I get sick and tired of every draftnik in the world handing out grades that they know are worthless. I sometimes think sports commentators are like sharks, except that instead of suffocating if they ever stop swimming, commentators will suffocate if they ever stop talking. Everyone agrees that you can't judge a draft for a minimum of three years. Yet we assign grades like we just spilled our Alphabetti-Spaghetti. It has now been three years since the inuagural draft by Schneider & Co. We can finally reflect and judge their choices, and find some suprises along the way.
#6 Russell Okung - Pro Bowl Left Tackle. B+
Suffered a number of semi-terrifying injuries, but has come out ok on the other side. Still some durability concerns, but at this point we can't question his toughness, or his ability to win 1:1 against top NFL Defensive Ends, and Julius Peppers.
Very interested to see him play against JJ Watt and the Texans. Seattle got their blind-side anchor for years to come with this pick, but looking back at the draft this was the only sane pick to make at #6. The offensive line was in shambles and Okung was a beast and either 1 or 2 on every board orbiting the sun. It was absolutely the right pick to make, and given 100 chances to make it they better make it 100 times. This grade is lower because honestly anyone could have made that pick. I'm not going to give out A grades for hitting homeruns in batting practice.
#14 Earl Thomas - Pro Bowl free safety that really is a free safety. A+
Earl Thomas is the most critical aspect of our defense. His ability to be the modern incarnation of Ed Reed allows the Seahawks to play their overly agressive scheme on the back-end. The corners trust ET to clean up their mistakes, and the coaches trust ET to pick up the pieces of failed blitzes.
Nearly everything was a pressing need for the Seahawks in this draft, but getting ET at 14 was an absolute steal in this draft.
#60 Golden Tate - 20 games started with 10 touchdowns in 3 years.
Wide Receiver is notoriously difficult to draft because the position is so dependent on the chemistry with the QB. Golden has been a good fit for Pete's always compete circus, and probably wouldn't have been on the board by their next pick.
The only other player taken after Tate that I would rather have today is Brandon Spikes or Jimmy Graham. If I have to go to the end of the next round to find a player on that side of the ball I would rather have three years later, you made a good pick. I'm not a big fan of Golden Tate, and when I started writing this article this pick was originally a D.
I had to change my mind while looking at the data for the draft. Picks 48 through 90 in this draft are devoid of any Pro Bowlers, and I can only identify 2 players in that range I would consider a priority to re-sign today if they were on my team: Jimmy Graham and Major Wright. The real D goes to Day 2 of the 2010 draft as a whole.
#111 Walter Thurmond - Lingering CB. C+
If there is a theme to John Schneider drafts it is "target upper round talent that fall to late rounds because of injuries as upper-classmen". Thurmond is exactly this kind of pick. I love the approach, because medical science advances far faster than our ability to adapt culturally with regard to sports injury (e.g. Tommy John surgery, ACL/MCL tears, Labrum tears etc...) so what was a huge medical red flag in 1998, is just another paycheck for Dr Andrews in 2010.
The philosophy is sound, but I have to dock the Hawks for the whiff on Aaron Hernandez. We badly needed another tight end, and Hernandez fits the bill of Great-Tools-with-character-questions that Pete seems so adept at coaching up. Couple that fact with my suspicion that Thurmond would have been available with the next pick (#127) and the front office gets a pass, but just barely.
#127 EJ Wilson, #236 Dexter Davis, #245 Jameson Konz - Bums C
EJ Wilson, Dexter Davis and Jameson Konz are among many eminently forgettable names called on day 3 of this draft. Dexter Davis at least has a stat line on NFL.com so he has that going for him...I guess. It is hard to give out bad grades on day 3 because the opportunity cost is so low.
The Seahawks get a C here only because they had these picks to waste and didn't spend them to move up in earlier rounds. Quantity in late rounds is key. Nobody cares who misses, as long as you can get a couple hits.
#185 Anthony McCoy - Somebody else's Tight End next year. B+
I'm going out of order because Anthony McCoy doesn't deserve to be lumped in with the chaff of this draft class, but there's no way I'm going to finish with him. The best I can say about McCoy is that he is serviceable. He has good tools, but his understanding of the game hasn't clicked. He isn't out of his ken in the NFL, but there is nothing about McCoy that makes retaining his services a better proposition than replacing him with younger, cheaper talent in late rounds of future drafts. Getting a serviceable starter from the 6th round nets a solid B+ from me. Good pick, good value, but not worth re-signing.
#133 KamBam - Putting the Strong in Strong Safety. #VALUE UNKNOWN#
The gem of this draft is our enforcer, and wielder of the Boom. Too big to play safety. Looks like a project as a 3-4 OLB. Great tools but too much of a tweener to make it in the NFL. Those are samples of the comments surrounding Kam on draft day.
This pick was brilliance incarnate and the first real glimpse into the mad genius of our current front office. The difference lay in something said at this year's draft press conference. We don't look at what players cann't do, we look at what they do really well. What can Kam do really well? Well he can lay the wood and make anyone pay for coming over the middle. He can make receivers play with short arms. He is the player that the offense will remember when they're still sore on Tuesday morning. I can't grade this pick because we don't have a letter than comes before A.
This is how you win the NFL meta-game -- Become a contrarian, a get talent that is marginalized by dominant trends. In a copy cat league following the pack means you pay a premium for whatever talent profile happens to be "vogue". The coverage fad of the last decade that is the Tampa-2 is the reason Kam fell into the fifth round. He just didn't fit the chiq scheme. The true novelty of Pete's approach is to draft for talent and scheme around the talent we have. If could say only one thing to our Front Office it would be this: "For the love of everything holy keep ignoring everything that comes from the talking heads and keep drafting the guys that you believe in."
This is why we have All-Pro players on our roster with three digits in their draft position. This is why we have a team overflowing with young talent. This is why we're 5:1 favorites to win the Super Bowl. This is why the Seahawks get an A+++ on their 2010 draft.