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The top-10 day 3 Seahawks ROOKIES under Pete Carroll
Seaside Joe 1225: We all know who is number one, but what about the other nine spots?
Last week, I highlighted the top-10 rookie seasons by undrafted free agents under Pete Carroll. No tricks or mirrors with the headline for Seaside Joe 1225 …
The top-10 rookie seasons by DAY 3 PICKS is ahead.
To remind you of the criteria:
This is not players who were drafted on day three and then later became good/great Seahawks. This is only what they did as a rookie. So if you make a comment about Kam Chancellor, then we will all know you didn’t read this section.
Drafted in rounds 4, 5, 6, or 7 since 2010.
All of these players had at least 3 AV (adjusted value) as Seahawks rookies except for one of them, who had 2 AV. This helps us chop down the list immediately and then the rest of the order is simply based on my opinions. If you mention why a player wasn’t on the list, it could be because he didn’t have 3 AV as a rookie. It may seem unfair but we need to start somewhere—and honestly, it’s not unfair. There are not many impactful day three rookies.
Honorable mention: Will Dissly
Dissly could have been a top-three player on this list based on how his career started, but he has never picked up where he left off as a rookie in 2018. After gaining 105 yards and scoring a touchdown in his debut against the Broncos in 2018, Dissly had 42 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. But then he suffered the dreaded patellar injury (same as Jimmy Graham) in Week 4 against the Cardinals and his season was over.
Despite really only playing in three games, Dissly is still one of the top-ranked rookie day three picks on Carroll’s resume. Just not a top-10 version.
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10. WR Freddie Swain, 2020
The only player on this list who had 2 AV as a rookie, this is how thin the pickings get at the fringes of a top-10 ranking such as this one.
But I chose Swain over the likes of Alex Collins, Shaquem Griffin, J.R. Sweezy, Jeremy Lane, and others because he managed to see the field for 351 offensive snaps and 148 special teams snaps as a rookie. That’s a lot of playing time for a sixth round pick, let alone a rookie, let alone a rookie sixth round pick who is playing on a 12-4 team with Russell Wilson.
Swain had 13 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns, also returning six kickoffs and playing some coverage.
In 2021, Swain nearly doubled his playing time with 592 offensive snaps, catching 25 passes for 343 yards and four touchdowns. But is the team comfortable with Swain as the number three receiver again this season? If DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett remain healthy, it should not matter that much. However, any time Seattle needs to reach down the depth chart for help, that’s where the concerns start to bubble up.
9. OL Jamarco Jones, 2019
Like Tyreke Smith three years later, Jamarco Jones was a fifth round pick out of Ohio State by the Seahawks. There was some optimism for Jones going into the season and then he was called upon in Week 5 against the LA Rams following an injury to George Fant—and Jones was great against Aaron Donald that day.
Oh, that one day.
Jones would start the next two weeks, but spent the following seven games back on the bench. He finished the season with a start against the Arizona Cardinals, as well as two playoff games, the latter of which saw him leave the field against the Green Bay Packers after only 19 snaps.
It’s been two years of disappointment since and Jones is now competing to be a starting left guard on the Tennessee Titans.
8. CB Tharold Simon, 2014 (drafted 2013)
Another fifth round pick, there was a lot of optimism surrounding Carroll’s ability to seemingly turn any day three cornerback into the next Richard Sherman or Byron Maxwell. Or at least, maybe, Jeremy Lane.
Not the case with Simon despite early opportunities.
After missing his entire first year in the league, Simon’s official “rookie” campaign started in 2014 and he immediately started his first four games after being activated from PUP. Simon’s playing time diminished after that, but he played in 36 snaps and had his first interception in Week 14 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Simon would play every snap in Seattle’s divisional round win over the Panthers, zero snaps against the Packers in the NFC Championship game, then 42 snaps in the Super Bowl loss to New England.
His efforts ended in three passes defensed in the regular season, plus one more in the Super Bowl.
Simon played in one more game for the Seahawks, nine games for the Cardinals in 2016, and then was out of the league for good.
7. OL Michael Bowie, 2013
You can kind of put Bowie in that same category as Garry Gilliam, Alvin Bailey, Jordan Simmons, or Jones…they came, they gave you hope, they ended.
Bowie is a RARE seventh round pick to have contributed serious snaps as a rookie, starting eight games in 2013 for a team that would eventually WIN THE SUPER BOWL! Yes, Michael Bowie played more snaps for the 2013 Seattle Seahawks than Russell Okung, Jermaine Kearse, Luke Willson, and Sidney Rice.
He was then waived in 2014, picked up by the Browns, always injured, and finally ran into off-field issues in 2017. The 2013 season is Bowie’s only active NFL campaign.
6. RB Robert Turbin, 2012
As if the 2012 draft class needed to get any deeper.
