2020 has come with plenty of weird, and the NFL season has been no exception.
It also applies to the recently-completed draft. 2020 gave us a bit of a phenomenon even beyond the virtual draft and the hitherto-unprecedented amount of tragedies that first-round players have overcome.
Ordinarily, teams aren’t evaluating multiple players at the same position and the same exact spot in the draft. By that I mean, it’s not actually that frequent for two teams to select players at the same position in back-to-back picks. The draft does not often go WR at 29 and WR at 30, or a tackle at both 45 and 46.
For example, in the first round of 2018, it happened twice with defensive tackles at 12-13 and centers at 20-21. It occurred but twice in round two as well. In 2019’s first round, it only happened once, with offensive tackles to the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans at 22-23.
2020? Five times. Quarterback, tackle, wide receiver, linebacker, and corner. All in the first round.
In true 2020 fashion, the draft then got weirder. It happened another five times in the second round, making 10 back-to-back positions selected in the first two rounds and shattering draft records for years.
The Seattle Seahawks got in on the weirdness by making one of the more surprising picks of the weekend in Jordyn Brooks at 27, with Patrick Queen going to the Baltimore Ravens at 28. Both are linebackers, though only one was frequently projected in the first round.
Only two other times have the Seahawks made a meaningful doppelganger selection in the last seven drafts. The first involved Eddie Lacy and Christine Michael, who went at the tail end of round two in 2013. The second was Tyler Lockett, one pick over Jaelen Strong in 2015. Obviously, Tyler Lockett has been an unquestionable success, and continues to prove that both the trade-up to get him and early contract extension have been wise moves. Jaelen Strong is no longer in the league.
Christine Michael is another story. His career was filled with optimism and missed opportunities. Michael couldn’t start or gain more than 20 yards per game for two seasons before departing the team. Eddie Lacy, on the other hand, had multiple 1,000 yard seasons and a Pro Bowl before coming to Seattle to be mistaken for an offensive lineman. He was supremely underwhelming once in Seattle, but undeniably the better running back between the two.
Seattle is therefore 50-50 on winning these decisions. This year, they had the benefit of picking their guy first. Patrick Queen was still on the board. Seahawk fans should be closely watching the progression of Queen in Baltimore to get a sense of what John Schneider saw in Brooks that he didn’t see in Queen.
It’s a fun study because it helps average
idiots fans catch a glimpse into the intangibles (or tangibles) that help GMs make these decisions. Between Queen and Brooks: was it size? Was it speed? Medical history? Personality fit, scheme fit, coaching history, or perhaps the hope that he might provide insight into Kliff Kingsbury?
For those hoping to blast Schneider for his decision making, the career arcs of these two linebackers may prove to tip the scale one way or the other, as Seattle desperately needs to hit some of these picks in order to turn the corner and get back to legitimate contender status.