As the calendar creeps towards February, the vast majority of the NFL's 32 teams have turned their attention to preparing for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Ushering in draft season, the Senior Bowl kicked off in Mobile, Alabama on Tuesday with over 100 prospects looking to impress coaches and scouts with the actual draft still three months away.
Since arriving as a tandem in 2010, Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have placed a clear emphasis on the Senior Bowl as an assessment tool for prospects. During their 10 seasons running the show, Seattle has drafted 24 players who participated in the event and signed several other players as undrafted free agents.
As scouts for the Seahawks and other teams evaluate this year's crop of prospects, here's a look at every Senior Bowl player who has been drafted by Seattle in the past 10 seasons.
2010: Anthony McCoy
In Carroll's first season at the helm, he brought one of his former recruits at USC into the fold by selecting McCoy in the sixth round. The young tight end only played in two games as a rookie, but he flashed promise during the next two seasons for the Seahawks, catching 31 passes for 437 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, multiple Achilles tendon injuries ruined his career and he played in just three games from 2013 to 2015 before retiring from football.
2011: James Carpenter, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, John Moffitt
Beginning to build an eventual Super Bowl champion, Schneider and his scouting staff got a close look at Sherman and Wright as defensive standouts at the 2011 Senior Bowl.
Carroll already knew Sherman well from coaching against him in the Pac-12, as USC and Stanford established a nasty rivalry in the late 2000s. Despite lacking the elite speed of other cornerbacks in the draft class, the lengthy, ball-hawking Sherman fit exactly what Carroll was looking for on the outside and the unheralded fifth-round pick became a perennial All-Pro in the Pacific Northwest. Before being released in March 2018, he picked off 32 passes and registered 99 pass deflections in seven seasons with Seattle.
Wright also blossomed as a mid-round diamond in the rough, starting 12 games at weakside linebacker as a rookie and becoming a key factor on the league's top scoring defense each season from 2012 to 2015. He's posted 100 or more tackles five times with the Seahawks, including a career-high 132 tackles in 2019, and currently sits third all-time on the franchise's tackles list.
As for Carpenter and Moffitt, neither guard lasted with the Seahawks beyond the 2014 season. Carpenter battled injury and weight issues in four seasons with the team, though he did start in both of Seattle's Super Bowl appearances and earned a lucrative free agent contract from the New York Jets. Moffitt dealt with off-field issues and after being dealt to Denver before the 2013 season, he played in just two games before announcing his retirement.
2012: Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Jaye Howard
The 2012 Senior Bowl featured star power that rivals any other group of players in the all-star game's history, but organizers didn't necessarily know it at the time. As a result, the Seahawks snagged two future Hall of Famers with day two selections.
Undersized at 5-foot-10, Wilson arrived in Mobile simply looking to prove he could play quarterback at the NFL level. The Seahawks wound up selecting him in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft and the rest is history. He became an immediate starter after beating out Matt Flynn and eight seasons later, he has shattered the franchise record books with 227 touchdown passes and 29,734 passing yards while leading Seattle to the playoffs seven times. He's been selected to seven Pro Bowls and finally broke through with his first All-Pro selection in 2019.
Wilson wasn't the only Canton-bound talent that the Seahawks observed in Mobile, however. Showcasing his skills against elite competition, Wagner used a strong week of practice as well as a standout performance in the Senior Bowl to bolster his draft stock. Schneider nabbed the Utah State star as a second round steal and he became an immediate starter, generating 140 combined tackles as a rookie. Since arriving in Seattle, Wagner has earned five First-Team All-Pro selections and six Pro Bowl nods while racking up a team-record 1,075 combined tackles in eight seasons.
Due to a deep and talented defensive line, Howard only played in two games with Seattle after being drafted in the fourth round out of Florida and was released prior to the 2013 season. Finding his niche in Kansas City, he enjoyed a breakout 2015 season with 57 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Injuries limited him the next season and he was out of the league by 2017.
