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April 24, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Counting down the Top 25 Seahawks draft picks of all time — No. 15 RB Shaun Alexander

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We’ve focused a little more so far in the countdown on late-round picks who paid off. Now we start to move a little more into early-round picks who, while maybe obvious (especially in hindsight)

RUNNING BACK SHAUN ALEXANDER

WHEN DRAFTED: 2000, 1st round, 19th overall

COLLEGE: Alabama

SEAHAWKS CAREER: 2000-2007

WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: Alexander, as the leader in just about every Seahawk rushing category, maybe should be higher. But as noted, part of the purpose of this list was to reward Seattle for those picks that paid off a little more than anyone anticipated. While we all know lots of first-round picks turn out to be busts, Alexander was pretty much drafted right where everyone thought, even if some questioned him as a pick for the Seahawks at that time given that they had Ricky Watters coming off consecutive 1,200-plus yard seasons.

Showing how times have changed, five running backs were taken in the first round in 2000. Two drafted ahead of Alexander also turned out to be good picks — Jamal Lewis with 10,067 career yards and Thomas Jones with 9,790.

Alexander finished with 9,453, with 9,429 with the Seahawks, far ahead of the 6,706 of Chris Warren. Alexander also turned in the best rushing season in Seattle history with 1,880 yards and 27 TDs in the Super Bowl season of 2005, earning NFL MVP honors as a result.

Alexander, though, has become one of the poster children for RBs who drop off after age 28. He was indeed 28 during that MVP season but then saw his yards per carry dip to 3.6 and 3.5 in his last two years as a Seahawk, and then after four games with the Redskins in 2008, was done with football.

Here’s a review of the 2000 draft done in 2006 by FootballOutsiders which called Alexander the best back in the draft. He was the fourth taken after Lewis, Jones and Ron Dayne. So while there were high expectations for Alexander, he more than met them, if not exceeded them (acknowledging that he also had a heck of an offensive line to work behind during his prime as well as a standout quarterback). Pretty much, what you hope for in a first-round pick.

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