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.
To continue reading, please click on "Read More" below.
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.
Good synopsis on draft by draft. I've always talked about how Ruskell focused more on the Defensive side and seriously put us behind on the offensive side from which we're still getting out from those drafts. I might disagree with calling Sims above-average. I'd say he's average at best. If you study tape like I do every game (thank you DVR!), he was continually beat by inside moves and didnt know how to transition to incoming blitzers well, which forced Matt to check down often or throw away the ball (costing a down essentially) on college like moves that should be handled. The fact that he was on a worse line only made him look above average IMO - however I'll grant you that we would like him back right now given the state of our line. Worse yet, Ruskell spent a 5th rounder on a full back just because Mack was going to retire. A 5th rounder! And to be frank, Obamanu was a bust all the way up into this last year. While I'd appreciate him still on the team, he's not a even in the top15 of #2 WR's in this league. He saved his job this year alone and primarily because he actually started to catch the ball. Hes always been there, simply didnt clutch the ball when thrown to and Matt essentially lost confidence in him until we had no other choice once we traded Deion and cut TJ - who else was he going to throw to? I'd bet once of us might have put up OBO's stats last year considering the facts. We need to stop treating average talent like it's above average or better simply because its either the only talent we have or it's better than street talent.
Ruskell propped up Jennings on his draft board because he was a hard-working, character guy who started for multiple years at the University of Miami. The reality of Jennings pro career is a textbook example of the weakness of Ruskell's methodology. Green Bay, San Diego, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh are the teams that continuously draft well because they look for talent and raw skills that can be coached into quality starters. Schneider is on the right track but he is still digging his way out of the hole that Ruskell left. Especially when you factor in the 2for1 trades that Ruskell would do to move up for the guys that were high on his board.
I think you're way off on your evaluation of Jennings. Coming out of college, Jennings was considered a "shutdown" CB. He would always stick with his man. His not being considered an elite prospect was due to his lighter weight and the fact that he did not have a ton of INTs...it had nothing to do with his coverage skills.
Jennings does not get "burned routinely" as you say. He is a good cover corner who usually sticks with his man pretty well. His problem lies in ball skills. He never turns and makes a play on the ball. He allows the WR to make the catch and then tackles him. This leads many fans to assume that Jennings was burned on the play...but he was there the whole time stride for stride. If he could ever learn how to play the ball he might be a good CB, but with how many seasons he has played I think that ship has sailed.
You're right that he has not been worth a first rounder, but to say he is burned all the time and that's the reason why he is a bust is just lazy writing.
19 players selected or not drafted after Kelly Jennings went to the Pro Bowl including 1 safety and 2 undrafted CBs. Also of note was that 2 Pro Bowl OTs went later including Marcus McNeill and Jahri Evans. In the second round Green Bay took Greg Jennings from Western Michigan, which is a school that Tim Ruskell would have discounted and thereby missed the talent entirely.
I agree with your comments regarding Jennings. I am forever pleagued with this thought that either the coaches know way more about any given player (which they should) or, I know nothing at all. perfect example... Jennings being beaten on play after play yet he's still there lookin' like the complete fool! -or- letting Wilson go instead of jennings. As a fan I'm compleatly at a loss. Wilson played rings around Jennings. So what do the coaches see that I don't???
@Danthefan49 They saw a CB with some trade value and an expiring contract. They figured they best get what they can from Wilson now while they still had a chance. Although it was only for a 5th rounder.