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August 19, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Is the 2011 draft the worst of the Schneider-Carroll era?

The Seahawks’ trade of John Moffitt to Cleveland for defensive end Brian Sanford signaled another player gone from Seattle’s 2011 draft class.

Moffitt was a third-round draft choice in 2011 – he was Seattle’s second pick in the draft – and it led to an interesting debate question: Is the 2011 draft class the worst of the John Schneider-Pete Carroll era?

In my opinion, it’s not even close. I’ll explain why later.

First, here are the guys who remain from each draft class:

  • 2010: Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Golden Tate, Walter Thurmond, Kam Chancellor, Anthony McCoy and Jameson Konz.
  • 2011: James Carpenter, John Moffitt, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell and Malcolm Smith
  • 2012: Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson, Robert Turbin, Jaye Howard, Korey Toomer, Jeremy Lane, Winston Guy, J.R. Sweezy and Greg Scruggs (This happens to be the entire draft class of 2012).

The 2010 draft is the foundation for everything the Seahawks did moving forward under Schneider and Carroll. Okung gave them a top-five left tackle to anchor the line. Thomas gave them a dynamic and speedy safety who could allow them to play bigger corners at the line of scrimmage. Tate looked like the breakout star of training camp and could become even more dynamic if he develops into a solid punt returner this season. Chancellor is one of the leader’s of the defense and played in a Pro Bowl. And while Thurmond hasn’t played much because of injuries, he’s been arguably the most impressive player in offseason practices to this point and is fighting for the starting nickel job with veteran Antoine Winfield.

Skipping ahead, the 2012 draft is equally impressive – maybe even more so, although it’s still too early to get a good enough gauge. What we know is this: If Russell Wilson improves from last year, then he alone will make the 2012 draft an undeniable success. Bruce Irvin showed flashes of being a pass-rushing force as a rookie. Bobby Wagner has received extremely high marks for his play at middle linebacker. Robert Turbin was a solid backup to Marshawn Lynch last year and should do so once again this season. Plus, throw in seventh-round pick J.R. Sweezy, who the team felt comfortable enough with as a starting option at guard that they traded away one of his biggest competitors in John Moffitt, and you have another loaded class. Notice, I didn’t even get into Lane, whose speed Carroll likes, or Greg Scruggs, who played some as a rookie defensive end last year. That’s how good that class has been to this point (Again, it’s still really early to fully assess 2012).

And that brings us back to 2011, the year in question. Sherman is an elite cornerback, and Wright has been a steady starting linebacker. It’s still too early to close the book on Carpenter, but you need to be healthy to be effective and that’s been a struggle for him to this point. Smith could start at linebacker this year, although free agent addition O’Brien Schofield played with the first-team defense on Saturday, and Maxwell has played well so far in camp, although he too has had problems staying healthy.

There’s no shame in producing players like Richard Sherman and K.J. Wright in the same draft class, but it shows just how good Schneider’s other two drafts were that it looks like the weak link of the bunch.

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