When he was hired by the Seattle Seahawks in 2005, Tim Ruskell walked into a difficult situation as the team's president of football operations and general manager.
Before that, Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren had long held the general manager title, as well, so there were some natural issues between the two men. Sources told me that things were fine initially, but they gradually worsened, as the Seahawks started to struggle. As Jason Babin told me last month, he was caught in the middle, when Ruskell traded safety Michael Boulware for him in 2007. A second-round pick in 2004, Boulware didn't start a single game for the Houston Texans and was out of the league after 2007. Babin, meanwhile, has been a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, and he racked up 30 1/2 sacks the last two seasons.
But he did so for the Tennessee Titans and the Philadelphia Eagles because Holmgren refused to play him in Seattle. In fact, Babin appeared in just four games in two seasons.
The point is, you have to take a more in-depth look at Ruskell's personnel decisions. The easiest way is to look at the draft picks. There are duds, like any other GM, but he also has players who didn't thrive in Seattle but are doing fine elsewhere. That points to the power struggle between him and Holmgren.
Here, then, is a closer look at the drafts he led in Seattle:
1st round, 4th overall - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest - He certainly didn't produce the way one would expect of a top-five pick. But that draft class was obviously weak at the top, with only No. 1 selection Matthew Stafford playing at a Pro Bowl level. A bunch of other players selected around Curry have been disappointments, including offensive tackle Jason Smith (2nd), defensive end Tyson Jackson (3rd) and quarterback Mark Sanchez (No. 5). Curry is now in Oakland, and he started nine of 11 games there.
2nd round, 49th overall - Max Unger, C, Oregon - He's developed into a more than solid center, which is why the Seahawks let veteran Chris Spencer walk away.
3rd round, 91st overall - Deon Butler, WR, Penn State - Disappointment in three seasons, with four touchdowns and eight starts.
THE REST - Seventh-round pick Nick Reed made an appearance in Chicago and didn't exactly thrill anyone. But, safety Courtney Greene, another seventh-rounder, has started 13 games in the last two seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars. A third seventh-rounder, tight end Cameron Morrah, remains on the Seahawks.
1st round, 28th overall - Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC - After earning 6 ½ sacks in two seasons with the Seahawks, he was traded to the Detroit Lions for a sixth-round pick. He has 10 ½ sacks the last two seasons as a backup for the Lions.
2nd round, 38th overall - John Carlson, TE, Notre Dame - He had a quiet year, but Carlson had 12 touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons.
4th round, 121st overall - Red Bryant, DT, Texas A&M - The Seahawks didn't have a third, but they selected Bryant, who scored a touchdown against the Bears this season.
THE REST - Fullback Owen Schmitt (5th) only started two games in two seasons for the Seahawks, but he's started 10 for the Eagles the last two seasons. Seventh-round pick Justin Forsett, a running back, has eight touchdowns in the last three seasons as a reserve.
1st round, 24th overall - Traded the pick to the New England Patriots in order to get Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch. The Pats selected safety Brandon Meriweather.
2nd round, 55th overall - Josh Wilson, CB, Maryland - In his second and third NFL seasons, he started a combined 24 games and intercepted six passes and defended 22 others. He was traded in 2010 to the Baltimore Ravens for a conditional pick that ended up being a fifth-rounder. After starting nine games for the Ravens, he signed a free-agent contract with the Redskins, where he's a starter.
3rd round, 85th overall - Brandon Mebane, DT, California - In five seasons, he's started 69 games for the Seahawks.
THE REST - Guard Mansfield Wrotto, a fourth-rounder, started seven games for the Bills in 2010, and he's currently on the Bears roster. Linebacker Will Herring (fifth) and offensive tackle Steve Vallos (seventh) are backups in New Orleans and Cleveland, respectively.
1st round, 31st overall - Kelly Jennings, CB, Miami (Fla.) - The late first-round pick started 44 games for the Seahawks over five seasons. And while he was prolific defending passes, he wasn't very good at intercepting passes (just two picks) or defending receivers. He played in 13 games for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011, but Pro Football Focus had him rated as the 69th best cornerback in its rating of the position.
2nd round, 63rd overall - Darryl Tapp, DE, Virginia Tech - In four seasons in Seattle, he started 32 games and contributed 18 sacks and eight forced fumbles. In the last two seasons, he's had 5 ½ sacks for the Eagles.
4th round, 128th overall - Rob Sims, G, Ohio State - After starting 34 games in four seasons for the Seahawks, he was traded to the Lions for defensive end Robert Henderson. Sims has started 32 games at guard for the Lions over the last two seasons.
THE REST - Fifth-round pick David Kirtman, a fullback, hasn't played in a game since 2008. But seventh-round receiver Ben Obomanu has been a decent contributor to the Seahawks the last five seasons.
1st round, 26th overall - Chris Spencer, C, Mississippi - After sitting behind a veteran as a rookie, Spencer stepped into the starting lineup in 2006 and started 70 games over the next five seasons. He wasn't offered an opportunity to return, and the Bears signed him and started 14 games at guard in 2011.
2nd round, 45th overall - Lofa Tatupu, MLB, USC - Immediate impact player, during a season the Seahawks won the division and reached the Super Bowl. But after being selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls, Tatupu didn't play in a single game last season.
3rd round, 85th overall -David Greene, QB, Georgia - Wasted draft pick, as he's never appeared in an NFL game. He last appeared on the NFL radar in November 2008.
3rd round, 98th overall - Leroy Hill, OLB, Clemson - Been a consistent contributor and starter, especially as a rookie with 7 ½ sacks.
THE REST - Offensive tackle Ray Willis (fourth round) started 26 games in 2008 and 2009, but he's currently a backup in New Orleans. But the four players selected in rounds five through seven combined to play in just 15 NFL games, with not a single start among them.