John Schneider and Pete Carroll built the Seahawks into Super Bowl contenders using three strong drafts to start their tenure.
Of their 28 draft choices from 2010 to 2012, 17 contributed in some fashion, a dozen became full-time starters and six have been named to the Pro Bowl at least once. Those three drafts were a great foundation for consecutive Super Bowl appearances.
Then there was 2013. It was a bad draft year for the entire NFL — and Seattle certainly didn’t buck the odds.
Christine Michael’s somewhat surprising return to Seattle and Jordan Hill’s latest injury are reminders.
Just four of 11 players from that draft class are still with the team, and Luke Willson has been the only consistent contributor. Percy Harvin, the big trade acquisition who cost Seattle its 2013 first-round pick and two other choices, is long gone, too.
The Seahawks’ penchant for drafting speed in the first two rounds didn’t pay off with Michael — a luxury pick in the second round who lived down to his reputation as a chucklehead. The Seahawks traded him to Dallas for a seventh-round pick before this season, seemingly ridding themselves of the unfocused underachiever.
But now, like Tarvaris Jackson before him (traded to Buffalo in 2012 and re-signed in 2013), Michael is back — given one more chance because the Seahawks are desperate for tailbacks with Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls injured.
It remains to be seen whether Michael will take advantage of this second chance, but Carroll said Friday, “He’s very serious about the opportunity. Worked really hard, met extra to make sure he could catch up. He did pick everything back up very quickly. He’s very comfortable in the offense and all of that, so that’s really a good sign. Part of the reason for picking him up: We knew he could jump in like that. He had a very good week and looks very quick. He’s really hungry and ready to go.”
Hill, however, is not ready — poised to miss a third straight game with torn ligaments in a toe.
A talented interior rusher, the 2013 third-round pick has played in just 26 of 46 games due to various injuries.
After injuries limited him to four games as a rookie, it looked like he had arrived late last season, when he tallied 5.5 sacks during a six-game stretch. But knee and calf injuries cost him three games during the season and the entire postseason.
He has played in nine games this season — missing two with a quadriceps injury and now a third with the toe problem. Carroll said Hill should be able to start running again next week — so that means he probably won’t be available until Week 17 or the playoffs, if then.
Next offseason, the Seahawks will have to account for his fragility when deciding what to budget for defensive tackles. Both Brandon Mebane and Ahtyba Rubin — Seattle’s only veteran run stoppers — will be free agents, and the Seahawks need to do their best to keep both.
As for the rest of Seattle’s 2013 draft class, Tharold Simon (on IR) is the only other player remaining, and he has missed more time than Hill has.
All in all, 2013 was one of the weaker NFL drafts in recent memory, and Michael and Hill are reminders that Seattle certainly was no exception.