SEATTLE – The Seahawks haven’t always drafted well. Look no further than last year for evidence of that.
With Seattle’s first pick in 2017, general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll took defensive lineman Malik McDowell in the second round. At the time, it was considered a reach by some draft analysts. Since then, it has come to be known as a disaster.
McDowell never played for the Seahawks in 2017 after being injured in a reported ATV accident last summer. Now, there are reports Seattle may release McDowell before he ever steps foot on the field.
“That has got to be considered a horrible pick,” Q13 sports director Aaron Levine said recently.
Assuming McDowell is done in Seattle, the pick lands firmly on the list of the Seahawks’ worst draft selections of all time. But Seattle has drafted other players who haven’t worked out, some whom were taken much higher than 35th overall.
To put things into perspective, we asked our experts to help compile the definitive list of Seattle’s worst draft picks. We also put together a list of the team’s best draft picks. We’ll unveil those tomorrow. But for now, let’s look at the duds.
In addition to Levine, we talked with NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang, sports reporter Michelle Ludtka, producer Marc Rosen, photojournalist Steve Schrammeck, and a host of other knowledgeable producers, editors and reporters around the newsroom. This year’s draft will be broadcast on the home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX, with Draft Day coverage beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday, 4 p.m. Thursday and 3 p.m. Friday.
To make things easier we did not consider players taken in the supplemental draft, such as Brian Bosworth, or players the Seahawks acquired after they were drafted by other teams, like Kelly Stouffer.
Here’s what we came up with:
10. Lawrence Jackson, drafted in the 1st round (28th overall) in 2008 out of USC.
Perhaps the biggest statement about Jackson is what Carroll, his college coach, did when he took over the Seahawks. Halfway through his first training camp in Seattle, Carroll traded Jackson to the Lions for a sixth round draft choice.
Even before Carroll arrived, the writing was on the wall. In two seasons with the Seahawks, Jackson totaled just 6.5 sacks even though he started 24 games and was turned loose regularly as a pass rusher.
Jackson played another three seasons in Detroit, never starting a game for Lions, before retiring from the NFL.
9. Marcus Tubbs, drafted in the 1st round (23rd overall) in 2004 out of Texas.
Coach Mike Holmgren had hoped Tubbs would turn into a run-stuffing force in the middle of Seattle’s defensive line, similar to what Sam Adams and Cortez Kennedy had been before.
Tubbs played 29 games.
He appeared for a moment to be on his way, finding his stride late in 2005 as the Seahawks made a run to their first Super Bowl appearance. Tubbs racked up 5.5 sacks from Week 7 to Week 13 that year, and he even played in all three playoff games including the Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh in Detroit.
But his 2006 season was cut short after five games with a knee injury. Then Tubbs missed all of 2007 after suffering another injury in preseason and never played again.
8. John Moffitt, drafted in the 3rd round (75th overall) in 2011 out of Wisconsin.
Even the shrewdest draft analysts don’t expect teams to hit on all of their picks, so it may seem harsh to point out a disappointing third rounder in an otherwise terrific draft for the Seahawks.
Then again, the fact Seattle found so many gems after wasting this pick on Moffitt makes it stick out all the more.
First, let’s looks at Moffitt’s resume. He played in 17 games with the Seahawks over two seasons before he was traded to Denver. With the Broncos, he played in two games before retiring.
So, who were the guys taken after Moffitt? K.J. Wright (4th round), Richard Sherman (5th), Byron Maxwell (6th) and Malcolm Smith (7th). You may have heard of them.
7. Lamar King, drafted in the 1st round (22nd overall) in 1999 out of Saginaw Valley State.
King was the first pick of the Holmgren era in Seattle, and with that likely came unfair expectations.
Ultimately, though, he was just another NFL player plagued by injuries.
He did not start a game his rookie year and was limited because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder. But he showed promise, recording two sacks and blocking a field goal attempt in a Holmgren’s much-anticipated return to Green Bay.
King started 14 games in 2000 and managed six sacks, looking like an emerging talent. But the excitement was short-lived. He finished three of the next four seasons on injured reserve, playing in just 29 more games.
He was effective when he was on the field, but he spent far too much time off of it.
6. Chris McIntosh, drafted in the 1st round (22nd overall) in 2000 out of Wisconsin.
McIntosh was drafted three picks after Shaun Alexander, perhaps showing just how much of a crapshoot the draft can be.
McIntosh played in 24 games over two season with the Seahawks. He started 13 of them and never played in the NFL again.
Alexander played in 119 games for the Seahawks, ran for 9,453 yards, scored 112 touchdowns and won the first NFL MVP in franchise history.
What led to McIntosh’s short stint? Once again, injuries. He suffered a neck stinger in training camp in 2001 and after playing in 10 games that year, he was never heard from again.
Rang says it’s difficult to label a player as a bust after such bad luck.
“Anytime there’s an injury, I have a hard time characterizing a player as a bust,” he said. “Morally, I struggle with that. I have a hard time saying that Chris McIntosh or Brian Bosworth were busts in the NFL because physically their bodies broke down.”
