April 10, 2011

Top 10: Seahawks Greatest NFL Draft Misses

Over on Field Gulls, they are doing the all-time Seahawks draft busts (and hoo boy, Owen Gill BETTER be #1). It's a worthy project, but what about those players Seattle COULD HAVE drafted, but didn't? I'm not here to single out the Seahawks for mistakes EVERY team made (like letting Joe Montana slip to the 3rd or Tom Brady to the 6th), and I'm not here to say "See! The Seahawks front office is always fucking up!" My point is more that the NFL Draft is primarily a high-stakes crap shoot where you don't know for YEARS whether or not you've won each throw. I've got a TERRIBLE track record on the NFL Draft- Famously, and in print on my old blog, I RAVED and RANTED against our picking Lofa Tatupu in 2005... I tend to give our FO the benefit of the doubt, but they should also be held accountable for their actions. Here's the 10 greatest misses in Seahawks draft history:

10. Trading our 2007 #1 for Deion Branch instead of drafting... Kevin Kolb.
OK, this one is totally unfair, but given my man-crush on Kolb, I had to shoe-horn this one in. It would have been a bold move to draft Hasselbeck's successor back in the Spring of 2007, but a plausible one to be sure. By now, we wouldn't be debating whether to trade ANOTHER first round pick for Kolb- He might ALREADY be the starter, and if not we might now be ready to let Beck walk and hand the starting job to Kolb. I was never a DB hater, but we have to admit he was a total bust given the price we paid to pick him up.

9. 1978- Picking Keith Simpson instead of... Ozzie Newsome
Simpson was a pretty-damn-good player for the Seahawks for almost a decade, but we missed a chance to draft a future Hall-of-Fame tight end in Newsome. Imagine Zorn and Krieg with Newsome as an additional option, rather than Mike Tice, Pete Metzelaars, etc. Given that our ALL-TIME TE is John Carlson, who after three seasons is somewhat of a disappointment, Newsome could have been a difference-maker for those 1980s Hawks.

8. 1989- Picking Andy Heck instead of... Steve Atwater
Heck was another fairly solid player- He started 70 games for Seattle from 89-93- but he wasn't the intimidating 8-time Pro Bowl presence that Atwater was for the hated Broncos through the 1990s. Just imagine an Atwater-Robinson-led secondary in the early 90s, and you can envision Chuck Knox and Dave Krieg keeping their jobs a bit longer...

7. 1995- Picking Joey Galloway instead of... Warren Sapp
Joey Galloway, until 1999 at least, was one of the most popular players in Seahawks history- He was an electrifying weapon, and even I sported his jersey as my primary game-day wardrobe in the mid-90s. But... My God... Warren Sapp was a BEAST. We found this out first-hand in 1999 when he more or less destroyed Seattle's season and Jon Kitna's career as an NFL starting QB in one terrifying afternoon at the Kingdome. Yes, we already had Sam Adams and Cortez Kennedy, but that could have been one of the most insanely destructive defensive lines of all time if you add Sapp to the mix.

6. 1996- Picking Pete Kendall instead of... Ray Lewis
Like Andy Heck (but better), Pete Kendall was a solid pro for the Seahawks, and then for other NFL teams... But we could have had one of the top 5 defensive players of all time in Ray Lewis. It's worth pointing out that he could have patrolled the middle in the late-90s alongside the borderline-great Chad Brown. The downside? Lewis would have likely saved Dennis Erickson's job.

5. 1982- Picking Jeff Bryant instead of... Marcus Allen
All Seahawks fans, even the younger ones, should know and honor the legacy of Jeff Bryant. Alongside Joe Nash and Jacob Green, he formed one of the best 3-4 D-lines in the 1980s NFL. Only Jacob Green and Michael Sinclair have more sacks in team history than Bryant, but as great as he was- He wasn't Marcus Allen (and let's be honest- Curt Warner, who we'd draft a year later, wasn't Marcus Allen either). If we had drafted Allen, not only does his HOF career happen in Seattle, we also would have spectacularly weakened the hated Raiders and Chiefs of the 1980s.

4. 1976- Picking Steve Niehaus instead of... Mike Haynes
With the first pick in their franchise's history, the Tampa Bay Bucs picked future Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon. The Seahawks? Their 1st draft pick fell far short of that standard, as Steve Niehaus started an undistinguished 20 games over three seasons in Seattle. Sitting on the board was Arizona State corner Mike Haynes- Who started his Hall of Fame career in New England but spent the bulk of his career tormenting Seahawks WRs for the God Damn Raiders. He could have held down the corner opposite the great Dave Brown for a decade or more...

3. 2001- Picking Koren Robinson instead of... Reggie Wayne
Most Seahawks fans will admit that K-Rob is a decent person, and that it was cool to see him fight his way back into the NFL again and again (including a return to the Seahawks in 2008)... But the sad truth is that he was a MASSIVE bust given his draft position, and the Seahawks picked K-Rob over another WR who has almost 500 more receptions, 6000 more yards receiving, and 53 more touchdowns. Yeah, a few other teams passed on Reggie Wayne too, but given that we were looking for a WR that year, this one still stings.

2. 1998- Picking Anthony Simmons instead of... Randy Moss
Yeah, TONS of teams passed on Moss in addition to the Seahawks- But at #15 in the first round, many Twelves at that time thought Moss's talent made it worth gambling on his various character issues. Instead, we picked Simmons, who was a serviceable if not elite linebacker over the early '00s for Seattle. Just imagine Warren Moon throwing rainbow TDs to Moss and Galloway in 1998 (and maybe beyond)... Randy Moss might have flamed out in Seattle without Cris Carter's guidance, but it's just as likely Moon's veteran leadership and Hall-of-Fame arm would have kept Moss in line. Of course, just as with Ray Lewis above, the downside of this move is the prospect of Dennis Erickson's job getting saved for god knows how long.

1. 1991- Picking Dan McGwire instead of... Brett Favre
I hate the Land Baron as much as anyone today, but I'm sure I would have been Brett Favre's biggest fan if he had spent the '90s bringing Lombardi Trophies back to Seattle. Sando already has a write-up here... Chuck Knox clearly knew the game well as late as 1991- With his hand-picked replacement waiting in the wings, Knox doesn't get forced out after the '91 season, and Favre takes over for Dave Krieg in 1992... Maybe he gets crushed along with the rest of the offense in that forlorn 2-14 season, but perhaps he makes some big plays and we're 5-11 instead. Add Favre to those mediocre but talented mid-90s Seahawks teams, and we may well have been playing in a few Super Bowls back then.

Let's hope that when I revisit this in 5-10 years, nothing from 2010 or 2011 makes this list... What do you think, sirs?

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