Evaluating the 2015 Seattle Seahawks Draft

2015 Seattle Seahawks Draft
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When your favorite team’s outlook changes abruptly, a completely normal and unquestionably rational thing to do is to get super defensive about it. Take it all personally. So when your buddy says something like “I think the Seattle Seahawks could finish last in the division this year,” you’ll be ready to respond with “At least my grandfather is still alive.” And if that doesn’t work, question and belittle his/her life’s choices. What about the long-term ramifications, you ask? Who has time to think about those? You have to defend the honor of a team that you don’t actually belong to, and you have to do with the intensity of a Macho Man Randy Savage speech because if you don’t, they’ll know. Oh, they’ll know.

Now it won’t be easy. There will be times where it will feel like a mountain of voices predicting a Kingdome-like implosion. In order to get through those dark times, do what every other rational person does: tape miniature Seahawks jerseys over your TV screen and rewatch the ending of Miracle. And all will be right with the world once again.

For Seahawks fans, all was right with the world when John Schneider worked his draft magic. He found Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman in the fifth round, K.J. Wright in the fourth, and Russell Wilson in the third. The list goes on. This, without question, was the foundation of the team’s success. Now that the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011, it’s fair to wonder where the magic went in the past few drafts.

While it may be too soon to evaluate this past year’s draft, the same isn’t true for the Seahawks draft in 2015.

Looking Back at the Seattle Seahawks 2015 Draft

Team Needs

Guard, offensive tackle, wide receiver, defensive tackle, and cornerback.

Since the Seahawks lost players like Byron Maxwell and James Carpenter to free agency, they had a few holes to fill on both offense and defense. NFL analysts saw wide receiver as a need after Paul Richardson had a lackluster rookie season, and Percy Harvin disappointed. Harvin would later be traded to the New York Jets for a sixth-round pick. This was also the off-season that the team decided to trade Max Unger and picks for Jimmy Graham and picks. That trade was a siren call to the rest of the league that the Seahawks planned to continue to aggressively compete by acquiring red zone threats in their prime to not use them.

First Round

The Jimmy Graham trade sent this pick to the New Orleans Saints, who used the pick to take Stephone Anthony.

Second Round

Pick 63: Frank Clark – Defensive End

Frank Clark registered 11 sacks during his time in Ann Arbor. The former Michigan Wolverine also was able to rack up more than his fair share of legal troubles as well. His arrest on domestic violence charges led to Clark’s dismissal from his college team and his slight fall in the draft. Despite his off-field issues, the Seahawks drafted the defensive end to disrupt their opponents’ passing game.

NFL Career

In his three seasons in the NFL, Clark has totaled 59 tackles, 22 sacks, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and five passes defended. He has also started 17 games over that span, 12 of which came from the 2017 season. It’s important to note that Clark is entering the last year of his rookie deal. If he re-signs with the team, it will further the impact of this draft pick.

How does he compare to others drafted at his position?

In comparison to his defensive end peers, Clark ironically stands out as one of the few good eggs in a batch that is starting to turn. Arik Armstead, who was drafted in the first round, doesn’t compare favorably as he can’t stay healthy enough to stay on the field. Shane Ray made progress in his second year, but an injury derailed his 2017 season. Mario Edwards‘ numbers don’t jump off the page. The list goes on. In terms of ranks, here is how Clark (the seventh defensive end off of the board) measures up to his 2015 peers¹:

Tackles: Fifth

Sacks: Second

Forced Fumbles: Second

Passes Defended: Second

¹ NFL teams drafted 20 defensive ends in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Third Round

Pick 69: Tyler Lockett – Wide Receiver

Tyler Lockett amassed 106 receptions, 1,515 receiving yards, 11 receiving touchdowns, and two punt return touchdowns in his senior year. In short, Lockett helped himself in his final year in college. Obviously, the Seahawks fell in love with his production as they traded a number of picks to the Washington Redskins to move up in the third round. With those picks, the Redskins drafted Matt JonesArie KouandjioKyshoen Jarrett, and Evan Spencer (indirectly).

NFL Career

In Lockett’s three seasons with the Seahawks, he has 137 receptions, 1,816 receiving yards, nine receiving touchdowns, and three special teams touchdowns. While those numbers are hardly alarming, one thing to be concerned about is the fact that his receiving totals have declined ever since his rookie season. Now that Paul Richardson is no longer a Seahawk and Lockett is entering the final year of his rookie contract, the 2018 season will be a defining one for the Kansas State product.

How does he compare to others drafted at his position?

Lockett was the 10th wide receiver off of the board in the draft. And the nine wide receivers chosen above him are more of a mixed bag. You have the good (Amari Cooper and Devin Funchess) and the bad (Kevin White and Dorial Green-Beckham). Here is how Lockett measures up to the 35 drafted wide receivers:

Receptions: Fifth

Receiving yards: Fifth

Receiving touchdowns: Seventh

If you were to include undrafted free agents, like Tyrell Williams, Lockett falls to sixth in receiving yards, and eighth in receiving touchdowns.

Fourth Round

Pick 130Terry Poole – Offensive Tackle

You know it’s a bad sign when these blurbs focus more on height and weight and less on statistics. Yet, here we are. Terry Poole attended San Diego State and his measurements were 6’5″ and 307 pounds at the NFL Combine. His workout results highlighted his athleticism, but his pro career has yet to build off of that workout.

NFL Career

After the Seahawks drafted Poole, they cut him prior to the start of the season and signed him to their practice squad. In 2016 the Seahawks released Poole, and the Miami Dolphins signed him to their practice squad. In 2017 the Dolphins released Poole, and he is currently a free agent.

