Everyone’s a critic, just ask Seahawks

seahawks: Seattle’s draft picks being trashed by national pundits for second consecutive year, but are they right?

Eric.wiliams@thenewstribune.comApril 30, 2012 

A day after the draft, for a second consecutive season the Seattle Seahawks’ efforts were mostly panned by draft analysts around the league.

Those same pundits thought that Seattle reached in selecting James Carpenter in the first round and fellow offensive lineman John Moffitt in the third round last year.

And the feeling is the same about Seattle’s selection this year of West Virginia pass rusher Bruce Irvin in the first round, and Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round.

“The Seahawks went bonkers and picked Bruce Irvin at 15,” said Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated, who gave Seattle’s efforts in the draft a “C” grade. “Could he develop into a solid pass-rusher? Sure, but this was a spit-take inducing selection.”

Longtime draft analyst ESPN’s Mel Kiper echoed Burke’s comments, and gave Seattle a “C-minus,” tied for the lowest grade among the 32 teams.

“Let’s be clear: I think the Seahawks drafted guys they really wanted, and with a plan in mind for how to use them,” Kiper Jr. said. “They moved down once, and may have gotten worried that someone would take Bruce Irvin late in the first round if they didn’t get him at No. 15.

“Again, you have to find the right dance partner to move around the board. But we’re still talking about a player I had a late second-round grade on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Irvin gets 10 sacks in 2012, but that’s really his game. He’s not a three-down player yet.”

Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, also joined the chorus of draft pundits questioning Seattle’s effort, giving the Seahawks a “C” grade.

“Drafting a specialist at No. 15 is a stretch but despite boasting a very good defense on first and second down a year ago, Seattle’s lack of pass rush has killed them in recent years,” Rang said. “Few will call Irvin’s pick a reach a year from now if he ranks among the rookie leaders in sacks.”

Rang said upon further reflection, the Seahawks may have deserved a higher grade. At issue is the Seahawks were looking for prospects to play specific roles because Carroll believes Seattle is close to being a Super Bowl contender.

“They selected players with very unique traits that are very intriguing,” Rang said. “But at the same time, they’re definitely raw. So they’re going to have to coach these guys up, and Pete’s good at that. They’re going to have to turn these guys into something that they haven’t demonstrated in the past.

“There’s some roll of the dice, so to speak. It’s just going to be interesting to see if these players can take advantage of it.”

No one exemplifies the gambler mentality of Carroll more than Wilson. With Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson already on the roster, some wondered why Seattle would take a 5-foot-11 quarterback in the third round.

“Russell Wilson is a great test case for shorter QBs, because he has everything else, but did they need him in the third round after grabbing Matt Flynn to come in and likely start?” Kiper said.

Said draft analyst Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated, “Wilson is destined to sit behind newly-signed Matt Flynn and will struggle to see the field at any point over the next three years.”

Rang was more encouraged by Seattle’s drafting of Wilson.

“To me with Russell Wilson, if you are going to invest in a quarterback at that height, then he has to be off the charts in every single other category, and honestly, I think he is,” Rang said. “I love him.

“I know that Pete Carroll doesn’t usually go for small quarterbacks. It’s wasn’t his M.O. at USC, where all of his quarterbacks were 6-2 or taller.

“But he’s got the arm. He’s got the accuracy. He’s got the intelligence and the mobility. He’s got everything else you’re looking for. I’m convinced that if he’s 2 inches taller, he’s a first-round pick for sure, and likely a top-10 pick. And unlike Ryan Tannehill (who went No. 8 overall to Miami), he deserves it.”

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 Eric.wiliams@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks

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