The Seattle Seahawks have built and developed one of the NFL's best rosters not just by drafting well, but also by finding underappreciated talent after the draft. Key players like Michael Bennett, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Garry Gilliam and DeShawn Shead all came into the NFL as undrafted free agents, and undrafted players made up almost half of the Seahawks roster at one point last season.
While not intentional, Seattle's current success with undrafted players is a nice nod to the team's past, and in particular one of the first—and best—undrafted free agents to ever wear a Seahawks uniform, Jim Zorn. Back in 1975, the Dallas Cowboys signed Zorn as undrafted free agent out of Cal Poly Pomona, but cut him when it came time to set their roster. The following year, the expansion Seahawks jumped at the chance to sign Zorn, who would become the first quarterback in franchise history and, along with Steve Largent, part of one of the most productive quarterback-receiver duos of their era.
So on Zorn's 63rd birthday, we take a moment to appreciate the career of Seattle's first undrafted star. Zorn, who was voted the Seahawks' MVP by his teammates in 1976 and 1978, and the NFC offensive rookie of the year in 1976, was the second player inducted into the Seahawks Ring of Honor after Largent. Zorn retired holding nearly every franchise passing record, and still ranks third in Seahawks history with 1,593 completions for 20,122 yards and 107 touchdowns.
Following his playing days, Zorn enjoyed a long career in coaching, including seven seasons as Seattle's quarterbacks coach in which he helped Matt Hasselbeck develop into one of the best quarterbacks in franchise history. Zorn also spent two seasons as the head coach of the Washington Redskins.
Wishing a very happy birthday to Seahawks inaugural starting quarterback turned Legend and the second inductee into the Ring of Honor, Jim "Z-Man" Zorn!