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Friday, August 3, 2012
HOF12: Can’t go wrong with these draftees

By Mike Sando

CANTON, Ohio -- A Seattle Seahawks scouting contingent planned to visit the University of Miami for a closer look at Hurricanes cornerback Robert Bailey.

"All of a sudden," Joe Vitt recalled, "when we put the film on, everyone had heard of Russell Maryland, but we put the film on and Cortez Kennedy was making all the plays."

Vitt, now the New Orleans Saints' interim coach, was a Seahawks assistant under Chuck Knox at the time. This was in 1990.

"I called Chuck and told him to send down (defensive line coach) George Dyer because we've got a guy down here now," Vitt said. "Now, all of a sudden, we finagled that draft and moved up to No. 3 (overall). Our first three picks that year were Cortez, Terry Wooden and Robert Blackmon. We structured our defense exactly like the Miami Hurricanes because of Cortez and it was the smartest thing we ever did."

Kennedy is now the only Seahawks draft choice selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His enshrinement is Saturday. The Los Angeles Rams wound up picking Bailey in the fourth round.

The chart shows Kennedy and all the Hall of Famers drafted by current NFC West organizations since the first common draft in 1967.

There were stories behind the other selections as well.

The San Francisco 49ers famously selected Jerry Rice with the 16th pick in 1985 after their preferred choice, receiver Eddie Brown, went to Cleveland three picks earlier. Former 49ers personnel man Mike Lombardi, now with NFL Network, said 49ers coach Bill Walsh even tried to trade up with the Browns for the 13th choice. He wanted Brown that badly.

"And coach Walsh handed me the phone and said, 'Don't worry about it. We'll just pick Jerry Rice,' " Lombardi recounted for a USA Today story.