The 2012 NFL Draft is the biggest reason why the Seattle Seahawks have been the best team in the league over the last two years.
Of all the smart things the Seahawks have done — hiring Pete Carroll, trading for Marshawn Lynch, fleecing the Broncos to get Earl Thomas — they don’t make two-straight Super Bowls without hitting the jackpot in 2012.
They drafted five players that have become a part of their core, and got many of them in the late rounds:
- Bruce Irvin, linebacker (1st round, 15th overall)
- Bobby Wagner, linebacker (2nd round, 47th overall)
- Russell Wilson, quarterback (3rd round, 75th overall)
- Robert Turbin, running back (4th round, 106th overall)
- J.R. Sweezy, guard (7th round, 225th overall)
Wilson is the best young quarterback in the league, and he’s about to become the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL.
Wagner is arguably the most important player on the league’s best defence. During a midseason stretch where Wagner missed five games with an injury, Seattle went 3-2 and let up 20.4 points per game. Since he returned Seattle has gone 8-0 and let up 9.8 points per game.
Irvin is the team’s second leading pass rusher. Turbin is good enough that the Seahawks might get rid of Marshawn Lynch after the season. Sweezy has started 31 of 32 regular season games over the last two years.
In the end, the Seahawks got a franchise quarterback, one of the best defensive players in the league, and three above-average starters in a single draft.
NFL Draft experts at the time didn’t see it coming. In fact, Seattle’s 2012 draft was harshly criticised.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. gave them a “C-” grade. He wrote that they didn’t need Russell Wilson because they already had Matt Flynn at quarterback:
“Russell Wilson is a great test case for shorter QBs, because he has everything else, but did they need him in the third round after grabbing Matt Flynn to come in and likely start? I had running back as a need, and Robert Turbin could help out. The needs were met outside of wide receiver, but in terms of maximizing value, there are huge questions.”
Three years later, the Seahawks have a chance to win back-to-back Super Bowls on the strength of that draft.
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