Turbin’s play was never as exciting as his bicep curls. But he also wasn’t a disappointment either as a fourth round pick in 2012. Though Turbin didn’t score his first NFL touchdown until his 36th game in the league, surprising for a running back who would seem to fit the bill as “short yardage,” he still had 80 carries for 354 yards and 19 catches for 181 yards during his rookie campaign.
He would add 12 carries for 40 yards and three catches for 43 yards in the 2012 playoffs.
5. CB Tre Flowers, 2018
Giving a rookie player as many snaps as possible—especially when he’s converting positions—can help them develop into a premier NFL starter. But it doesn’t guarantee it! Not even when you’ve got one of the best DB minds in history as your head coach.
Flowers was often compared to Sherman as a fifth round pick in 2018 out of Oklahoma State. He didn’t play like Sherman, however.
A safety in college, Flowers made 15(!) starts in 2018, seeing the field for 903 snaps. He had no interceptions and only six pass deflections, but did force three fumbles. PFR also credits him with four touchdowns allowed that year, as well as 10 missed tackles.
In year two, Flowers had another 15 starts, this time intercepting three passes,
4. TE Luke Willson, 2013
Simon was drafted in 2013, while Turbin and Bowie contributed to the Super Bowl team that year. But none had nearly as big of an impact on the team—in a positive way—as Luke Willson.
A physical “freak” from Canada, Willson was the 158th pick of the draft and many fans expected him to become the tight end star the Carroll had longed dreamt of.
Not quite. But Willson had five catches on five targets for 76 yards during his first extended playing time (Week 3 vs Jaguars) and then 70 yards with a touchdown in a Week 14 loss to the 49ers. Willson finished his rookie season catching 20 passes for 272 yards on 28 targets, playing sparingly on special teams.
Willson played in 37 snaps total over the NFC playoffs, not being targeted, but then had two catches for 17 yards as Seattle had pulled away from the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Willson retired (as a member of the Seahawks) last August.
3. P Michael Dickson, 2018
Sometimes punters are exciting because (similar to Jon Ryan in the early 2010s) there is not much else to see on that particular team. Michael Dickson is just pure exciting.
A first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl punter as a rookie in 2018, Dickson has yet to repeat either of those honors. Not that it matters, we know what he is: The Seahawks ranked third in expected points added on punts in 2021.
Dickson was the 149th pick of the draft, which is earlier than most players on this list, including the guy ranked first.
2. LB K.J. Wright, 2011
A fourth round pick out of Mississippi State, K.J. Wright had eight sacks over his last three seasons of college; that’s more sacks than what Wright had over his first five NFL seasons combined.
But rushing the passer is not what the Seahawks asked this particular outside linebacker to do and instead Wright dominated his position as an off-ball linebacker who snuffs out your screens and stuffs out your runs.
Competing against the likes of Aaron Curry and LeRoy Hill as a rookie, Wright started in Week 1 but then didn’t become a full-time starter until Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons. In Week 7 against the Browns, Wright had a then career-high of seven tackles his first career TFL.
But then over his last seven games of the year, K.J. Wright had 37 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, four QB hits, two sacks, and one forced fumbles. Over a full season that would be 90 tackles, 19 TFL, five sacks, 10 QB hits.
Then nine more years in Seattle happened, with Wright sometimes being the best defensive player on a field sometimes loaded with Pro Bowl talent. Perhaps the one guy he was never quite better than, other than Bobby Wagner, was the guy who went one round after him.
1. CB Richard Sherman, 2011
The one thing I’ll never forget about Sherman’s rookie season is that he called out A.J. Green…before he had ever made his first NFL start. Which came against Green. And Sherman had three pass deflections and an interception that day.
The 154th pick of the 2011 draft, Sherman was a converted receiver out of Stanford who was sometimes criticized for the one thing that made him the player that everyone copycats at cornerback today: He’s huge.
He’s relatively huge for a cornerback: 6’3, 195 lbs, and those now-lauded 32” arms.
Despite being the best cornerback on the team, Sherman still sat for the first six weeks (snap counts only go back to 2012) before making his starting debut against Green’s Bengals in Week 8.
Over his 10 starts that season, Richard Sherman had 17 pass deflections and four interceptions, plus two forced fumbles and great run defense, setting up one of the all-time great cornerback careers in history. In this century, only Anthony Henry (2001), Dawan Landry (2006), and Nathan Vasher (2004) had more rookie-season interceptions for players picked round four or later.
Sherman’s 37 career interceptions are the second-most for any “day 3” player drafted since 2000, only trailing the 51 interceptions of Asante Samuel. That’s made all the more impressive when you consider how rare it was for any quarterback to challenge Sherman between 2012 and 2015, a period in which had 22 interceptions.
Richard Sherman is one of the great day three picks for any team in NFL history, one of the great fifth round picks, one of the great cornerbacks period, and the best Seahawks rookie day three pick that Pete Carroll has ever known. To the point where it seems fans are still waiting for “the next Sherman,” ignoring the fact that he is the Sherman we know and respect because he’s that damn unique.