OFFENSIVE TACKLE WALTER JONES
WHEN DRAFTED: 1997, first round, sixth overall
COLLEGE: Florida State
SEAHAWKS CAREER: 1997-2009
WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: Jones, above, is another obvious choice, the team’s second of two first-round picks in 1997, a year the Seahawks decided to get aggressive in what was the first draft with Paul Allen owning the team. Seattle traded up to get the third overall pick and chose cornerback Shawn Springs, and then traded up with Tampa Bay to get the sixth pick and take Jones.
I’d forgotten that the Bucs used the first of two picks they got from Seattle — No. 12 overall — to take RB Warrick Dunn (the other was the No. 63 pick used to take guard Frank Middleton, who also had a pretty long career, playing in 138 games).
While Springs had an erratic career — one Pro Bowl and 10 years as a starter, seven with Seattle — Jones could be the best player in franchise history.
He is the first member of the Class of 1997 to be elected into the Hall of Fame (though Tony Gonzalez is a no-brainer eventually, as well), and just the third to spend his entire career with the Seahawks (the others being Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy).
In a stat oft-cited to illustrate his dominance, Jones was called for just nine holding penalties in his entire career. And he was the foundation of the team’s first Super Bowl run in 2005, helping pave the way for all those Shaun Alexander TD runs.
The only question may be why he isn’t higher on this list. But decisions must be made.