Rookies get an A+
After the draft commenced in 2012, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay handed out their respective grades for each team. They gave an overall grade of the entire draft, as well as a more specific grade on player value attained.
The Seahawks were given an overall grade of a C-, as well as a D- for player value attained — the worst in the league.
Mel claimed that Bruce Irvin was more of a late-second round value, Bobby Wagner could have been taken a round later, and he questioned the Russell Wilson pick, considering the Seahawks recently brought in Matt Flynn to likely be the starter.
Now, a whole season later, the Seahawks host the front-runners for both Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year. The team made it to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs behind their rookie quarterback, and the production from the rookie class was a major contributor to their success.
How you like ‘em now Mel?
Certainly the most impressive rookie on the season, Russell Wilson shocked the world in his 2012-2013 rookie campaign. The 5’10”, third round quarterback was praised for his intangibles and demeanor, but constantly criticized for his height. No analyst was afraid to bring up the historical success of quarterbacks under 6 foot — or the lack there of.
If Wilson was 2 inches taller, many believed he would have been a top-10 pick. But he isn’t. And he wasn’t. Which led him to Seattle. Fate?
Wilson gave the city of Seattle more than they could have imagined. His season statistics were off the charts:
Passing for 3,118 yards while tying Peyton Manning’s rookie record with 26 touchdowns, and a quarterback rating of 100.0. As well as rushing for 489 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Aside from leading his team to the second round of the playoffs, he shows greatness off of the field that you simply cannot coach.
He became the leader of the team within the first few months he was with them – always the first person to the practice facility, and the last person to leave. He shows a work ethic that the team can get behind, and provides hope that he will only continue to improve.
To go along with all of this, he spends his days off at the children’s hospital in Seattle and doing his part for the community.
The players joke that he is almost “robotic”, considering his seemingly flawless nature. I’m sure this will soon garner him a nickname. Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Russ?
With the departure of David Hawthorne, there was a large gap to fill at the middle linebacker position. Bobby Wagner did this with flying colors.
Drafted in the second round – although Mel thought we could have taken him in the third – Wagner was a Utah State product known for his speed (4.45 40 yard dash) and instincts. He was criticized for his physicality and his lack of shedding blockers.
These critiques were quickly put to rest as Wagner proved he was a very capable linebacker, showcasing his sideline-to-sideline speed and ability to shoot the gaps.
Wagner ended the season with 140 tackles, a franchise rookie record.
He headed the group that also consisted of the veteran Leroy Hill and 2nd year player K.J. Wright. The linebackers weren’t thought of as a strength for this young Seattle team, but Wagner gives them the playmaker necessary to make them just that.
The most scrutinized pick of the 2012 draft was Bruce Irvin. Bruce was a “one-trick pony,” as they called him, relying on his pure speed to blow by blockers and get to the quarterback. He didn’t have the strength to create push in the run game, and these limitations are why he was considered a late-second round value.
Irvin wasn’t put into the starting lineup until the final game of the season in the playoffs – and was inserted only because of the injury to Chris Clemons. All season long Irvin was used as a situational pass rusher, typically brought in on third down.
He utilized his incredible ability to jump off the ball, and gathered 8 sacks to lead all rookies.
It has yet to be determined whether Irvin will be an every-down defensive end in his future. But we do know what he is capable of, and his unique abilities make him one of the most exciting players to watch moving forward.
College teammates with Bobby Wagner, Robert Turbin was also drafted out of Utah State in the fourth round. Turbin is a very physical runner, similar to Beast Mode, yet he shows a keen ability in the passing game, making him a viable third-down back.
Turbin was given a very limited workload throughout the season, mainly because Marshawn Lynch doesn’t enjoy coming out of the game. There was truly only one game that Turbin was given a full game’s work, and that was in week 13 in the 58-0 blowout of the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks got a large lead early, so Lynch earned some rest.
Turbin entered the game and picked up right where Lynch led off, rushing for 108 yards on 20 carries – his first and only 100 yard rushing game of his brief career.
This was really the only game Turbin was given an opportunity to shine, and he showed his ability with a bruising, one cut mentality that gave optimism about his future with the franchise.
By now most people have heard the phrase “It ain’t easy being Sweezy.” This was a slogan that the offensive lineman had put on shirts for the team to wear. It is clever because it goes with his name — obviously — but also describes Sweezy’s tenure with the team thus far.
Sweezy was drafted in the 7th round out of NC State as a defensive tackle. 7th round talent is rarely asked to produce right away, let alone asked to play a completely different position.
The Seattle coaching staff liked what they saw in Sweezy, but believed he would best help their team on the offensive line.
Sweezy transitioned well in the off-season, outplaying fan-favorite John Moffit and earning the starting spot at right guard. It was a roller coaster kind of a season for Sweezy, showing glimpses of ability here and there – as well as being dismantled by defensive tackles on occasion.
Sweezy showed promise, but his future is yet to be determined. With two capable guards in Sweezy and Moffit, the competition can only bring out the best in both of them.