We’ll continue our countdown with a player that I know will raise some eyebrows. Just hear me out.
WHEN DRAFTED: 1994, second round, 36th overall.
SEAHAWKS CAREER: 1994-97
WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: Okay, I know this one is off the beaten path. But for sure production, few Seahawk draftees have done more than Mawae — he played in the most games (241) of any Seattle draft pick other than kicker John Kasay (301), and the second-most Pro Bowls (eight) of anyone other than Walter Jones (nine).
The rub, obviously, is that he did little of that with the Seahawks, being signed away in free agency by the New York Jets after the 1997 season. It was with the Jets that Mawae blossomed to become acknowledged as one of the best centers in the NFL, generally considered one of the best of the decade of the 2000s (Grantland once called the Mawae signing by the Jets one of the five best in NFL free agent history).
So yeah, it’s a tricky one how much credit to give a team for drafting a player who turned out to have a standout career, yet let him get away before he could really do it for that team. The same argument could be made for Steve Hutchinson, who played five years with the Seahawks and made three of his seven Pro Bowls with Seattle before controversially departing after the Super Bowl season in 2005. Duly acknowledged. Maybe I should have made them a co-entry here.
Merely bringing those names up makes one wonder what a Seattle OL of Mawae, Hutchinson and Walter Jones — who combined for 24 Pro Bowls — might have looked like through the 2000s. Conceivably, they could have played together from 2001-2008.
Reviewing Seattle’s list of draftees by Pro Bowl appearances, though, also shows that the cases of Mawae and Hutchinson are rare — for the most part, Seattle has hung on to its good draft picks. A large part of that is simply how the NFL works — as we’re seeing with the current Seahawks, you can generally keep your really elite players if you really want to (and obviously, prior to the ’90s, there was no free agency, anyway).
So consider this post just a brief nod to a couple that got away.