Mock drafts heat up this time of year as top prospects define themselves and declare, and fans of bad teams begin looking toward the future. It's easy to forget, imagining C.J. Spiller or Gerald McCoy, that every team in the NFL is constructed from draft picks. Draft picks that did not remake the franchise or dominate from snap one, but that struggled to make a roster, struggled as rookies, near-rookies, bounced between teams, or went, within the time of a single season, from savior to goat to savior. Draft picks that started hot and started cold, that were hyped, undersold, called bust and steal, that stole someone's heart in a bowl game and broke it blowing an assignment.
Aaron Curry was the consensus best linebacker in an historic linebacker draft. Factor in Brian Orakpo, who splits time between end and outside linebacker, and the first two rounds produced ten linebackers credited with 59 starts, 21.5 sacks, 28 tackles for a loss, 25 passes defended, six interceptions and eight forced fumbles. The last linebacker selected in the first day, Cody Brown, selected 63rd overall by the Arizona Cardinals, was placed on injured reserve before the season started.
Not one of those picks has significantly changed his team's playoff chances. Not because they've failed or that linebacker play is trivial, but because the best of the best draft picks, healthy and roaring towards their potential in record time, still can not fix, sink or significantly alter a team's future. One draft doesn't do it.
The future of the Seattle Seahawks starts with the 53 man roster: The imports, the projects, the recent class and the class of two, three and four years ago. So instead of fixating on the devilish lie of what could be, let's immerse ourselves in what is.
Max Unger excited before becoming a professional. Now he's just another offensive lineman. But how good is the rookie doing? He's been outmuscled at times and arguably the worst regular offensive lineman on a mediocre unit. Those are global impressions though, ones I could have written the day after Unger was drafted. What did Unger do yesterday? That's my focus this week.
Unger and Josh Wilson, two second round picks that stuck, that are under contract, and that, no matter the new GM, are Seahawks to stay. And both, either, a more important part of Seattle's future than quarterback x, running back y or Hawkblock's newest Mock Mock.