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How valuable is a first round pick to a 72 year old coach?

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a lot of speculation and hope from fans across the league regarding the potential for their favorite team to trade for All Pro wide receiver Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons, however, the Seattle Seahawks could have an advantage. Specifically, while Pete Carroll carries himself like a much younger coach, and in spite of his “Win Forever” preachings, the simple fact of the matter is that Carroll is not getting any younger.

Specifically, while he will turn 70 this fall, the simple fact of the matter is that after having dealt its first round pick in the 2022 NFL draft to the New York Jets in the Jamal Adams trade last summer, the next first round pick the Seahawks currently hold is when Carroll will be 71. However, even though he’ll be 71 when the 2023 NFL Draft is held, the simple fact of the matter is that Carroll would turn 72 just days after any player selected in the 2023 NFL draft makes their NFL debut.

Adding to that, here is a rundown of how much recent Seattle first round picks have seen the field during their first three seasons with the team.

Snaps by season for first round picks

Year Players Selected Rookie Snaps 2nd Year Snaps 3rd Year Snaps 4th Year Snaps
Year Players Selected Rookie Snaps 2nd Year Snaps 3rd Year Snaps 4th Year Snaps
2016 Germain Ifedi 840 1067 989 1107
2017 Malik McDowell 0 0 0 0
2018 Rashaad Penny 181 150 38 ???
2019 L.J. Collier 152 560 ??? ???
2020 Jordyn Brooks 367 ??? ??? ???

The point here is not that Germain Ifedi averaged over a thousand snaps per season during his Seattle career while Malik McDowell, Rashaad Penny, L.J. Collier and Jordyn Brooks have combined for just 944 snaps during their time in the league. The point here is that since since Ifedi was drafted no first round pick has seen extensive playing time as a rookie for the Hawks, and only Collier has put together a season where he played more than 500 snaps. Now, that is very likely to change this fall when both Collier and Brooks have an opportunity to see significant snaps, however it leads to a very interesting discussion.

To get directly to the point, how valuable is a 2023 first round pick if the history for the team seems to indicate that that player will not likely see an impact worthy number of snaps until 2024 or possibly even 2025 at the earlier? In 2024 Carroll will be 73 years old for the majority of the season and 74 years old in 2025.

That brings things directly to the discussion of how much longer he will be coaching the Seahawks, and specifically to the question of whether the potential upside that exists in a 2023 first round pick will do more for Carroll’s legacy than what adding an All Pro wide receiver at a cost controlled $38.326M over the next three seasons could do.

To sum it up, 2021 has the potential to be the seventh straight season in which Carroll and Russell Wilson have failed to advance past the divisional round of the playoffs, and neither one of them is getting younger. Their Lombardiological clocks are ticking, and if they want to create a legacy that includes multiple Super Bowl rings, it would seem that the addition of Julio Jones likely brings a greater increase in the probability of finally getting that second ring than using their 2023 first round pick on a player who isn’t likely to see the field a whole lot.

In short, Seattle should do it. Jump all in. Zero projected starters in the 2021 secondary are signed past this season. 60% of the offensive line is set to hit free agency next offseason. The top two on the depth chart at tight end are only under contract for this season, and the four guys behind them have combined for a whopping 51 career snaps. Wilson and Bobby Wagner haven’t shown much sign of slowing down, but they aren’t getting any younger. The top edge rushers on the team in Carlos Dunlap, Benson Mayowa and Kerry Hyder will be 32, 30 and 30 this season.

Basically, there’s a whole lot that could need to be addressed next offseason, so in the meantime it should be draft picks, schmraft picks when it comes to weighing the options to add Jones. No need, of course, to overpay if the Falcons are willing to accept a third round pick and pay half his 2021 salary, but at the same time there’s no point being stingy if a potential difference maker can be added.