Revisiting Seahawks Infamous History Drafting Quarterbacks Before Russell Wilson
Upon his arrival as a third-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2012, quarterback Russell Wilson wasn't expected to compete for a starting role with the Seahawks right away.
Earlier in the offseason, Seattle had signed veteran Matt Flynn to a lucrative three-year contract, expecting him to take over as the franchise's next signal caller. The athletic 5-foot-10 Wilson would be developed behind him with the potential to be a starter down the road.
But it became clear very quickly Wilson wasn't a typical mid-round draft choice at the quarterback position. He commanded the huddle and earned the respect of his teammates from the outset, outperforming Flynn throughout training camp and the preseason, and to the credit of coach Pete Carroll and his staff, they didn't let contracts dictate who won the starting job.
Starting all 16 games, Wilson led the Seahawks to 11 wins and a Wild Card berth, establishing a new franchise rookie record with 26 touchdown passes. Now entering his ninth season, he's earned six trips to the Pro Bowl, been named an All-Pro, led his team to two Super Bowls, and shattered the franchise record books.
While the accomplishments of Matt Hasselbeck, Dave Krieg, and Jim Zorn shouldn't be dismissed, Wilson already has established himself as the best quarterback in franchise history before his 32nd birthday. And it's not even remotely close.
Safe to say, Wilson's incredible success easily makes him the best draft pick Seattle has ever made at the position. Though not a slight at the star quarterback, however, that wouldn't have taken much.
Before general manager John Schneider snagged Wilson as part of the Seahawks now famous 2012 draft class, trying to find a success story for a quarterback drafted by the franchise was like finding a needle in a haystack.
Starting with their inaugural draft in 1976, the Seahawks drafted Steve Myer in the fourth round and Chris Rowland in the 17th round. Myer started four games, throwing six touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions, while Rowland didn't make the team.
The following year, with Zorn firmly established as the starter, Seattle used a 10th round pick on Sam Adkins. He played in 11 games for the team, throwing two touchdowns and four interceptions.
In the team's defense, the Seahawks found a hidden gem in Krieg, who signed as an undrafted free agent out of Milton College in 1980. He eventually replaced Zorn as the starter in 1983 and his presence allowed the organization to bypass using a draft pick on a quarterback again until 1985.
In fact, aside from taking a flier on four quarterbacks in the eighth round or later from 1985 to 1990 and trading three draft picks to the Cardinals for Kelly Stouffer in 1988, the Seahawks didn't make any notable investments at quarterback before Krieg started to show signs of decline at the turn of the decade.
By 1991, Seattle found itself in a period of transition. Enthralled by San Diego State prospect Dan McGwire and his rocket arm, owner Ken Behring and general manager Tom Flores selected the gunslinger 15th overall in the first round as Krieg's heir apparent.
But it didn't take long before it became apparent McGwire wasn't cut out to be an NFL quarterback. Starting one game as a rookie in place of an injured Krieg, he completed three out of seven passes for 27 yards and an interception before suffering an injury of his own.
After Krieg departed for the Chiefs in free agency, McGwire threw 30 passes in two games in 1992, including three interceptions. He remained on the roster for two more years, but finished his bust of a career with two touchdowns and six interceptions in 13 games played, forcing the Seahawks to search for another franchise quarterback.
Only two years after using a first-round pick on McGwire, Behring and Flores again rolled the dice on Rick Mirer, who starred at Notre Dame. After using the third overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft to select him, he flashed promise at times during his first two seasons.
However, Mirer couldn't stop turning over the football, throwing 56 interceptions in 55 games during four seasons in Seattle. The team promptly traded him to Chicago, again waiving the white flag after whiffing on a signal caller in the first round and signing aging veteran Warren Moon in 1997.
Seattle didn't draft another quarterback until 1999 when incoming coach Mike Holmgren used a third-round pick on Washington standout Brock Huard. Compared to his predecessors, he found a little bit of individual success, throwing four touchdowns in four starts.
Much as the arrival of Krieg brought stability to the Seahawks under center, Holmgren's move to trade for Matt Hasselbeck in 2001 proved instrumental in the team's rise to Super Bowl contender. The team would draft five quarterbacks from 2000 to 2009, with 2003 fourth-round pick Seneca Wallace being the only player from that group who ever took a regular season snap.
With the obvious exception of Wilson, Wallace posted the best numbers for any other quarterback drafted by Seattle. Replacing an injured Hasselbeck on several occasions, he threw 25 touchdown passes compared to just 14 interceptions in 48 games, including 14 starts.
When considering the 16 quarterbacks drafted by the Seahawks not named Wilson, only Wallace and Huard threw more touchdowns than interceptions with the team. Eight of those players never took a snap, and considering none of them were drafted earlier than the third round, that's probably a good thing.
In total, those 16 players combined to throw 80 touchdowns compared to 97 interceptions in 76 starts in a Seahawks uniform.
Ultimately, with the 90s being the obvious decade of exception, the Seahawks have used other means to find quality quarterbacks over the years. Zorn signed as a free agent, Krieg came out of nowhere as an undrafted star, and Hasselbeck was groomed under Brett Favre in Green Bay before getting his chance to start in Seattle.
Stating the obvious, the Seahawks haven't posted a high hit rate drafting quarterbacks. But luckily for fans, the one they did hit on looks to be on a Hall of Fame trek, making it far easier to forgive and forget about those whiffs in earlier history.