What’s happened when Seahawks trade back in 1st round of draft

Apr 20, 2024, 8:23 PM | Updated: Apr 21, 2024, 3:45 pm

Seattle Seahawks Rashaad Penny...

A video board displays the Seattle Seahawks' draft pick of Rashaad Penny in 2018. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks have been one of the more unpredictable teams in the NFL Draft under general manager John Schneider, but there is one trend in the team’s decision making that it’s become known for: trading back in the first round.

Salk: The perfect fit for Seattle Seahawks in draft isn’t who you think

The Seahawks traded back in the first round six times in the 14 drafts since Schneider joined the team in 2010, which doesn’t include the times the franchise traded away first-rounders for veterans like Jamal Adams, Jimmy Graham and Percy Harvin.

The team currently holds just two of the top 100 picks in the 2024 draft, which begins Thursday. Trading back for more draft capital in the early rounds could very well be what the team decides to do with the No. 16 overall pick.

With that being said, let’s take a look back at how the team has fared when trading back in the first round under Schneider.

A great draft that could have been even better

It’s hard to criticize a draft in which the Seahawks picked a future Hall of Fame linebacker in the second round, a star quarterback in the third and a longtime NFL starter on the O-line in the sixth, but Seattle’s trade from the first round of the 2012 draft didn’t age well. The Seahawks traded the No. 12 pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for a first-rounder (No. 15), fourth-rounder (No. 114) and sixth-rounder (No. 172).

The pick the Seahawks traded away turned into four-time All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. The 33-year-old Cox has anchored the Eagles’ defensive line for the past 12 seasons while accumulating 88 tackles for loss, 70 sacks and 16 forced fumbled.

Seattle’s return wasn’t bad. It drafted edge rusher Bruce Irvin in the first round and found a contributor at corner in Jeremy Lane in the sixth. Irvin never reached the level many hoped, but he had at least 5.5 sacks in four of five seasons during his first stint in Seattle. Lane spent his entire six-year career with the Seahawks and was a background member in the Legion of Boom era. However, could you imagine what the Legion of Boom defense would have looked like with Cox as an anchor up front?

An OK, but not awful, deal

After winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history, the Seahawks traded the final pick of the first round in 2014 to the Minnesota Vikings for second- and fourth-round picks. The team made two more deals with the picks acquired to gain more draft capital and ultimately ended up with two players who most would remember.

Seattle drafted wide receiver Paul Richardson in the second round and defensive end Cassius Marsh in the fourth. Richardson appeared to have his breakout in his final year in Seattle with career-best of 703 yards and six TDs on 44 receptions, but he appeared in a game in just two more NFL seasons. Marsh made most of his contributions on special teams and worked his way into the defensive rotation in his third and final year in Seattle.

The team didn’t appear miss out on much with Minnesota taking quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who’s never been able to stick around as a starer in the NFL. Standout defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence did go two picks after Seattle’s original first-round pick, but a pass rusher wasn’t necessarily the biggest need for a roster that already featured Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin.

A trade that ended up better than you thought

Seattle’s trade back in 2016 ended up being a surprisingly good one considering how some may remember who it took in the first round. The Seahawks traded the No. 26 overall selection to the Denver Broncos for the No. 31 overall pick and a third-rounder. Denver proceeded to draft Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.

The 6-foot-7 Lynch was an intriguing prospect, but he never panned out and didn’t appear in a game after his second season. Seattle, however, used Denver’s first-rounder to draft offensive tackle Germain Ifedi and the additional third-round pick (No. 95) to take tight end Nick Vannett.

Ifedi was a bit of a polarizing figure during his tenure in Seattle, particularly due to his struggles with penalties, but he started 60 games over four seasons at a spot where the team has generally struggled to find consistency. His selection starts to look better when you look at who else was picked in the back half of the first round. Vannett had a solid stint with the team as a backup before being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019. It was ultimately a decent haul for a QB that never amounted to much.

A complicated whiff

The Seahawks traded back twice to get out of the first round and then traded back again in the second in 2017, a year that will always be known for the Malik McDowell saga and the team striking out on drafting three safeties. McDowell never played a down in Seattle after his well-known offseason ATV accident, and safeties Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson and Mike Tyson never amounted to much.

In moving back, Seattle passed All-Pros cornerback Tre’Davious White, edge rusher T.J. Watt and safety Budda Baker, a Bellevue High School and UW Huskies product. The Seahawks did find a diamond in the rough in the seventh round with running back Chris Carson. This year wouldn’t look quite as bad if Carson’s career wasn’t cut short by a neck injury.

A Penny short

The 2018 draft is another one the Seahawks probably wish they could have back. Seattle traded the No. 18 pick and a seventh-rounder to Green Bay for a first-rounder (No. 27), third-rounder (No. 76) and sixth-rounder (No. 186). The Seahawks then traded back in the third with the Pittsburgh Steelers to gain an additional seventh-round pick.

It resulted in the Seahawks taking oft-injured running back Rashaad Penny in the first round, defensive ends Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin, and quarterback Alex McGough. Not exactly the greatest list of ex-Seahawks, but Penny’s problem was never talent. He showed a glimpse of why Seattle chose him during a torrid end the 2021 season.

The first-round pick Seattle traded away ended being two-time All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander, and the two picks after Alexander were All-Pro linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and two-time All-Pro center Frank Ragnow. Ouch.

This time it worked

The Seahawks entered the 2019 NFL Draft with just four picks, but they ended up with 11 new players by the end of the weekend thanks in large part to trading back twice in the first round. Seattle traded the No. 21 overall pick to the Green Bay Packers for a first-rounder (No. 30) and two fourth-rounders. The Hawks then flipped No. 30 to the New York Giants for second-, fourth- and fifth-round picks. Seattle would go on to make three more trades with the picks they acquired to get to 11 selections.

The quantity of draft picks acquired didn’t necessarily bring the team a multitude of impact players, but the Seahawks used one of the picks acquired to take wide receiver DK Metcalf in the second round. Metcalf has evolved into one of the NFL’s best receivers since with 5,332 yards and 43 TDs on 372 receptions over five seasons, and the Seahawks gave him a three-year contract extension in 2022.

There’s quite a drop off in what the Seahawks got outside of Metcalf, a list that includes the disappointing safety Marquise Blair and quick-to-be-gone linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven and wide receiver Gary Jennings Jr. However, the Seahawks did salvage some value out of the last pick they acquired in their deals, taking running back Travis Homer in the sixth round.

Overall, Metcalf is the only real impact player Seattle got here, but he’s a major one. The Seahawks also didn’t pass up on much with Green Bay taking solid-but-not-spectacular safety Darnell Savage and the Giants taking cornerback DeAndre Baker, who hasn’t played an NFL game since 2021.

More on the Seattle Seahawks and the NFL Draft

Seattle Seahawks GM Schneider addresses ‘picture gate’ at team HQ
Bump: Why a Rashaad Penny reunion makes sense for Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks GM Schneider: How draft position impacts strategy
Seattle Seahawks Draft Preview: Even with same GM, new era arrives
UW OL Troy Fautanu shares thoughts on possible move to guard in NFL

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