The Seattle Seahawks upended their future on Tuesday by trading star quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. In exchange they received three players and five draft picks, including two first-rounders and two second-rounders. If Seattle wants to "win" this trade it absolutely needs to nail those draft picks, which has been a difficult task for the franchise over the years.
The Seahawks now own the ninth and 40th picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, along with their own 41st pick -- they don't have their own a first-rounder thanks to the awful Jamal Adams trade. In 2023, they will have two first-rounders and two second-rounders. The next two drafts are a chance for Seattle to rebuild its franchise from the ground up. But to do so, general manager John Schneider will have to reverse his trend of awful draft results.
As Dan Orlovsky pointed out, the Seahawks have drafted 52 players since 2016 and only three have reached the Pro Bowl. One of those guys was a punter. That's staggering given how easy it is to be a Pro Bowler these days. I mean, even Mitchell Trubisky has a Pro Bowl selection on his résumé.
The last good first-round pick the Seahawks made was Earl Thomas in 2010. Since then they've selected James Carpenter (2011), Bruce Irvin (2012), Germain Ifedi (2016), Rashaad Penny (2018), L.J. Collier (2019) and Jordyn Brooks (2020). None of those guys has been any good. Seattle didn't make a first-round pick in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 or 2021.
Schneider's early tenure saw him find mid- and late-round success with guys like Wilson, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Tyler Lockett and K.J. Wright He also nailed second-round selections of Bobby Wagner (2012), Frank Clark (2015) and D.K. Metcalf (2019). But other than those home runs, he's been striking out. A lot.
The Seahawks need to somehow overhaul the way they evaluate talent. The fact that they spent a first-round pick on a running back in 2018 (Penny) and have missed on so many offensive linemen shows that something needs to change. Schneider and his front office will have the chance to prove themselves over the next two years.
Seattle's roster has a ton of holes to fill. With Wilson gone the franchise needs a new quarterback. Left tackle Duane Brown is hitting free agency, which will leave an already bad offensive line without its best player. The line ranked 25th in the NFL in 2021 according to Pro Football Focus. I'm shocked it ranked that high.
With Wagner being released, linebacker becomes and even more pressing need. The entire defensive line needs help as the defense totaled just 34 sacks in 2021. An upgrade at cornerback would also be nice, given that Seattle ranked 31st in pass defense last season, allowing 265.5 yards per game.
So yeah, that's a lot of needs. There's work to be done, but Schneider has to stop his tendency of trying to out-think everyone by attempting to grab hidden gems early on. Off-the-board selections like Brooks, Carpenter, Penny and Irvin have puzzled draft experts. All of those guys would have been available in later rounds but Seattle jumped on them early. And precisely none of them have worked out. There's being smart and then there's over-thinking things. Schneider and the Seahawks have done far too much of the latter.
Seattle needs to absolutely nail the next two drafts, or their trade of Russell Wilson will look like an enormous mistake.