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Seahawks’ Front Office is the Best in the NFL

The Seattle Seahawks have dominated the draft in recent years, which is why they’ve been to consecutive Super Bowls.

Ryan Ratty

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In today’s NFL, franchises can no longer just buy free agents and expect to be good. Instead, franchises have to build through the draft and find talent. It doesn’t just stop there either. Even after rookie contracts expire, franchises need to keep the right players and make extremely tough decisions. Drafting the right players and finding the right talent is extremely difficult, but the one team that has mastered this is the Seattle Seahawks.

Now that they’re on their way to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season and in position to defend their title, the thing that is amazing with the Seahawks is their ability to draft well and keep their players even after their rookie contracts are over. The Seahawks’ success obviously comes at the hands of their players. However, the people that deserve the most credit are the Seahawks’ front office and head coach Pete Carroll. A look at Seattle’s past eight drafts shows how well they have drafted and why they have been so successful.

In 2007, the Seahawks selected Brandon Mebane in the third round. For eight straight seasons, Mebane has played a crucial role in Seattle’s 4-3 defense as the 3-technique defensive tackle. Before the 2011 season, the Seahawks signed Mebane to a five-year deal worth $25 million. In 2008, the Seahawks drafted Red Bryant in the fourth round and he played a big role in Seattle’s Super Bowl victory last season as one of the captains of the defense. In 2009, Max Unger was drafted in the second round and he has been the starting center for this team since his rookie season.

Despite those decent draft picks, it wasn’t until 2010 when the brilliance of the Seahawks’ draft skills emerged. Before the 2010 season, general manager John Schneider hired Pete Carroll for the head coaching position. From there, the duo took off. The 2010 NFL Draft was excellent to the Seahawks. In that draft, the Seahawks drafted Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Golden Tate and Walter Thurmond. They also traded for Chris Clemons and Marshawn Lynch.

In the 2010 season, the Seahawks went 7-9 and won a playoff game. They showed potential of being a good team, but they needed to make more moves and keep hitting their draft picks. In the 2011 NFL Draft, Carroll and Schneider picked up right where they left off.  In this draft, the Seahawks drafted Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Malcolm Smith, Byron Maxwell, and James Carpenter. All five of these players are still on this team and they all play pivotal roles as well. They also signed Doug Baldwin in that free agency season as well. In the 2011 season, the Seahawks finished 7-9 and more work was needed to be done.

2012 was seen as a make-or-break season for Carroll considering he had a record of 14-18. In the 2012 NFL Draft, the Seahawks brought in a plethora of talent to improve their team. In this draft, the Seahawks added Bruce Irvin in the first round, Bobby Wagner in the second round and Russell Wilson in the third round. Before the draft, Schneider already knew Wilson was going to Seattle. This article talks says how Schneider was in love Wilson even in December, which was five months before the draft.

“Wilson was ticketed for Seattle all along,” Schefter told ESPN Front Row’s Bill Hofheimer in a preview of the piece published Friday. “They knew they were taking him arguably the summer before. John Schneider wanted him and was obsessed with him. It was just a matter of whether another team that liked him was going to take him first.”

J.R. Sweezy was drafted in the seventh round. Sweezy is a guy that was a defensive linemen in college. But in the NFL, he has made his living as a guard. This shows even further just how good of a coaching staff the Seahawks have. In the 2012 season, the Seahawks finished 11-5 and they were 32 seconds away from beating the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons.

Although the 2013 NFL Draft wasn’t anything spectacular for the Seahawks, the fact of the matter is that they already had their young talent. Instead of adding more young and inexperienced players, the Seahawks needed immediate-impact type of players. In this free agency season, they brought in Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Tony McDaniel and Alvin Bailey. In the 2013 season, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl and the main reason why was because of their medium between drafting well and signing the right free agents.

Just because they won the Super Bowl, however, did not mean they had a Super Bowl hangover. Over the 2013 offseason, the Seahawks added guys like Justin Britt, Paul Richardson and Kevin Pierre-Louis. Although the Seahawks didn’t have the best offseason in 2013, they did a good job planning for the future by saving money and adding talent to positions that have players who could leave in free agency. All of these of these draft picks have made impacts.

“It’s been an exciting proposition to watch these young guys come along and you challenge them to play then you figure out a way to get them in there,” Carroll said, according to ESPN. “And then when they do, by midseason they’re regular players and they really strengthen your roster in a number of ways.”

Seattle has built quite a dynasty in such a short time. Carroll and Schneider have quietly built one of the best franchises and the crazy thing is that given their expertise with managing the cap and their ability to find talent, it could be just the beginning for this franchise. Seattle will have its hands full in the next few years with the contracts of many key players running out, but for now, the Seahawks are enjoying success and they have all the ability in the world, thanks to their roster put together by their front office, to win their second straight Super Bowl.

Ryan Ratty is a Staff Writer for www.footballinsiders.com. Ryan is a Featured Columnist for www.fansided.com, a Co-Editor for www.sportdfw.com, a Featured Columnist for www.rantsports.com. On top of these four sites, Ryan runs an NFL Draft site called www.indepthscouting.com. You can reach Ryan through his Twitter account: @RyanRattyNFL

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