by Adam Fournier, Ourlads’ Intern
The Seattle Seahawks are currently in the greatest run in the history of their franchise with three consecutive 11 plus win seasons, two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl victory. The Seahawks have built one of, if not the best, all-around rosters in the NFL through exceptional results from their draft picks. No team in the league has received better results from their draft picks over the last five years than the Seahawks. The 2010 through 2012 drafts will go down as one of the better draft stretches in recent memory.
The 2010 draft was an absolute grand slam and is the best draft class by any team in the last five years. The draft produced four starters on the Super Bowl champion team in Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Golden Tate, and Kam Chancellor and all four have made the Pro Bowl at least once in their careers, although Tate’s was in Detroit. Okung has started 59 games on the Seahawks offensive line in the last five seasons and was a Pro Bowler in 2012. Thomas is widely regarded as the best safety in the NFL and has started every single game at safety for the Seahawks for five seasons. Thomas has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons and is one of the best defensive players in the league in 2015. Tate was a solid contributor at receiver for four years and started 33 games. He left for Detroit following the Super Bowl victory in 2014 where he made the Pro Bowl last year. The Seahawks also found Thomas’ partner in crime in one of the steals of the 2010 draft in Kam Chancellor. Chancellor is one of the best safeties in the league himself making the Pro Bowl three times. The duo of Thomas and Chancellor make up the unquestioned best safety pair in the NFL. Walter Thurmond also deserves some recognition as he was a contributor at defensive back for four years and started in the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks followed the great 2010 draft with another great one in 2011. That draft also produced four starters for the Super Bowl champion team in James Carpenter, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, and Byron Maxwell. Carpenter had some knee issues in his first two seasons but was a solid starting guard on their Super Bowl run. He left Seattle for the Jets in 2015. K.J. Wright has emerged as a solid starting linebacker starting 56 games in 4 years and will be starting in 2015. Sherman was the star of this class and probably the steal of the draft. He has emerged as one of if not the best cornerbacks in the NFL and has been selected 1st team All-Pro the last three seasons. He also made the play that sent them to the Super Bowl when he knocked down Colin Kaepernick’s pass in the end zone in the 2014 NFC Championship Game. He will again be shutting down his half of the field for the Seahawks in 2015 and is considered one of the top defensive players in the league. While not quite at Sherman’s level, Maxwell was a solid corner in his time with Seattle and filled in nicely as the starter for Brandon Browner the last two seasons before leaving for Philadelphia in 2015. The Seahawks also snagged the Super Bowl MVP in the 7th round in Malcolm Smith. Smith was mostly a contributor as a reserve linebacker in his four years with the team but stepped up on the biggest stage in the Super Bowl. He left for Oakland following the 2014 season.
The 2012 draft was the class that put them over the hump with the selections of Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, and Russell Wilson. Irvin has been a solid starting linebacker in his three years in Seattle. While not technically starting the Super Bowl, he started most of the game that season and made a contribution in the victory. Wagner has emerged as the best linebacker on one of the league’s best linebacking corps alongside Irvin and Wright. Wilson was the starting quarterback for the Super Bowl team and has started every game in his NFL career. While he may not be in the top tier of quarterbacks, he is a solid starting quarterback and has been selected to the Pro Bowl twice. He will be the Seahawks’ quarterback for the foreseeable future after signing an extension in 2015. Also from this draft was Robert Turbin who has been a solid contributor at running back, backing up Marshawn Lynch and is expected to do the same in 2015.
The 2013 draft was a bit of a reality check as it was nowhere near as productive as the past three drafts. Eleven players were drafted that year, yet nobody from the draft class will be starting for the Seahawks in 2015. The biggest contributor so far has been tight end Luke Willson as he has made contributions both seasons starting 17 games. He also started the Super Bowl loss in 2015. However with the arrival of Jimmy Graham, he will likely see his opportunities drop significantly this year. Christine Michael, Jordan Hill, and Tharold Simon have made some contributions in their two years but nothing significant. Simon did not play at all in 2013 but started five games in 2014. All three are projected as reserves in 2015. Jesse Williams has yet to play in an NFL game as he has spent both seasons on IR. His future is uncertain as he is currently recovering from cancer. The final five picks from the draft are already off the team.
The 2014 draft did not make a big impact in their rookie seasons. Justin Britt did start every game at guard and will be starting in 2015. Receiver duo Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood made some contributions at receiver during their rookie year but nothing big. Both are expected to contribute as reserves in 2015. The rest of the draft were non-factors but still have time to figure out in Seattle with the exception of Kiero Small and Garrett Scott. Small was released before the 2014 season and is currently in Baltimore while Scott was released the day after the draft due to a heart conditions seemingly ending his career before it could start.