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The Seahawks were right to trade back last year, but Germain Ifedi may have been the wrong pick

Buffalo Bills v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seahawks haven’t used their original first round pick since selecting James Carpenter in 2011. Fans know what Carpenter is and what he was supposed to be. The 25th overall pick, Carpenter was a tackle out of Alabama who ended up becoming a guard in Seattle. He was an okay player for the Seahawks (who missed considerable time with injuries) and he continues to be an okay player for the Jets.

That seems to be a potential path for second-year lineman Germain Ifedi, but at least John Schneider also got a third round pick with him. The initial move that Schneider made on day one of the draft looks great, but the players chosen with the picks will be scrutinized for now because the other prospects in those areas are off to better starts.

Nobody needs to remind me that it’s only been one year because I’m still holding out as much hope for Paul Richardson as anyone. There’s a lot of time left to go in these careers. But it’s not too soon to look back and wonder what other scenarios existed and how it could alter the Seahawks draft plans next week.

Seattle held the 26th overall pick last year, as they do right now, and when their name was called they made a deal with the Broncos to move down five picks because John Elway wanted Paxton Lynch. There could be a strikingly similar move this year because there are at least four quarterbacks who could go in the first round and a number of teams behind the Seahawks who could be looking to add one. For Schneider to pull off the acquisition of a third round pick just to move down five spots was beautiful, and the selection of Ifedi was highly predictable and understandable, but a year later it just has not quite worked out.

The players that Seattle missed out on strictly from moving down five spots aren’t too regrettable. Josh Garnett may be a better guard than Ifedi, but that’s still debatable and it’s still only a guard-to-guard comparison. After all, Ifedi is moving back to tackle this summer but Pete Carroll has not even committed to him being a starter at any position. That doesn’t just sound like “always compete” rhetoric and that Ifedi is basically guaranteed a spot because of his draft status — it really feels like Ifedi is competing for a job.

The others they passed were Lynch, Kenny Clark, Robert Nkemdiche, and Vernon Butler. I wouldn’t be worried about any of those players yet. Not like I would be about the ones who came after 31.

Next off was Emmanuel Ogbah to the Browns, who had a nice rookie season with 53 tackles and six sacks. Three picks later was Hunter Henry to the Chargers, who has already scored eight touchdowns. The Seahawks would pick Nick Vannett with the third round pick they got in the Denver deal, so clearly they were in search of a future at tight end. And 36th was Chris Jones to the Chiefs, a defensive tackle who I think has flashed the type of ability that Seattle really wants at that position. The other three who went between those guys are all interesting for one reason or another: Kevin Dodd, Jaylon Smith, and Myles Jack.

Let’s pretend for a moment that the Seahawks take Henry instead of Ifedi. Then they still have a hole on the offensive line, right? Well, instead of taking Vannett in the third — who as of yet has done nothing and was fourth on the depth chart where four depth chart positions usually don’t exist — they could have targeted Graham Glasgow, who went to the Lions and started 11 games. Could Glasgow have been much worse than Ifedi? Is guard/tackle any less of a need today than it was a year ago because of the selection of Ifedi?

The lesson to be learned here is not just revisionist history that involves things we cannot change, but perhaps a methodology that can. Ifedi was so predictable that it almost felt like the safe, boring, “Seahawks” pick in round one. Not unlike the Carpenter pick, in fact. Schneider seems to either trade the pick for a player that makes everyone go “Wow, I did not see that coming!” or go in the complete opposite direction of “We all saw that coming.” Perhaps this is a year to make fans go “Wow” in the first round without trading it for a player. To get the high ceiling player that carries some risk but also has an opportunity to be much more than an okay guard or tackle. Offensive line is a huge need, as is the ability to protect Russell Wilson, but even Wilson was not the safe pick. They were ridiculed by many for “wasting” a third rounder on a “backup quarterback” when they had already signed Matt Flynn.

When it comes to what the Seahawks will do this year, people say Garett Bolles a lot. People say Kevin King a lot. Maybe it’s time again for Schneider to pick the player that nobody has connected to Seattle. And he can still do that while trading down again.