Rost: Seahawks’ attempt to make good on gamble of trading Wilson begins
For the first time in a long time, the Seahawks did what was expected of them. That’s not to say they did something predictable – for Seattle, that would’ve been trading back – but they made a pick that Seahawks fans could’ve seen on several mock drafts drawn up in the weeks and months leading up to the first round.
They didn’t make a surprise pick and they didn’t reach on a quarterback. Instead, a team with a need for its left tackle of the future drafted one of the highest-graded tackles in the class: Charles Cross, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound first-team All-SEC star from Mississippi State.
Coincidentally, left tackle is the same position general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll drafted with their last top-10 pick (Russell Okung sixth overall in 2010), which also happened to be the very first pick the pair made together. The move kicked off a series of drafts and signings that led Seattle to a Super Bowl three years later.
“I was kind of anticipating you guys might see that,” Carroll told reporters after the conclusion of the first round. “It’s a great place to start. Really is, for when you’re trying to build an offensive line always, and that left tackle spot is so crucial to all of that. So, it’s a nice pick.”
Beginning two new eras by drafting the same position is coincidence; drafting a premiere left tackle after trading a quarterback who hinted at his frustration with taking sacks is irony. And it’s hard not to notice both, the former being a potential promise of things to come and the latter being the elephant in the (war) room.
The reality is, obviously, a bit more complicated. Wilson’s frustration wasn’t baseless. Seattle’s offensive line graded out in the bottom half of the league throughout his career with the Seahawks. On the other hand, a perpetual winner like Seattle – as teams with franchise quarterbacks often are – wouldn’t have had a shot at No. 9 overall to take a player like Cross barring a trade. And carrying the hefty salary that kind of quarterback brings limits free agency flexibility.
The Seahawks made several high-round picks (like first-rounder Germain Ifedi, second-rounder Ethan Pocic, and third-rounder Damien Lewis) and acquired All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown via trade from the Texans in 2017. But for all the effort, there were one too many misses on the part of the team and one too many sacks unnecessarily taken by Wilson’s play to ever really gel.
Instead, the Seahawks are starting fresh there. Trading a franchise quarterback is always a risk, but their attempt to make good on the gamble began Thursday with an important first step: ensuring that their quarterback of the future would begin his career with one of the most important pieces of a championship team.