American Football

The results of John Schneider’s first-round trade downs

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Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Yes, the Seahawks got DK Metcalf indirectly because of one of Seattle’s first-round trades.

It’s been awhile since the Seattle Seahawks traded down in the first round of the NFL Draft. They’ve had opportunities in 2020, 2022, and 2023 and opted to stay put, a noticeable change from the six consecutive drafts in which they had a first-round pick and eventually traded down. There has been much speculation that this year could mark a return to the previous philosophy, particularly with the lack of a second-round pick.

Out of curiosity, I went over every draft under John Schneider to see the results of the Seahawks’ first-round trade downs. What picks did they give up and what did they get in return? Who did Seattle draft? Every player was drafted either directly or indirectly through Seattle’s initial trade. For instance, Bruce Irvin was directly picked after the Seahawks traded down in 2012, but there’s a winding road to explain how Seattle got DK Metcalf in 2019. There were many subsequent trades made in other rounds that would otherwise not have been possible without the initial trade.

Let’s take a look!


2010

No trade down (picked Russell Okung and Earl Thomas)

2011

No trade down (picked James Carpenter)

2012

Initial trade: Seahawks traded No. 11 overall pick to Philadelphia Eagles for No. 15, fourth-rounder (No. 114) and sixth-rounder (No. 172).

Additional trades: N/A

Seahawks selected:

DE Bruce Irvin (No. 15)
DT Jaye Howard (No. 114)
CB Jeremy Lane (No. 172)

2013

No first-round pick (Percy Harvin trade)

2014

Initial trade: Seahawks traded No. 32 overall pick to Minnesota Vikings for second-round pick (No. 40) and fourth-round pick (No. 108).

Additional trades:

  • Seahawks traded No. 40 overall pick and fifth-rounder (No. 148) to Detroit Lions for No. 45 overall pick, fourth-round pick (No. 111), and seventh-round pick (No. 227).
  • Seahawks traded No. 111 pick to Cincinnati Bengals for No. 123 and sixth-round pick (No. 199).

Players acquired:

WR Paul Richardson (No. 45)
DE Cassius Marsh (No. 108)
WR Kevin Norwood (No. 123)
OL Garrett Scott (No. 199)
RB Kiero Small (No. 227)

2015

No first-round pick (Jimmy Graham trade)

2016

Initial trade: Seahawks traded No. 26 overall pick to Denver Broncos for No. 31 pick and third-round pick (No. 94).

Additional trades: N/A

Players acquired:

OL Germain Ifedi (No. 31)
TE Nick Vannett (No. 94)

2017

Initial trade: Seahawks traded No. 26 overall pick to Atlanta Falcons for No. 31, third-round pick (No. 95), and seventh-round pick (No. 249).

Additional trades:

  • Seahawks traded No. 31 pick to San Francisco 49ers for second-round pick (No. 34) and fourth-round pick (No. 111).
  • Seahawks traded No. 34 pick to Jacksonville Jaguars for No. 35 and sixth-round pick (No. 187).

Players acquired:

DL Malik McDowell (No. 35)
S Lano Hill (No. 95)
S Tedric Thompson (No. 111)
S Mike Tyson (No. 187)
RB Chris Carson (No. 249)

2018

Initial trade: Seahawks traded No. 18 overall pick and seventh-round pick (No. 248) to Green Bay Packers for No. 27, third-rounder (No. 76), and sixth-rounder (No. 186).

Additional trades:

  • Seahawks traded No. 76 pick to Pittsburgh Steelers for No. 79 and seventh-round pick (No. 220).

Players acquired:

RB Rashaad Penny (No. 27)
RB Rasheem Green (No. 79)
OLB Jacob Martin (No. 186)
QB Alex McGough (No. 220)

2019

Initial trade: Seahawks traded No. 21 overall pick to Green Bay Packers for No. 30, two fourth-round picks (No. 114 and No. 118).

Additional trades:

  • Seahawks traded No. 30 pick to New York Giants for second-round pick (No. 37), fourth-round pick (No. 132) and fifth-round pick (No. 142).
  • Seahawks traded No. 37 pick to Carolina Panthers for No. 47 and third-round pick (No. 77).
  • Seahawks traded No. 77 and No. 118 picks to New England Patriots for No. 64.
  • Seahawks traded No. 114 pick to Minnesota Vikings for No. 120 and sixth-round pick (No. 204).

Players acquired:

S Marquise Blair (No. 47)
WR DK Metcalf (No. 64)
WR Gary Jennings Jr (No. 120)
S/CB Ugo Amadi (No. 132)
LB Ben Burr-Kirven (No. 142)
RB Travis Homer (No. 204)

2020-2023

No trade downs (no first-round pick in 2021, drafted Charles Cross in 2022, drafted Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba in 2023)


Bonus: Opposition players acquired through the same trades

Round 1, No. 11 (2012): DT Fletcher Cox (Philadelphia Eagles)
Round 1, No. 32 (2014): QB Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings)
Round 5, No. 146 (2014): WR Devin Street (Dallas Cowboys via Detroit Lions)
Round 5, No. 148 (2014): LB Kyle Van Noy (Detroit Lions)
Round 1, No. 26 (2016): QB Paxton Lynch (Denver Broncos)
Round 1, No. 26 (2017): DE Takk McKinley (Atlanta Falcons)
Round 1, No. 31 (2017): LB Reuben Foster (San Francisco 49ers)
Round 2, No. 34 (2017): OL Cam Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Round 1, No. 18 (2018): CB Jaire Alexander (Green Bay Packers)
Round 3, No. 76 (2018): QB Mason Rudolph (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Round 7, No. 248 (2018): DE Kendall Donnerson (Green Bay Packers)
Round 1, No. 21 (2019): S Darnell Savage (Green Bay Packers)
Round 1, No. 30 (2019): CB DeAndre Baker (New York Giants)
Round 2, No. 37 (2019): OL Greg Little (Carolina Panthers)
Round 3, No. 77 (2019): OLB Chase Winovich (New England Patriots)
Round 4, No. 114 (2019): OL Dru Samia (Minnesota Vikings)
Round 4, No. 118 (2019): OL Hjalte Froholdt (New England Patriots)


Metcalf, Carson, Irvin, and maybe even a lesser extent Lane are doing very heavy lifting relative to the rest of the picks. In total, the Seahawks gained 18 draft picks through moves started by trading down in the first round. DK is the only player in this list Seattle traded up for; an additional note to make on the 2019 draft is that the Seahawks had another first-rounder through the Frank Clark trade, taking L.J. Collier.

What have we learned? Seattle hasn’t exactly torn it up by repeatedly trading down in the first. That doesn’t mean the Seahawks shouldn’t do it; they’ve done well to gain more draft capital and it’s better to have more picks, but it hasn’t always translated to simultaneously improving the quality of the roster.

Next week we’ll take a look at the rarer instances of draft day trade-ups under Schneider to see what that’s yielded.

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