The Seattle Seahawks finished the season 10-6 with a trip to the playoffs that ended abruptly last weekend in Dallas. New and fun characters emerged along the way to the postseason and some of those were from the most recent draft.
Let's dive into the 2018 draft picks and how they performed in their rookie seasons. These grades take into account their production in the 2018 season plus how they seem to fit in Seattle moving forward.
Round 1, Pick 27- Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
This was easily the most controversial and discussed draft pick throughout the 2018 season. Many questioned why the Seahawks would draft a running back in the first round, especially given their history of trading back and accumulating picks. Plus, they already had Chris Carson, a gem found in the seventh round the previous season.
Penny got off to a really slow start, with just 42 carries in the first half of the season, averaging just over five carries per game. He averaged 3.5 yards per attempt in that same time frame. He had his coming out party against the Rams in Week 10, rushing for 102 yards on 12 carries and averaging nine yards per carry.
Penny made a few highlight-reel plays, many of which started with fans screaming "No! What are you doing?!" and ending with "Yes! This kid is amazing!"
Injuries slowed him down at the end of the season, but Penny led Seattle's trio of running backs in yards per carry for the season (4.9). 419 yards and two touchdowns might not have been the numbers people envisioned or hoped for from a first-round back, but that was more due to Carson's outstanding season.
The Seahawks have a good situation at running back heading into 2019 with Carson and Penny coming back.
Round 3, Pick 79- Rasheem Green, DL, USC
During the preseason, it looked as if Green was going to play a significant role this season. His is one of many cautionary tales of preseason darlings. He had 3.0 sacks and 18 tackles in the preseason and then virtually disappeared for most of the regular season.
In fairness to Green, Pete Carroll made it clear from the start that he was raw and more of a project to start 2018. He ended up playing about 20 percent of the defensive snaps for Seattle and had three games where he logged 10 or less snaps. He finished the season with nine tackles and a single sack, which came against Aaron Rodgers.
Going forward, the Seahawks are going to need Green to show progress. Rushing the passer was a weakness for much of the season and Green, with some seasoning, should aid in that department. However, in 2018, he was indeed more of a project, even as a third-round pick.
Round 4, Pick 120- Will Dissly, TE, Washington
This pick was my personal favorite of this class when the draft ended. Dissly represents everything the Seahawks hoped to be in 2018 and eventually became: a rough, tough running team. Dissly isn't Jimmy Graham and thank heavens for that. He loves getting his hands dirty and blowing defenders off the ball as a run blocker.
In Seattle's first four games, Dissly clearly fit right in and was going to be a key part of the team's success. That is, until he got hurt. During a Week 4 game against the Cardinals, on that cursed field in Arizona, Dissly tore his patellar tendon and was lost for the season.
Not lost on the Seahawks and fans was his production, seen and unseen. He made eight catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns, which surprised most. His willingness and ability in the run game is what won many over, including myself, further explaining why many were heartbroken after his injury.
Dissly will be back and better, which should make everyone smile.
Round 5, Pick 141- Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF
This is the draft pick that brought the most national fanfare. Heck, he even got a Gillette commercial out of it. Griffin, of course, is the twin brother of Seahawks corner Shaquill. More famously, he was drafted into the NFL with one hand, not two. He is truly an inspirational story.
On the field, he did not make an immediate impact, especially defensively. He played 41 snaps on defense in the opening game against the Broncos and then played nine snaps total the rest of the season. It was clear he was swimming in too deep of water and that Seattle had to dial it down.
He did make an impact on special teams, where he played in just under 50 percent of all the snaps. He ended the season with 14 tackles.
Certainly, the coaches have a role in mind for him on defense eventually. With the possible departure of K.J. Wright, he will likely have an expanded role at linebacker in 2019.
Round 5, Pick 146- Tre Flowers, CB, Oklahoma State
Like Green, Flowers came in as a raw project after playing safety in college. However, he progressed much quicker than expected and became the starting corner opposite of Griffin in Week 1. He certainly had bumps in the road in pass coverage, but he got better as the year went on and proved to be an excellent tackler.
An argument can be made that Flowers had a better season than his second-year counterpart Griffin. Pro Football Focus gave him a 64.1 grade this season, while Griffin garnered a 50.7. Lean and long, Flowers fits the physical profile of a Seahawks cornerback in Carroll's system.
He finished his rookie season with 67 tackles, six passes defensed, and three forced fumbles. If Griffin can bounce back after a sophomore slump, the Seahawks will have a really good pair of young corners.
Round 5, Pick 149- Michael Dickson, P, Texas
The Broncos' draft room laughed when the Seahawks traded up with them in the fifth round to draft Dickson, a punter. Now we know that Dickson is not just any other punter - he's special. He can do things with the football that have not been seen before.
Sure, he had his rookie mistakes, but there is no question who the Seahawks punter will be for the foreseeable future. Dickson earned not only his first Pro Bowl selection, but he was named First-Team All-Pro. Pretty incredible for a rookie punter and he's just getting started.
Who's laughing now?
Round 5, Pick 168- Jamarco Jones, OL, Ohio State
Jones entered the season as an afterthought as far as the starting offensive line goes. However, during preseason workouts and games, he quickly earned the respect of his peers and coaches. He played some left tackle in the preseason opener against the Colts when he went down with a high ankle sprain, just as he was gaining momentum. He landed on injured reserve, ending his season before it started.
Jones certainly will be in the plans next season as depth at both tackle spots. If the Seahawks do something similar with their offensive line next season with George Fant being a de facto tight end, Jones could see time as the swing tackle. If he starts camp the same way he did in 2018, he could force himself on the field somewhere.
Round 6, Pick 186- Jacob Martin, LB, Temple
Martin was a bit of a wild card coming into training camp. He's raw but seems to have a lot of upside. He never topped 10 snaps on defense in the first five games, but he then played 28 against the Raiders in London and had a quarterback hit and a fumble recovery in that game. From there on, he saw significantly more playing time for the rest of the season.
Like Green, Martin earned his first sack with Aaron Rodgers being the victim against Green Bay. He finished the season with 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, and 10 tackles. With the Seahawks struggling to get a quality pass rush at times this year, Martin's development would be a welcome sight heading into 2019.
Round 7, Pick 220- Alex McGough, QB, FIU
McGough immediately impressed in offseason workouts with his arm strength and athleticism. As training camp progressed, it became clear that he had plenty of growing and learning to do. He and Austin Davis battled for the backup QB position for much of the preseason before the Seahawks released Davis and traded for Packers backup Brett Hundley, thus settling the debate.
After trading for Hundley, McGough remained on the practice squad for the rest of the season. However, he was not signed to a futures contract this week like the other nine Seattle practice squad players. His status with the organization seems very much in doubt, though there's plenty of time for him to re-sign, especially if Hundley leaves as a free agent.