Found April 30, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
PCJS Not Winning The Draft Popularity Contest

After all of the draft grades were counted and a consensus was taken on the ten picks in the Seattle Seahawks 2012 draft, the majority of the comments that came back from most of the pundits had a common theme, “Not so Much”.

In terms of filling their needs, the Seahawks not only met their bar, but exceeded it.

In terms of maximizing their draft “value”, apparently this is where the Seahawks according to all of those pundits “lost” in the draft.

It’s a good thing Pete Carroll and John Schneider do not put much stock in draft grades.

There is a dynamic to this team; a set of core values that Pete Carroll preaches and addresses every year without deviating from the script.  He knows this draft addressed the Seahawks needs and his opinion is the only one that matters.

The core values are what shapes every draft and it’s these core values that Carroll believes will lead to a Super Bowl Championship.

1. Defense wins championships

Having a top-10 defense is quite an accomplishment for a lot of teams but it’s not good enough for Pete Carroll, which is why he keeps using top picks (20 of 29 picks over the last three drafts) to address skill positions on the defensive side of the ball.

Earl Thomas Seahawks Pete Carroll   John Schneider and the Seattle Seahawks win their draft

Having a top-10 defense is quite an accomplishment

Having a relentless defense requires out of the box thinking. Instead of taking a guy that was considered “top rated”, Carroll took the size, speed, and strength of Bruce Irvin. His high motor, mean streak, and propensity for hating QB’s fits in with the dynamic mold of a Pete Carroll defense.

When you factor in the sheer speed (sideline to sideline speed),  size (6’1, 232 lbs), and tackling ability (led Utah St. in tackles) of second round pick LB Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks now possess a better pass defense and a better approach  to gap assignments in the run defense.

Defenses win championships, but relentless defenses are why the steel curtain, doomsday defense,  and the purple people eaters are considered legendary.

2. The QB’s are all right

When the Seahawks selected Russell Wilson in the third round, it caught a lot of people off guard because the team already addressed the position with the signing of Matt Flynn.

The Seahawks were so enamored by Wilson’s make up (foot work, arm strength, college productivity, and IQ) they were willing to use a 3rd  round pick on him versus taking the risk of losing him to another team.

Wilson brings so much raw talent and uniqueness to the position the organization now has a wealth of talent with which they can truly compete at QB. At the end of the day, that is all PC/JS wants from this position.

As far as this affecting Flynn on the field, it doesn’t. Flynn is the starting QB and right now Wilson is so far off  from a developmental perspective, he will have zero impact starting-wise year one, less for red zone packages.  As far as competition goes, the feeling that Tarvaris Jackson is about to be a former Seahawks QB is starting to become a little clearer.

Seahawks Russell Wilson 2012 NFL Draft Pete Carroll   John Schneider and the Seattle Seahawks win their draft

Russell Wilson in the third round caught a lot of people off guard

When you draft a QB in the top 3 rounds, it essentially seals that roster spot. If they feel Wilson’s skill set can handle the backup job, the decision to cut Jackson will be made in camp. If they do decide to keep Tarvaris Jackson, everyone’s favorite “what if” QB Josh Portis will almost certainly be the one cut.

Remember now, Portis will have to clear waivers before going to the practice squad, and I don’t see Josh Portis clearing waivers.

3. Offensive skill explosion

Just because the Seahawks didn’t use all of their draft picks on the offensive side of the ball doesn’t mean they didn’t improve. RB Robert Turbin is a tank. All 5’10, 216 lbs of him. Turbin has the size and speed that perfectly fits red zone packages and short yardage situations the Seahawks wanted  to upgrade.

Once the draft was complete and teams were able to fill out their rosters with undrafted rookie free agents, the Seahawks added skill and speed with WR Phil Bates, former Washington Huskies WR Jermaine Kearse, and WR Lavasier Tunei.

The tremendous ability these three bring to the position has created such a deep core that it now it spills over to special teams.

The pick up of  Rishaw Johnson and Jon Opperud in actuality was huge. As we have learned with Tom Cable and his zone blocking scheme, it’s not about just plugging in a big body. It’s about finding the right combination of size, foot work, and athleticism in order to make the scheme work.

With Johnson and Opperud, the Seahawks have two very good prospects who could see the field as early as next season.

4. There is no trophy for Ms. Congeniality

From a national perspective, the Seahawks were not sexy in the draft and do you know what? It doesn’t matter. The Seahawks filled their needs with the best possible players available on their boards.

Jermaine Kearse Washington Pete Carroll   John Schneider and the Seattle Seahawks win their draft

The Seahawks added skill and speed after the draft with Huskies WR Jermaine Kearse

No, Bruce Irvin wasn’t the sexy pick, but neither was Aldon Smith when San Fransisco took him 7th overall last year.

All of the second guessing from the Mel Kiper’s of the world for passing on Jake Locker was all for not because the pick led to 14 sacks in his rookie season. I guess hindsight is 20/20 because Smith worked out pretty well.

The point is that championship teams draft this way.

There is no trophy for having the A+ draft grade or taking the most popular player.

As far as I’m concerned, the Seahawks followed their script

Pete Carroll and John Schneider looked at the schedule and saw the elite QB’s (Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Matt Stafford, and Jay Cutler) his team was facing in 2012 and knew the offense wasn’t going to win those games.

They drafted knowing that in order to beat those guys, they were going to have to keep them off the field.

The only way to do that is to play defense at a championship level, and Carroll and Schneider understand that better then anyone.


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Post tags: 2012, Aaron Rodgers, Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Jay Cutler, Jermaine Kearse, John Schneider, Jon Opperud, Josh Portis, Lavasier Tunei, Matt Flynn, Matt Stafford, NFL draft, Pete Carroll, Phil Bates, Rishaw Johnson, Robert Turbin, Russell Wilson, Seahawks, Seahawks Blog, Seahawks Draft, Seahawks draft picks, seattle, Tarvaris Jackson, Tom Brady, Tony Romo


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