Over the past few days, it’s been extremely popular to bash the Seattle Seahawks' draft and their first-round selection in particular. Much of that response is based on Mel Kiper, Jr.’s reaction when he called the selection of defensive end Bruce Irvin “mind boggling.”
I want to start by giving Kiper a little bit of credit when it comes to the Seahawks. Since the Pete Carroll era began in Seattle, Kiper has made two decent calls when it comes to the first round of the Seahawks draft.
First, he correctly picked Russell Okung to go to Seattle with the sixth pick in the 2010 draft. Of course, just about everyone had that pick figured out after Walter Jones retired. Last year, Kiper’s final mock draft had quarterback Andy Dalton going to the Seahawks. Although it’s too early to know for sure, Dalton did perform better in his one season with the Bengals than James Carpenter did in the few games before he was injured.
However, the thing that’s been bothering me since Thursday is just how much grief Kiper was giving the Seahawks for “reaching” by selecting Irvin out of West Virginia. It was no secret Irvin performed very well at the combine, reports have since come out that the Jets may have grabbed him with the 16th pick, and the Seahawks already traded out of the 12th pick to get a fourth- and sixth-round pick from the Eagles.
I understand how it can be upsetting to think other talented players were available, and maybe the Seahawks could’ve gotten Irvin later along with another player projected to go in the first round. However, I don’t see how getting two additional picks—and getting a targeted player before other teams may have taken him—is anything but a good move.
Looking back to 2010, I discovered a “mind boggling” ranking by Kiper himself. In his final mock draft, after he had the Seahawks taking Okung, he had Carroll picking up former USC defensive end Everson Griffen with the 14th pick instead of the eventual selection of Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas. Griffen ultimately fell out of the first round, then the second, later falling through the third and all the way to the fourth round to the Vikings. I’m sure Kiper must have thought Minnesota was getting a steal by then.
While by all accounts it sounds as though Irvin has overcome things in his past that have brought some people to question his character, it should be noted that Griffen’s greatest accomplishment since joining the NFL is that he was once arrested twice in three days.
I have nothing against people like Kiper and other analysts. I think they are entertaining and knowledgeable, and in no way do I think I could do their job better than they do. If I could, maybe I would have that job. And if they were better at evaluating NFL talent, they’d probably be getting paid by some NFL team to make personnel decisions.
As fans, I think we need to put their job in context and maybe not take their opinion so seriously.
Brandan Schulze is a Navy veteran and member of the Military Sea Hawkers, the military chapter of the official booster club for the Seattle Seahawks. For more information on the chapter, visit www.militaryseahawkers.com. Membership is free for all military service members and veterans.