No one expected to the Seattle Seahawks to finish 11-5 in Matt Flynn‘s first year as the starting quarterback in 2013. Seahawks fans definitely didn’t expect it after rookie Russell Wilson was named the starter right before the start of the season. Nobody except a few delusional Seattle fanatics expected Bobby Wagner or Bruce Irvin to have the years they did. There’s only one man who knew all of those things at the time–Seahawks general manager John Schneider, who came up just short in the NFL Executive of the Year voting, but has nothing to hang his head about.
Wagner, a second-round pick out of Utah State, was a name thrown around quite often regarding the NFL‘s Rookie of the Year award for defensive players. The 22-year-old linebacker recorded 140 tackles and intercepted three passes while helping lead a Seahawks defense that ranked fourth in the league in yards allowed per game and first in points allowed. The same goes for Bruce Irvin, a first-round pick out of West Virginia, who led all NFL rookies in sacks this past season with eight.
Of course, everyone knows the story of Wilson, a third-round pick out of Wisconsin by way of North Carolina State, who was too short by most teams’ standards, but burst onto the scene as a younger, more athletic version of Drew Brees. His performance this season and especially in the playoffs has Seahawks Nation buzzing with excitement for 2013 and beyond.
Lost in all the draft hoopla, however, is the fact Schneider has the guts to give Marshawn Lynch a four-year, $31 million contract last March, which expedited Wilson’s growth as a passer. Lynch finished third among NFL rushers with 1,590 yards, proving to be well worth Schneider’s investment.
In short, Schneider was definitely deserving of the NFL Executive of the Year award, but no disrespect to the winner, Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson. The best part is we get to watch these two men continue to build Super Bowl contenders in Seattle and Indianapolis over the next decade.