Originally Posted by MP-Logick
1. Drafted Earl Thomas in the first round. Awesome free safety.
2. Found Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor in the fifth round. Sherman is one of the three best corners in football (not exaggerating) and Chancellor is a talented, hard hitter at safety.
3. Red Bryant turned into a superstar - a dominant defensive tackle who completely shuts down the run to his side of the field.
4. Turned the pick we traded them for Deion Branch into KJ Wright, again in the fifth round - Wright is a monster and making tackles all over the field.
5. Found Chris Clemons off the scrap heap - can't stop the run but he can sure rush the passer all day long.
They have maybe the best secondary in football and now with Irvin, Branch and Clemons can rush the passer too. Add to that a crazy home field atmosphere and there's a reason the Seahawks play well at home.
As with most teams with good defenses, it's a combination of good drafting/personnel moves, luck, and good defensive scheming.
- Luck: The Schneider Carroll regime inherited a couple of very good players in DT Brandon Mebane and DE/DT Red Bryant. Mebane was taken in the 3rd round in the 2007 draft, Bryant in the 4th round in 2008. Bryant in particular is a stud, and the Pats made a run at him in free agency this year. He has some Ngata-esque movement skills for a big man.
- Good Personnel Move: The Seahawks picked up Alan Branch after he was cut by Arizona prior to the 2011 season. I thought Branch would be a stud when he came out in the 2007 draft, but he was somewhat soft and slipped to the top of the 2nd round. It took him a while, but he's a very good interior player along with Mebane.
- Great Personnel Move: Seattle traded Darryl Tapp for Chris Clemons in 2010. This was a specific move made after Pete Carroll took over the Seahawks. Clemons had bounced between Washington (twice), Cleveland, Oakland and Philadelphia. Seattle saw him as a perfect fit for the Leo role in Carroll's defensive scheme. He ended up being that and more, as he is a very strong edge setter given his size.
- Luck/Good Personnel Move: The Seahawks took Earl Thomas at #14 in the 2011 draft. Thomas may be the best FS to come out since Ed Reed. I had suggested prior to the 2010 draft that the Pats would take a DB with their #1 pick, and the guy I was hoping might just possibly slip to #22 was Thomas. It didn't happen. The "luck" was that Philly, who badly needed safety help, traded up to #13 ahead of the Seahawks but instead chose DE Brandon Graham.
- Luck/Great Personnel Move: The Seahawks took Standard CB Richard Sherman at #155 in the 5th round in 2011. The "luck" was 31 other teams repeatedly passing on him, including the Pats. Sherman was my day 3 binky in 2011. He had incredibly size/speed with fluid hips, combined with terrific smarts and processing speed. I thought he would be a stud, and he is. Imagine a secondary with Sherman-McCourty as the starting CBs. This was Drew Boylhart's profile on Sherman prior to the 2011 draft:
There are others - the KJ Wright pick, as noted. Here's Boylhart's profile on Wright:
Amazing what getting 3 day 3 studs (Bryant, Sherman and Wright) plus a Pro Bowler off the scrap heap (Clemons) can do for your defense.
The Seahawks also deserve credit for dumping Aaron Curry after they drafted Wright. Wright has been everything that Curry wasn't. The coaching staff has clearly done a good job of developing guys like Wright and Sherman, and in building an aggressive, attacking defense. I'm a little jealous.
It's an impressive defense. FWIW, NFL.com previewed the Seahawks' defense earlier this week:
Seattle Seahawks' defense emerging as one of NFL's best units - NFL.com
I suggested earlier this year that the Pats' road trip to Seattle would be one of their toughest games. It will be interesting to see how Brady and company do compared to Rodgers and the Pack.