Well, maybe not really. But kinda. What I have here is, in spreadsheet format, a look at every RB and TE taken in the first two rounds since 1997.
Most Seahawk fans are of the opinion that these are the two biggest needs on the offense. While some may argue guard, few seem to expect that a guard from the draft could contribute right away. Considering that it appears much more likely that we will fill the hole at guard via free agency, than the holes at RB or TE, i am willing to discuss the merits of drafting these positions. However, the assumption most Hawks are working with is that a rookie RB and/or rookie TE will contribute immediately. So the question I ask is, will they??
Remember as you look at this that Seahawks’ will be drafting out of the #25 slot and the #55 slot. That will give you a better idea of what level of prospect will be available…
Lets look at some things we know and how it affects the results, along with what is going on in the numbers…
1st- Players drafted later in rounds are being drafted to better teams. If you notice, the majority of the RB’s taken in the top 15 do well, but it is pretty hit or miss after that. Obviously they may have greater success later. Look at Shaun Alexander taken with the 19th pick. However, we all know he was mentored by Ricky Watters that year and really exploded in the coming years. Larry Johnson was another example. You could call this the quality veteran factor. Good teams draft for the future, and if they want to stay good they easy rookies in slowly. The best example of this working quickly is Joe Addai, who started out behind Rhodes but was the better back by the end of the season. This is after Edge left, so Rhodes was closer to Morris than Alexander, if you follow my drift
2nd– It would seem that the first TE off the board is always later than the top RB’s. The one chosen highest was Tony Gonzalez, and everybody knew he was destined for greatness. Now looking closely, you will see that the top one or two TE’s do pretty well their first year. If you notice though, a lot of the 3-10 TE’s are guys who don’t contribute and become busts. The anomaly here is 1999, where the first two TE’s did nothing and the 3rd taken was a valuable contributer. Sometimes even the 2nd TE is a bust. LJ Smith is the one guy who was taken at the end of the second who has somewhat produced. Ben Watson was one of the few TE’s taken first but did not contribute. The Pats had drafted Graham the year before, so call it a log jam atthe position. We know he turned out OK. The Seahawks once used the #25 pick to draft a TE, his name was Jerramy Stevens. He is the only Seahawk in history to score a TD in the Superbowl. He was a also a total dirtbag who may not find a job this year.
3rd- The theory of RB’s being chosen late seems to hit. Plenty of guys taken late in the second do very well and begin contributing in their rookie years. Clinton Portis is one, however many will argue it was the Broncos system. How about Maurice Jones-Drew? Pretty good player from the 60th pick, even though he still isn’t a featured back. His partner and possible HOFer Fred Taylor was taken with the 9th pick in 97′. That same draft, Corey Dillion blew up from the 43 slot. He was pretty good for while wasn’t he. Finally, what have the Hawks done around 55 before? Well, they took Maurice Morris in the second round (after taking Stevens in the first) with #54. Solid player, but not what the Hawks really are looking for this time around.
So here is what I think. I think that if we want to win this year, we need to follow that same strategy we did in 2002. I think to get the most out of the rookies THIS YEAR we do better by taking the top TE in the draft (assuming he is available) and looking RB in the second. This is contingent on the RB splitting time with Morris and hoping to be featured more in the second half of the season ala Joe Addai. Now he was chosen in the late first, but this draft is much deeper at the top for running backs. If our scouting is solid, with a little luck, we could find a Joe Addai at 55. However, the chances of us finding a young Dallas Clark (#24, 03′) at 55 are slim.
The other thing to consider is that it is possible that the top 1 or 2 TE’s fall to 55? Probably at worst the third best TE could still be on the board. This is a deep TE class, but the #’s support the idea that to win NEXT year, we need one of top TE’s
The funny part of this….. This is exactly the opposite of what I thought before looking at the #’s
UPDATE (11:39)- By the way, i have these stats all in a spread sheet. If anybody wants to chime in on what might be interesting ways to break them down, please suggest it. I have access to SPSS which can be used to evaluate the numbers in almost any way.