NFC West: Josh Booty
Best choice: Russell Wilson, QB, 2012 third round. Wilson went from springtime curiosity to surprise opening-day starter to Pro Bowl quarterback in eight months. Seattle has hit big on some other draft choices during the Pete Carroll-John Schneider era, but Wilson stands apart from the rest. No rookie in the 36-year history of the organization has impacted the team as dramatically as Wilson did in 2012. That is a bold statement, but one that required about 30 seconds of verification. Wilson is the first QB draft choice in Seahawks history to succeed with the team. None of the other 15 came close (Mike Teel, David Greene, Seneca Wallace, Jeff Kelly, Josh Booty, Brock Huard, Rick Mirer, Dan McGwire, John Gromos, Sammy Garza, David Norrie, John Conner, Sam Adkins, Steve Myer and Chris Rowland). The 26 touchdown passes Wilson threw during the regular season exceed the Seattle career totals for every one of those other 15 drafted QBs except Mirer, who had 41 touchdowns over four seasons with the team.
Worst choice: Aaron Curry, LB, 2009 first round. The Seahawks thought they were making the surest choice of the 2009 draft when they made Curry the fourth overall choice. Instead, a franchise that had used top-10 picks for defensive stars Cortez Kennedy and Kenny Easley got an all-time bust. Curry had 5.5 sacks, 12 passes defensed and four forced fumbles while starting 28 of 30 games for the Seahawks over two seasons. Something wasn't right, however, and by Curry's third season, the team had seen enough. Seattle essentially bought out Curry's expensive rookie contract to facilitate a trade to Oakland. Lawrence Jackson was a distant second for this distinction.
Verdict pending: James Carpenter, OL, 2011 first round. Wilson's selection in 2012 offsets lingering regrets from the Seahawks' decision to draft Carpenter over Andy Dalton a year earlier. Still, Seattle cannot feel good about how Carpenter's career has unfolded. Carpenter was struggling in pass protection at right tackle before a severe knee injury convinced Seattle that Carpenter's future would be at left guard, next to tackle Russell Okung. The conversion did not go well last season because the knee injury continued to limit Carpenter's mobility. The coming season appears pivotal for Carpenter.
Related: 2011 draft rewind.
I'll continue with a look at Kiper's plans for the Seattle Seahawks, who will draft either 11th or 12th, pending a coin toss with Kansas City.
11-12. Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Kiper's give: The Seahawks have quietly made major strides in overhauling the roster and finding solutions to grow with in the past two years. Obviously, quarterback remains a big question, but that's not something they can target at this spot in the draft. What they can do is add a final piece to a defense that is young, fast and extremely good in the secondary.
Sando's take: Seattle already has a strong defense. Adding another pass-rusher is critical. Chris Clemons is signed through 2012. He needs help. Quarterback is the other obvious need. Kiper projects only two in the first round. Teams selected four among the top 12 choices last year. The Seahawks haven't drafted one in the first round since 1993. Mike Teel, David Greene, Seneca Wallace, Jeff Kelly, Josh Booty and Brock Huard are the only quarterbacks Seattle has drafted since selecting Rick Mirer second overall in that '93 draft. The Seahawks selected those players 142nd overall on average. Needing a quarterback doesn't entitle a team to one. Speculation over targeting Matt Flynn in free agency will continue in the absence of evidence the Seahawks have interest. I'm skeptical.
When in doubt, follow the money.
Signing Tarvaris Jackson to a contract averaging $4 million a year -- less than what the team is paying its left guard, tight end and backup quarterback -- revealed plenty about the Seahawks' plans for the position.
The move told us the Seahawks were serious about drafting a quarterback in 2012, whether it's Andrew Luck or another prospect likely to be chosen early. Saying so outright would have sent the wrong message to fans and the current team, of course, but a $4 million bet on Jackson wasn't much of a bet at all.
The related decision to part ways with Matt Hasselbeck, who commanded $9 million a year on the market, told us Seattle saw little point in squeezing a couple additional victories from a team that wasn't going to contend for a championship, anyway.
