Leon Washington averaged nearly 10 yards per return on punts over the course of his career. That means punts he returns go from the 10 to the 20, 20 to the 30 and so forth. Now, obviously that isn’t going to happen every play, but having someone who can give you an extra 10 yards instead of a fair catch or touchback on a punt/kick return can have its advantages. Especially when that same someone has the ability to return a kick for a touchdown. (Washington is tied for first in freaking NFL history in kick return touchdowns. The magic number is eight.)
The Seahawks’ price of admission: moving down two rounds from the fifth round to the seventh.
Brandon Browner is widely perceived as one of the better, if not physical, cornerbacks in the entire league. He’s a highly penalized player at times, but consistently draws one of the opposing team’s top threats and comes out either on top or close to it. Browner also made the Pro Bowl last year and probably would have this year if it weren’t for his four-game suspension.
Seahawks’ price of admission: paying his contract. They signed out of the CFL, where, to his credit, he was a three-time All-Star.
Carroll and Schneider have also found a countless number of contributors in all portions of the NFL Draft.
Bobby Wagner was originally touted as too small to play linebacker in the NFL. He led the top scoring defense in the league in tackles his rookie year.
KJ Wright was a fourth-round choice who has gradually turned into one of the better young linebackers in the league. He’s shown his versatility on defense, starting at both the middle and outside linebacker spots at certain points in his career.
Kam Chancellor might be one of, if not the best find of the bunch. Towering over opponents (unless of course, Randy Johnson was to suit up) in the defensive backfield, Chancellor is one of the harder hitters in the league and makes you think twice about leaping for a catch in his vicinity. He also went to the Pro Bowl last year. Draft slot 133rd overall. That’s in the fifth round for anyone who isn’t a super draft genius.
Richard Sherman might be the best cornerback in the the league. Period. The Hawks found him in the fifth round.
And of course there is Russell Wilson who not only tied Peyton Manning’s NFL Rookie record for most touchdown passes in a season with 26, but also was the first rookie QB since the merger to go undefeated at home.
The Seahawks’ brass has also found countless gems in the even-later stages of the draft, JR Sweezey, Greg Scruggs, Jeron Johnson and Jeremy Lane all have made impacts at times.
One of the things that makes the Seahawks’ front office tandem special is because of something they didn’t do. They could have easily tried to replicate Carroll’s USC success and go get every USC guy on the open market. While the team might have been good, it would have seemed too easy or just not right at all. Before you would have known it, USC North signs and the like would probably be popping up everywhere here to Omak.
But they did pick and choose their moments with USC players. After all, they probably would have the best scouting report in the league. Malcolm Smith looks like a long-term answer at linebacker as well as Anthony McCoy, who looks to be also in the team’s long-term plans. McCoy was low on draft boards due to off-the-field problems. Talent wise it was there, maybe not off the field. He’s doing great in Seattle with Carroll and looks to, as stated, be with the team for the long haul.
The one name we have forgotten to mention is Marshawn Lynch’s. You can’t forget beast mode. The Seahawks probably wouldn’t be as far along as they are now without Lynch. He was stolen from the Bills for a couple of mid-round draft picks.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider have done an outstanding job. It certainly makes you forget about the down year we had with Jim Mora.
If I missed any late-round gems, or other great acquisitions the Seahawks made, tell me about it in the acquisitions.