Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports wrote a really interesting piece today on Seahawks Senior Personnel Executive and former 49ers GM Scot McCloughan that takes a look at the influence he's had on the ascension of both teams. McCloughan served as the 49ers GM from 2005-2009, running the team's Drafts and Free Agency, and it's fair to say that a large part of the current roster there in San Francisco was assembled by one of the Seahawks current top execs.
McCloughan took (and still might take) a lot of grief for his decision to take Alex Smith with the first overall pick in the 2005 Draft for the 49ers, but past that he's shown a remarkable ability to find talent. RB Frank Gore, who recently set the 49ers franchise record for rushing yards, was a McCloughan third-round pick in '05, and I'll let Silver lay out some of his other picks:
Starting guard Adam Snyder was also drafted in the third round that year ('05). Tight ends Vernon Davis, a Pro Bowl participant two seasons ago, and Delanie Walker, who has emerged as a major weapon in Harbaugh's offense, went in the first and sixth rounds, respectively, of the '06 draft. Parys Haralson, a starter at outside linebacker, was a fifth-round pick that year.
The '07 draft was a bonanza, with a crop that included five current starters: star inside linebacker Patrick Willis (first round), left tackle Joe Staley (first), defensive tackle Ray McDonald (third), free safety Dashon Goldson (fourth) and cornerback Tarell Brown (fifth).
McCloughan was fired at the end of the 2010 season under strange circumstances, and hired on as a Senior Personnel Executive by Pete Carroll and John Schneider. His hiring in Seattle went over rather quietly, as he's essentially the Seahawks top scout, but the fit in Seattle makes all the sense in the world. Both he and Schneider previously worked under Ron Wolf in Green Bay and both share similar philosophies about building teams through the draft. Both Schneider and McCloughan are renowned for their keen scouting abilities, but both have shown an ability to venture into the waters of free agency as well.
As Silver said,
It should be noted that defensive end Justin Smith - the veteran (Jim) Harbaugh described as "our most valuable player" following Monday night's 20-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers - was lured away from the Cincinnati Bengals following the '07 season with a six-year, $45-million deal.
Until this season Smith was regarded as a solid player who was probably a bit overpaid. McCloughan, however, never saw it that way, reasoning that Smith was the type of hard-working, no-nonsense leader he sought as an organizational tone-setter on the field and in the locker room.
The Seahawks are, for now, being led by the former Head of Football Operations for the Green Bay Packers, John Schneider, a guy that had a big part of building the current roster in Green Bay from 2005-2010, and the former GM for the 49ers, a guy that helped build the roster in San Francisco from 2005-2009.
Those two teams are a combined 24-4 this season. Though it's clear not all of the success can be attributed to the front office, I can't help but feel good about the people steering this Seahawks' ship.