The Seahawks would almost certainly be better with Hasselbeck, provided their former long-time starter could have held up physically behind a young, inconsistent line. But how much better would they have been? Enough to finish 7-9 or 8-8 and out of the running for a top quarterback in the draft? What then?
Swapping Jackson for Hasselbeck fell short of a blatant "Suck for Luck" mantra, but not all that far short. Teams finishing 4-12 last season picked second through fourth. Teams with five victories were fifth and sixth. Teams with six victories picked seventh to 13th.
After watching the Seahawks fall to 2-6, it's looking like Seattle will have a shot at drafting a quarterback early, even if another team winds up with Luck.
- 2003 draft: First-round pick Marcus Trufant accepts a pay reduction. Fourth-rounder Seneca Wallace, the only other player remaining with Seattle from this class when Pete Carroll took over as head coach, is traded.
- 2004 draft: Third-round pick Sean Locklear, the only remaining player from this draft class, has his contract truncated. The team does not re-sign him.
- 2005 draft: First-round pick Chris Spencer is not re-signed. Second-rounder Lofa Tatupu is released after refusing a pay reduction. Third-rounder Leroy Hill takes a pay reduction, then re-signs somewhat improbably.
- 2006 draft: First-rounder Kelly Jennings is traded. Second-rounder Darryl Tapp is traded. Fourth-rounder Rob Sims, the third player Seattle selected in the 2006 draft, is traded.
- 2007 draft: The team had no first-round pick. Second-rounder Josh Wilson is traded. Deion Branch, the player Seattle received in return for that 2007 first-round pick, is traded.
- 2008 draft: First-rounder Lawrence Jackson is traded. Second-rounder John Carlson is imperiled when the team signs tight end Zach Miller in free agency. Carlson is entering the final year of his contract.
- 2009 draft: First-rounder Aaron Curry accepts a new contract making him easier to trade or release in the future.
Curry and Carlson are the two remaining early draft choices to watch. Both remain younger players with potential, but their futures in Seattle appear tenuous.
Some of these draft choices would have fared better in Seattle if the team had performed well enough to avoid sweeping changes in the organization. Likewise, those sweeping changes might not have been necessary if some of these draft choices had come closer to meeting expectations.
What stands out most to me: Mike Teel, David Greene, Wallace, Jeff Kelly and Josh Booty are the only quarterbacks the Seahawks have drafted since 2001.
Back up the Brink's truck. We're all in with these guys ...
Rolling the dice at the top of the draft is risky. Good thing so many top quarterbacks are available a little later ...
How are these guys still on the board? We must know something other teams do not ...
You mean we haven't selected a quarterback yet? Better grab one now ...
Signing free agents after the draft is a pain. Let's save some time, and if we luck into the next Tom Brady, everyone will call us geniuses ...
A scenario to consider for when the 49ers are on the clock with the 10th overall choice in the 2009 draft: Four offensive tackles are off the board, the top two pass rushers are gone, nose tackle B.J. Raji is gone and quarterback Mark Sanchez remains available.
Short of trading down, would there be a realistic option for the 49ers drafting someone other than the quarterback? I discussed the matter earlier Tuesday with Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. He thinks the 49ers should draft Sanchez, if available, even if tackle Michael Oher and pass rushers Aaron Maybin and Everette Brown remained available.
Muench: "They missed on Alex Smith with the first overall pick in 2005, but they can't let that prevent them from making the right call now. Sanchez is a different quarterback from more of a pro-style offense. They need a quarterback now."
How the 49ers perceive their quarterback situation probably differs from how most outsiders view the situation. This is fairly typical. I think the Seahawks view their quarterback situation differently than people following the team from afar view it. The Cardinals appear to view their needs on the offensive line -- specifically at center -- differently than others view the situation. The Rams have lots of holes, but general manager Billy Devaney rejected the idea that St. Louis has enough needs to justify practically any selection.
With those things in mind, I'll take a look at 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan and the quarterbacks his teams have drafted since 1994.