After last Sunday’s demolition of divisional rivals San Francisco, the Seattle Seahawks are hitting form at the right time.
Spearheaded by an aggressive defense, a talented rookie quarterback and the loudest fans in the country, not many teams will to face the Seahawks in the playoffs.
But the mastermind behind the one of the most exciting teams in the NFL is head coach Pete Carroll, and he’s done it differently than how people expected.
Having created a strong reputation during an eight year stint with the USC Trojans, Carroll returned to the NFL and many expected him to incorporate many of his college stars in the Pacific Northwest.
But in fact, Carroll’s treatment of the former Trojans has shocked and surprised many NFL analysts.
In 2009, Carroll convinced safety Taylor Mays to return for his senior year, despite being tipped as a top-15 draft pick. In the 2010 Draft, the Seahawks were looking for a Safety and Mays claims that Carroll hinted that he would draft him in the first round.
“I definitely thought from the relationship we had, the things that he had told me about what I needed to be aware of with the draft process and things that I needed to do, I felt he told me the complete opposite of the actions that he took, which was definitely — it was alarming…I understand it’s a business. But with it being a business, he needs to be honest. And that’s all I was asking for.”
The Seahawks saw that Texas Safety Earl Thomas was still available, and seeing the value available, Carroll went with Thomas – a decision that has evidently paid dividends.
And in 2011, Carroll’s former USC quarterback Matt Leinart was poised to become a Seahawk, only for Carroll to change his mind at the last minute and sign former Minnesota Viking Tarvaris Jackson.
There are other cases too, as he cut receiver Mike Williams and linebacker Lofa Tatupu, both former Trojans under Carroll, whilst Carroll also rejected the idea of signing running back Reggie Bush from New Orleans in 2011.
But ultimately, Carroll’s decisions have been correct, regardless of how ‘cold’ his actions may seem. Mays was traded by the 49ers after just one year and has failed to make an impact with the Bengals. Leinart is in Oakland, backing up another former USC product, Carson Palmer. Tatupu went without a team in 2011 before signing with the Falcons, only to suffer a season-ending injury, whilst Williams has also failed to find a team since his release by Seattle.
In the 2013 Draft, Carroll is going to have the chance to select a player he recruited for the Trojans and in a position of need. Building around rookie quarterback Russell Wilson is going to be key to his prolonged success, so adding another receiver is likely to be in the forefront of Pete Carroll’s mind.
Yesterday, USC receiver Robert Woods announced that he will forgo his senior year and declare for the 2013 NFL Draft. Right now, Woods’ value is around late 1st round/early 2nd, which could make him a perfect candidate to become a Seahawk.
But as Carroll has proven before, he’s willing to ignore sentiment to achieve success, though he is also willing to draft Trojans late on, as TE Anthony McCoy and linebackers Mike Morgan and Malcolm Smith begin to contribute for Seattle.
What he is yet to do is draft a Trojan early on in the draft – will 2013 be the year?