NFL Draft Recap: Seahawks Get Bigger, Smarter

by on May 3, 2011
John Moffitt

"An intelligent player"

Pundit grades for the NFL draft are out, and the national football media has about as much love for the Seahawks draft picks as the official Libyan media has for NATO.

What say you, Clifton Brown of The Sporting News? D! ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr? D+! FOX Sports’ Adam Caplan? D!

Seahawks drafters Pete Carroll and John Schneider get low marks for failing to pick a quarterback and for the crime of “reaching,” draft parlance for picking a player who most teams thought would go later in the draft.

Yet, in the rainy sky of morning, it’s plain that the Seahawks followed a clear strategy: Get bigger, and get smarter. Let’s chat about it, shall we? We’ll start with size.

Take cornerback, where the Seahawks’ primary starters were both 5-foot-11. The Hawks took Stanford’s Richard Sherman, who’s 6-foot-3, and 6-foot-1, 210-pound Byron Maxwell of Clemson.

Or wide receiver, where the Seahawks made their biggest “reach” of the draft, taking Georgia’s Kris Durham. Durham wasn’t among the 329 draft-eligible players invited to the NFL’s Scouting Combine–but he is 6-foot-5, a head taller than most of Seahawks receivers.

The Seahawks’ top two picks, offensive linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt, aren’t necessarily larger than their roster counterparts, but they represent a dedication to building the team around the largest position group.

And these dudes are sharp! Moffitt touted himself on a conference call with reporters as “an intelligent player.” Sherman lasted six years at Stanford, so you know he’s smart. Durham was First-Team Academic All-American and won UGA’s Scholar-Athlete award. ESPN’s scouting report lauded Wright as a “well spoken and valued representative for the program.”

Ironically, the Hawks draft smart guys and get near-failing grades. What’s going on here is that the graders were looking for a research paper and the Seahawks turned in a first-person narrative. They didn’t draft based on the pure numbers, they drafted based on their own biases, their belief that bigger and smarter will help win games. For the sake of all throw-able objects in the vicinity of my television, let’s hope they’re right.

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