How does he compare to others drafted at his position?

To put it kindly, not well. Despite being a fourth-round pick, Poole has yet to start in an actual NFL game.

Pick 134: Mark Glowinski – Guard

Coming out of West Virginia Mark Glowinski earned the reputation of a gym rat. And his 31 reps at the NFL Combine bench press supported that characterization. The Seahawks obviously liked him enough to use their first compensatory pick on him.

NFL Career

The fact that Glowinski has started 19 games for the Seahawks already makes this the better fourth-round pick. In 2016, he started all 16 games for Seattle. In that season he committed three false starts and one holding penalty. More importantly, Glowinski was responsible for four sacks that season. Consequently, Glowinski lost his starting job in 2017, and eventually, the Seahawks released him. After being released, the Indianapolis Colts claimed him.

How does he compare to others drafted at his position?

This is a theme for offensive line draft picks by the Seahawks, but again, not great. In 2016, Glowinski’s one full season of starting, he ranked as the 63rd best at his position in the league. There are 64 starting guards in the league. Which means Glowinski’s 2016 season may even be too low for a participation award.

Fifth Round

Pick 170: Tye Smith – Cornerback

The same Tye Smith who is currently on the Tennessee Titans, which is a spoiler for how this draft pick turned out for the Seahawks. Unsurprisingly, Smith’s arm length measured to be 32 inches.

NFL Career

While Smith had the requisite arm length for Seattle, he didn’t really have the production. After being drafted in 2015, Smith only appeared in four games for the Seahawks and only registered one assisted tackle. Whether it was the lack of production or development or something else, the Seahawks decided they had seen enough and released Smith in 2016. After spending some time on the Redskins practice squad, Smith eventually made his way to the Titans in 2017, where he had his best statistical season: 14 tackles, one pass defended, and one interception.

How does he compare to others drafted at his position?

Not every fifth-round pick can be Sherman. In terms of Smith’s draft class, his four games in 2015 were not good enough to measure up to the likes of Marcus PetersByron JonesRonald Darby, etc. Shocking, right? Overall, this pick didn’t help the Seahawks, which makes it more or less a wasted pick.

Sixth Round

Pick 207Traded to the Colts

The Seahawks traded their original sixth-round pick for Marcus Burley. After agreeing to the deal, the Colts used this pick to draft Amarlo Herrera.

Pick 209Obum Gwacham – Defensive End

While at Oregon State, Obum Gwacham totaled 23 tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble in four years. Although those numbers may not seem impressive, it’s important to remember that he transitioned from wide receiver to defensive end in 2014–his last year at Oregon State.

NFL Career

Even though the Seahawks liked Gwacham enough to use a sixth-round pick on him, Seattle released him before the 2015 season. The Saints, of course, claimed Gwacham. In his first season with the Saints, the converted defensive end was able to rack up 2.5 sacks (his career high) in nine games. Since his first season, Gwacham has spent time on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad, and from there the New York Jets signed them to their roster.

How does he compare to others drafted at his position?

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter. While the Seahawks drafted Gwacham, he certainly didn’t last long on the roster. In other words, this ended up being a wasted pick for the team.

Pick 209Kristjan Sokoli – Defensive Tackle

Even though Kristjan Sokoli played defensive tackle while at Buffalo, the Seahawks had something else in mind. As if developing an offensive lineman isn’t hard enough, Tom Cable and company decided to up the difficulty by converting Sokoli to the offensive line. In their defense, Sokoli’s athletic profile suggested that the move could be possible. Or at the very least, it was worth a shot to try.

NFL Career

While Sokoli’s time with the Seahawks wasn’t as brief as Gwacham, the former Buffalo tackle only spent one year of his four-year contract with Seattle. In 2016, the Colts signed him as a defensive end. From there the Saints signed him to play offensive line, and now he is on the New York Giants practice squad. So far Sokoli’s nomadic NFL career has only amounted to eight plays, and all of them came from his time in Seattle.

How does he compare to others drafted at his position?

The Sokoli draft pick, much like the two picks before it, really didn’t impact the Seahawks. Again, this ended up being a wasted pick.

Seventh Round

Pick 209Ryan Murphy – Cornerback

Another Seahawk cornerback selection, and another player who has the requisite arm length. Ryan Murphy‘s arms measured at 32 inches at the NFL Combine, and his 4.53 40-yard dash was enough to catch the eye of Seahawks scouts.

NFL Career

Murphy’s time with the Seahawks was brief. Seattle signed him in May of 2015, and then released in September of the same year. The only playing time that Murphy has experienced is three games with the Giants in 2017.

How does he compare to others drafted at his position?

Here’s the running theme with this past few picks: it doesn’t matter how they compare to their peers because the player made no impact with the Seahawks. It’s a bit long winded for a theme, but you get the point.

Last Word

Typically, the most valued positions are those that either affect your passing game or your opponent’s. Schneider did well to find value with Clark in the second round. Lockett was also a value pick, although the fact that Stefon Diggs went 77 picks later doesn’t really help drive home the value argument. The picks that followed left a lot to be desired. Compounding the misses in rounds four through seven is that the Seahawks went into the draft needing help on the offensive line, and they continue to need help at the vital position.

While the chances of finding a starter diminish as the rounds increase, the Seahawks only managed to get 23 games and eight plays out of their final six picks. And none of those picks are still with the Seahawks. In fact, if you combine the 2014 and 2015 drafts, only three players remain with the team. Any way you slice it, that’s not good. Overall, the 2015 draft ranks as one of Schneider’s worst since taking over in 2010.

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