What if we put the Seahawks on auto-draft?

The Seattle Seahawks’ 2012 draft class blessed us with two future Hall of Famers in Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson. It also gave us the lovable Bruce Irvin and Jermaine Kearse, the biceps of Robert Turbin, and the Super Bowl XLIX interception of Jeremy Lane.

Then what happened?

In the eight years since then, John Schneider and Pete Carroll’s drafting acumen has taken a lot of criticism, perhaps most notably in their apparent inability to draft well in the first round. The fact that Seattle is constantly drafting in the back end of the round does decrease hit rate, but even with that caveat, their first pick in each draft has often looked like a reach. Here are the Seahawks’ first selections from each draft since 2013:

  • 2013: Trade 25th pick for Percy Harvin, select Christine Michael 62nd overall
  • 2014: Trade back from 32, select Paul Richardson 45th overall
  • 2015: Trade 31st pick for Jimmy Graham, select Frank Clark 63rd overall
  • 2016: Trade back from 26, select Germain Ifedi 31st overall
  • 2017: Trade back from 26, select Malik McDowell 35th overall
  • 2018: Trade back from 18, select Rashaad Penny 27th overall
  • 2019: Trade back from 21, select LJ Collier 29th overall
  • 2020: Select Jordyn Brooks 27th overall

Perhaps Schneids is overthinking it in the early rounds, trying to live up to his larger than life, er, reputation. Whatever the reason, day one of the draft has been an issue since 2012.

So what would happen if we took some pressure off of PCJS?

It’s time to play a game.

We’re going to lock Pete and John away on an island somewhere at the end of the season until day 2 of the NFL draft. When the Seahawks are on the clock, rather than make a bunch of trades or draft a day 3 player in the first round, we’re going chalk. That’s right. It’s auto-draft time, baby.

Thanks to resident Seahawks fan Arif Hasan’s consensus big boards, we have a good idea of where each prospect ranks according to major draft experts heading into April. Now we’re simply going to select the highest rated player on this board when it’s Seattle’s turn to draft. Simple enough. Let’s get to it.

  • 2013: Eddie Lacy, RB
  • 2014: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT
  • 2015: Malcom Brown, DT
  • 2016: Myles Jack, LB
  • 2017: Takk McKinley, EDGE
  • 2018: Harold Landry, EDGE
  • 2019: Montez Sweat, EDGE
  • 2020: Patrick Queen, LB

An Eddie Lacy/Marshawn Lynch two-headed backfield in 2013 would have been the most powerful rushing attack in history. On the other hand, Lacy definitely would not have returned a kickoff for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLVIII. 2013 redux is a push.

Ra’Shede Hageman and Malcolm Brown would have shored up the defensive interior in the years following Brandon Mebane’s departure, and they definitely would not have missed as many blocks as Jimmy Graham, (Editor’s Note: Dan what the fuck) so that’s a win.

Myles Jack is a better football player than Germain Ifedi, but might have pushed KJ Wright out of Seattle. Takk McKinley has played infinity times as many downs in the NFL as actual 2017 pick Malik McDowell.

Harold Landry and Montez Sweat would double and then triple down on that pass rush already featuring McKinley and make for a pretty fun, young defensive front.

And finally there’s Patrick Queen over Jordyn Brooks. Right now we simply can’t tell who the better NFL player will be, but I’ve got one more wrinkle here.

What if the Seahawks extended Myles Jack like the Jaguars did in 2019? We could ever so gently nudge the autodraft away from any more linebackers and end up with the next best player available in safety Xavier McKinney. This in turn probably kills the Jamal Adams trade. A more frugal investment, but much less fun.

Overall, this series of early draft picks creates quite the imposing defensive line, but almost completely lacks any offensive help. I’d stick with PCJS over this one because I will never disown the Percy Harvin trade, which unquestionably brought the team its first championship.

Let’s try another alternative. This time we’ll let John make his trades, that should prevent him from exploding. But the actual draft selections are coming from the consensus big board.

  • 2013: Alex Okafor, EDGE (and Percy Harvin)
  • 2014: Louis Nix III, DT
  • 2015: Jaelen Strong, WR (and Jimmy Graham)
  • 2016: Myles Jack, LB
  • 2017: Dalvin Cook, RB
  • 2018: Harold Landry, EDGE
  • 2019: Jawaan Taylor, OT
  • 2020: Patrick Queen, LB

This time we’ve got a bit more even split between offense and defense. The Hawks get some pass rush help with Alex Okafor and Harold Landry, and again we see two more linebackers off the board. No matter what we do we just can’t stop the Seahawks from selecting more linebackers.

Louis Nix III suffered several injuries and never really got his career off the ground, so he’s basically Malik McDowell, three years early.

But on offense, we now have Dalvin Cook coming in to immediately replace a “retired” Marshawn Lynch, along with a wide receiver that probably contributes about as much as Paul Richardson. (Editor’s Note: Dan what the fuck)

Jawaan Taylor seems like a win here, as his rookie season graded out higher than any season from Germain Ifedi, according to PFF.

This strategy might actually work. John gets to make his trades, Pete still gets to draft a running back, and now Russell Wilson has a real right tackle who for all we know could be the heir apparent to an aging Duane Brown. Replacing some prime Frank Clark years with Alex Okafor hurts, but Harold Landry will save the day just a bit later.

At this point I’m in on letting John wheel and deal behind the scenes as long as we unplug the phone he uses to call in the draft selection on day 1. But just for fun, I’ve got one more option to consider: what if we let PCJS pick the position, but not the player? Here’s the top draft selections each year with Schneider’s trades and Pete’s personal preference of position:

  • 2013: Jonathan Franklin, RB (and Percy Harvin)
  • 2014: Jarvis Landry, WR
  • 2015: Preston Smith, DE (it’s actually Owamagbe Odighizuwa next on the big board but he fell to the third round due to injury concerns, so we’ll let PCJS talk us out of that. Oh and Jimmy Graham is a Seahawk in this one too)
  • 2016: Jason Spriggs, OT
  • 2017: Carl Lawson, EDGE (just rolling with next ranked defensive line, not a specific postition)
  • 2018: Ronald Jones, RB (Derius Guice was ranked higher, but fell because he’s an asshole and teams knew it pre-draft)
  • 2019: Chase Winovich, EDGE
  • 2020: Patrick Queen, LB

And finally if we let them pick the position but block all their trades, we get this:

  • 2013: Cordarelle Patterson, WR
  • 2014: Marquise Lee, WR
  • 2015: Maxx Williams, TE
  • 2016: Jason Spriggs, OT
  • 2017: Takk McKinley, EDGE
  • 2018: Ronald Jones, RB (see note above)
  • 2019: Montez Sweat, EDGE
  • 2020: Patrick Queen, LB

The important thing to remember is that no matter what option you choose, we’re still left with the inferior linebacker from the 2020 draft. And as for the 2013 selection, I think it’s also clear that none of the other picks here would have done significantly better than Christine Michael, and I can guarantee none would have provided the same amount of blessed content.

Also worth noting that there are a few misses no matter the scenario you choose. At the end of the day, I think it’s clear the Seahawks could have done a lot worse with their early picks these last eight years, and that eases the pain of watching their first round pick end up as a healthy scratch every week last year.

Still should’ve drafted Harold Landry though.