ESPN recently ranked all 32 NFL teams based on their ability to draft quarterbacks throughout their respective franchise histories. As if we didn’t have enough reason to be grateful for Russell Wilson, the ranking even with the Wilson pick is still low for the Seattle Seahawks.
Before we get to where Seattle fared, I should note that this ranking is quite literally for teams’ original draft picks, even if they were eventually traded away or had greater success elsewhere. For example, The Los Angeles Chargers drafted Eli Manning before trading him to the New York Giants. John Elway was a Baltimore Colt but got traded to the Denver Broncos. Brett Favre threw four passes for the 1991 Atlanta Falcons and half of them were intercepted.
The metric used here is Pro Football Reference’s Approximate Value (AV), which ESPN’s Seth Walder then amended to use “weighted career AV, which puts more weight on a player’s best seasons, as opposed to simply totaling the AVs earned each season. For simplicity, I’ll simply call it AV or career AV from here on out.”
Unsurprisingly, the New England Patriots top the table with sixth-round draft pick Tom Brady. It is through this article that I found out that the Patriots drafted Rich Gannon. The Los Angeles Chargers are runners-up thanks to Eli, Drew Brees, Trent Green, and Dan Fouts.
Anyway, let’s get to the Seahawks. They’re way down in 24th and you’ll find that if not for Wilson, they would be close to rock bottom.
Total drafted QB career AV above expectation: minus-61
Best value pick: Russell Wilson, No. 75 in 2012
Worst value pick: Dan McGwire, No. 16 in 1991
The positive end of the spectrum for Seattle is all Wilson. Literally the only other above-expectation pick was Seneca Wallace, who outperformed his 110th draft selection by 0.6 AVs. Otherwise, Wilson is the only one keeping this thing afloat.
McGwire, the younger brother of former MLB slugger Mark McGwire, never saw extensive action on the field despite being a first-rounder. He started a mere five games in Seattle and averaged just 5 yards per attempt over his brief career.
Exempting Wilson, the best quarterbacks in Seattle Seahawks history are obviously Matt Hasselbeck, Jim Zorn, Dave Krieg, and that 1997 season from Warren Moon. None of them was drafted by Seattle, and only Krieg (as a UDFA from the defunct Milton College) was signed straight to the Seahawks of these four names.
Through the last 30 years, the non-Wilson quarterbacks drafted by the Seahawks who have even played in a game are Rick Mirer, Dan McGwire, Brock Huard, and uh... that is literally everyone. The likes of Jeff Kelly, David Greene, Josh Booty, and Alex McGough have as many attempted NFL passes as the whole of Field Gulls.
Seneca Wallace started several games in 2006 and 2008 and played for the Cleveland Browns in 2010-2011 before ending his career with the Green Bay Packers in 2013. Not bad for a fourth-round draft pick to hang around as long as he did. As such, he’s the second best QB the Seahawks have ever selected.
Russell Wilson bucked the trend for a franchise that has historically been a mess at drafting quarterbacks, and much like Patrick Mahomes for the 30th-ranked Kansas City Chiefs, it only takes one generational talent to turn your franchise into a champion.
And yes, the Cleveland Browns are 32nd. Brandon Weeden, Tim Couch. Brady Quinn, the list goes on and on for incompetence. Bernie Kosar was a supplemental draft pick so he doesn’t count.
You can read the full article here, although it’s behind the paywall.