The Seattle Seahawks once used their top draft pick on a running back — Christine Michael in the second round in 2013 — even though they had Marshawn Lynch coming off his best season and a capable backup in Robert Turbin.
2018 NFL DRAFT
When: April 26-28
Where: Arlington, Texas
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In 2011, they sent reporters inside the media workroom at team headquarters scrambling to Google when they surprisingly used the 25th pick on James Carpenter. His wasn’t a well-known name nor one that had appeared in many first-round mock drafts that year.
They did the same thing in 2012 when they took Bruce Irvin 15th overall.
Unpredictability has been the Seahawks’ M.O. in the draft under general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, especially with their early picks. That’s worth keeping in mind for those who assume it’s a foregone conclusion that Seattle will again trade back in the first round instead of staying put and picking at No. 18.
To be sure, another move back would be a logical move. Their history and their need for more picks makes it seem like the likely move, even.
The Seahawks haven’t made their original first-round pick since 2011 with Carpenter. They gave it up in pre-draft trades twice — for Percy Harvin in 2013 and Jimmy Graham in 2015. In the four other drafts since 2011, Seattle has either traded back in the first round or all the way out of it.
Here’s the rundown.
2012: Traded the 12th pick (DT Fletcher Cox) to Philadelphia for No. 15 (Irvin) plus a fourth-rounder (114, DE Jaye Howard) and a sixth (172, CB Jeremy Lane);
2014: Traded the 32nd pick (QB Teddy Bridgewater) to Minnesota for a second-rounder (40, which was traded again) and a fourth (108, DE Cassius Marsh);
2016: Traded the 26th pick (QB Paxton Lynch) to Denver for the 31st pick (OL Germain Ifedi) and a third-rounder (94, TE Nick Vannett);
2017: Traded the 26th pick (DE Takkarist McKinley) to Atlanta for the 31st pick, a third-rounder (95, SS Delano Hill) and a seventh (249, RB Chris Carson). Traded No. 31 (LB Reuben Foster) to San Francisco for a second-rounder (34) and a fourth (111, FS Tedric Thompson). The Seahawks then traded back one spot to No. 35, where they took DL Malik McDowell.
The reason it’s widely believed the Seahawks will trade back again is because they’re without picks in the second or third rounds, having given them up in last year’s trades for Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown. Seattle has eight picks in all — a first (18), a fourth (120), three fifths (141, 146, 168) and three sevenths (226, 248, 250).
The Seahawks haven’t made fewer than two picks over the first three rounds in any of their eight drafts under Schneider and Carroll. They’ve only made fewer than nine picks total one time — in 2015, when they made eight. Their 77 picks in that span averages out to about nine and a half per year.
So you can imagine how temping it will be for Schneider and Co. to make another trade back from No. 18 in order to acquire more selections.
But why might they stay put? A few possible reasons.
If they were to trade Earl Thomas — a legitimate possibility by all indications — they’d almost certainly get an early pick in return. That could eliminate or at least alleviate the need for Seattle to recoup that missing early-round draft capital.
There’s also the reality that it takes two to trade. The Seahawks may want to move back, but what if they can’t find another team that wants to move up enough to make Seattle an equitable offer to do so?
And maybe a player the Seahawks love surprisingly falls to them at No. 18 and they simply decide that they can’t pass up on taking him there.
The odds are in favor of another trade back. But with the Seahawks and the draft, you just never know.