2011 NFL Draft: The 20 Best Value Draft Picks in Seattle Seahawks History
What is a value pick? If you look up the definition of value in the dictionary, you find many meanings, two of which I will use for this analysis.
One, value is the monetary number of a given object. Second, value is used to describe the significance or importance of a given object; this can be a subjective view.
One definition is concrete, one is up for discussion.
The main factors for this list: Where was the player taken in the draft, how long did the player play for Seattle, how did they perform in their time with the team and how did the team perform during the players tenure? Each trip to the playoffs counts.
Since the franchise's inception in 1976, the team has had a history of success in the draft and via trade, but some difficulty both retaining and attracting free agents.
Seattle has done very well drafting in the first round, but the franchise has found a fair share of contributors in the later rounds as well.
Some great players were left off this list, either because they spent too little time in Seattle or flourished after they left the franchise. Others were simply good players, but not "valuable" enough picks to make the top 20.
All comments are welcome; the franchise has seen its fair share of valuable picks over the team's 35 years. Who would you put on or take off the list?
20. Justin Forsett, RB
A seventh-round choice in 2008, Forsett was dropped by Seattle and picked up by Indianapolis before returning to Seattle.
Three seasons later, Forsett is still one of the more underrated, all-around backs in the NFL. Going into the final year of his contract, he has a chance to make a statement and shoot himself up this list if remade in 2015.
19. Joey Galloway, WR
The eighth pick in the 1995 draft, Galloway’s value lies mostly in that his departure to Dallas after the 1999 season netted Shaun Alexander.
A dynamic playmaker with elite speed, Galloway had three 1,000-yard seasons in five years in Seattle. However, Seattle never made the playoffs during his time with the team.
He would go on to be a tremendous bust in Dallas, not breaking the 1,000-yard barrier until 2005 with Tampa Bay. If Seattle had picked busts with both picks acquired for Galloway, he would not be on this list.
18. Brian Blades, WR
The Seahawks didn’t have a first-round pick in 1988, adding pressure to the eventual outcome of their first pick that year, second-rounder Brian Blades.
Blades didn’t disappoint with four 1,000-yard and five 70-plus reception years in his 11-year career as a Seahawk. His only playoff appearance came as a rookie in the 1988 season, keeping Blades lower down this list than if he had the playoff success of Darrell Jackson.
17. Chris Warren, RB
A fourth-round pick in 1990, Warren spent eight seasons in Seattle with four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 1992-1995.
Additionally, he had four straight seasons with 35-plus catches, one of the better all-around backs in team history.
However, Warren never made it to the playoffs as a Seahawk, a hit to his value as one of the top 20 value picks in team history.
16. Fredd Young, LB
A third round pick in the 1984 draft, Young spent only four seasons in Seattle.
However, he was one of the team’s most productive players and the first-ever player to be voted to the AFC Pro Bowl squad based on special teams. Additionally, he was voted to the 35th anniversary Seahawks squad.
His best season in Seattle was his last in 1987, nine sacks, 19 total in four seasons, and one pick-six before departing to finish his career in Indianapolis.
15. Itula Mili, TE
A sixth-round pick in 1997, Mili spent 11 seasons in Seattle, the majority of his play coming in the 1999-2004 seasons. He started all but one game in that six-year stretch and appeared in the playoffs five times.
He set a franchise record for receptions for a tight end with 46 in 2003. Otherwise, a big target and consistent tight end for the majority of the Mike Holmgren regime in Seattle.
His consistent play over nearly a decade makes him one of the more underrated value picks in team history.
14. Michael Sinclair, DE
Sinclair was a sixth-round pick in 1991, his 73.5 career sacks and 11 seasons with the team coming at great value for Seattle.
He had his best seasons in 1996-1998 playing alongside Cortez Kennedy, Sam Adams and Phillip Daniels, 41.5 sacks over that time frame.
He finally made the playoffs in 1999 as a Seahawk, a cap to another great career for a Seahawks lineman.
13. Cortez Kennedy, DT
The third pick in the 1990 draft is one of the best Seahawks in history and a yearly candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. ‘Tez picked up 58 sacks in 11 seasons anchoring the inside of the Seahawks' offensive line.
Unfortunately, he has only one playoff appearance to his credit, despite being lucky enough to play with many talented defensive lineman in Seattle over the course of the 1990s.
There is no denying he was a great player and a face of the franchise.
But the facts that he is tied for the highest pick in team history at pick No. 3 and failed to lead the team to the playoffs until the end of his career, the first year of the Holmgren regime, drops him way down this list.
12. Curt Warner, RB
The third pick in the 1983 draft spent seven seasons in Seattle, missing almost the entire 1984 season, but proved to be a game changer when on the field.
The main ball carrier on three 1980s playoff teams, he had four 1,000-yard seasons and three 40-plus catch years.
He tore his ACL after leaving Seattle in 1990 after seven seasons, and his career finished less than a year removed from being in a Seahawks uniform.
11. Jeff Bryant, DL
The sixth pick in the 1982 draft is a hit to his status as a value pick, but his 12 seasons playing all four defensive line positions give him a deserving spot on the list.
