Re-Grading the Seattle Seahawks' 2010 NFL Draft
I'm not a fan of grading draft classes after one year in the league, so I decided to piggyback on the idea of my colleague Erik Frenz. He waits three seasons, and then goes back to the draft class and assesses its value.
With some draft selections, patience is the key. Not every player is going to play at Pro Bowl level during their first season, nor are they going to be starters right away. Different circumstances dictate different results. That is exactly why some of the NFL's best players don't rise to the top until later in their careers.
Let's take a look at who earned a passing grade from Seattle's 2010 draft class.
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In 2010, newly appointed head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider had two first-round picks to work with. They were looking to replace seven-time All-Pro Walter Jones at left tackle with one of their first-round selections. Yet they had a hard time deciding which first-round pick would allow them to get their guy.
Ultimately they opted for the best offensive tackle the 2010 draft had to offer. Even though production wasn't instant, Russell Okung has become one of the best left tackles in the NFL. Pro Football Focus graded him out at a plus-25.2, the 10th highest grade they handed out to an offensive tackle last year.
Moreover, he only surrendered two quarterback sacks, two quarterback hits and 14 quarterback hurries in 2012. No other starting left tackle in the league could claim numbers of that stature. Yet his weakness still lies within his inability to play penalty-free football. He was flagged a career high 14 times last year.
However, his astronomical penalty count won't stop me from dishing out high marks overall.
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Despite being the second of two first-round picks, safety Earl Thomas may end up being the better of the two selections. Not that it matters, but Thomas has already been selected to two All-Pro teams and has made the Pro Bowl roster twice.
His knack for being sound in coverage and creating turnovers has garnered him the attention he deserves. Against the pass last season, opposing quarterbacks had a quarterback rating of 59.8 when throwing at Thomas. Not to mention they were only able to sneak one touchdown past him.
Meanwhile he snatched five interceptions out of the air and returned one for a score. To go along with the five interceptions, he broke up nine passes through the air and forced one fumble. Sensational numbers across the board for the former Texas Longhorn.
Like Okung, his outstanding play probably deserves even more recognition than it already gets.
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Despite the slow start to his career in 2010 and 2011, things really picked up for former second-round pick Golden Tate in 2012. Tate can thank quarterback Russell Wilson for jump starting his career after the two players seemed totally in sync all season long.
Over the course of Tate's first two years in the league, he was only able to find the end zone three times. Last year alone, he and Wilson were able to hook up a team high seven times for touchdowns. It's also worth noting that Tate was targeted 77 times, the second highest number on the team behind fellow wideout Sidney Rice.
So it's easy to see that being a rookie in 2010 and not being on the same page as Tarvaris Jackson in 2011 may have temporarily stunted Tate's growth. Yet the wide receiver's future is looking brighter than ever as the Seahawks continue to add valuable weapons.
Expect Tate to draw even more favorable matchups with Percy Harvin now manning the slot.
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Cornerback Walter Thurmond seemingly appears to be on the same talent level as all of his teammates drafted before him, yet he hasn't been able to shake the injury bug during the first three seasons of his career. He garnered the most playing time of his career as a rookie in 2010.
He logged 363 snaps and appeared in 14 games. Since then he has only appeared in eight games due to a multitude of lower-body injuries. In 2011, he suffered a broken fibula and a high ankle sprain. In 2012, he spent half of the season recovering from a rehab setback.
Luck has simply not been on Thurmond's side. But if he ever can showcase all of his talent over the course of a 16 game season, the NFL will take notice. He has a plus-2.2 PFF grade for his career. It seems as if his strongest position when on the field is right cornerback.
Despite the flashes of talent, injuries have marred his overall stock as a player.
Former fourth-round pick E.J. Wilson appeared in two games for the Seahawks. He registered one tackle and was cut on November 23, 2010.
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Kam Chancellor is easily the biggest steal of the Seahawks' 2010 draft class. As a fifth-round pick, Chancellor has given Seattle the most value based on his draft position. He was a Pro Bowler in 2011 and finished as PFF's fifth-best safety.
Despite being a monster against the run with 33 defensive stops, No. 31 was even better in coverage. His quarterback rating against was an impressive 64.0, he tallied four interceptions and defended 13 passes.
His numbers weren't quite as impressive in 2012, but Chancellor still finished in the top 20 at his position. His coverage numbers were on par with where they were in 2011, yet his play against the run took a hit. He had 10 missed tackles and fewer defensive stops, which explains the hit in production.
With a better pass rush in 2013, I expect Chancellor to regain his old form.
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The first three years of Anthony McCoy's career haven't quite gone as expected. When he was drafted in 2010, I'm sure he expected to be used more as a pass-catching target than anything. Yet that hasn't been the case at all. Over the course of his first two seasons in the league, he was primarily used as a blocker.
All he did was catch passes at USC, so it took him some time to become a better pass-protector and run-blocker. Yet three seasons in, it seems to still be a big struggle for him. On the bright side, at least a few passes were thrown his way in 2012.
Since the beginning of 2011, McCoy has seen 49 total targets in the passing game. However, of those 49 targets he has dropped seven of them. It is one of the highest drop rates in the league on a per-snap basis.
Based on his lack of production, I could easily see McCoy getting pushed out of the No. 2 tight end role by a newcomer.
Even though Dexter Davis rarely contributes to the Seahawks' defense on Sunday's, he has found a nice depth role amongst the defensive line. Davis was drafted in the seventh round out of Arizona State after finishing third on the school's all-time sack list.
Only Terrell Suggs and Shante Carver finished their collegiate careers with more sacks. In the NFL, Davis mainly contributed to the team by playing special teams. Yet his career with the Seahawks may be in doubt after spending all of 2012 on injured reserve.
The offseason acquisitions of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett may subsequently push Davis off the roster in 2013.
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Seattle could never quite figure out if Jameson Konz was a linebacker, tight end or defensive end. Konz was a very good athlete, but the Seahawks failed to find the right role for him. After spending one season on injured reserve, he failed to make the team's 2011 roster.