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Trading down for Malik McDowell has turned out pretty well for Seahawks

NFL: Seattle Seahawks-Minicamp Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL trade deadline passed on Tuesday without the Seattle Seahawks making any moves beyond the acquisition of safety Quandre Diggs the week before the deadline. That was similar to 2018, when the team did not make any moves at the deadline, but in contrast to the bold strokes of 2017. In 2017 the team made strong moves not only at the trade deadline, bringing in Duane Brown, but also at the cut to 53 in acquiring Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets.

Fans of the team know that Pete Carroll has publicly stated the trade to acquire Richardson was, at least in part, driven by the unfortunate situation with Malik McDowell, thus the trade selection of McDowell in the draft arguably ate both the 2017 second round pick of the Seahawks, but the 2018 second round pick as well.

However, while tons of time and energy have been spent on discussing the McDowell situation, let’s take a look at some of the good that has grown out of everything that transpired.

For starters, while the team used the 35th overall pick on McDowell in 2017, the only reason the Seahawks held the 35th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft was because they had traded down, just as Seattle GM John Schneider regularly does. The Hawks have long traded down in order to increase the number of picks the team held, in addition to reducing the amount of guaranteed money that goes to players selected in the first round of the draft, and 2017 was no different in that regard.

In 2017 Seattle entered Day 1 of the draft holding the 26th pick in the first round, and as expected by most, when that pick arrived the team traded down. In fact Seattle didn’t just trade down once, they traded down three times before finally using a pick to select McDowell. The first trade was with the Atlanta Falcons, who used the pick Seattle had sent them on defensive end Takkarist McKinley out of UCLA. McKinley, of course, has played well enough for the Falcons, with 13 sacks and 25 quarterback hits over the first two season of his career, but he has recorded just a half a sack and eight quarterback hits so far in 2019.

In the swap with Atlanta, the Seahawks received the Falcons third (3.95) and seventh (7.249) round selections. However, as noted, the Hawks were far from done moving down. Rather than make a selection with the 31st pick, Seattle sent it to the division rival San Francisco 49ers in exchange for their second (2.34) and fourth (4.111) round picks. The Niners then used the 31st pick to select Reuben Foster, who was waived last November following multiple off-field issues.

Again Seattle didn’t stay at 34, however. With the Jacksonville Jaguars offering a sixth (6.187) round pick in return for the Seahawks sliding from spot 34 to spot 35, Seattle took the free pick before finally selecting McDowell.

Thus, after starting with pick 1.26 in the 2017 draft, John Schneider turned that lone draft choice into five choices by moving down from 1.26 to 2.35. Thus, by the time the Seahawks actually selected Malik McDowell in the second round, the team had also added the following picks to the arsenal by moving down those nine slots:

  • 3.95
  • 4.111
  • 6.187
  • 7.249

That’s four additional players on team-friendly rookie contracts the team was able to bring in and evaluate by doing no more than moving down nine places. Obviously, not all draft picks contribute in a material way, and many, especially Day 3 picks, won’t ever contribute in a meaningful way. That is why increasing the number of draft picks becomes so crucial, as it enables teams to take a shotgun approach and not be nearly as concerned about those picks that don’t pan out as hoped.

As for how the picks the team acquired by moving down have fared, here is what the team did with the four additional selections:

  • 3.95: Lano Hill
  • 4.111: Tedric Thompson
  • 6.187: Mike Tyson
  • 7.249: Chris Carson

So, fans will likely hate the selection of Malik McDowell all they want, but the return the Hawks have gotten from Chris Carson certainly lessens the blow. In addition, while Carson was taken in the seventh round, if his production in the second half of 2019 matches what he did in the first half, he will have exceeded the median career rushing production for running backs taken at the back end of the first round. He’s already easily exceeded typical career production for a seventh round running back.

Thus, while watching the Seahawks take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9 this weekend, every time the Hawks give the ball to Carson, feel free to remember that Carson is a Seahawk in part because the team traded down to select McDowell.