Wyman: Seahawks have had more success in recent drafts than you’d think
One of the main complaints Seahawks fans have had in recent years with the team is that Seattle has not done well in the draft.
The Seahawks hit big with first-round picks Earl Thomas and Russell Okung in 2010 and Bruce Irvin in 2012. The team also found great success in later rounds, such as with Russell Wilson (third round in 2012), Bobby Wagner (second round in 2012), K.J. Wright (fourth round in 2011), Richard Sherman (fifth round in 2011) and Kam Chancellor (fifth round in 2010), but due in large part to misses with their first selections (be that in the first or second round), many have labeled the Seahawks’ recent drafts as either failures or as below average.
Dave Wyman of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore says that’s not really the case.
“To me, the performance speaks for itself,” he said.
Wyman did research and looked at the last three drafts (the average career of an NFL player is roughly three seasons) and compared the Seahawks’ success with their picks to the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens.
Why those teams? They have been to the playoffs at least six times since 2010 and they typically draft late in the draft due to their success, just like the Seahawks.
In his research, Wyman found that the Seahawks did well when comparing their three most recent drafts to those other five teams.
Players who were traded or released and played for another team only have stats listed for the time that they spent with the team they were drafted by. For example, defensive end Jacob Martin, a 2018 selection by the Seahawks, had 3.5 sacks in 15 games for the Houston Texans in 2019. Those stats are not included, but Martin’s 2018 stats with the Seahawks are counted.
The Seahawks led the six teams with 31 picks over the last three drafts and also got the most games played from their selections with 549. Green Bay was second in both of those categories with 29 picks and 533 games.
While having more picks and more games played by those picks certainly isn’t the most important thing when examining the success of draft classes, there’s definitely some importance in terms of building a roster.
“You’ve got salary control over those players, young players,” Wyman said. “That’s how you have to build your team because of the salary cap.”
Aside from games and draft picks, the four statistics Wyman took a close look at were receiving yards, rushing yards, sacks and interceptions.
“Those are production,” Wyman said.
Of those six teams the last three years, the Seahawks had most receiving yards by players selected during that span (2,848), had the second-most rushing yards (3,549), fourth-most sacks (13) and third-most interceptions (10).
In terms of receiving and rushing yards, running back Chris Carson (seventh round in 2017) and receiver DK Metcalf (second round in 2019) helped those numbers tremendously.
If you take the “weighted ranking” – adding up what place each team was in for each stat – of where the Seahawks stack up to the other five teams, they finish tied for first (10) with the Saints. Next up were the Packers (11), Ravens (13), Chiefs (17) and then the Patriots (20).
Wyman’s biggest issue in terms of “fairness” in comparing these teams’ recent drafts was that the Ravens and Chiefs selected their current quarterbacks in those drafts while the other four teams already had their starting quarterbacks. Passing yards weren’t a metric used by Wyman, but he did keep those quarterbacks’ rushing yards in.
Other stats that could be important to look at, Wyman said, are total tackles, pass breakups and forced fumbles.
Additionally, Wyman said that when you’re looking just at these numbers, it doesn’t take into account the value of certain players like Seahawks punter Michael Dickson, a 2018 first-team All Pro, and offensive linemen.
“The conclusion is in the four (stats) I thought were the most important categories … those are production … (The Seahawks) did have way more (picks) and I will say New Orleans and Kansas City had the most efficient (drafts) … but the Seahawks were right up there as far as production goes in those four categories,” Wyman said.
One issue co-host Jim Moore said is that when you look at the Seahawks’ draft classes going back to 2013, very few players have panned out.
“Since (2012) I think you can make the case that it’s been kind of so-so really,” he said.
Wyman said that’s the case for most of the other successful teams as well.
“There’s (usually) four, five or six players from each draft who don’t have anything,” Wyman said. “With the Saints, with Baltimore, Kansas City, it’s the same thing … We’re (usually) just looking at the Seahawks’ drafts, (so) it looks pretty sparse, but go look at other (teams’) drafts … That’s where I think the value of it is. If you go and compare it to what other teams are doing that are like them (in terms of success and draft spots) … that’s the thing about this that brings it into perspective.”
Bob Stelton pointed out that since 2012, the Seahawks have only had hits with their first selection, which has often come in the second round, twice. Irvin in 2012 was successful, as was defensive end Frank Clark in 2015.
Players like Malik McDowell and Paul Richardson didn’t work out, offensive linemen James Carpenter and Germain Ifedi were disappointing for different reasons and it’s a bit too early to tell with Rashaad Penny and L.J. Collier, but as of now, those both appear to be misses.
Wyman said that’s a very fair point, and those other five teams have had big hits with their first selections, such as the Chiefs getting quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Saints drafting cornerback Marshon Lattimore, but that every draft has players that don’t pan out, even the most successful drafts.
“If you get half of the guys to have some production out of your draft then you’re doing well,” Wyman said.
Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below at the 26:07 mark.
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