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Seahawks Drafts from the Past: 1983

How did the Seahawks do 40 years ago in the draft? Well, at least their first pick had a good career.

USA TODAY Sports Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor’s note: Everyone please give a warm welcome to our newest staff writer, Ted Zahn! One of his specialties is Seattle Seahawks history, and since it’s NFL Draft month we’re starting off with a flashback to the 1980s!)

In the lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft, let’s take a look back on the Seattle Seahawks draft classes from 40, 30, 20, and 10 years ago. I’ll list each draft pick and give a short summary of their career achievements – if applicable. Up first is 1983, the year the Seahawks broke through with their very first postseason appearance.

Round 1, Pick #3 – Curt Warner, RB, Penn State

The Seattle Seahawks made a big move for new head coach Chuck Knox by trading their first, second, and third-round draft picks to the Houston Oilers to move up to #3. With future NFL Hall of Famers John Elway and Eric Dickerson off the board, the Seahawks turned to Curt (not Kurt!) Warner – a highly touted running back from Penn State. Warner led the Nittany Lions in rushing for three seasons in a row from 1980-1982 amassing 3,007 yards and rushing for 22 TDs.

As a rookie, Warner lived up to his billing as a bell cow leading the entire AFC in rushing yards with 1,449 to go along with 13 TDs. He made the Pro Bowl, was named second team All-Pro and finished third in the NFL AP Rookie of the Year voting behind Eric Dickerson and Dan Marino.

Unfortunately, Warner tore his ACL in the 1984 season opener against the Cleveland Browns and missed the rest of the season. He returned in 1985 and manned the Seahawks backfield through 1989 racking up three more 1,000 yard seasons and another where he ended up just shy of that mark with 985 yards. Warner finished his Seahawks career with 6,705 rushing yards, 1,467 receiving yards, and 62 total TDs. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and was inducted into the Seahawks Ring of Honor in 1994. We’ll just forget his final season with the Rams in 1990, right?

Round 5, Pick #123 – Chris Castor, WR, Duke

Seattle selected wide receiver Chris Castor, the 1982 ACC Player of the Year, with their next pick. Castor caught 46 passes for 952 yards and 13 TDs as a senior for the Blue Devils. Sadly, that’s about ten times more yards and 13 more TDs than he would post in Seattle. Castor played two seasons with the Seahawks catching just eight passes for 89 yards over 23 games. He missed the 1985 season with a broken clavicle and retired from football in 1986.

Round 6, Pick #150 – Reginald Gipson, RB, Alabama A&M

Did not record an NFL statistic.

Round 7, Pick #177 – Sam Merriman, LB, Idaho

The Seahawks’ seventh-round pick was linebacker Sam Merriman from Idaho, whose best NFL moment may have come during his rookie season in the 1983 wild card playoff game against the Miami Dolphins. Merriman recovered a fumble on a kickoff with less than two minutes remaining and Seattle leading 24-20. Of course, the Seahawks would go on to upset the heavily favored Dolphins 27-20. Merriman was mostly a special teamer over his five seasons with Seattle. He suffered a knee injury in a 1988 preseason game against the Detroit Lions and never played another snap in the NFL.

Round 8, Pick #210 – Matt Hernandez, T, Purdue

Played in eight games for the Seahawks in 1983, starting one. Hernandez finished his career with the Minnesota Vikings in 1984, playing in 13 games.

Round 9, Pick #236 – Bob Clasby, DT, Notre Dame

Played in 49 games, recording 14.5 sacks, 1 INT, and 2 FR from 1986-1990…for the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals???

Ok, stick with me here because I went down a rabbit hole trying to research this guy. Yes, Clasby was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1983 NFL Draft, but he was also a “Territorial Selection” by the Chicago Blitz in the 1983 USFL Draft. He played three USFL games for Chicago in 1984 before being traded to the Jacksonville Bulls, where he would play through the 1985 season. The 1986 USFL season was canceled – whether this was the reason Clasby migrated to the NFL with the Cardinals is unclear.

Oh, and Clasby is a second cousin of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy’s children. He apparently used to play touch football with them growing up. The more you know!

Round 10, Pick #263 – Pete Speros, G, Penn State

Did not record an NFL statistic.

Round 11, Pick #290 – Bob Mayberry, G, Clemson

Did not record an NFL statistic.

Round 12, Pick #317 – Don Dow, T, Washington

Did not record an NFL statistic.

Warner was by far the best Seahawks draft pick of 1983 and the only one to make a Pro Bowl and get All-Pro honors. Here are highlights of his epic 207-yard, 3-touchdown day in Seattle’s dramatic 51-48 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs.