As Seattle Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks noted in his press conference on Wednesday, his draft class of 2020 will be getting their first complete offseason program of their careers this year thanks to the relaxation of COVID-19 protocols. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at what they’ve been able to produce in their first two seasons in the league, and how John Schneider and Pete Carroll did in picking out these players.
Currently, 7 of 8 picks remain with the team, a rate comparable to what the 2019 draft class recorded at the beginning of the 2021 season (9-for-11). Despite the high retention rate, though, production might not have been as high so far as some fans had hoped. Let’s begin with Brooks and move chronologically through the picks before arriving at the final grade.
For a refresher, most pundits gave this Seahawks class a middling to negative grade at the time. The following year, SB Nation Reacts respondents gave the draft a B grade.
Round 1, Pick 27: Jordyn Brooks, LB
Career stats: 23 starts, 241 tackles, 12 TFL
At the time, I must admit I was unhappy with the selection of Brooks, given the glaring needs at other positions throughout the team, but my stance on his selection has gradually softened as he has developed. Clearly intended as the heir to the captaincy of the Seahawks defense, Brooks shined last season, coming away with a franchise-record 184 tackles, and improving on a shaky rookie campaign which saw him struggle mightily in the passing game at times.
Now, with two years alongside future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner under his belt, Brooks is poised to take the reigns of a young, inexperienced defense. While it’s not saying much, Brooks is easily the best first-round pick the Seahawks have made in recent memory. There may be a debate over the timing of selecting a new linebacker, given the needs mentioned previously, but Brooks is turning into the player that the front office envisioned.
Round 2, Pick 40: Darrell Taylor, DE
Career stats: 5 starts, 6.5 sacks
Another young defender who showed flashes last season, Darrell Taylor seems to have all of the pieces to be a strong pass-rusher in the NFL. His speed and ability to bend around opposing tackle inspired awe in fans and coaches alike last year, to the relief of all who had concerns about the leg injury that caused him to miss his rookie season.
While Taylor is a promising prospect, the jury is still out on just how good the value the Seahawks got from him was at this point in the draft, especially with the injury history that has the potential to rear its ugly head at any time. It’s probably worth giving Taylor another season before we make a more solid judgement on his selection for now, but the injury history is a glaring negative for me.
Round 3, Pick 69: Damien Lewis, G
Career stats: 29 starts, 13 penalties
Not to be confused with the actor of Homeland fame, the former Louisiana State guard was a bit of an unknown for me entering the draft, but he was really impressive during his rookie season, and had the look of being a key fixture along the Seattle line for years to come.
Perhaps it was the low relative quality of the line around him during his rookie year, his litany of injuries, or maybe even just a stereotypical sophomore slump, but Lewis’ slight dip in performance during his second year has cast a slight fog on the rose-tinted glasses through which we may have viewed his rookie year.
Round 4, Pick 133: Colby Parkinson, TE
Career stats: 1 start, 49 receiving yards
A player that seemed to be in a decent position to fill a need on the offense in 2020, Parkinson was completely M.I.A. (partly due to a foot injury), and he was only cast further down the depth chart with the signing of Gerald Everett in 2021. With Everett’s departure, Parkinson will have a chance to prove his value to the team, but for now, he seems to be a really disappointing selection. At the moment he’s 3rd in the depth chart behind Noah Fant and Will Dissly, and it’s unlikely Parkinson will be able to usurp them.
Round 4, Pick 144: DeeJay Dallas, RB
Career stats: 2 starts, 490 total yards, 5 total touchdowns
Dallas has done very well to stick around in what has been a very crowded running back room these past few years, and has been capable when filling in at running back due to various injuries. Dallas has also been helpful on special teams, appearing in 62 percent of that unit’s snaps in 2021. Perhaps he was a bit of a reach in the fourth round for the ultimate value he produced, but Dallas has overall been a pleasant surprise for the Seahawks.
Round 5, Pick 148: Alton Robinson, DE
Career stats: 3 starts, 5.0 sacks, 2 FF
While perhaps the numbers don’t back up my confidence in Robinson’s ability, I still think there’s a valuable player in there somewhere that the Seahawks have a place for on their defense. As long as he’s not questionably put out-of-place in the passing game like he was at times under Ken Norton’s defense, I think Robinson will continue to grow in his third year.
Round 6, Pick 214: Freddie Swain, WR
Career stats: 9 starts, 534 total yards, 6 receiving touchdowns
While many late-round receivers have been abject failures for the Seahawks as of late, including the likes of Kenny Lawler, John Ursua, and Amara Darboh (if you consider the third round to be late... no, I’m still not over that one), Swain joins David Moore among the ranks of successful picks in the department. Swain has proven to be a very serviceable WR3/WR4 in his first two seasons, and although he figures to take a smaller role in the offense with the addition of Marquise Goodwin and the possibility of a healthy Dee Eskridge, there is still certainly a role for Swain on the offense or on special teams.
Round 7, Pick 251: Steven Sullivan, TE/DE
Career stats: 4 appearances, 1 target, 1 drop
The only abject failure as a selection from this class, Sullivan was a project that the Seahawks attempted to convert to a defensive end. This would be fine, had the Seahawks not given up a 2021 sixth-round selection to get back into the draft and take him. While not a disaster, it would have been nice to have another asset to potentially use in trades for more useful players the next season.
The top of the class has a few players with star potential, and the later rounds saw the Seahawks find a number of decent backups who have largely produced when called upon. This draft definitely has a low floor moving forward, but a much higher ceiling. As far as drafts go for the Carroll-Schneider era, this one isn’t near the top of the list, but it isn’t a complete disaster like 2016 or 2017.
2020 Draft Re-grade: B-