Seattle Seahawks 2014 Draft: Aggregating Report Card Grades from Around the Web
The 2014 NFL draft was an exciting event. We saw players go earlier and later than expected, as well as some eye-popping trades. Even in all this excitement, the Seattle Seahawks managed to compile a pretty boring draft class.
That being said, boring isn't necessarily bad.
They strayed away from some bigger-name players who carried some risk but got themselves some quality talent in names who aren't as known. Granted this is already a talent-filled roster that didn't have many holes to fill, but they surely grabbed some guys who will produce for them.
In looking at draft grades for Seattle's class throughout the Interweb, the name that comes up most in the positive pile is Paul Richardson. The Colorado speedster is somewhat small but plays much bigger than he is—not to mention he plays with tremendous speed.
While Richardson is a draft pick that Seattle can feel confident about, the other player it drafted in the second round, Justin Britt, has received a mixed bag of reactions from the graders on this list.
While some believe he will no doubt start right away as the complementary bookend to Russell Okung, others are concerned with his injury history and aren't completely sold that he's ready for such a major role yet.
Britt was a tipping point in many writers' grades, pulling in both negative and positive reviews from graders. Even so, he clearly has talent and was a part of a pretty solid overall draft class for Seattle.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: C-
As one of the most widely respected minds in the NFL world, Mel Kiper Jr. did not see this as a particularly great draft for the Seahawks. His grade says it all: It was an average draft.
They did grab some value when they nabbed Paul Richardson and the late-round gem Cassius Marsh, but they had a couple of picks that were iffy, which is likely Kiper Jr.'s reasoning behind the low grade.
Justin Britt was a fine pick, but one could argue that picking him up in the second round was a mistake considering he could've possibly been taken in the fourth round, but that's not the only concern with him. He does have an injury history that is worth noting, but he does fill a need and—if he's healthy—will probably start for them on the right side of the line.
While Kiper Jr.'s grade doesn't reflect that this was a big success for Seattle, he did speak on how good this team is at developing players:
"There simply isn't a better player development program in the NFL right now than Seattle's. The players the Seahawks draft -- the players I've spent many hours evaluating and making calls on -- are often players that evolve, improve and become something new after Seattle drafts them."
While he tipped his hat to the Seahawks' ability to develop players, he's not the only one who believes they deserve a low grade.
Evan Silva, Rotoworld: C-
Similar to Kiper Jr., Rotoworld's Evan Silva also gave Seattle a low grade, but his reasoning was more based on the fact that the team likely won't hold on to many of the players it just drafted. One of those players could be Kevin Norwood—Silva reminds us that he was a 24-year-old his last year in college and struggled against much younger competition.
Silva doesn't quite lump him in with long shots like Kiero Small and Garrett Scott, but he certainly doesn't paint a pretty picture of Norwood's future in Seattle.
He mentions that he believes only four or five players will actually make the squad. Cassius Marsh was among the players he spoke highly. Silva describes the former UCLA defender as a "classic Seattle-type, hair-on-fire defensive lineman."
Marsh will likely start off as a rotational player at first but could earn more snaps if he can pick up the system early. But, as Silva alluded to, it will be hard for most of these guys to find a spot on the roster. Marsh is talented, but there may not end up being any room for him on the roster.
Matthew Fairburn, SB Nation: C+
Matthew Fairburn gave the second-lowest grade of the five mocks I chose, but unlike Mel Kiper Jr., he doesn't believe Justin Britt is all that questionable of a pick. "The Seahawks needed to find an offensive lineman in this draft, and Britt fills the need. His versatility makes him an attractive blocker," he said.
Fairburn does also note that his injury is something to be cautious of, but it seems like the consensus feeling on Britt is that he will be effective when healthy, but otherwise it's a crapshoot. Seattle is hoping for the former to be the case, but only time will tell with this one.
Britt can play either guard or tackle, which are both positions of need for Seattle. He could take over Breno Giacomini's old spot or possibly kick inside to guard. Either way, he will prove to be a positive pick for the Seahawks.
Fairburn also talks about Paul Richardson, to whom he refers as a "clone" of DeSean Jackson. He pegs him as an impact slot receiver if he can remain healthy, which would be a nice spot to add some speed to.
Especially given the untimely injuries that Percy Harvin seems to keep piling up, Richardson's speed and ability will be very valuable to a Seattle offense that can really go off if it gets going.
Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated: B-
Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated had a brighter view on Seattle's draft than most other pundits. He was on board with the notion that Paul Richardson will turn out to be a great pick but isn't quite sure about Justin Britt.
Unlike Evan Silva, Farrar believes that Kevin Norwood will actually turn out to be a dependable player for Seattle. He praises his ability as a red-zone target and believes that he will be an important contributor in the team's offense.
Farrar also wrote that he would've graded the Seahawks higher had they not passed on top guards when they had the chance to get them. Realistically, Seattle definitely should've drafted an interior lineman to help solidify the interior.
David Yankey was one of the names Farrar brought up as someone the team should've drafted, and I'd have to agree that he'd have been a great choice at 32nd overall while also filling a need.
Pete Prisco, CBS: B+
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports gave Seattle the highest grade of the group and kept with the trend of listing Paul Richardson as the team's best draft pick. He commended the team's general manager, John Schneider, for his "shrewd" method of drafting and his willingness to trade up, down and all around.
Prisco also notes his adoration for Seattle's fourth-round pick, Cassius Marsh. The former Bruin has drawn comparisons to current Seahawk defensive end Michael Bennett because of his ability to play anywhere on the defensive line.
He does a good job of getting off blocks and getting to the quarterback, which will surely be a big help to him as he tries to break into the stiff rotation at defensive line for Seattle.
Prisco gave the Seahawks a higher grade than I would've given them, but he does make some good points, and this team is definitely going to improve because of its draft class.