Skip to main content

Seahawks, Patriots each bring one rookie starter to Super Bowl

A side-by-side look at the 2014 draft classes of the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks bares one striking similarity: neither will have its top pick from last year available.

Seattle wide receiver Paul Richardson, drafted in the second round (No. 45 overall), was lost for the postseason earlier this month with a torn ACL in his left knee. The Seahawks did not have a first-round pick after trading the 32nd overall selection to the Vikings. New England drafted defensive lineman Dominique Easley of Florida in the first round at No. 29 overall, but he was lost for the year to a knee injury, as well. Richardson was making more of an impact prior to his injury.

His playing time spiked after the Seahawksjettisoned Percy Harvin in a trade, and he recorded 15 of his 29 receptions over the last four weeks of the regular season. His next catch -- a 21-yard reception against Carolina in the playoffs -- was his last. Easley had played sparingly after spending the offseason rehabbing a torn ACL of his own.

So which Super Bowl XLIX contender has been impacted most by its rookie class?

You won't find any instant stars here, or much instant help of any kind, for that matter. The primary contribution for both teams has been, for each, a starter on the offensive line. New England fourth-round pick Bryan Stork of Florida State has handled the center position for most of the season and is returning from injury for the Super Bowl. Seattle second-rounder Justin Britt, of Missouri, is a regular starter at right tackle.

Beyond that, things didn't start well for most of these rookies. Of the 17 draft picks between the teams, only two figure to start in the Super Bowl (Britt and Stork), while 11 were either cut, injured, or are otherwise not on the active roster.

Here is a look at the rookie classes for each:



OT Justin Britt, 2nd round (No. 64 overall), from Missouri
Britt has started all season at right tackle, as the Seahawks' top-performing rookie.

WR Kevin Norwood, 4th round (No. 123 overall), from Alabama
The Alabama product has been a reliable backup but caught just nine passes on the year.

LB Brock Coyle, undrafted free agent from Montana
The backup linebacker has made just 11 tackles on the season but at one point was a key substitute for an injured Bobby Wagner.

OL Garry Gilliam, undrafted free agent from Penn State
Along with being a versatile reserve this year, Gilliam caught the touchdown pass on Seattle's fake field goal against Green Bay in the NFC title game.

Injured reserve

WR Paul Richardson, 2nd round (No. 45 overall), from Colorado
Richardson caught 29 passes for 271 yards and a score in 15 games before a season-ending injury.

DE Cassius Marsh, 4th round (No. 108 overall), from UCLA
A broken foot landed Marsh on injured reserve in October. He made five stops on the year as a backup.

LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, 4th round (No. 132 overall), from Boston College
A shoulder injury ended what was becoming a promising season for Pierre-Louis, who was seeing increased action as a reserve and special-teams player before his week 11 injury against the Chiefs.

Practice squad

DL Jimmy Staten, 5th round (No. 172 overall), from Middle Tennessee State
Staten has been bounced between the practice squad and being released by the club.

Reserve/Non-football injury

OL Garrett Scott, 6th round (No. 199 overall), from Marshall
A rare heart condition compelled Seattle to release Scott shortly after he was drafted in May.

DB Eric Pinkins, 6th round (No. 208 overall), from San Diego State
Returned from his injury in Week 7, but has been unable to play his way onto the active roster.


FB Kiero Small, 7th round (No. 227 overall), from Arkansas



QB Jimmy Garoppolo, 2nd round (No. 62 overall), from Eastern Illinois
Garoppolo has appeared in six games as a backup to Tom Brady, completing 19 of 27 passes.

OL Bryan Stork, 4th round (No. 105 overall), from Florida State
Stork was New England's best option at center in the regular season and has returned from an injury for Super Bowl XLIX.

RB James White, 4th round (No. 130 overall), from Wisconsin
The former Badgers star has appeared in just three games, getting nine carries.

OL Cameron Fleming, 4th round (No. 140 overall), from Stanford
The right tackle actually started a game at guard at one point, but he has only appeared in seven games, most as a reserve.

CB Malcolm Butler, undrafted free agent, from West Alabama
The preseason roster longshot has appeared in 11 games and broken up three passes in a reserve role.

DL Zach Moore, undrafted free agent, from Concordia
Moore has appeared in eight games with one start, even getting an assisted sack against Chicago on Oct. 26.

Injured reserve

DL Dominique Easley, 1st round (No. 29 overall) from Florida
Easley played in a reserve role before a knee injury put an early end to his rookie season.

LB Cameron Gordon, undrafted free agent from Michigan
Gordon was placed on injured reserve in August.

LB James Morris, undrafted free agent from Iowa
An ankle injury against the New York Giants in New England's last preseason game landed Morris on injured reserve.


OL Jon Halapio, 6th round (No. 179 overall), from Florida (cut in preseason)

DB Jemea Thomas, 6th round (No. 206 overall), from Georgia Tech (cut in preseason)

WR Jeremy Gallon, 7th round (No. 244 overall), from Michigan (cut in preseason)

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread.*

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content