The Seattle Seahawks have had an up-and-down history in the 2000s. The days of Matt Hasselbeck and Shawn Alexander brought plenty of glory, with the Seahawks winning the 2005 NFC Championship while also winning the NFC West in 2006 and 2007.
The team then endured on years of struggles, missing the playoffs in 2008, 2009 and 2011 yet making the playoffs with a 7-9 record in 2010. But the fortunes have changed for the better, thanks to the genius of head coach Pete Carroll and the excellent drafting of John Schneider. Seattle has turned into the class of the NFC, reaching the playoffs in five-straight seasons with a Super Bowl 48 championship banner hanging over CenturyLink Field.
But the Seahawks have had a number of draft misses over the years that made us wonder what could have been. Here's a look at how their last 15 first-round selections should have really gone down.
15 2016: Tyreek Hill
Original Pick: Germain Ifedi
The Seahawks selected Germain Ifedi with their first-round pick, but he wasn't able to materialize much in his rookie season. Meanwhile, Tyreek Hill wasn't selected until the fifth round (165th) overall in 2016. The West Alabama standout became a huge part of the Kansas City Chiefs offense this past season, guiding them to their first division title in six years.
Hill caught 61 passes for 593 yards and six touchdowns, but was also a force when called upon in the ground game. He had 267 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns while racking up 384 total kickoff return yards.
Hill didn't quite break out until midway through the 2016 season, and he could have been a major weapon in a Seahawks offense that relies too much on Doug Baldwin. With his breakaway speed, Seattle would be one offensive machine.
14 2012: David DeCastro
Original Pick: Bruce Irvin
The Seahawks went three years without a first-round pick, making a series of trades over the years. So we go all the way back to the 2012 Draft, where franchise-changing guard David DeCastro was available.
Seattle opted to take Bruce Irvin with their first-round pick, though experts thought he was more worthy of being a late second or third-round selection. Though he wasn't necessarily a bust, Irvin didn't become worthy of their first-round pick.
The Seahawks' brutally frustrating offensive line has been well-documented over the years, and they missed the chance to take DeCastro. The two-time Pro Bowler has helped Le'Veon Bell become football's best running back while helping Ben Roethlisberger grow into a better passer over these last few years. But what if Russell Wilson had more protection...?
13 2011: Muhammad Wilkerson
Original Pick: James Carpenter
The Seahawks drafted James Carpenter with the 25th pick in this draft, but he failed to develop into something special and spent just four seasons with the team. Seattle had the chance to get their hands on one of football's premier pass-rushers, but they passed on Muhammad Wilkerson.
Though the New York Jets haven't had much relevance over the years, Wilkerson is a franchise-changing defensive end. He's one of the best run-stoppers and is always after the quarterback. He's a blocking nightmare.
Through his first six NFL seasons, Wilkerson has 40.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 24 passes defended. Given how great Seattle's defense already is with the Legion of Boom plus Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, imagine how much more dominant they could be with Wilkerson.
12 2010: Earl Thomas
Original Pick: Earl Thomas
The Seahawks hit the draft pot by taking Earl Thomas with the 14th-pick in the 2010 Draft. He, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor have formed the legendary Legion of Boom, which may go down as the greatest secondary in NFL history.
There is zero way we're changing the selection for Seattle here. Thomas, a five-time Pro Bowler, was an integral part of the Seahawks Super Bowl 48 championship team that completely shut down the highest-scoring offense ever - the 2013 Denver Broncos. Thomas is one of the league's premier ball-hawking safeties as well, with 23 interceptions and 57 passes defended through his first seven seasons.
Seattle spent years struggling to build a competitive team, but getting Thomas with the 14th pick changed the franchise's misfortunes into fortunes. Though Seattle has just one Super Bowl, it's easy to believe they can win more with the likes of Thomas around.
11 2010: Rob Gronkowski
Original Pick: Russell Okung
Amazing how Rob Gronkowski was a second-round selection. The experts knew he was capable of being a first-round pick, the only problem was that he had an injury history in college. That scared teams off of Gronk, who went to the New England Patriots and made 31 other teams pay the price for passing on him.