2013: Chris Harper, Jordan Hill, Ty Powell
While Seattle uncovered two generational talents in the 2012 Senior Bowl, the following year wasn't near as fruitful for the organization. As part of his worst draft class with the Seahawks, Schneider used three draft picks on Senior Bowl participants and two of them never played a down with the team.
Selected in the fourth round out of Kansas State, Harper was released before the start of his rookie season and after brief stints with the Giants, 49ers, and Packers, he washed out of the league in 2015 with zero receptions to his name. Powell was also cut by Seattle at the end of the preseason, but at least the seventh-round pick contributed for another team. The linebacker out of Division II Harding appeared in 19 games for Buffalo in 2013 and 2014, registering 23 tackles, a sack, and two tackles for loss.
Injuries shortened Hill's career, but the third-round pick out of Penn State was one of the few players in Seattle's 2013 class who actually produced on the field for a brief moment. He finished with 5.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries during the 2014 season, providing a capable interior rotational rusher behind Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel. He played three years for the Seahawks before spending his final NFL season with the Jaguars.
2014: Kevin Norwood
While the 2014 NFL Draft wasn't near as poor as the previous class, Seattle didn't hit on any Senior Bowl selections for a second straight season.
Unlike Harper, Norwood maintained a spot on Seattle's 53-man roster as a rookie and appeared in nine games, catching nine passes for 102 yards. However, a few additions to the depth chart the next season made him expendable and the Seahawks traded him to the Panthers for a conditional seventh-round pick in September 2015. He played in one game for Carolina before being released and has been out of the league since 2017.
2015: Tyler Lockett
Finally ending a two-year run of bad luck with Senior Bowl prospects, the Seahawks uncovered a game-changer in Lockett.
Despite putting up gaudy numbers at Kansas State, Lockett wasn't viewed in many scouting circles as a legitimate NFL prospect due to his lack of size. But the speedy receiver dominated against some of the country's best cornerbacks in Mobile and thanks to his special teams prowess, he became a coveted asset on day two. Seattle traded four picks to Washington to move up to the No. 69 pick in the third round to select him and he's amassed over 3,800 receiving yards and 31 total touchdowns in five NFL seasons.
2016: Jarran Reed, Nick Vannett, Quinton Jefferson
Though they didn't uncover any superstars like they did in 2011 and 2012, the Seahawks fared fairly well with Senior Bowl prospects in 2016.
Viewed by some as a fringe first-round prospect, the Seahawks traded up in the second round to snag Reed, who was known primarily as an early down run stuffer at Alabama. After being limited as a pass rusher during his first two years with the Seahawks, he broke out with 10.5 sacks and 24 quarterback hits in 2018, finishing second on the team behind Frank Clark in both categories. A six-game suspension hindered his production last season, but now entering free agency, there's a chance Seattle could extend him at the right price.
Jefferson looked like a fourth-round miss during the early stages of his NFL career, but being released by Seattle prior to the 2017 season seemed to be the wake-up call he needed. He briefly spent time on the Rams practice squad before the Seahawks re-signed him to their active roster following a career-ending injury to defensive end Cliff Avril. He's been a versatile contributor for Seattle each of the past two seasons, producing 51 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 25 quarterback hits in 30 games.
Drafted out of Ohio State in the third round, Vannett lasted three-plus seasons in Seattle. Overcoming back issues that plagued him during his first two seasons, he caught 29 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns in 2018. After three games this year, the Seahawks dealt him to the Steelers for a 2020 fifth-round draft choice.
2017: Ethan Pocic, Amara Darboh, Justin Senior
Rivaling the trio of Senior Bowl participants drafted in 2013, the 2017 class also featured several players who failed to contribute for the Seahawks.
