Seattle Seahawks 2012 NFL Draft: Reviewing the Hawks' Draft Class

Dan Hope@Dan_HopeContributor IIIMay 12, 2012

Seattle Seahawks 2012 NFL Draft: Reviewing the Hawks' Draft Class

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    One year removed from making one of the most head-scratching selections by making Alabama offensive lineman James Carpenter a first-round pick, the Seattle Seahawks stunned draft prognosticators again with their choice of West Virginia pass-rusher Bruce Irvin with the No. 15 overall pick in 2012.

    Should the Seahawks' selection of Irvin go down as one of the worst picks of the 2012 draft, and did the Seahawks make more sensible selections through the rest of their draft?

    Read through the following slides to find out.

Evaluating the Picks

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    Round 1, Pick 15: Bruce Irvin, DE (West Virginia)

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 118

    Irvin is a superb athlete and a very talented pass-rusher. He has a tremendous burst of the line of scrimmage, and he does a very good job of getting after the quarterback; Irvin ranked second in the NCAA for sacks in 2010.

    On the other hand, Irvin should only be a situational pass-rusher in the NFL. He is very weak against the run and is best-suited to play only in passing downs and to use his speed to bring pressure into the backfield.

     

    Round 2, Pick 47: Bobby Wagner, OLB (Utah State)

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 55

    Wagner is a well-rounded and consistent outside linebacker. He has great instincts and a knack for finding the football and making plays. While Wagner is not an elite athlete, he is good at tracking down runners in space and at dropping back into pass coverage.

    Wagner was very productive at Utah State, and he will be a good fit to play as a weak-side linebacker for the Seahawks.

     

    Round 3, Pick 75: Russell Wilson, QB (Wisconsin)

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 149

    Wilson is an athletic quarterback with great intangibles. He lacks height and does not have spectacular arm strength, but he is a smart quarterback and effective dual-threat QB.

    He should make a very solid backup quarterback.

     

    Round 4, Pick 106: Robert Turbin, RB (Utah State)

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 120

    Turbin is a big, powerful running back with great athleticism for his size. He has a tremendous build and is deceptively fast.

    With Marshawn Lynch, Turbin should form a strong, bruising tandem at the running back position for the Seahawks.

     

    Round 4, Pick 114: Jaye Howard, DT/DE (Florida)

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 80

    Howard was better-suited to play as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, but although he is an undersized defensive tackle, his combination of strength and athleticism make him a versatile player.

    Howard's productivity at Florida did not match his talent, but he is a good run-stopper and has the quickness to rush the passer. He is a similar player to Jason Jones, whom the Seahawks signed as a free agent this offseason, but Howard  should find a fit on their defensive front.

     

    Round 5, Pick 154: Korey Toomer, ILB (Idaho)

    Overall Prospect Rank: Not in Top 400

    Admittedly, Korey Toomer was not even on my radar to be a draft pick, let alone a fifth-round selection. Toomer is a long, athletic linebacker who caught attention after a tremendous pro day showing, but he does not stand out on tape. He is a raw, developmental project who will have to make an early contribution on special teams.

     

    Round 6, Pick 172: Jeremy Lane, CB (Northwestern State)

    Overall Prospect Rank: Not in Top 400

    Lane is a long cornerback with good athleticism. He hits hard, but he needs to become more consistent as a tackler; he also has stiff hips.

    Lane is a developmental project who will have to make a tough transition from FCS football to the NFL. He should be able to contribute on special teams.

     

    Round 6, Pick 181: Winston Guy, SS (Kentucky)

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 331

    Guy is a big, hard-hitting and instinctive safety who tackles well. He has good, long speed, but he struggles in pass coverage and needs to become a better athlete in space.

    Guy should be a solid backup safety.

     

    Round 7, Pick 225: J.R. Sweezy, OL (North Carolina State)

    Overall Prospect Rank: Not in Top 400

    J.R. Sweezy was not particularly productive as a defensive tackle at North Carolina State, but the Seahawks drafted him as a project to play along the offensive line.

    A questionable move, but the Seahawks coaching staff could develop a diamond in the rough.

