, spending time with some of the house’s children.
“Kids said I was the wrong Russell,” Okung jokingly-tweeted along with the above photo on Saturday morning, referring to the kids’ infatuation with the team’s “other” Russell – quarterback Russell Wilson.
Okung was named Seahawks Man of the Year last season for his work in the community with his UP Foundation, whose mission is to give back to the community by reaching out to children of single-parent homes – a cause that hits close to home for Okung, who himself was raised by a single mother. As part of the honor, Okung was awarded $1,000, which he chose to donate to Vision House back in November of 2012.
“The kids had a fun time with him,” said Mary Burton, leader of Vision House’s Community and Donor Relations. “He’s such a great guy. The boys had a lot of fun throwing the football with him. They really crave male role models and absolutely loved running around with Russell.”
You can check out more photos from Okung’s visit with Vision House by heading over to their Facebook page.
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.”
Tedy Bruschi was a no-nonsense linebacker for 13 seasons with the Patriots. Now an analyst for ESPN, he has decided to select a team of players that also go “full tilt, full time,” as he put it. And his first All-Bruschi Team includes four Seahawks – defensive end Chris Clemons, cornerback Richard Sherman, quarterback Russell Wilson and left tackle Russell Okung.
Here’s what Bruschi had to say about each:
Clemons: “On a defense where the secondary seems to get all the press, Clemons is the rock. Losing Clemons to injury in the wild-card round win over the Redskins was something the Seahawks couldn’t overcome the following week. Clemons led the Seahawks in sacks (11.5) and also set a solid edge versus the run from his Leo/elephant position. While the Seahawks drafted Bruce Irvin in the first round, Irvin was not yet ready to fulfill Clemons’ every-down duties.”
Sherman: “How did he not make the Pro Bowl? At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, he is a big cornerback who will put on the boxing gloves at the line of scrimmage with anyone. He also has solid ball skills (8 interceptions in 2012). Similar to Cortland Finnegan, he’s a player who isn’t well liked by many opposing players, in part because he talks a lot of trash and comes across as arrogant. He’s the type of player you don’t want to go up against, but you love him if he’s on your team. When he’s on his game, lock him up and let him go.”
Wilson: “All the attention was on the top two picks in the draft – Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III – but Wilson (75th overall) wouldn’t allow himself to be left out of the discussion. The Seahawks invested significantly in free-agent quarterback Matt Flynn last offseason, but Wilson proved he was special and deserved the job from his start of his rookie season. He might not have the prototypical size, but no one is talking about that because all he does is lead his team to wins.”
Okung: “He has received some national recognition, and entered the league as a first-round draft choice, so he fits a different profile than several other picks. One play jumped out to me on tape as he put 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith on his back. That’s not easy to do, and it’s that type of power and aggression that earns him this spot.”
We haven’t exhausted the coverage from our trip to chronicle the Seahawks Six in the Pro Bowl just yet.
For one last farewell to Paradise and the Pro Bowl, we asked each player for his favorite memory from the week in Hawaii:
Quarterback Russell Wilson: “Just to be with these guys, the other Seahawks Pro Bowlers. And then just being around Drew Brees and Eli Manning and Peyton Manning, it’s really special. Especially this being my rookie year, it just means a lot. It’s just a joy to be here.”
Tackle Russell Okung: “The impact we were able to have on the game. Marshawn (Lynch) did a great job. Leon (Washington) had a great return. Max (Unger) pretty much played the whole game. Earl (Thomas) had his interception. And Russell Wilson really got off.”
Center Max Unger, who grew up on the Big Island: “I don’t know what to say. The whole thing was just really cool. Just being able to have the best football players in the world be in Hawaii and having the fans be able to come out and see these guys and kind of interact with them at the practices and finally at the game, it’s cool. It’s kind of trippy seeing everybody here in Oahu.”
Safety Earl Thomas: “Just sharing this experience with my family and my teammates. It’s something you’ll never forget. You’re playing with some future Hall of Famers out here and when you get out here and play with the best it brings the best out of you.”
Kick returner Leon Washington: “Just having fun and enjoying this moment with my family and teammates. It’s a blessing. I’m so fortunate.”
Running back Marshawn Lynch: “Not talking to the media. That’s pretty much it, just being able to be away from everything and having some time to kick back with family, just hang out and get to meet some of the guys.”