Holmgren's Record as Seattle GM

Obviously the subject of Mike Holmgren as Seattle GM continues to be brought up. I can't get away from it, from Steve Kelley to Ian Furness to several commenters on this site. So regardless of whether or not we'd all like it to be a dead issue, there is a feeling out there that he's the best fit to take us back to respectability. Well... let's actually take a real peek at his record as GM from 1999-2002. Luckily, a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done for us, by everyone's favorite former Seahawks beat writer, Mike Sando. Please read this link first before proceeding.

Let's also take a look back through Holmgren's drafts, courtesy of (sorry about any formatting issues):


1 Lamar King, DE Saginaw Valley State
3 Brock Huard, QB Washington
3 Karsten Bailey, WR Auburn
4 Antonio Cochran, DE Georgia
5 Floyd Wedderburn, T Penn State
5 Charlie Rogers, WR Georgia Tech
6 Steve Johnson Tennessee


1 Shaun Alexander, RB Alabama
1 Chris McIntosh, OT Wisconsin
2 Ike Charlton, CB Virginia Tech
3 Darrell Jackson, WR Florida
4 Marcus Bell, LB Arizona
4 Isiah Kacyvenski, LB Harvard
6 James Williams, WR Marshall
6 Tim Watson, DT Rowan
6 John Hilliard, DT Mississippi State


1 Koren Robinson, WR North Carolina State
1 Steve Hutchinson, OG Michigan
2 Ken Lucas, CB Mississippi
3 Heath Evans, FB Auburn
4 Orlando Huff, LB Fresno State
4 Curtis Fuller, DB Texas Christian
4 Floyd Womack, OG Mississippi State
5 Alex Bannister, WR Eastern Kentucky
6 Josh Booty, QB Louisiana State
7 Harold Blackmon, DB Northwestern
7 Dennis Norman, OT Princeton
7 Kris Kocurek, DT Texas Tech


1 Jerramy Stevens, TE Washington
2 Maurice Morris, RB Oregon
2 Anton Palepoi, DE UNLV
3 Kris Richard, DB USC
4 Terreal Bierria, DB Georgia
5 Rocky Bernard, DT Texas A&M
5 Ryan Hannam, TE Northern Iowa
5 Matt Hill, OT Boise State
6 Craig Jarrett, P Michigan State
7 Jeff Kelly, QB Southern Mississippi

Let's look realistically at the outcome of these four drafts. The 1999 draft is a complete and total bust. There is a grand total of zero decent players listed. In 2000 Holmgren got lucky when Shaun Alexander dropped to him and also grabbed a terrific WR in Darrell Jackson. He also got unlucky with Chris McIntosh, who was probably better than his medical issues made him. However, there was again no additional NFL talent added in the draft. Anyone remember Isaiah Kacyve??? and the gaping holes in our run defense he created? I sure do. In 2001 Holmgren again drafted a future HOF in Steve Hutchinson, who he actually passed over originally to pick up Koren "Drop it or Drink it" Robinson. He also drafted a future decent FB in Heath Evans (who he promptly never effectively used in Seattle) and a decent CB in Ken Lucas (the only decent secondary player he drafted in 6 attempts). Finally in 2002 Holmgren drafted Rocky Bernard in the 5th round after missing on Jerramy Stevens in round 1 and somewhat hitting on Mo Morris in round 2 (was Morris really worth a 2nd round pick? really?). Bernard has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the only NFL caliber talent drafted by Holmgren after round 3 (although I suppose you could throw Pork Chop in that mix as well). So in 38 total draft picks, Holmgren grabbed two HOF players (congratulations), six additional players who played a fairly long term role in Seattle (more so in Jackson's case, less so in Lucas' case). This is not exactly what I would call a stellar record to hang a hat on.

So now to combine back with the rest of his GM decisions. He hit well on certain offensive players, including trading for Hass and signing Engram and Tobeck. That's the good news. Let's look at the bad...

On offense, he failed to sign Walter Jones to a long-term deal, trapping Jones and the team into a never-ending contract dispute and yearly holdout. He let Pro Bowl G Pete Kendall walk (think of how much crap we're giving Ruskell about Hutch). He traded RB Ahman Green to Green Bay for CB Fred Vinson. Remember Vinson? Of course not. He barely played.

His handling of the defense is beyond awful. Outside of signing an aging John Randle and Levon Kirkland (who he drove out of town over weight issues), he managed to lose DE Phliip Daniels AND DT Sam Adams, crippling our defensive line. He was never able to patch together a LB core that was worth anything.

Look, there is very little about this overall performance (notwithstanding the 31-33 record) that inspires confidence in this man's ability to turn this team around. It's a pipe dream. A mirage. Holmgren was an awful GM who was fired for incompetence. Bringing him back is not the recipe for success the Hawks need.

Edited to add: As pointed out, Pete Kendall never made a Pro Bowl. While he did leave under acrimonious circumstances, he also managed to do the same with other teams later, so the fault definitely does not completely lie with Holmgren.

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