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The Two Drafts that Helped End Tim Ruskell's Seahawks Career

I mentioned this in a thread, but I think the idea deserves fleshing out. The rule of thumb for evaluating a draft class is after five years. That is not to say we should evaluate the decision making based on the results, but only how much a team benefited from a class. After five years, a draft class should contribute a significant amount to a team's core.

Bob Whitsitt and Mike Holmgren bid on the excellent 2004 class and won:

1 23 Marcus Tubbs DT Texas
2 53 Michael Boulware DB Florida State
3 84 Sean Locklear G North Carolina State
4 116 Niko Koutouvides LB Purdue
5 157 D.J. Hackett WR Colorado
6 189 Craig Terrill DT Purdue
7 224 Donnie Jones P Louisiana State

The prize is probably Sean Locklear, who has turned into a good, if oft-injured right tackle. The only other redeeming talent was Craig Terrill. Terrill is a rotational defensive tackle. Instead of scrutinizing the picks themselves, let us simply consider that the above contributed 11 starts in 2009. Tubbs and Hackett missed the entire season. Tubbs is in fact retired. Boulware and Koutouvides are special teams players. Locklear made 10 starts. Terrill made one. Jones is a Ram. Basically, Ruskell was paying the piper for Holmgren and Whitsitt's misfires.

It doesn't end there, though.

Seattle started to collapse in 2008. This was the Seahawks 2003 draft class.

1 11 Marcus Trufant CB Washington State
2 42 Ken Hamlin FS Arkansas
3 73 Wayne Hunter T Hawaii
4 110 Seneca Wallace QB Iowa State
4 135 Solomon Bates LB Arizona State
5 165 Chris Davis FB Syracuse
6 183 Rashad Moore DT Tennessee
7 222 Josh Brown K Nebraska
7 224 Taco Wallace WR Kansas State

Seattle received 24 starts from this class: 16 by Trufant and eight by Wallace. Hamlin made another 16 starts for the Cowboys. Depending on your opinion of Hamlin, you might think Seattle would have been better or worse for retaining him. I don't know that I think Hamlin is very good, but I think I would have preferred Hamlin to Brian Russell. It speaks volumes that Hamlin versus Russell is controversial. That is an optional criticism, subjective, but objectively speaking, Seattle only had one player from the 2003 class that was a starter on its 2008 depth chart. It had early picks, and produced very little talent.

Seattle is approaching the five year mark for Ruskell's first ever draft. We can expect two to four starters from this group:

1 26 Chris Spencer C Mississippi
2 45 Lofa Tatupu MLB USC
3 85 David Greene QB Georgia
3 98 Leroy Hill OLB Clemson
4 105 Ray Willis T Florida State
5 159 Jeb Huckeba DE Arkansas
6 196 Tony Jackson RB Iowa
7 235 Cornelius Wortham LB Alabama
7 254 Doug Nienhuis G Oregon State

Tatupu and Hill are Pro-Bowl/near-Pro Bowl caliber. It was not a perfect draft, but it certainly will not screw Pete Carroll and John Schneider quite like the 2003 and 2004 draft screwed Tim Ruskell. If Spencer develops, Hill and Tatupu regain their health, and Gibbs helps turn Willis into a good right tackle, Carroll will be accredited the wins, but Ruskell found the talent.