Seattle would learn that in Super Bowl XLIX against Gronk's Patriots, as he finished with six passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. If Seattle had Gronkowski, they simply beat the Patriots in that game. Period, cut and dry.
But besides Super Bowl XLIX, imagine if Russell Wilson had Rob Gronkowski. You have arguably the NFL's best offensive weapon and the league's best defense. Gronkowski has tipped the power of the AFC since going to the Patriots. It could have been a whole new story in the NFC, though.
10 2009: Clay Matthews
Original Pick: Aaron Curry
After a forgetful 2008 season, the Seahawks had a chance to find a new franchise player. Instead, they wound up selecting linebacker Aaron Curry out of Wake Forest. He played just three seasons in The Emerald City and hasn't played on an NFL roster since 2013. Safe to say he was a major bust.
But Green Bay Packers star Clay Matthews fell right into their laps when they picked 26th. The six-time Pro Bowler was an integral piece of their Super Bowl 45 championship season, finishing with 13.5 that season.
Matthews is among the league's best game-changing players, racking up 72.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles and 38 passes defended. Matthews could have made the forceful Seahawks defense even more forceful. Think about him and Richard Sherman on the field together. This would be a unit better than the '85 Bears.
9 2008: Jordy Nelson
Original Pick: Lawrence Jackson
Holding the 28th pick in the 2008 Draft, Seattle opted to take defensive end Lawrence Jackson out of Southern California. He played just two seasons with the Seahawks and has been out of the NFL since 2013, now.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers found Jordy Nelson with the 36th pick, becoming Aaron Rodgers' favorite wide receiver ever. The four-time Pro Bowler helped Green Bay win Super Bowl XLV with nine catches for 140 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers' stingy defense. Nelson's first three NFL seasons weren't anything noteworthy, but he broke out in 2011 with 68 catches for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has four 1,000-yard seasons and is among the NFL's elite receivers.
Maybe Nelson wouldn't have panned out in Seattle, since Matt Hasselbeck was past his prime and Tarvaris Jackson left much to be desired. But he and Wilson together? That'd be something else.
8 2006: Brandon Marshall
Original Pick: Kelly Jennings
The Seahawks were coming off a controversial Super Bowl XL loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and turned to cornerback Kelly Jennings with the 31st pick to give them a new star on defense. He had five solid but not great seasons with Seattle and last played in 2011.
Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos found Brandon Marshall in the fourth-round, and he's put up a career that should put him in the Hall of Fame someday. Marshall, a six-time Pro Bowler, hit 1,000 yards every year from 2007 to 2013. He is up to 12,061 yards and 82 career touchdowns - easily making him one of the top players of this generation.
Now, imagine Marshall and Jordy Nelson together. Perhaps Hasselbeck would have had a few MVP-caliber seasons, because this duo right here would have been nearly impossible to stop.
7 2005: Justin Tuck
Original Pick: Chris Spencer
Chris Spencer was Seattle's first-round pick in 2005, but they missed out on another defensive star in Justin Tuck - who wasn't taken until the 74th selection by the New York Giants.
Tuck became one of football's premier pass-rushers during his career, playing in two Pro Bowls and racking up 66.5 career stats. Tuck will always be remembered for manhandling Tom Brady in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI - leading the Giants to a pair of championships. He had four double-digit sack seasons, including a 12-sack campaign in 2008.
If the Seahawks drafted Tuck, then the Patriots would have gone 19-0 in 2007. Tuck slowed down the greatest offense ever at the time by sacking Brady twice and forcing a fumble. Not only would Seattle have changed with Tuck, but history would have been a whole lot different, too.
6 2004: Jared Allen
Original Pick: Marcus Tubbs
The Seahawks took Marcus Tubbs with the 23rd pick, and he was out of the NFL by 2007. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs got Jared Allen with the 126th-overall pick, and he wound up playing until the 2015 season.
Allen became one of the greatest pass-rushers ever, finishing with 136 career sacks while reaching five Pro Bowls. He was the NFL's sacks leader in both 2007 and 2011, was a four-time First-Team All-Pro and was the NFL's 2011 Defensive Player of the Year. Allen also had a ridiculous 22 sacks in 2011. He was half a sack short of tying Michael Strahan's record.
