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Seattle Seahawks wise to hoard late-round draft picks

You see it every offseason. Established players such as Anquan Boldin, Carson Palmer and LeGarrette Blount fail to draw more than a sixth-round draft pick in a trade.

By the time the trade deadline rolls around in late October, your favorite team refuses to part with a fourth- or fifth-round round pick for big names along the lines of Jared Allen, Hakeem Nicks, Steven Jackson or Jairus Byrd.

Why do NFL teams treat late-round picks like gold even if just a small percentage pan out?

Look no further than the Seattle Seahawks' historicallydominant defense for your answer.

The best secondary of its generation features a Defensive Player of the Year candidate (Richard Sherman, fifth round), two-time Pro Bowl pick (Kam Chancellor, fifth round), top-tier cornerback (Byron Maxwell, sixth round), premier nickelback (Walter Thurmond, fourth round) and special-teams dynamo (Jeremy Lane, sixth round).

The front seven boasts the Super Bowl MVP (Malcolm Smith, seventh round), one of the NFL's top coverage linebackers (K.J. Wright, fourth round) and a quintessential run-plugger (Red Bryant, fourth round).

Much has been made of the Seahawks' ability to acquire high-priced veterans such as Percy Harvin, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril because Russell Wilson's salary is so low compared to other quarterbacks.

It's more rare to hear about the luxury of devoting such a minuscule portion of the salary cap to the backbone of the league's top defense. This is an organization that spent nearly $20 million more on offense than defense while building a Super Bowl champion.

Not every franchise has the scouting acumen and developmental program to turn the late rounds of the draft into a bonanza. The Seahawks represent the best-case scenario that other front offices envision when they hoard draft picks at the expense of acquiring high-dollar stars.

*The "Around The League Podcast" recapped Super Bowl XLVIII live from MetLife Stadium right after the game. *

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