We’ll continue our countdown of the Top 25 Seahawks draft picks of all time with a look at a player who had a chance to go down as one of the team’s picks of any kind, but instead turned into one of Seattle’s most unfortunate “what might have beens?”
RUNNING BACK DAVID SIMS
WHEN DRAFTED: 1977, 7th round, 169 overall
COLLEGE: Georgia Tech
SEAHAWKS CAREER: 1977-79
WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: The 1977 Draft ranks as one of the most interesting and productive in Seahawks history. Thanks to the trade to Dallas of the pick that became Tony Dorsett, Seattle had four of the first 51 picks. as the top six players taken all became regulars, with five becoming regular starters, all helping key the 1978-79 teams that surprised the NFL with back-to-back 9-7 seasons. That includes nabbing three offensive line starters in tackle Steve August, guard Tom Lynch and center John Yarno. Doubtful Seattle has ever gotten such a good offensive line haul out of one draft (general manager John Thompson was named the NFL’s Executive of the Year by The Sporting News in 1978, in large part due to the 1977 draft haul).
For a brief period, though, Sims looked like maybe the best pick of the bunch.
Taken in the seventh round — a round after Seattle took another running back, Tony Benjamin from Duke — Sims became an immediate contributor, scoring eight touchdowns as a rookie in 1977.
He then led the NFL with 15 touchdowns — 14 on the ground — in 1978 when Seattle emerged as one of the surprise teams in the league. He scored three rushing touchdowns, including the game-winner, as Seattle beat the Jets at Shea Stadium 24-17 early in the season.
Sims, though, was injured early in the 1979 season, with further tests revealing a congenital neck condition that caused him to end his career having just turned 24 years old. Clare Farnsworth wrote this retrospective on Sims’ career in 2011 nicely detailing the injury and what-might-have-been.
Still, Sims left behind a legacy as one of Seattle’s better draft steals. He scored TDs in eight straight games in 1978, a streak that ranks third in Seattle history behind only the 11 of Marshawn Lynch in 2011 and the nine of Shaun Alexander in 2005 and his five rushing TDs as a rookie in 1977 remains second behind the 13 of Curt Warner in 1983. And his 19 overall rushing TDs remains tied for seventh in Seattle history.