In the same way that the National Football League has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the past decade, so too has the event that signifies the beginning of the journey for its brightest stars: the NFL Draft.
Viewers can now digest massive amounts of statistical data, view practically every Combine event aside from locker room showers, and grade each of their team’s respective draft selections in the hope that it will one day lead them to a Super Bowl.
As a fan of the Seattle Seahawks, myself and many others in the Northwest have been able to see exactly how much a draft can influence a club both immediately and in the long-term future, even though some draft experts may not agree when the picks are handed in. The Hawks have made a name for themselves with shrewd draft choices, especially in the later rounds, that have served as the building blocks for their current streak of remarkable success. A cohesive roster management strategy under head coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider has been at the forefront of a team that, had it not been for a certain final play in Super Bowl 49, would certainly be regularly mentioned as a budding dynasty.
Since Pete Carroll’s days at USC, he has been able to churn out and develop players at a staggering pace. Even when the Trojans were on top of the world, it wasn’t just that they were able to recruit the best players in the country, it was the fact that they seemed to always be able to find the right best players in the country. The kinds of players that didn’t even have to find the field to be able to make it to the NFL (coughcoughMattCassell).
Much of this philosophy holds true to how the Seahawks have structured their organization to this day. The name of the game is not harping on the negative aspects of a player’s game, but rather maximizing their strengths and putting them in situations that allow them to flourish. By now we’ve heard every variation of how scouts and executives thought Russell Wilson was “too short” to play quarterback in the NFL, but in short time Wilson has morphed into one of the most valuable and uniquely-skilled players in the entire league.
One of the biggest themes throughout Seahawks drafts in the PCJS era has been the coveting of athletes one might consider “freaks of nature.” They’re the defensive ends that run 4.50 40-yard dashes. Tight ends with 40-inch vertical leaps. Explosive, tall, and physical defensive backs. Though they remain very secretive about their draft process and continue to be one of the most difficult teams to predict come draft day, there are still many methods and evaluation techniques to narrow down just which players may fit the Seahawks’ mold.
I’ve decided to use this website, that attracts over 60 billion unique visits per millenia, to delve further into the evaluation of players in the 2016 draft and decide who could stand to look awfully good in blue and green come next season. As we get closer to the actual draft, I’ll even post my own “Seahawks Draft Board” for you to peruse from the comfort of your humble abodes. Enjoy and thanks for reading!