When it comes to the Seattle Seahawks draft over the long upcoming weekend, I'm going to tell you the same thing that my ex-wife Lorraine told me on our honeymoon in Vietnam in 1983: "Don't get comfortable." Because I've looked over Pete Carroll and John Schneider's drafts since they took over the Seahawks in 2010, and they little wiggle wiggle more than the 504 Boyz like to wobble wobble.
Pete and John have traded 16 of their 28 originally held draft picks in four years, which comes out to 57.1%, or roughly the same as my highest-possible match on OkCupid.com. These aren't picks they've added or lost as result of trade, these are only picks that belonged to Seattle as a result of... I don't know, league "rules" or whatever, based on the standings.
However, take note that I'm including the first round pick that the front office was gifted from the previous regime via the Denver Broncos (14th overall for Alphonso Smith) but does not include the third round pick that they dealt away the previous year for Deon Butler.
That being said, five of those 12 picks that they've held on to in four years are the last five picks they've made: Jordan Hill, Chris Harper, Luke Willson, Spencer Ware, and Ty Powell. Those five players were all selected by Seattle with picks that were their own already. That's strange, because over Pete and John's first three years with the Seahawks, they only held onto a total of seven of their own picks:
Russell Okung, Earl Thomas (I count this pick because it was always theirs to deal and certainly they had some offers on the table), James Carpenter, Mark LeGree, Russell Wilson, Robert Turbin, and Winston Guy.
But over their first two years in Seattle, Pete and John kept just two of 14 picks. They moved around two picks for Charlie Whitehurst, two picks for LenDale White, and two picks for Marshawn Lynch. When it comes to pretty much just moving picks, Seattle only knows one way to go:
They traded down in the second round in 2011 with the Lions.
They traded down in the first round in 2012 with the Eagles.
They traded down in the second round in 2012 with the Jets.
They traded down in the second round in 2013 with the Ravens.
In addition to trading down with the Chargers in the 2010 deal for Whitehurst, Pete and John have never drafted with their original second round pick. They are 4/4 in moving down in the second.
Well, they can't move down in the second round this year (stupid Super Bowl win) but they can move down and out like Beverly Hills. Given that they don't have a third round pick this year, it may be very likely that they do just that; When the Seahawks didn't have a third round pick in 2011, they traded out of the second round in a move with Detroit in order to add an extra pick.
And still, one must wonder if Pete and John are going to be less apt to hedge their bets on present-day quantity over quality or future quantity.
After so much movement in their first three drafts, why did they keep five of their seven picks in 2013? Well, the answer is still pretty simple. Despite keeping all of those picks, other moves still allowed them to accumulate 11 draft picks last season even after trading two of them (and one this year) for Percy Harvin. And after making those 11 picks, how many of those players played in 16 games last season?
One: Luke Willson.
How many played in more than half? Two: Willson and Michael Bowie.
And right now, how many roster spots are truly open on the defending Super Bowl champion? Not only do any incoming rookies have to battle for PTPT (prime time playing time) with last year's regulars, they also have to battle against Christine Michael, Jordan Hill, Jesse Williams, Alvin Bailey, Tharold Simon, Spencer Ware, Jared Smith, who all basically come in as rookies again fighting for a spot. And forget about stashing too many players on the practice squad like the good old days. (Stupid, stupid Super Bowl win. Curse you!)
Right now, Seattle doesn't have their original third or seventh (Terrelle Pryor), but they do have an additional fifth (Flynn) so the Seahawks still have six picks. They also know that next year they're probably looking at four comp picks, for a present day total of 11 picks next year. If they're following the Green Bay model, then that means they'll keep adding more picks, but they probably also realize that at some point, they'll be drafting good players that they just can't keep and could that be a waste?
Given a possible added value to the 32nd overall pick this year if certain players slide down just in front of the Houston Texans at 33, there could definitely be a possibility for the Seahawks to move down and pick up some extra draft picks this year. But the question isn't about whether it's worth it to trade down, the question is "are you trading down just for the sake of trading down?"
I'm not sure it's out of the realm of possibility for Seattle to trade up this year either. That's basically what they did for Harvin (though a seventh and future third would only move them up a hair from 25th in the draft) and if the right player is there, they won't hesitate. But they've pretty much only moved down for current pros. It might be more interesting to see if the Seahawks don't move down for more picks or move up for a rookie, but if they move picks for players already in the league.
They've kept 12 of their own picks over the last four years. They've also moved 12 of their own picks in deals for other players.
So far, it's actually been quite common. It'll be interesting to see how Pete and John (and I guess they have other guys helping them) handle the 2014 NFL Draft. Will it follow the model of everything they've done so far over four years, or more closely resemble how they finished off the 2013 draft, because they're so talented as it is? It could be tough to gauge, since we've never quite been in this position before.
(Oh, when will the Super Bowl win curse end?!)
Showing work for teacher:
1-14 (from Broncos) kept
2-40 dealt (Whitehurst)
3-70 dealt (in 2009)
4-104 dealt (White)
5-139 dealt (Washington)
6-176 dealt (White)
7-713 dealt (Henderson/Sims)
1-25 kept (Carp)
2-57 dealt (trade down with Lions)
3-89 dealt (Whitehurst)
4-22 dealt (Lynch)
5-156 Kept (LeGree)
6-190 dealt (Balmer)
7-227 dealt (Stacy Andrews)
1-12 dealt (trade down with Eagles)
2-43 dealt (trade down with Jets)
3-75 kept (Russell Wilson!)
4-106 kept (Robert Turbin)
5-147 dealt (Marshawn Lynch)
6-181 kept (Guy)
7-219 dealt (Polumbus)
1-25 dealt (Harvin)
2-56 dealt (Trade down with Ravens)
3-87 kept (Hill)
4-123 kept (Harper)
5-158 kept (Willson)
6-194 kept (Ware)
7-231 kept (Powell)