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Seattle's 2012 draft class paying off on the field

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm •  Published: December 13, 2012

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Everyone knows about Seattle stealing quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round of last April's draft and perhaps finding the franchise quarterback so many NFL teams seek.

Getting less attention are the other rookies the Seahawks drafted in April who are making a significant impact in their first NFL seasons.

From defensive end Bruce Irvin to linebacker Bobby Wagner to running back Robert Turbin to a pair of seventh-round picks who made the 53-man roster, the Seahawks can look on the 2012 draft with pride for some of the gems they uncovered. Seven of the 10 players the Seahawks selected have become major contributors.

"I think coach (Pete) Carroll and the GM John Schneider did a tremendous job of getting guys who love to play the game and who will do everything they can to play at their best level," Wilson said. "Coach Carroll talks about competing at the highest level and our rookie class here for the Seahawks, we're doing our best job to try and be great every Sunday and to work at it and learn and just understand how we can improve."

The philosophy of relying on younger players is something Carroll embraced when he returned to the NFL after seeing the success of playing freshmen during his time at USC. So when the Seahawks drafted Russell Okung and Earl Thomas in the first round of the 2010 draft, the pair was instantly thrown into the starting lineup.

In that same draft, Seattle got current starters wide receiver Golden Tate in the second round and safety Kam Chancellor in the fifth round, and No. 2 tight end Anthony McCoy in the sixth round. The next season, Seattle drafted current starters K.J. Wright (fourth round) and Richard Sherman (fifth round).

While that first draft created a foundation and 2011 unearthed a pair of defensive gems, the 2012 draft is the one that's appeared to have the most immediate impact.

The most notable has been giving the Seahawks a key player in Wilson, the starting quarterback coming out of training camp. He's on pace to challenge the NFL rookie record for touchdown passes and is the first rookie quarterback since 1970 to win his first six home games.

At the same time that Wilson was named the starter, the Seahawks also decided Wagner would be capable of taking over as the organizer of the defense at middle linebacker. Wagner currently ranks third among all NFL rookies with 109 tackles.

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