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Seahawks 2020 draft class produced little but shows big potential

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his fancy new deal, John Schneider has not been free of criticism in Seattle. He followed the three greatest drafts in franchise history (2010-12) with what Bob Condotta of the Seattle times ranked the third worst draft in the history of the Seattle Seahawks.

In fact Schneider has often been slammed for having few good drafts since 2012. A common take that’s not accurate but resonates around the PNW throughout many an April:

Pro Football Reference uses a metric called Approximate Value (AV) that they’ve attached to every player’s season since 1960. It’s an attempt to guesstimate how strongly each athlete contributes to the overall point total of their team over the course of the season.

It’s a very bad tool to evaluate the true strength or fit of any given player within a scheme or to project growth, and therefore I have concluded it must be what Bill O’Brien used to make trades back in Texas.

Regardless, 2020 actually came out as one of the worst rookie classes John Schneider has ever selected. Here’s the combined AV for each class of rookies:

  • 2010 - 18
  • 2011 - 41 (The surprise here is the class being led by an AV of 11 from Brandon Browner, who was a “rookie” of sorts but not drafted by John Schneider. Cumulative 30 for the rest, and still the second best draft of Schneider’s career)
  • 2012 - 39
  • 2013 - 10
  • 2014 - 25*
  • 2015 - 19
  • 2016 - 26
  • 2017 - 17
  • 2018 - 27 (guys not even kidding Tre Flowers led this class with an AV of 6)
  • 2019 - 29
  • 2020 - 17

*They gave rookie Justin Britt an 11, if not for him the class was on a big struggle bus.

So this year’s draft tied with 2017, and only beat 2013.

Obviously we can cry and moan about the system, but it is always interesting to take the same metric over 10 years and do a side-by-side. Here’s the whole list of every Seahawk rookie’s AV since John Schneider came to town.

2020’s class was affected by a number of factors, none as significant as Damien Lewis being the only season-long contributor. Second, there were only five contributors in total. Jordyn Brooks, Lewis, DeeJay Dallas, Alton Robinson, and Freddie Swain. Other classes like 16, 18, and 19 had as many as 10 rookies who played enough time to be AV contributors.

This is not an indictment of this year’s draft; perhaps the opposite. The only thing it shows with a level of clarity is that this rookie class did not contribute this year in totality, as much as many other draft classes.

However, there’s still hope that 2019-2020 will turn out as significantly successful drafts, which this team desperately needs moving forward.

Despite a year of injuries, this team believes in second-round DE Darrell Taylor enough to actually try to get him playing in the postseason, which is an interesting sign. Freddie Swain and Alton Robinson did not contribute much “value” per above, but two third-day selections were surprisingly clutch players, especially Robinson.

Expect Brooks and Lewis to be full-time starters for years, and both look like they could be monsters in their own right.

Schneider’s drafts have consistently produced two starters. This team already has that, has a wildcard potential in Taylor, and has two golden opportunities for Swain and Robinson to progress next year.