Fair point. But if we didn’t include players with injuries, we wouldn’t have much of a list.
5. Steve Niehaus, drafted in the 1st round (2nd overall) in 1976 out of Notre Dame.
Niehaus was also a victim of injuries. The collegiate All American defensive lineman was named NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year after totaling 9.5 sacks in the Seahawks’ inaugural season.
He started all 14 games as a rookie, but played in just 22 more games in his career thanks to a slew of setbacks and was out of the league by the time he turned 26.
The loss was extra devastating to Seattle since the team used the franchise’s first draft pick on Niehaus and hoped to build around him. That never happened.
To add insult to all the injuries, defensive back Mike Haynes was taken three picks after Niehaus in the 1976 draft by New England and went on to a Hall of Fame career.
4. Malik McDowell, drafted in the 2nd round (35th overall) in 2017 out of Michigan State.
Injuries on the field are one thing. Football is a violent game.
But McDowell’s case is different.
He was injured in what appears to be a fluke off-the-field accident before his first training camp a few months after he was drafted.
He has yet to play in a game and will reportedly be released by the Seahawks before ever stepping onto the field.
When asked Monday if McDowell might play this season, Carroll didn’t offer much hope.
“We haven’t had any indication to think that yet,” he said. “We’re waiting to see what happens and we’re hoping that we get good information soon.”
3. Rick Mirer, drafted in the 1st round (2nd overall) in 1993 out of Notre Dame.
Mirer earns such a high spot on this list not only because of how high he was drafted, but also because of who was drafted around him.
The “Golden Boy” was taken directly after WSU legend Drew Bledsoe and right before future Pro Bowl running back Garrison Hearst. Hall of Famers Willie Roaf and Jerome Bettis also were taken in the Top 10 that year.
But the Seahawks needed a quarterback, and since they beat New England in the regular season, they were stuck with the second-overall pick and Mirer instead of Bledsoe.
Mirer didn’t start out all that bad. He won rookie of the year over Bledsoe, even though he threw 17 interceptions to go with 12 touchdowns.
Throwing interceptions became a routine for Mirer, who finished his career with 76 picks and 50 touchdowns. Not the best ratio.
Q13 executive digital producer Dusty Lane sums up the circumstances of Seahawks fans’ angst.
“Had Seahawks cornerback Patrick Hunter not intercepted a pass from the Patriots’ Hugh Millen in the fourth quarter of a September game that turned out to be one of Seattle’s only two wins that season, the Seahawks would’ve had the No. 1 pick instead,” Lane surmised. “A pick the Pats used to draft the great Drew Bledsoe. Instead, they got Rick Freakin’ Mirer.”
2. Aaron Curry, drafted in the 1st round (4th overall) in 2009 out of Wake Forest.
Curry was labeled the one can’t miss prospect in the 2009 draft.
It was the perfect decision, analysts said, of the Seahawks selecting him with the No. 4 overall pick. It did not pan out that way.
Curry played in 35 games for the Seahawks, producing 158 tackles and 5.5 sacks.
When the Seahawks traded him midway through his third season to the Raiders, some of the same analysts that praised Curry in ’09 predicted the change of scenery could be just what he needed to get his career on track.
Instead, he played in 13 games for Oakland before signing as a free agent with the Giants. He was cut in training camp and never played again.
Rang admitted, he was among those that never saw it coming.
“It wasn’t just the Seahawks that missed on Aaron Curry,” he said. “There were a lot of us, myself included.”
Rang said he looks back at all his grades every year after players develop to see what he got right and what he got wrong. Most of the time he can make sense of things. Players end up in the wrong system. Circumstances, such as injuries intervene. In Curry’s case, Rang is still a bit baffled. As are most fans.
1. Dan McGwire, drafted in the 1st round (16th overall) in 1991 out of San Diego State.
There can be only one all-time bust on our list, and McGwire is the hands-down winner.
Standing 6-foot-8 and weighing more than 240 pounds, he stood out among quarterback prospects in 1991.
Owner Ken Behring was said to be so enamored with the San Diego State signal caller he made the pick himself, overruling coach Chuck Knox who reportedly lobbied for “the kid from Mississippi.”
That kid went No. 33 overall to Atlanta, where he rode the bench for a season before being traded to Green Bay and embarking on a Hall of Fame career. To be fair, most analysts agreed that the top two quarterback prospects in the draft were McGwire and Southern Mississippi’s Brett Favre and the separation between the two could go either way. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. even had the two tied on his draft board.
But Behring was dead-set on McGwire. The younger brother of baseball slugger Mark McGwire, Dan started five games with the Seahawks and appeared in 13 games in his entire NFL career. He threw for a total of 745 yards. His two touchdowns are the second-fewest of any QB taken in the first round since 1980 and 506 behind Favre’s career total.
McGwire was so bad, it turned out, the Seahawks were in the market for another quarterback just two years later. Unfortunately for them, though, they beat New England in 1992.