FS Earl Thomas: 2010 first-round pick.
CB Walter Thurmond: 2010 fourth-round pick.
DE Michael Bennett: Signed by the Seahawks as an unrestricted free agent on March 15, 2013 to a one-year, $5 million contract. Originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Seahawks on April 26, 2009. Was
claimed by Tampa Bay off waivers from the Seahawks on October 12, 2009. Spent four seasons in Tampa Bay.
DT Clinton McDonald: Acquired by Seattle via trade with the Cincinnati Bengals on August 29, 2011. Originally drafted in the seventh round (249th overall) in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Bengals.
DE Cliff Avril: Signed with Seattle as an unrestricted free agent March 13, 2013 to a two-year, $13 million contract that included a $4.5 million signing bonus, Originally drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round (92nd overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft.
LB Heath Farwell: Signed as a street free agent by Seattle on October 19, 2011. Signed a three-year, $4.5 million extension ($500,000 signing bonus) in 2012. Originally signed with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2005.
CB Jeremy Lane: 2012 sixth-round pick.
“I look at it and think Pete and John did a great job putting together a lot of guys who understand each other,” Clemons told reporters in New York/New Jersey at midweek as the Seahawks prepped for Super Bowl XLVIII. “Once we get all these pieces in place, it was just a matter of going out and being able to play together. That’s one of the things that we’ve done over the course of this season, grown together as men and teammates. We’ve all learned how to play with each other and off of each other. It’s been a great opportunity to get to play with them.”
Added Bennett: “I think Pete and John do a great job of looking for guys with a chip on their shoulder and want to prove themselves and the guys just not really being media hungry or guys that just want to be about themselves. They pick guys that really care about the team, and we’ve got a lot of guys like that.”
The biggest key for the Seahawks has been drafting well – both in the early rounds, and in the late rounds.
While Schneider’s third-round selection of former University of Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson may go down as his smartest move as a GM, finding Sherman in the fifth round in 2011 has to rate a close second. Sherman began his college career at Stanford as a wide receiver but switched to the other side of the ball and went 154th overall, 23 picks after the Packers took New Mexico State cornerback Davon House 131st and 13 picks after they took Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams 141st. House remains with the team but has played sparingly in three seasons; Williams was cut at the end of training camp last summer.
Chancellor was taken with the second pick of the fifth round (No. 133 overall) in 2010 – the Packers took starting safety Morgan Burnett in the third round (No. 71 overall) in that same draft – and has also proven to be a much better player than his draft status.
In contrast, Thompson’s recent defensive picks have not had the same impact, whether it be because of injury problems or limited effectiveness.
In 2010, he took defensive end Mike Neal in the second round, Burnett in the third round and defensive end C.J. Wilson in the seventh round.
Neal found success converting to outside linebacker this season after playing just nine games his first two NFL seasons because of injury; Burnett was a keen disappointment after signing a $24.75 million extension in the offseason; and Wilson was a run-stuffing big-body whose career highlight was playing the piano on the eve of Super Bowl XLV, contributing to the team’s relaxed mood.
In 2011, Thompson took House in the fourth round; inside linebacker D.J. Smith and outside linebacker Ricky Elmore in the sixth round; and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy in the seventh round. House has seen most of his action on special teams and has had injury problems; Smith was a spot starter his first two seasons before being released this offseason following reconstructive knee surgery; Elmore didn’t make it out of camp as a rookie and Guy spent his rookie year on injured reserve before being cut in 2012 and catching on with Indianapolis.
The 2012 draft was supposed to fix the defense, as Thompson spent his first six selections on defensive players.
First-round pick Nick Perry has been plagued by injuries his first two seasons and has struggled to convert to outside linebacker after entering the draft hoping to play end in a 4-3 scheme; second-round pick Jerel Worthy showed some promise at defensive end as a rookie before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the 2012 regular-season finale, making 2013 essentially a lost year; second-round pick Casey Hayward led the team in interceptions as a rookie cornerback (six) and was third in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year balloting last year but played only three games in 2013 because of a hamstring injury; fourth-round pick Jerron McMillian showed poor instincts at safety and got himself cut at midseason, a rarity for a draft pick under Thompson; and fifth-round pick Terrell Manning scarcely played as a rookie inside linebacker before being cut at the end of camp last summer.
Only fourth-round pick Mike Daniels has been healthy and productive, and after registering 6.5 sacks this season, the defensive end figures to be a building block on defense going forward.
Thompson took five defensive players in the 2013 draft: Defensive end Datone Jones (first), cornerback Micah Hyde (fifth), defensive end Josh Boyd (fifth), outside linebacker Nate Palmer (sixth) and inside linebacker Sam Barrington (seventh).
All five made the 53-man roster coming out of camp, but only Hyde saw extensive action (439 snaps) as the nickel corner. Jones (270 snaps) was limited to the sub packages as a third-down rusher and saw Boyd (116 snaps) start to eat into his playing time late in the year.