We’ll continue our countdown of Seattle’s top draft picks with the player who set the trend for Seattle hitting it big with late-round defensive backs — safety John Harris.
FREE SAFETY JOHN HARRIS
WHEN DRAFTED: 1978, 7th round, 173rd overall.
COLLEGE: Arizona State
SEAHAWKS CAREER: 1978-85.
WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: One could argue that maybe Harris ought to be higher on this list — he’s among the best late-round picks in Seattle history, starting 112 games in his career, including being a key member of the secondary on the 1983-84 playoff games, teaming with Kenny Easley to form what might be the best safety tandem in team history until the current Kam Chancellor-Earl Thomas duo.
Harris finished his Seattle career with 41 interceptions, which remains third in team history behind the 50 of Dave Brown and the 42 of Eugene Robinson. Harris’ 10 picks in 1981 is tied with Easley in 1984 for most in a season. He also had an interception of a Dan Marino pass in the memorable 1983 playoff win at Miami that got the Seahawks to their first conference title game.
After he left Seattle he played three more years with the Vikings.
I’ll admit to having no idea why he fell to the seventh round as he had a standout career at Arizona State.
But when he did, and the Seahawks selected him, he helped salvage a 1978 draft that was one of the least productive in team history. Only three of the 10 players drafted by Seattle that year ever played in a regular season game for the Seahawks — safety/cornerback Keith Simpson, also a part of the early ’80s era secondary that for a few years was among the best in the NFL, and linebacker Keith Butler being the others.
Harris played with the Seahawks through the 1985 season when the team turned the free safety job over to Robinson, who held until 1995, a pretty good 17-season run at that position.