As I said in my previous article, the Green Bay Packers are the ideal team when it comes for drafting. They never reach for a player or choose one solely out of need. Instead, their draft philosophy is to select the best player available (BPA). Compare that to Seattle’s 2006 draft, a prime example of what happens when a team drafts for need over BPA and easily the worst draft of the Tim Ruskell era. Entering the draft, the team’s greatest needs were at cornerback and left guard.
Round 1 (#31 overall), CB Kelly Jennings
The 2006 draft class was pretty thin at this position. Antonio Cromartie and Jonathan Joseph were really the only two CB prospects worth drafting in the first round, and by the time the Seahawks were on the clock both were already off the board. But rather than wait, Ruskell reached for and drafted Kelly Jennings based solely on need. Jennings was not worth a first round pick, and he never will be an elite corner in this league. Since the Seahawks drafted him, he’s been nothing but a bust; aside from having only accumulated two interceptions in five years (including playoff games), he also gets burned routinely in coverage. The Seahawks ended up with an unreliable player opposite Trufant, and against the elite receivers in the division Jennings just won’t do. It’s time for the team to move on.
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Round 2, DE Darryl Tapp
With his next pick Ruskell chose yet another undersized player. Tapp wasn’t a bad choice, but he was a reach in the second round, especially with players like Ray Edwards and Elvis Dumervil still on the board. The team ended up using its second round pick on a guy who is never going to be an elite defensive end.
Round 3, No Pick
The team’s third round pick was sent to Minnesota after Seattle signed Nate Burleson to an offer sheet.
Round 4, G Rob Sims
Like Ray Willis in 2005, this was a great fourth round pick. Sims is not an elite talent, but an above-average guard who played well in his time with the Seahawks. He was later traded to Detroit after Pete Carroll came to town because he wasn’t a good fit Alex Gibbs’ zone blocking scheme.
Round 5, FB David Kirtman
Another wasted pick, as Kirtman spent most of his NFL career on various practice squads.
Round 6, No Pick
This pick was traded to Chicago in exchange for S Mike Green.
Round 7, P Ryan Plackemeier
Needing a punter, the Seahawks took one in the seventh round. Known for his strong leg, Plackemeier only lasted a couple years with the team and never lived up to his potential. I don’t mind using a seventh round pick on a kicker or punter, just make sure it’s worth it.
Round 7, WR Ben Obomanu
This was a great pick. After hanging around on the edge of the roster the last few years, Obomanu is still with the team and is currently starting opposite Mike Williams. After a breakout year in 2010, look for Obo to be a big part of the Seahawks’ game plan next season.
As I said before, this was Ruskell’s worst draft. Only two of the six players chosen are still with the team, and by this time next season it’s possible only Obomanu will be left. After making the biggest gaffe possible by not using the team’s franchise tag on Steve Hutchinson, Tim Ruskell failed to do much to correct the error in this draft. Other than the fourth round pick used on Rob Sims, Ruskell mostly ignored the offensive line in not just this draft but in future drafts to come.
If the Seahawks had drafted according to the best player available philosophy, the team’s first round pick could have been used to get someone like LB DeMeco Ryans or T Marcus McNeill. At the time, the team appeared set at those two positions with Lofa Tatupu, Julian Peterson, and Leroy Hill at linebacker and Walter Jones and Sean Locklear both looking good at tackle. Ruskell didn’t see a need at either position, and so neither player was chosen. Defensive end was a position of need for the team, and Mathias Kiwanuka was still available when Seattle was on the clock (he was taken by the Giants right after the Hawks picked Jennings). By not drafting according to BPA, the Seahawks ended up with players who almost all ended up having no serious impact for the team.