GM profiling: Ruskell and the safeties

April, 25, 2009
4/25/09
2:45
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Seahawks have not drafted a safety since Tim Ruskell arrived as general manager before the 2005 season. Ruskell's teams have drafted only one safety -- Etric Pruitt, by the Falcons with the 186th pick in 2004 -- over the last six drafts.

Why the apparent aversion to the position on draft day? The Seahawks already had two second-round choices, Ken Hamlin and Michael Boulware, at the position when ownership hired Ruskell. And when Ruskell decided to replace them, he used free agency, signing current starters Deon Grant and Brian Russell.

Seattle could seemingly use a prospect to challenge Russell for playing time at the position. Where might the Seahawks look for one?

Since 1992, when Ruskell became college scouting director for Tampa Bay, his teams have generally valued safeties after the second round and often from less prominent conferences. Four of the seven safeties Ruskell's teams have drafted in the first four rounds since 1992 were from teams currently affiliated with the MAC, SWAC and Mountain West.

The chart shows every safety Ruskell's teams have drafted since 1992, sorted by how early his teams drafted each player.

Draft Rd. Pick Ruskell's Team Safety
College Conference
1995
2 43 Bucs
Melvin Johnson
Kentucky
SEC
1993
3 82 Bucs John Lynch
Stanford
Pac-10
2001
3 84 Bucs Dwight Smith
Akron MAC
1996 4 104
Bucs Eric Austin Jackson St.
SWAC (I-AA)
1995
4 105 Bucs Jerry Wilson
Southern SWAC (I-AA)
1999 4 113
Bucs Dexter Jackson
Florida St.
ACC
2001 4 117
Bucs John Howell
Colorado St.
Mtn. West
2002 5 157 Bucs Jermaine Phillips
Georgia
SEC
1998
6 184 Bucs Shevin Smith
Florida St.
ACC
1992
7 184 Bucs Ken Swilling
Georgia Tech
ACC
2004
6 186 Falcons Etric Pruitt
S.Mississippi
C-USA
2000
6 193 Bucs David Gibson
USC
Pac-10
2001
7
223 Bucs Than Merrill
Yale
Ivy (I-AA)

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