Seahawks Brochures, Undrafted Free Agents, And The Steelers

It seems as though Pete Carroll still has the recruitment disease in his blood. Ian Rapoport yesterday obtained a copy of a brochure that the Seattle Seahawks have sent to agents whose clients are on the fringe of going undrafted, in order to make the argument that signing with the Seahawks is a smart business decision for those not drafted.

The Seahawks make a persuasive argument for why rookie undrafted free agents should sign with Seattle. Such players received more playing time during the preseason with the Seahawks last season than with any other team.

The Pittsburgh Steelers ranked between the middle and bottom third of the league in rookie UDFA preseason playing time last season. According to the brochure data, that playing time was heavily imbalanced toward defensive players for the Steelers, who actually got more playing time than on any other team. Brian Arnfelt had a lot to do with that.

Since 2010, Seattle states, 15 UDFAs have made the team’s 53-man roster. The Steelers ranked close to the bottom with eight. The Seahawks and Steelers are both among the teams most likely to walk away from draft picks as well, the argument being that the team doesn’t value investment as much as performance.

They tied (with the Minnesota Vikings) for the second-most draft picks failing to make the roster since 2010 with nine. Both Seattle and Pittsburgh have walked away from two fourth-round and two fifth-round picks. No other team has walked away from more than two draft picks from the first five rounds during that span.

The brochure points out that Seattle had eight undrafted free agents originally signed by the Seahawks that contributed to the team’s championship campaign from a year ago. How many such players contributed for the Steelers last season?

By my count, the Steelers actually had nine. In ascending order of contribution, by number of snaps played in 2013: Arnfelt, DaMon Cromartie-Smith, Terence Garvin, Robert Golden, Derek Moye, Isaac Redman, Will Johnson, Steve McLendon, and Ramon Foster. That includes three full-time starters, though two others were released during the season.

Another major sales pitch for Seattle is that, because of the amount of playing time rookie UDFAs get during the preseason, those players regularly go on to find employment elsewhere. Since 2010, a league-high 28 UDFAs released by the Seahawks went on to be signed by other teams.

Considering that many UDFAs find themselves on the practice squad, the Seahawks also emphasize the success that their practice squad players have later on. In all, they have elevated 32 players from the practice squad since 2010, including nine players that have started 62 games. In total, they’ve accounted for 291 games played.

The Steelers, meanwhile, have promoted 20 players in that span, with only five of them going on to start 17 games. Former practice squad players have played a total of 156 games for the Steelers since 2010.

The Seahawks’ brochure idea seems like a great marketing strategy, though I wonder just how novel it is. Certainly teams will already have much of this information on hand to feed to their prospective targets anyway. After all, you have to convince these players that you will give them the best chance to succeed. The brochure itself is just a gimmick, albeit it a good one, in my estimation.

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