And the best late-round pick is …

A photo essay at this week listing the best picks at each of the 32 spots in the history of the NFL Draft prompted the obvious thought: Who are the best round-by-round picks the Seahawks have made?

We begin answering that with a look at the late-round selections. And that covers a lot of territory, and players, because the draft was 17 rounds in 1976, 12 rounds from 1977-92 and eight rounds in 1993 before the league went to the seven-round format in 1994.

The Seahawks did find some “rubies,” as former coach Chuck Knox called them, in those later rounds – from defensive tackle Robert Hardy (10th round in 1979), to tackle Ron Essink (10th round in 1980), to cornerback Dwayne Harper (11th round in 1988), to tackle Bill Hitchcock (eighth round in 1990), to defensive end Antonio Edwards (eighth round in 1993).

All became starters, but each must get in line behind Derrick Fenner, the running back who was selected in the 10th round of the 1989 draft.

Fenner was the team’s leading rusher (859 yards) in 1990, when he also led the AFC in touchdowns (15) and rushing touchdowns (14). Fenner played only three seasons with the Seahawks, but is tied for sixth on the club’s all-time list in rushing TDs (19) and ranks 10th in rushing attempts (317).

Veteran allocation draft: The selection process in 1976 that helped stock the Seahawks’ original roster did not include college players. But it needs to be included, because the best of the 39 players from other NFL teams selected by the Seahawks was, is and always will be Dave Brown – who died of a heart attack in 2006.

Brown led the team in tackles in that inaugural season while playing free safety. He moved to cornerback in 1977 and intercepted a franchise record 50 passes before leaving the Seahawks after the 1986 season. Brown returned to coach the defensive backs from 1992-98. He was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 1992 and voted to the 35th Anniversary team.

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