Enamored by his size, athletic traits, and experience running routes out of the slot, Schneider used a third-round pick on Darboh with hopes he would emerge as a complement to Lockett and Doug Baldwin. Following a disappointing rookie season in which he caught just eight passes, the former Michigan star hasn't played in a game since and was released by Seattle during the middle of the preseason last August. He's currently under contract with Pittsburgh.
Earning 11 starts at guard as a rookie, Pocic appeared poised to be an integral part of Seattle's offensive line for the foreseeable future. But the inability to stay healthy has prevented him from building off a promising first season, as he's started just five games in the last two seasons and spent the bulk of the 2019 season on injured reserve. Set to hit free agency in 2021, his future in Seattle looks murky at best and he will need a tremendous offseason to work back into the starting discussion for next year.
Senior, a sixth-round draft choice out of Mississippi State, was also a fifth-round draft pick in the 2017 CFL Draft. He signed his four-year rookie deal with Seattle, but never played a game with the team, landing on injured reserve and eventually reaching an injury settlement with the team in December 2017. He signed with Kansas City last spring and was released in June.
2018: Rashaad Penny, Shaquem Griffin, Poona Ford
Only two years into their respective careers, the jury is still out on Seattle's three Senior Bowl participants who were drafted in 2018.
Despite struggling through a rough week of practices, Penny exploded in the Senior Bowl game, rushing nine times for 64 yards and catching a 73-yard touchdown reception. Impressed with his burst and size, the Seahawks surprisingly used a first-round pick on Penny and thus far, he hasn't lived up to the selection. Stuck behind Chris Carson on the depth chart, he's rushed for just 789 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons and now faces a lengthy rehab recovering from a torn ACL.
Playing multiple positions and impressing coaches, Griffin earned "Practice Player of the Week" honors in Mobile for his efforts at the Senior Bowl. Still, concerns about finding a position for him in the NFL persisted and he wasn't drafted until the fifth round when Seattle reunited him with his twin brother Shaquill Griffin. He's primarily played special teams in his first two seasons, but he came on strong as a situational edge rusher in the second half of the 2019 season and produced his first career sack in a divisional round loss to the Packers.
Going undrafted out of Texas, Ford interestingly may be the best player Seattle added in 2018 who participated in the Senior Bowl. Much like Wilson and Lockett before him, he was battling a stigma that he couldn't play in the league due to his lack of height. But being just 5-foot-10 has actually benefited him, as he consistently wins the leverage battle in the trenches and exhibits elite quickness splitting gaps as a run defender. In two seasons with the Seahawks, he's started 15 games, producing 53 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and three quarterback hits.
2019: L.J. Collier, Marquise Blair, Gary Jennings
If there's a year that demonstrates how much Schneider and his staff value the Senior Bowl when it comes to assessing prospects, last year's class may do the trick. Both of Seattle's first two selections participated in Mobile, as Collier and Blair starred during the practice week at their respective positions.
Exhibiting heavy hands and positional versatility, the Seahawks were thrilled with Collier's performance in the Senior Bowl against some of the nation's best offensive linemen and opted to use their first-round pick on him. An ankle sprain cost him the entire preseason, however, and he couldn't find a way to get on the field consistently as a rookie. Dressing for 11 games, he recorded only three tackles and was a healthy scratch for both of Seattle's playoff games.
Known for his hard-hitting ways and physical play style, Blair looked every bit like a Seahawks defensive back on film. Like Collier, he missed time in the preseason with a back injury and the lack of reps set him back, as he barely played during the first five games of the season. He earned three starts at free safety after Tedric Thompson went down and performed well, but a midseason trade for Quandre Diggs pushed him back to the sideline and he wrapped up his first season with 25 tackles and two forced fumbles in 14 games.
Nearly falling into the same infamous category as Harper six years earlier, Jennings barely made Seattle's opening week roster after a dismal preseason performance and after failing to dress for a single game, he was released in November. He was claimed off waivers by Miami and dressed for one game before landing on injured reserve.