It’s hard to talk to the pessimistic Seahawks fan without soon getting to the part where they “suck at drafting.” After the pessimistic Seahawks fan first sets aside the historic 2010-2012 draft classes as “lucky,” they get into the glaring holes in the 2013-2015, outside of Justin Britt, Frank Clark, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, and Luke Willson. (Plus trades for Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham, which at the very least help give context to Seattle not having first round picks in two of those three years, with the third year having them trade out of the first round as well.)
A big reason why we didn’t see big contributions from many of their picks over those years was there wasn’t much opportunity. And more opportunity does not equal more success ... I don’t think opportunities are what held Christine Michael back from being great so much as on-field abilities did.
Well, opportunities are back again.
Over the last three years, the Seahawks have drafted 30 players. Of those 30, at least nine could be in line for starting/basically starting roles to open the season, and that does not include punter Michael Dickson:
RB Chris Carson (7th), LG Ethan Pocic (2nd), RT Germain Ifedi (1st), TE Nick Vannett (3rd), DE Quinton Jefferson (5th), DT Jarran Reed (2nd), DT Nazair Jones (3rd), FS Tedric Thompson (4th), CB Shaquill Griffin (3rd)
In some cases, the “starting” gig is open because of injuries (Vannett over Ed Dickson, Jefferson over Dion Jordan) or holdouts (Thompson over Earl Thomas), and may not all be out there on the first snap (Jefferson, Jones), but that’s nine players in the last three years who figure to have pretty big roles, and it’s certainly not the end of it.
I’d say at least four others could have significant contributions this season, if not starting:
RB Rashaad Penny (1st), RB C.J. Prosise (3rd), LB Jacob Martin (6th), DE Rasheem Green (3rd)
And I won’t count these players out either:
TE Will Dissly (4th), WR David Moore (7th), LB Shaquem Griffin (5th), CB Tre Flowers (5th), OT Jamarco Jones (5th, and if healthy)
So that’s 19 of the 30 players. The ones who are no longer around: Alex Collins, Kenny Lawler, Zac Brooks, Justin Senior, and for all intents and purposes, Malik McDowell.
The ones who are fighting for backup roles: Rees Odhiambo, Joey Hunt, Delano Hill, Mike Tyson, Alex McGough.
You may look at these names and not feel too excited by a lot of them. Well, the nine-person rookie class remains a complete unknown, we just have some positive reports to work with for Green, Dissly, Griffin, Flowers, and Martin. (I’d say Green and Martin are the biggest standouts so far?) Penny too, but Carson is giving him an opportunity to work on that pass blocking technique while looking like one of the best backs in the league.
The 11-person class of 2017 has disappointments like McDowell, Darboh, Hill, but has also produced a quality starting cornerback, a potential star at defensive tackle, a potential Earl replacement at free safety, and two seventh round picks that are playing way above their draft grade in Carson and Moore.
And not a lot of people would shower the 2016 class with praise, mostly due to disappointing returns on Ifedi, but Reed, Prosise, Vannett, and Jefferson could prove crucial pieces once the season starts. Maybe they won’t take full advantage of that opportunity in the way that we want them to, and maybe they will, but the opportunity is officially there.
Let’s give them the chance to prove to Pessimistic Seahawks Fan that not all is wrong with Seattle’s draft strategy.