Last year, I wrote a retrospective on the Seahawks' 2008 draft, using the old adage that you need at least three years to judge a draft class. Re-reading that piece, I was probably more kind than I should've been--only two players from that draft are still on the team, and they both have massive injury baggage. Also, drafting a long-snapper is the stupidest thing ever and Ruskell should have been fired on the spot for that and why did people ever defend that move and oh God where's the Men In Black to wipe your memory when you need them.
Anyway, another year has passed, so it's time to take a look at the 2009 draft, now they have had the requisite three years.
Let's rewind back a few years. The Seahawks were coming off their worst year since Holmgren's 6-10 campaign. The defense was in shambles, and the offense was getting older. Ruskell had two options in this offseason: blow the whole thing up, start from scratch and put his job on the line, or stick his finger in the dike and hope everything works out in the end. He chose a little of both in free agency, signing Colin Cole and T.J. Houshmandzadeh to long-term deals while releasing fan-favorite Bobby Engram and dealing Julian Peterson for Cory Redding and a 5th-rounder.
It was a decidedly mixed bag, provoking the expected reactions on both extremes, but I think most people were still willing to be patient and wait for Ruskell to weave his defensive magic in the draft.
1st Round - Aaron Curry, OLB
I've been sitting at the keyboard for five minutes here, racking my brains for something to say that hasn't already been said, but it's a futile effort. He jumps offsides. He bites on play-action. He blows his assignments. He has poor instincts. He's annoying on Twitter. We already know all of this, and we've discussed it thousands of times. What more is there to say, other than to hope that he figures it out in Oakland? Everybody thought this was a slam dunk pick, other than the Mark Sanchez loyalists. We all assumed that he'd be at worst above-average and at best a world beater, the next Derrick Brooks. We were all wrong. Let us never speak of this again. And yes, Fearless Frog, you're still banned.
2nd Round - Max Unger, C/OG
He played at right guard in 2009 since Chris Spencer was still a thing. He was awful. Then he tore his Achilles and missed the whole '10 season. But during that time, something magical happened to him: Spencer went away, and he discovered how to play football again. I'm not sure how much credit Tom Cable deserves, but Unger actually looks like an NFL lineman now, and was one of the more pleasant surprises of 2011.
3rd Round - Deon Butler, WR
Seattle got this pick through a convoluted trade involving two other teams and a 2010 pick. I'll spare you the gory details since late-round trades rival a Lost episode in pointless complexity, but here we are at the 91st pick, and we used it on this spry speedster. He's capable of good things like speed, and some other things. He's also capable of bad things like being mauled by man coverage and his leg suddenly growing a third joint. Now by all accounts, he's fully healed from his gruesome injury. Personally, I've never been too high on Butler, and the injury has made me even more wary--speed is about the only thing he has going for him, and if the injury saps that in any way, he's not long for the league. I hope he proves me wrong.
6th Round - Mike Teel, QB
There were some interesting shenanigans during the draft here. In addition to Redding, Seattle got the 137th pick for Peterson. So in the 5th round, they held both the 137th and 140th picks. They traded the 137 to Philly, who later hot-potatoed it to New England for Ellis Hobbs, and they later tossed it to Baltimore, who used the pick on Jason Phillips. Meanwhile, the Seahawks, who apparently hated the 5th round, traded their 140 to Denver for Keary Colbert. The pick eventually went to Chicago, who used it on Johnny Knox.
And you thought I was kidding about Lost being more complex.
I write all these words because Mike Teel was a nothing and will be a nothing and joins David Greene and Charlie Frye in the "pointless token efforts to groom a young QB" pantheon of Ruskell decisions.
7th Round - Courtney Greene, S
What is a Courtney Greene? I ask honestly, because I know nothing about him and his Wikipedia page doesn't even have a "Pro Career" section. Assuming he's not dead, I hope that he found a successful life outside of football and wish him luck in his future endeavors.
7th Round - Nick Reed, DE
What, you thought I was going to make the same recycled Chuck Norris jokes? Fuck that, this meme is dead and buried. I hope that Nick Reed found a successful life outside of football and wish him luck in his future endeavors.
7th Round - Cameron Morrah, TE
Hey, a 7th-rounder worth talking about. Or maybe not, your call. He's pretty decent, he gets injured, but he's still useful. As the above entries show, that's way more than you ask for out of a 7th-rounder. Good call, Ruskell.
One starter and two kinda-okay depth guys. Three out of seven picks are still on the team and still contributing. That's not too bad, all things considered. Problem is, we're not considering all things, and we can't ignore the 800-pound elephant that would've made or broke this draft.
Curry. Curry was the key. He was the 4th pick, and 4th picks are expected to contribute, and he didn't contribute. He was supposed to contribute, because everybody thought he would. The Top 10 in general was sketchy, and Sanchez had plenty of question marks, so it was considered the "safe" pick at #4, and we know how much Ruskell loves safe picks. But that was fine, because he was supposed to be the Next Big Thing. Intentionally or not, Curry was the millstone that hung around the rest of this draft's neck. No matter how the rest of the picks panned out, they would sink or swim with Curry, and he sank them so far it's easy to have a rotten opinion of this class. Truthfully, I don't think it's terrible, mostly because of the pick that didn't happen in the actual draft--Ruskell fleecing Josh McDaniels for Denver's 2010 1st-rounder, a pick that would later turn into Earl Thomas. That's the kind of savvy that will salvage any stinker draft like this one.
But not completely. Because Goddamnit Aaron Curry.