When the Seattle Seahawks signed defensive end Dwight Freeney this week, they added a player who is much older than who they typically target. However, they know that with Freeney they’re getting a player who could potentially help them for the next three months and won’t really worry about what comes next for the 37-year-old. Even if he 114 days younger than his newest defensive coordinator, Kris Richard, who was drafted in the same year, 74 picks after him.
Dwight Freeney was taken 11th overall in 2002 NFL draft. With 85th pick Seattle Seahawks selected Kris Richard, who is now Freeney's DC.— John Gilbert (@SalesMachineTPA) October 25, 2017
The Indianapolis Colts took Freeney 11th overall in 2002, the same year that David Carr, Julius Peppers, and Joey Harrington went 1-2-3. That draft also had players at the top next to Freeney long since out of the NFL, like Wendell Bryant, Mike Williams (the tackle), and William Green. The Seahawks first pick that year was tight end Jerramy Stevens, giving further perspective to how long ago that draft was.
They also took Maurice Morris in round two, a player whose last season in Seattle was 2008, just before Jim Mora took over for Mike Holmgren, as well as defensive end Anton Palepoi, who the team released in 2004. But that perspective pales (palespois?) in comparison to their third round pick that year, Richard.
The 85th overall pick, Richard came from USC after playing for one season under new Trojans head coach Pete Carroll. He was about as successful in the NFL as Palepoi, getting released in 2004, playing one game with the 49ers in 2005, then being out of the league. Richard ended up back at USC as an assistant under Carroll, then followed him to the Seahawks in 2010, and took over as defensive coordinator in 2015. The 37-year-old former defensive back and defensive backs coach is now perhaps just a step away from becoming a head coach in the NFL at age 38, when most of the players he was drafted with are long since retired and trying to figure out their post-career lives.
But not Freeney, who is back in the league and now playing for Richard. A long stone’s throw from where they were positioned 15 years ago.