The national draft pundits weren't to kind to the Seahawks after April's NFL Draft, and draft grades reflected that. The Sporting News gave the Seahawks a “D” for their efforts, saying Seattle “went for defensive head-scratchers when more reliable prospects were on the board.”
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Seahawks a “C-minus,” which was tied for the lowest grade Kiper handed out. CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco called the selection of Bruce Irvin in the first round “risky” and wondered why the Hawks spent a third round pick on Russell Wilson when they had just signed Matt Flynn. Prisco gave the Seahawks a “C-plus” for the draft.
After three weeks of camp and two preseason games, it's starting to look like the Seahawks brass -- which includes general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll -- just might get the last laugh.
Top pick: DE Bruce Irvin (first round, No. 15 overall) -- The Seahawks raised a few eyebrows when they selected Irvin with their first pick, but after three weeks of camp, there's no reason to think anyone on the coaching staff has regretted this pick. Irvin has been quick off the line in two preseason games, which makes him difficult to block. Irvin also had the honor Saturday of being the first opposing player to lay a hit on Peyton Manning since his return. “He didn't say anything; he moaned a little bit, though,” Irvin said of the hit on Manning. Manning has one of the quickest releases in the league, so if Irvin can get to him, Seahawks fans have to feel good about his ability to pressure NFC West quarterbacks. Grade: B
No. 2 pick: MLB Bobby Wagner (second round, No. 47 overall) -- Some may have felt that the Seahawks made a reach for Wagner, but no one will argue that the pick filled one of the team's most important needs: middle linebacker. Seattle lost MLB David Hawthorne to free agency and now Wagner -- the 2011 WAC defensive player of the year -- looks like he might be Hawthorne's heir apparent at the position. In two preseason games, Wagner has acquitted himself well; he's steady in coverage and makes tackles when the ball carrier's near him. The rookie LB has six tackles in two games, including one tackle for a loss. Some fans were originally disappointed that Seattle didn't land Pac-12 defensive player of the year Mychal Kendricks -- Kendricks was available at 43, but the Seahawks traded that slot to the Jets and dropped to 47 -- however, Wagner's just as athletic and could turn out to be the better pick when all is said and done. Carroll and Schneider have to be thrilled with the way Wagner has looked so far. Grade: B+ (if Wagner turns out to be the starting MLB, this moves into the "A" range).
No. 3 pick: QB Russell Wilson (third round, No. 75 overall) -- The pick of Wilson in the third round could turn out to be the steal of the draft. Wilson's play in camp quickly turned the Seahawks' three-way quarterback battle into a two-horse race. Now with Tarvaris Jackson on his way out, Wilson has his sights set on Flynn and the starting job. In two preseason games, Wilson has completed 66.7 percent of his passes (22 of 33) for 279 yards and three touchdowns while only throwing one interception. If that's not enough, Wilson has also been a threat on the ground, scrambling eight times for 92 yards, which averages out to a gaudy 11.5 yards per run. There were plenty of questions surrounding Wilson heading into the draft -- namely his height -- but Wilson has silenced his naysayers so far. Although Wilson may not start in 2012, there's a good chance he'll eventually earn the starting quarterback job and turn into one of the steals of the 2012 draft. Grade: B (Wilson needs to prove he can keep up his stellar play against a No. 1 defense. If he does that AND earns the starting job, this third-round pick becomes an A+).
Late picks: The Seahawks' 2012 draft looks impressive when only grading the top three picks through three weeks. However, even more impressive might be what Carroll and Schneider did in the later rounds. Fourth-round pick RB Robert Turbin and seventh-round picks G J.R. Sweezy and DE Greg Scruggs are all strong contenders to make the Seahawks' final 53-man roster.