DEFENSIVE TACKLE CORTEZ KENNEDY
WHEN DRAFTED: 1990, first round, third overall
SEAHAWKS CAREER: 1990-2000
WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: Why Kennedy (above in a Rod Mar photo) is on this list shouldn’t need any explaining (though this story from USA Today last year did a nice job of stating why Kennedy remains such a popular figure among Seahawks fans 14 years after his retirement).
More interesting is the back story of how Seattle got him.
I’d forgotten some of it until re-reading this Seattle Times story from 1990, which details how the Seahawks traded the No. 8 and 10 overall picks (they had gotten an extra one in a trade of Fredd Young to Indianapolis a couple years earlier) to New England for Nos. 3 and 29.
But as that story details, Seattle only wanted to do the trade if it could get Kennedy, which meant that the Colts had to take Jeff George with the first pick and then the Jets Blair Thomas with the second to make it work.
All of that indeed happened, giving Seattle Kennedy, as well as linebacker Terry Wooden, who would go on to a solid career, with the 29th overall pick.
The Patriots got linebacker Chris Singleton and defensive end Ray Agnew. Each lasted a while in the NFL, especially Agnew, who ended up starting for the Rams when they won the Super Bowl following the 1990 season.
But neither was Kennedy, who at the moment is one of just three players from that draft in the Hall of Fame —- the others being Emmit Smith and Shannon Sharpe (and you’d think Junior Seau will make it someday).
It’s hard to blame the Colts too much for taking George, who had undeniable talent. But Thomas has gone down as one of the biggest busts in NFL history, out of the league at age 28 after six middling seasons (though as the linked story notes, injuries had more to do with than is commonly remembered).
Seahawks fans, though, will be forever indebted that the Jets made the choice they did.