With the draft fully in the rear-view, the dust settled means time for a deeper look on teams draft classes. One occurence for the Seahawks class of 2017 has reaped rewards in years past.
In 2017 the 11-pick haul the Seahawks left draft weekend with had headlines made by the crop of defensive backs in the mix. Along with some of the draft’s better stories and plucking for some ‘mostly-unknown’s’.
But another thing which comes through is a school double up.
The Big Blue Double Up
For 2017 the Seahawks came away with two Michigan Wolverines. A lot could be made of how the team looked to the Jim Harbaugh-coaches prospects again. But the two-fer really sparks interest given past successes.
At 95 overall the Seahawks selected Wolverines safety Delano Hill. Hill was seen as a surprise pick at the spot, following on from the Shaquill Griffin pick five picks earlier, the secondary depth additions were strong on the draft’s 2nd day.
For Hill in Seattle, he is a versatile defensive back who could line up at the line and back in centre field. Whilst also bringing solid special team depth. His tackling shines watching him in the Michigan defense last year or so and that really puts him in a strong position to contribute and boost the opinion on this class.
The Michigan familiarity Hill had with Seahawk went past Frank Clark just eleven picks later.
At 106 overall the Seahawks returned to the Ann Arbor well and added a body to wide receiver room.
Michigan in 2016 were seen as having Jehu Chesson as the offense key cog. But team mate Amara Darboh stood out more consistently and went at the end of day two.
Darboh in Seattle, as we spoke about in the immediate aftermath is a good, solid frame as a Russell Wilson target. His game reminds some of Jermaine Kearse and the fit strikes a resemblance too. The path to the roster for the long term for Darboh sees Kearse as the direct competition. Again, like his team mate Hill, could serve on special teams initially but has a strong hold on the bottom of the WR depth.
If Darboh is strong along with Hill, the double-down will pay off again.
A Fruitful Trip To The Farm
It has before for Seattle too.
In 2011 the Seahawks first struck gold when plucking two from the same college.
A little known 5th rounder from Stanford and a UDFA receiver from ‘The Farm’ walked onto the field in Seattle. Six years later that pair are franchise core players; Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin.
The success of the 2011 class is somewhat unheralded compared to the following year. But a class including the Stanford pair who have show the brotherhood the Seahawks preach so vividly, will always be a key corner-turn for the Seahawks franchise.
Sherman in his six years has become the top man at his position, a perennial Pro Bowler and Superbowl champ. He has gone from unknown to voice of the team at the big moments. All that with posting numbers unmatched league-wide.
Since 2011- a year which saw him serve as backup until injuries in the mid-season- has posted 30 interceptions, 97 passes defended, 261 tackles and 1 sack. Immeasurable production on-field from Sherman is closely matched by what Baldwin has contributed.
Baldwin is, for Seahawks fans most intently, the most under-rated receiver in the league. In a cliche, Baldwin is the exception.
As a undrafted free agent, Baldwin was somewhat cast-off in the immediate aftermath as the NFL lockout dominated the summer news wires. But on the field, Baldwin has ascended to the best receiver in the building, the clear no.1 guy whilst preaching that the team doesn’t have one.
In six seasons Baldwin has 368 receptions, 4954 yards and 36 touchdowns. The stats across the board already put Baldwin in the top 6 or 7 of all-time Seahawks records. From an undrafted record breaker to, like Sherman, a core voice of the team. The Stanford double-down worked out beautifully.
Twelve months later, the team did it again.
The 2012 Aggie Double
With all the success 2011 has brought on-field. The unheralded 2012 double-down worked effectively in different means. In a class headlined by the top 3 picks. The school of the two of the top 4 stood as the same.
In the 2nd round the Seahawks selected a fast linebacker from Utah State, Bobby Wagner. Wagner is, like so many, a Pro Bowler and All-Pro. He has barely missed a game over the five years since his selection sandwiched Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson for the 2012 class.
But after Wilson came a slightly-under rated contributor; RB Robert Turbin.
Turbin was a team-mate of Wagner at State and for 3 years was a good compliment to ‘Beast Mode’. With Lynch pounding teams and barely missing a snap, Turbin was seen as the spell to Lynch and occasional closer.
In three years in Seattle, Turbin clocked 928 yards on 231 rushes. Also chipping in with 43 catches and 427 yards. His two Seattle scores coming through the air. That 3rd down back as a receiving threat was a great thread the Seahawks offense looks to have replicated and then-some with 2016 rookie C.J Prosise.
All Good Vibes for the UM Pair
All that, with the lesser-discussed 2012 double down really shows good omen for what the 2017 pair can bring. As well as what Darboh and Hill have to shoot for.
If 2011 is replicated (Defensive back and Receiver) then the thought of the ‘2017 re-tooling’ really shines through as a target attained down the road.
But any success likely sees the team have a thread to chase in 2018 and onwards, adding one more to the pro column really could set Seattle apart. As something that can be cast off as a weird coincidence by the team, reap massive rewards.