With less than a month before the NFL Draft, some fans may be hoping the Seattle Seahawks package several selections or a certain star player for a draft pick higher than the 26th-overall position where the team is currently slotted, rather than the perhaps more-probable result of trading out of the first round altogether.
Seattle hasn’t picked in the top 10 since 2010 (Russell Okung) and in fact since 2012 (Bruce Irvin) has made any first round selections only once (Germain Ifedi, last year). Indeed, the Seahawks have only picked in the top 10 three times since 1997, when a flurry of trades and the looming ownership swap enabled two such selections—which became Pro Bowl cornerback Shawn Springs and Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Jones.
In 2017, draft experts have been saying the premier players should all be chosen within the first 10 or 15 selections—with the next tier not dropping off until the middle of the second round—making a slight move forward not all that valuable unless John Schneider’s scouts can identify a proper steal, and increasing the premium on picks at the very top of the draft. So there’s almost zero chance Seattle ends up with anything like a top-five choice, of which the Seahawks have only used seven in their entire history, including Springs: Steve Niehaus (1976), Kenny Easley (1981), Curt Warner (1983), Cortez Kennedy (1990), Rick Mirer (1993) and Aaron Curry (2009).
Although Curry and Niehaus were whiffs (and even Niehaus was NFC defensive rookie of the year in Seattle’s inaugural season before multiple knee injuries shortly ended his career), that’s a pretty stellar record: two Hall of Famers in Easley and Kennedy, Warner who was a very important player for the franchise during its first great success in the 1980s—and even Mirer, though disappointing, got flipped into the 1997 draft haul that produced Jones and Springs through a trade with the Chicago Bears. And still, after 41 years the Seahawks have never held the first-overall pick in the college draft, a detail more recently highlighted in a list published Thursday by NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison ranking the top selections in each of the last 50 years.
Although the list itself has some head-scratching placements—Niners Nation points out how career milquetoast Alex Smith edges hirsute wunderkind Andrew Luck, but for my chips the greater snub is that both somehow outrank Michael Vick (whose meteoric fall from grace rubs many the wrong way but whose onfield body of work in my view puts him ahead of any other No. 1 of the new century so far, with potential challengers only in Cam Newton and Eli Manning)—the main point of interest for Seattle fans is the total absence of the home team. Although that fact has definitely made draft season a little less exciting for us folks over the years, it’s yet another testament to the infrequency of truly miserable Seahawks seasons. Seattle has never been the worst of the worst, and also scarcely even been in such dire need as to scramble for a trade to the top of the draft.
The Seahawks share that honor during the Super Bowl era with the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins (plus technically the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars, both of whom have been around only about half as long, and Tennessee Titans although as the Houston Oilers that franchise picked first twice; also the Denver Broncos and New York Giants but both of these once traded for the selected player following the draft) and somehow too the Arizona Cardinals.
So it’s not an exclusive deal. But in comparison the Indianapolis Colts have chosen first six times (counting the trade that became Denver’s John Elway), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers five, the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots four each—and the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams three times, including the worst pick of them all according to Harrison: Jared Goff.