Allen posted eight double-digit sacks seasons, terrorizing the NFL quarterbacks for over a decade. Sadly, he never got to win a Super Bowl. Perhaps things could have been different if he was on the 2005 NFC Champion Seahawks?
5 2003: Troy Polamalu
Original Pick: Marcus Trufant
What can be said about Troy Polamalu that hasn't already been set? He's on his way to the Hall of Fame after over a decade as one of the NFL's premier play-making safeties. Though the Seahawks did draft a Pro Bowler in Marcus Trufant with the 11th pick, Polamalu was simply on another level.
Taken with the 16th pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Polamalu was an eight-time Pro Bowler, four-time First-Team All-Pro and named to the 2000s All-Decade Team. Oh, and he was a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Steelers. Polamalu racked up 32 career interceptions and 11 passes defended.
He was simply a game-changer all across the field, and the Steelers became one of the AFC's top units in his tenure. Now, just imagine if the Seahawks wound up with Polamalu instead. We could be talking zero rings for Ben Roethlisberger.
4 2002: Andre Gurode
Original Pick: Jerramy Stevens
Seattle drafted tight end Jerramy Stevens with the 28th pick. He had a solid career with the Seahawks, putting up 45 catches for 554 yards and five touchdowns in the Seahawks 2005 NFC Championship season. But Stevens never blossomed into a star and played just five seasons in Seattle.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys lasted star center Andre Gurode with the 37th-overall pick. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and was a force on the Cowboys offensive line for nine seasons. He helped Tony Romo emerge as the franchise's new starting quarterback while helping Marian Barber become one of the league's flashiest running backs.
Seattle has always had offensive line problems, but drafting Gurode would have stabilized their o-line for many years. Ah, what could have been.
3 2001: Drew Brees
Original Pick: Steve Hutchinson
Seattle owned a pair of first-round picks in 2001. With the 17th pick, they took guard Steve Hutchinson. He reached three Pro Bowls with the Seahawks and enjoyed a great tenure there. But, what if this team took Drew Brees? The San Diego Chargers wound up taking him with the 32nd-overall pick.
Not a lot can be said about Brees that hasn't been said. He could break Peyton Manning's record and become the all-time passing yards and passing touchdowns leader. He's put up over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in the last 11 seasons. He helped the New Orleans Saints win Super Bowl XLIV - the franchise's first.
But what if Seattle had Brees? They'd have a top-three quarterback of this generation. With all due respect to Russell Wilson, imagine Brees playing his whole career in Seattle, coupled with the Legion of Boom.
2 2001: Steve Smith
Original Pick: Koren Robinson
The Seahawks used their 2001 first-round pick to draft wide receiver Koren Robinson. Yes, he made the Pro Bowl in 2005, but that was with the Minnesota Vikings. He was a big disappointment for most of his four years with Seattle. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers landed Steve Smith with the 74th-overall pick.
Smith was a five-time Pro Bowler during a remarkable career that spanned a decade-and-a-half. Smith is seventh all-time in career receiving yards (14,731), and racked up 1,031 catches and 81 touchdowns. He was simply one of the absolute best wide receivers of his era.
And Smith put up those numbers despite the Panthers having a messy quarterback situation for years. If he had been with Matt Hasselbeck, his numbers could have reached even more incredible heights.
1 2000: Tom Brady
Original Pick: Shaun Alexander
You may wonder why we have Seattle taking Tom Brady and Drew Brees within a year. Allow us to explain.
Brady, the 199th pick in 2000, has had an illustrious career and is one of the most decorated quarterbacks of all-time. That being said, Brady is also in the perfect system under quarterback Bill Belichick. I personally don't believe Brady would have succeeded in Seattle the way he has in New England. So why would Seattle take him?
Well, drafting Brady would have changed the landscape of the NFL. Kurt Warner would have two rings, Peyton Manning four or five. The Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles would also have championships. The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers could have been dynasties, too.
If Seattle took Brady, there's so much wondering where the NFL would have gone. Having Brees and Brady together would have been something else, to say the least.
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