Sixth-three sacks, four playoff appearances and one career touchdown put him among the most productive linemen ever for Seattle.
And his extensive playoff experience places him on the list, two spots above ‘Tez.
10. Steve Hutchinson, OG
A 2001 first-round pick, the second Seahawk taken in the 2001 draft behind Koren Robinson spent only five years in Seattle.
However, Hutch’s play was paramount, teaming with Walter Jones to pave the way for Shaun Alexander’s prolific All-Pro run in the 2000s, culminating in the Super Bowl trip in 2006.
He left in 2006 for a seven-year, $49 million dollar contract in one of the franchise's greatest free agency debacles; the infamous poison pill inserted by the Minnesota front office in Hutchinson’s contract offer ultimately led to the Seahawks letting Hutchinson walk, the beginning of the downfall of the Seahawks offensive line in the mid-2000s.
9. Keith Butler, LB
A second-round pick in 1978, Butler spent his entire 10-season career as a Seahawk, playing in less than 14 games in a season only twice.
Eight interceptions, four sacks and three playoff appearances highlight a tough, opportunistic career for the Seahawk who made plays for the defense in the era long before Lofa Tatupu.
8. Darrell Jackson, WR
A third-round pick in 2000, Jackson made an instant impact en route to three 1,000-yard seasons in seven seasons with the team.
An integral part of the Hasselbeck-Holmgren offense, Jackson emerged as the team’s most consistent threat as 2001 first round pick Koren Robinson struggled to remain a consistent professional.
Ultimately, drops and injuries will always remain a part of Jackson’s legacy with Seattle, but his role as one of Hasselbeck’s favorite targets over the course of the NFC West run in the 2000s places him as the top receiver on this list.
7. Edwin Bailey, OG
A fifth round pick in 1981, Bailey played 139 games in 11 seasons for Seattle, the most at the guard position in franchise history.
Furthermore, Bailey fired himself as a football player, seeing himself on tape and deciding he no longer possessed the explosiveness to play the game.
A part of four Seahawks playoff teams in the 1980’s, his decade-plus of service for the team and mid-round selection makes him one of the most valuable Seahawks in team history.
6. Jacob Green, DE
The 10th pick in the 1980 draft is one of the meanest players in Seahawks history.
Green spent 12 seasons in Seattle, appearing in 11, an integral part of four playoff teams.
Four straight double digit sack seasons from 1983-1986, five overall, and two career touchdowns make him one of the franchises best defenders.
The tiebreaker is the fact that he was the lowest pick of Seattle’s elite first round linemen, the highest rated in terms of draft value from that group of players.
5. Shaun Alexander, RB
The 19th pick in the 2000 draft, Alexander is the franchise leader in rushing yards and is the only running back to lead the team to a Super Bowl.
Alexander’s five-year stretch from 2001-2005 running behind Hutchinson and Walter Jones was among the most prolific stretches for any position player in NFL history, with 88 touchdowns during that span.
In March of 2006, Alexander received an eight-year extension, $15.1 million guaranteed, appeared on the Madden 2007 cover and watched his career go down in flames. Two poor seasons in Seattle spelled his exit, with his final carry as a Redskin in 2008.
4. Lofa Tatupu, ILB
A second round pick in 2005, Tatupu took the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl in his rookie season, en route to three straight Pro Bowls and what seemed to the beginning of possibly a Hall of Fame career.
However, tough times hit for Tatupu. Injuries and the death of his father have really impacted his play the past few seasons, and his status of the team’s middle linebacker is undefined going into 2011 and beyond.
3. Kenny Easley, SS
The fourth pick in the 1981 draft, Easley was the 1981 Defensive Rookie of the Year and 1984 Defensive Player of the Year. Easley spent seven seasons in Seattle as one of the NFL’s premier safeties.
Thirty-two interceptions, three touchdowns and eight sacks had him on track for the Hall of Fame.
Easley was traded to the Phoenix Cardinals in 1988, but failed the physical and was soon diagnosed with kidney disease.
If not for the unfortunate ending to his career, Easley may have eventually been the greatest player to put on a Seahawks uniform.
No. 2 and 1
2. John Harris, CB
A seventh round pick in 1978, Harris played eight of his 11 seasons in Seattle.
Forty-one interceptions as a Seahawk, starts in 111 of 119 games played with the team and two touchdowns solidify him as the franchise's best corner.
Career highlights include 10 interceptions, two returned for touchdowns in the 1981 season, with his only career sack in 1984.
Harris is the lowest draft pick on this list, and one of the most productive players in team history. Not often does a team find a franchise corner in the seventh round, no matter the era.
1. Walter Jones, LT
The sixth choice in the 1997 draft, Jones wasn’t even Seattle’s first pick in 1997, that honor going to third pick Shawn Springs.
Jones spent 13 seasons total in Seattle, manning the left side as one of the best tackles to ever play the game.
For a solid decade, he protected Matt Hasselbeck’s blindside en route to six playoff appearances and a Super Bowl appearance.
Jones is quite possibly the best player in team history. Couple that with the unique fact that he was the team’s second pick during the 1997 draft, Jones sits at number one on the list as the top value pick in Seahawks history.