BY Steve Rudman 11:50AM 04/30/2015

Seahawks aim to extend mid-round draft magic

The Seahawks don’t have a No. 1 for the third year in a row (traded to New Orleans for TE Jimmy Graham), but they have a league-high 11 picks starting at No. 63

Pete Carroll, in conjunction with GM John Schneider, has built one of the NFL’s best rosters with mid-round picks and undrafted free agents. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

When the Seahawks – barring an unlikely trade up – make the 63rd overall choice (second round) in Friday’s NFL draft, it will mark the lowest “first” pick in franchise history (Christine Michael No. 62 overall in 2013). Seattle is without a first-round choice for the third consecutive year, having dealt their latest No. 1 March 10 to New Orleans for TE Jimmy Graham.

But with four compensatory picks banked due to the loss of unrestricted free agents following Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks will have a league-high 11 choices spanning Friday and Saturday. In addition to the 63rd overall pick in the second round, Seattle will select 95th overall in the third. After that, the Seahawks own three fourth-round choices, two fifth-and three sixth-rounders and a seventh-rounder.

Since GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll began their collaboration in 2010, no team has created more mid-round magic than the Seahawks. In five Schneider-Carroll drafts, the Seahawks have selected four Pro Bowl players – LB Bobby Wagner, QB Russell Wilson, SS Kam Chancellor and CB Richard Sherman – in rounds 2 through 5 and four others – LB K.J. Wright, TE Luke Willson, CB Byron Maxwell and OG J.R. Sweezy – who became full or part-time starters.

The Schneider-Carroll genius for mining mid-to-late round gems extends well beyond the draft, as the starting lineups for Super Bowl XLIX demonstrate.

Fourteen of the 24 players (punter and kicker included) who started against the New England Patriots came from the draft, including seven from rounds 3 through 7. Another five were undrafted free agents and four joined the Seahawks as unrestricted free agents.

That leaves RB Marshawn Lynch, acquired in 2010 for a 2011 fourth-round pick and what became a 2012 fifth-round choice. Schneider and Carroll got one of the greatest rushers of his generation with mid-round picks and the Bills will never live that down.

These were Seattle’s starters in February’s Super Bowl an how they were acquired:

Draft choices (14)

Pos Player Yr. Acq. Rnd. Skinny
LT Russell Okung 2010 1 Only Pro Bowl after 2012
FS Earl Thomas 2010 1 3-time 1st-Team All Pro
LG James Carpenter 2011 1 Signed with Jets in free agency
OLB Bruce Irvin 2012 1 16.5 sacks in 3 seasons
C Max Unger 2009 2 Pro Bowl 2012-13; traded to Saints
MLB Bobby Wagner 2012 2 1st-Team All-Pro, Pro Bowler in 2014
RT Justin Britt 2014 2 Played in 16 games as  rookie in 2014
QB Russell Wilson 2012 3 Has accounted (pass, rush) for 83 TDs
OLB K.J. Wright 2011 4 56 starts, 107 tackles in ’14
SS Kam Chancellor 2010 5 3-time Pro Bowler taken 133rd
LCB Richard Sherman 2011 5 3-time 1st-team All Pro taken 154th
TE Luke Willson 2013 5 Decisive TD vs. Carolina in ’14 playoffs
RCB Byron Maxwell 2011 6 Signed with Eagles in free agency
RG J.R. Sweezy 2012 7 34 starts since joining Seahawks

Unrestricted free agents (4)

Pos. Player Yr. Acq. Prev. Skinny
LDE Michael Bennett 2013 TB Has 15.5 sacks last 2 seasons
LDT Tony McDaniel 2013 Mia 32 games, 29 starts last 2 seasons
RDE Cliff Avril 2013 Det Started every game  in ’14
RDT Kevin Williams 2014 Minn Played first 11 seasons with Vikings

Undrafted free agents, waivers

Pos. Player Yr. Acq. Coll. Skinny
P Jon Ryan 2008 Regina Played first two seasons with GB
WR Doug Baldwin 2011 Stan 35 starts since joining team
PK Steven Hauschka 2011 NC St. Made 88% of FGs last 4 years
WR Jermaine Kearse 2012 Wash GW TDs in 2 NFC title games
WR Ricardo Lockette 2013 FV Started 2 games in 2014 playoffs

Beyond the startling fact that all four Seahawks receivers who caught passes in Super Bowl XLIX came to the club as undrafted free agents, what leaps out is that 16 of Seattle’s 24 starters came to the Seahawks as mid-to-late round picks, as unrestricted free agents, or as undrafted free agents, including one player not listed, receiver Chris Matthews, who caught four balls for 109 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots — the first statistics of his career.

All teams score with undrafted free agents –New England signed Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler out of West Alabama after no team drafted him — but the Seahawks do better than most at both identifying late-round pearls they can coach up, or players ignored entirely in the draft.

Specifically, 12 of Seattle’s 24 Super Bowl starters came to the club in draft rounds 3 through 7 or via the undrafted route — 50 percent of the opening lineup. New England’s roster, featuring 11 No. 1 or No. 2 picks to Seattle’ seven, featured 10 such players, 41.6 percent of the Patriots’ lineup.

The Seahawks rely somewhat less on the draft’s seven rounds than most teams, but also do better than most with the picks they make, particularly in the middle rounds. Schneider and Carroll have 11 opportunities to extend that success Friday and Saturday.

Where The Seahawks Will Pick

  • Second Round — No. 63
  • Third Round — No. 95
  • Fourth Round — No. 112, No. 130, No. 134
  • Fifth Round — No. 167, No. 170
  • Sixth Round — No. 181, No. 209, No. 214
  • Seventh Round — No. 248

The Seahawks have twice held the 63rd overall pick. In 1978, they selected DB Bob Jury of Pittsburgh (played 15 games) and in 2006 picked DT Darryl Tapp of Virginia Tech (30 games).

Seattle has never selected at No. 95, 112, 130, 134, 167 or 214th overall, but they have had three picks at No. 170: WR Ron Johnson, Long Beach State, 1981; DE Michael McCrary, Wake Forest, 1993; DB Steven Johnson, Tennessee, 1999.

The Seahawks also selected RB Paul Miles, Nebraska, 1986, and DB Winston Guy, Kentucky, 2012, at No. 181; DB T.J. Cunningham, Colorado, 1996, at No. 209; and DE Ben Otto, Idaho State, 1985, and TE Cameron Morrah, California, 2009, at No. 248.




  • John M

    O-LINMEN. The two best you can get from the first four pics. No use drafting WR’s if Russ is horizontal when it’s time to throw . . .

  • jafabian

    Hawks seem to favor players who can play multiple positions. They’ll put them thru their paces and then determine where they fit in their schemes. Having a high pick can work against that as that they’d get a player who isn’t as flexible in the position they play. Graham is in essence their 1st round pick this year.