     

    Round 7, Pick 232: Greg Scruggs, DE (Louisville)

    Overall Prospect Rank: Not in Top 400

    Scruggs has shown some impressive flashes, but he was never a major producer on the Louisville defensive line and was a surprise draft selection. He is a developmental project as a 4-3 defensive end.

Evaluating the Trades

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    The Seahawks traded Round 1, Pick 12 to the Philadelphia Eagles for the No. 15, No. 114 and No. 172 overall selections.

    There was no clear choice for the Seahawks at the No. 12 overall selection, so trading down to pick up extra selections made sense.

     

    The Seahawks traded Round 2, Pick 43 to the New York Jets for the No. 47, No. 154 and No. 232 overall selections.

    The Seahawks got very good return value by picking up two extra selections to trade down only four spots in Round 2.

     

    The Seahawks traded Round 5, Pick 147 and their 2011 fourth-round selection to the Buffalo Bills in October 2010 for running back Marshawn Lynch.

    Marshawn Lynch has been a huge acquisition for the Seahawks. He emerged as the feature back right away and remains one of the best running backs in the NFL.

    Lynch's well-known touchdown run that sealed an upset victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints is just one of his many highlights in his time with the Seahawks thus far.

     

    The Seahawks traded Round 7, Pick 219 to the Detroit Lions in August 2010 for offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus.

    Polumbus started seven games in place of injured left tackle Russell Okung in 2010, but was released by the Seahawks in 2011. His contribution was likely more than they would have gotten from a seventh-round selection, so this was a good move.

     

    The Seahawks received Round 7, Pick 225 and a 2013 conditional selection from the Oakland Raiders in October 2011 for linebacker Aaron Curry.

    This trade came only two years after the Seahawks selected Curry with the No. 4 overall pick.

    Curry, whom I always thought to be overrated, ended up being a major bust in Seattle. With his huge contract, the Seahawks decided the best move was to trade him away for draft picks.

Assessing Value

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    The Seahawks' draft board certainly looked very different from just about anyone else's.

    While Jason La Canfora reported that the New York Jets, who held the No. 16 overall pick, were interested in drafting Bruce Irvin, he would have been a reach for any team at any point in Round 1.

    While Irvin should make an impact as a pass-rusher, a situational pass-rusher who will be unable to play as a defensive end on run downs should not be a first-round pick, especially with more complete defensive ends such as South Carolina's Melvin Ingram and North Carolina's Quinton Coples still available.

    The Seahawks made three very solid value picks: Wagner in Round 2, along with their two Round 4 picks of Turbin and Howard. The rest of their picks were reaches.

    There were better quarterback prospects, such as Arizona's Nick Foles and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, still available when the Seahawks reached for Wilson in Round 3.

    Additionally, Seattle's final five picks were all players ranked outside of the Top 300.

Addressing Needs

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    While Irvin was a reach, the Seahawks needed to add another pass-rusher, and they added a player with as much pass-rushing upside as any other prospect in the draft.

    The Seahawks' biggest need coming into this draft was for linebackers, and the team bolstered that group with the selections of Wagner and Toomer. The Seahawks further upgraded their defensive line with Howard and Scruggs, and they added depth to the secondary with Guy and Lane.

    Seattle also needed to add a better second-string running back to complement Lynch, and it got a nice upgrade at that position with the fourth-round selection of Turbin.

    The team did a good job of addressing their areas of need in this draft.

Conclusion

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    The Seahawks addressed their areas of need in the 2012 draft, but applied a continuing theme of selecting players with athletic potential over proven commodities (aside from their very good selections of Bobby Wagner and Jaye Howard).

    The Seahawks over-drafted players from the first round to the seventh, making upside picks where they could have drafted better talent to fill the same needs. While they could end up with a big-impact player in Bruce Irvin and plenty of other talent to give their roster a better balance, the Seahawks could have come away with a much stronger crop of talent.

    Overall Draft Grade: C

     

    Thanks for reading!

    Throughout the month of May, I will be reviewing one team's draft each day, in the order of the original 2012 NFL Draft order.

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