The NFL Draft is an event of hope and optimism, a struggling team can turn into perennial Super Bowl favorites in the NFL sportsbook, and it all starts with the quarterback. The NFL QB might be the most challenging position in sports. Teams will try for years to draft a franchise quarterback. Sometimes it comes in the first round, or even in the sixth round, in the case of Tom Brady. In this series, we will look at the QB draft history of the Seattle Seahawks in the 21st century and see how the pick’s career in the NFL turned out.
Formed in 1976, the Seattle Seahawks were one of the worst franchises for many years. But, since the turn of the century, Seattle has been a perennial playoff team for the last two decades, and a lot of credit goes to their quarterback play. The Green Bay Packers drafted Matt Hasselbeck, but he was responsible for the Seahawks’ turnaround. Hasselbeck led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl appearance in 2005, and the Seahawks did not need to find a replacement until the 2010s. In the city that was known more for its coffee than its football team, the franchise quickly found one who helped the team pick up where Hasselbeck left off.
Seneca Wallace (2003)
Seattle had drafted multiple quarterbacks before taking Iowa State’s Seneca Wallace in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft, but Wallace was the first Seattle QB to see any NFL action. One of the original “gadget players” Wallace’s first NFL action was as a wide receiver, catching an eye-popping 28-yard pass from Hasselbeck in the 2005 NFC Championship.
He was Hasselbeck’s backup for many years in Seattle, but Wallace made his first NFL start as a QB in 2006 when Hasselbeck went down with a right knee injury. The former Hawkeye was able to keep the Seahawks’ NFL playoff odds afloat by going 2-2, with 927 yards, eight touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
Wallace started eight games in 2008, going 3-5 with 1,532 yards, 11 touchdowns, and three interceptions. The Seahawks traded Wallace to the Cleveland Browns in 2010 for a seventh-round pick. He spent two years in Cleveland, going 1-6 in his seven starts and throwing for 1,261 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions. The Browns released him in 2012.
2013 was a shaky year for Wallace. He was signed and released by the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers. Wallace later signed with the Green Bay Packers to back up Aaron Rodgers and became the first African American quarterback to start for the Packers, replacing an injured Rodgers in 2013. In the opening drive of his first start, he suffered a season-ending groin injury, and that game was his last NFL appearance.
In 2020, Wallace joined the Dallas Cowboys as a coaching assistant to work with the quarterbacks.
Russell Wilson (2012)
The Seahawks do no not draft quarterbacks often, but when they do, they make it count. In the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Seattle took Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson. He would become the greatest QB in franchise history. NFL experts criticized the selection of Wilson because Seattle had just signed Matt Flynn to a lucrative free-agent deal.
Flynn was impressive in his sporadic appearances with the Green Bay Packers and was presumed to be the NFL Week 1 odds starter when he signed with the Seahawks. But Wilson played well in the preseason and was named the opening week starter over Flynn and career backup Tarvaris Jackson.
Since 2012, Wilson has started every game for the Seahawks. He was named to his first of seven Pro Bowls in his rookie season, leading Seattle to an 11-5 record and throwing for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns, and ten interceptions. The Seahawks had the NFL’s best defense, dubbed “The Legion of Boom.” The ferociousness they played with was exciting to watch and often overshadowed the efficient play of their quarterback.
Wilson and the Seahawks improved in 2013, going 13-3, winning the NFC West and earning the number one seed in the NFC for the NFL playoffs. Seattle ran the ball more than most teams, but Wilson limited the turnovers and made the Pro Bowl for the second-straight year. In the classic number one defense meets the number one offense, the Seahawks faced Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Seattle dominated from the get-go, beating Denver 43-8 and winning their first Super Bowl Championship. Wilson completed 18 of his 25 passes for 206 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He became the second black starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl, joining Doug Williams, and, at 5-foot-11-inches, he also became the shortest quarterback to win a Super Bowl Trophy.
Seattle returned to the Super Bowl the following year and took on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. One of the most exciting Super Bowls of all time, Wilson led the Seahawks down the field and was at the Patriots’ one-yard line with 25 seconds to go. Instead of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch, Wilson threw a pass intended for Ricardo Lockette. Malcolm Butler intercepted it in the most iconic interception in Super Bowl history.
The play call was criticized by everyone, even by players on the Seahawks. Betters who had the money on the Seahawks in the NFL odds went from celebrating victory to devastated in defeat.
The Seahawks were on the brink of becoming a dynasty, going to two Super Bowls in a row and almost winning back-to-back championships. Something happened that day, with Butler’s interception. The team appears to have lost its mojo, as since that play occurred, Seattle has not returned to the Super Bowl, let alone the NFC Championship game.
Despite the lack of playoff success, Wilson continues to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Wilson has had to take on more responsibility for the success of the Seahawks in the last few years, as the “Legion of Boom” began to split up, and Lynch retired from the NFL. The main reason for the defense splitting up was because of free agency. In 2015, Wilson signed a four-year, $87.6 million contract extension, which made him the second-highest-paid player in the NFL.
Wilson proved his worth in 2015, breaking multiple Seahawks single-season passing records, including passing yards (4,024), passing touchdowns (34), and passer rating (110.1). Those records would stand for less than five NFL seasons.
Wilson signed another lucrative contract with the Seahawks in 2019, this time a four-year, $140 million extension through 2023. This contract made Wilson the highest-paid player in the NFL.
The former Wisconsin Badger has made the Pro Bowl every year from 2017-2020 and continues to be one of the best QBs in the league, performing at a high level year after year. 2020 was the best season of his career, breaking his own Seahawks records with a completion percentage of 68.8 percent, 4,212 passing yards, and 40 passing touchdowns.
The one award that has eluded him is the NFL MVP. 2020 looked to be his year, but Aaron Rodgers had a spectacular year himself, and his 48 touchdowns took the crown. Wilson was named the 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year for his excellent work in community service.
The Seattle captain holds countless NFL and Seahawks quarterback records and earns his accolades every year. Entering age 33 this season in 2021, the Seahawks are still near the top of the NFL Super Bowl odds and centered more around Wilson and his abilities. Going forward, should the Seahawks fail to return to the Super Bowl, most of the blame will fall on his shoulders.
The draft selection of Wilson raised many eyebrows around the NFL, but Seattle was the one left smiling in the end as they tried on their Super Bowl rings.
Alex McGough (2018)
The only quarterback, the Seahawks, have drafted since drafting Wilson was FIU’s Alex McGough in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He signed with Seattle in May 2018 but was waived and re-signed to the practice squad in September of that year.
McGough signed a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019 but was waived before the start of the season. Then the Houston Texans signed him a few days later, and McGough was promoted to the active roster. Cut and re-signed multiple times with Houston, he was given his final release in October 2020.
Coming full circle, Seattle re-signed McGough to the practice squad, and the QB is currently still on the team heading into 2021.
The Seattle Seahawks have proved how important it is to have a great quarterback in the NFL. Seattle began as a bottom-dwelling franchise, but they have become one of the NFL’s top teams in the past 20 years with the help of solid quarterback play.
Matt Hasselbeck was a critical free-agent signing that became the best QB the team ever had until the selection of Russell Wilson in 2012 changed everything. Finding players like Wilson in the later rounds proves a franchise quarterback does not have to be drafted in the top five overall picks, nor even in the first round. Now it is Wilson’s name that fills up the Seattle record books.
Since drafting Wilson, the Seahawks have been favorites in the NFL sportsbook for nearly every game they play. Where many teams struggle, the Seahawks have prospered. Drafting an NFL quarterback can be hit or miss. Seattle seems to have not only managed a hit, but the team knocked this one out of the park.