I had a great conversation the other day with former NFL linebacker and current CBS analyst on the NFL Today show, Bart Scott. Bart is a former undrafted free agent who played a lot of years in this league at a very high level. Throughout his career, he was a guy with a chip on his shoulder. So we got to talking about the merit of having those type of players on your team. Most teams have one or two UDFA’s starting for them and maybe three or four on the roster. That sparked a thought in my head about the way the Seattle Seahawks are building their roster.
A lot is made of the ability of Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider to find talent in the middle rounds of the draft; guys like Russell Wilson (3rd round) and Richard Sherman (5th round). But I also happen to know that those guys work the UDFA list pretty hard as well. So I took a look to see what their roster currently looks like.
Seattle has NINE UDFA’s among their starters, and another seven who contribute significantly in sub packages or on special teams. Sixteen undrafted players in all! That’s a huge number! Here are the starters – WR’s Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, their new LT Garry Gilliam, RB Thomas Rawls, who will take over for Marshawn Lynch, LB Mike Morgan, C Patrick Lewis, who they acquired off the Cleveland practice squad, FB Derrick Coleman, their best DL Michael Bennett, and CB Brandon Browner, who just returned to the team.
When you look at that in context with their draft strategy, it becomes even more interesting. Most teams have seven or eight 1st round draft choices on their team. The Rams have 11 on their current roster. The Seahawks? They have two – S Earl Thomas and this year’s #1 OG Germain Ifedi. Take a look at the full list of draft picks and you’ll find seven 2nd-rounders, six 3rd-rounders, five 4th-round picks, seven 5th-round picks, four 6th-round selections, and two 7th-rounders. They have just 33 draft picks on the team and 54 undrafted players on their roster!
So have the Seahawks figured out the way to build a team? Do they have a team with a cumulative chip on their shoulder; a team that stays hungry? It seems they might have. They are 41-15 over the last three years with a Super Bowl championship, another Super Bowl appearance, and playoff appearances all three years.
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