After signing quarterback Russell Wilson to a record-setting four-year contract with $107 million in guarantees, the Seattle Seahawks had to find a way to obtain more draft capital. Nine trades later, Seattle did just that.
The Seattle Seahawks entered the 2019 NFL Draft with just four picks. When it was all said and done, they came away with 11 draftees from the 2019 class. Considering the monumental contract Russell Wilson had just signed, obtaining more picks was mandatory. Seattle did a fantastic job in this regard. Below you’ll find all of Seattle’s trades, starting with the Frank Clark to Kansas City move. Trade information provided by Pro Sports Transactions.[table id=36 /]
If you got lost reading that, don’t worry, I got lost typing it. In short, Seattle made a lot of moves. Unless you are picking in the top 5, this dispels the notion that teams “can’t find a trade partner.” Given enough effort, the option is there to trade down as shown by Seattle. I could be totally off base, but making the argument “there wasn’t a trade partner” seems silly when you look at Seattle’s haul.
Trading down is good
Every scout and analyst will see the same tape differently, and will have slightly different methods of evaluation in this regard. What this means is that when anybody, myself included, uses statements such as “X player is…” or any other definite statement, they are either fundamentally unaware of the limitations of their own evaluations or simply opting to drop the “I think…” from before every statement.
That quote was from a piece written by Vincent Richardson of Riot Report. In that piece, Vincent attempts to find the “hit rate” of first-round picks dating back to 2011. His study found that 53% of first round picks are deemed successful according to Pro Football Reference’s (PFR) Approximate Value metric.
Warren Ludford (@wludford) of the Daily Norseman conducted a study in 2017 utilizing PFR’s “draft value” metric to determine just how many picks contribute to their team. In his research, dating back 20 years, he found 68% of draft picks end up as busts. Two-thirds of the players drafted last weekend will not make a meaningful contribution to the team that drafted them. The draft is indeed a crapshoot.
Given this information, it’s pretty easy to see why it is beneficial to trade down. When 1/3 of the players you draft will be irrelevant to your team, it’s best to get as many bullets as you can in your proverbial draft barrel. You’d be hard pressed to find a team that topped Seattle in this regard.
Side note: New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has never traded down in his GM career.
The Haul[table id=38 /]
You can read further how Collier and Metcalf will impact Seattle by clicking their names in the table (credit @BretLaGasse67, @AJDraftScout). But, rather than go in-depth on each player, I want to take a look at the class as a whole. Two aspects of the game trump all else: passing the ball and stopping the pass. Having said that, I would like to see a team put an emphasis on the positions that help accomplish those tasks the most. Seattle did just that.
Virtually every single one of their first six picks can contribute to the passing game in some regard. Even linebacker Cody Barton, while seemingly a reach, has some ability in coverage according to nfl.com. Our own Brett Yarris (@Brett_PFN_BX) has worked extensively with Collier and former teammate Ben Banogu and is confident both will be productive at the next level.
D.K. Metcalf was a bit overhyped by those not in an NFL front office, evidenced by his slide into the latter part of the second round. It may have been a blessing in disguise as he now gets the luxury of catching passes from Russel Wilson.
However, I can’t be in total love with Seattle’s haul. The area they needed the most help in was the offensive line. They didn’t address it until the fourth round. Phil Haynes might become a starter next year, but doesn’t figure to be in the equation for 2019.
The Seahawks did precisely what they had to upon signing Wilson to his record-breaking contract. They turned four picks into 11 and focused on the right positions while doing so. Some more attention towards the offensive line would have been nice to see. However, Doug Baldwin‘s probable impending retirement placed them in an awkward position on day two. Overall, I loved what they did. Between re-signing Wilson and properly attacking the draft, the future looks bright for the Seattle Seahawks.