This week marks the 10th draft for the Seahawks since head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were hired in 2010. And in nine previous drafts, Schneider, his scouting department and Carroll have added numerous players who formed the nucleus of a championship-winning team, as well as more recent picks who helped the Seahawks get back to the playoffs in 2018 after an offseason that saw several veterans move on in trades, free agency or because of injuries.
With Schneider and Carroll's 10th draft together approaching later this week, we're taking a look back at some of their most memorable picks. Yesterday we looked at their best pick in each round since 2010, and today we're looking at the best players the Seahawks have drafted at every position since Schneider and Carroll took over. Undrafted rookie free agents signed by Seattle are also included in this exercise.
Quarterback: Russell Wilson (Third Round, 2012)
No need to overthink this one. The Seahawks have drafted only two quarterbacks since 2010, but one of them happened to be Wilson, a third-round pick who has become a six-time Pro Bowler and the winningest quarterback in franchise history.
Running Back: Chris Carson (Seventh Round, 2017)
Rashaad Penny, last year's first-round pick, showed a lot of promise and could be in for a big year in 2019, and undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls was phenomenal in 2015 before an injury ended his season, but Carson last year had the best season of any Seahawks running back since Marshawn Lynch hung 'em up (literally) for the first time after the 2015 season.
Receiver: Doug Baldwin (UDFA, 2011), Tyler Lockett, (Third Round, 2015), Golden Tate (Second Round, 2010)
The Seahawks have had pretty good success acquiring and developing receivers after the first day of the draft. Baldwin, who signed following the end of the 2011 lockout, has become one of the best receivers in franchise history, while fellow undrafted rookie Jermaine Kearse developed into a starter and during his time in Seattle came up with some of the biggest catches in franchise history. Lockett is coming off as efficient of a season as a receiver could have, while Tate was the team's leading receiver in a Super Bowl-winning season. Paul Richardson, another second-round pick, used a big 2017 season to earn a lucrative deal with Washington last offseason.
Tight End: Luke Willson (Fifth Round, 2013)
Zach Miller, a free-agent signing, and Jimmy Graham, a trade acquisition, have been Seattle's top two tight ends during the Carroll/Schneider era, but Willson was a steady presence who made a difference as a pass-catcher and a blocker for five seasons. If 2018 fourth-round pick Will Dissly can build off the promise he showed in an injury-shortened rookie season, he could someday hold this title.
Offensive Line: Russell Okung (First Round, 2010), James Carpenter (First Round, 2011), Justin Britt (Second Round, 2014), J.R. Sweezy (Seventh Round, 2012), Germain Ifedi (First Round, 2011)
Several linemen Seattle has drafted over the years have played multiple positions, so there's a few ways we can go here, but the best five-player combination of Seahawks draft picks has Okung and Ifedi at tackle, Sweezy and Carpenter at guard, and Britt at his best position, center.
Defensive Line: Frank Clark (Second Round, 2015), Bruce Irvin (First Round, 2012), Jarran Reed (Second Round, 2016), Jordan Hill (Third Round, 2013)
The Seahawks' top two linemen for much of the Carroll/Schneider era were free-agent signings Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, and they've almost always had a veteran free-agent signing start at defensive tackle, players ranging from Alan Branch to Tony McDaniel to Ahtyba Rubin to Shamar Stephen last year. In other words, D-line has been a tough position group for young players to break in and earn playing time because the Seahawks have been good at finding value in free agency. That being said, there have been some very good picks of D-linemen.
And yes, Irvin eventually moved to linebacker, but as Carroll has said on multiple occasions, you can never have too many pass-rushers, so in a league where teams play nickel defense on anywhere from 60 to 70 percent of defensive snaps, we're using Irvin as an edge rusher on this defense and pairing him with Clark on the outside, while Reed and Hill are on the inside. Poona Ford, a 2018 UDFA, could ultimately prove to be one of Schneider and Carroll's biggest undrafted steals, and will compete for a starting role in 2019. And just as the Seahawks hope that 2014 fourth-rounder Cassius Marsh and 2018 sixth-rounder Jacob Martin will bolster the 2019 pass-rush, those two will provide depth on our all-draft team as well. Quinton Jefferson, a 2016 fifth-rounder who started 12 games last year, offers versatility to rotate in at end or tackle.
Linebacker: Bobby Wagner (Second Round, 2012), K.J. Wright (Fourth Round, 2011)
As mentioned above, teams play a ton of nickel these days, just as is often the case in Seahawks games, we're only putting two linebackers on the field here and making Irvin a D-end. Of course if this team wanted to play base defense, Irvin can move to strongside linebacker, or Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, a 2011 seventh-rounder, would be another solid option to partner with Wagner and Wright.
Cornerback: Richard Sherman (Fifth Round, 2011), Shaquill Griffin (Third Round, 2017), Walter Thurmond (Fourth Round, 2010)
Again, we're talking about a team in nickel defense, and while Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane were more accomplished as outside corners, we're giving the slight nod to Thurmond in the slot, the role he held down for the Super Bowl-winning 2013 team. For depth, the Seahawks have considerable talent to draw from, not just in Maxwell and Lane, who were both starters at different points in their career, but also 2012 UDFA DeShawn Shead, a starter at right corner in 2016, and Tre Flowers, who started as a rookie last year and who has a ton of upside.
Safety: Earl Thomas (First Round, 2010), Kam Chancellor (Fifth Round, 2010)
Like quarterback, not a lot of thought required for this position. Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson, a pair of 2017 picks, both have starting experience and appear to have bright futures, but because the Seahawks hit home runs with two safety picks in 2010, they didn't prioritize that position in the draft for most of the decade after picking Thomas and Chancellor.
Photos from the Seattle Seahawks' 2019 voluntary offseason workout program on Tuesday, April 23 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.