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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

June 4, 2012 at 11:24 AM

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Justin time: Forsett sole RB drafted by Seahawks under Tim Ruskell

By Danny O'Neil Forsett agrees to terms with Texans

It's not easy to put Justin Forsett's free-agent departure in perspective.

It's hardly a surprise he won't be back in Seattle after agreeing to sign with the Texans. The fact he wouldn't be back after four seasons was already well established. In fact, it was evident as the No. 20 -- which he wore with the Seahawks -- had been given to Kregg Lumpkin.

Once Seattle decided it wanted a bigger, more physical running back to pair with Lynch, Forsett no longer had a role.

But Forsett doesn't deserve to be characterized as if he were a hangnail who were got trimmed off, either. He's much more than an afterthought, though, who will be remembered as the undersized overachiever that he was.

He was a great teammate and a more productive player than anyone had a right to expect from a seventh-round pick. Remember all the time and money Seattle spent on free agents? Guys like Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett and Edgerrin James. Well, Forsett averaged more yards per carry than all of them.

Forsett was great pro who wanted the best not necessarily for himself, but for the team. He was truly happy to add his friend Marshawn Lynch to the roster even though, personally, that cut into his own carries production. There's one other thing Forsett will be remembered as, too: the only running back Tim Ruskell drafted in five years as president.

The Seahawks drafted three different fullbacks in that time, a punter and a long-snapper who was placed on injured reserve before he could play a snap. They also picked a kicker who made the roster. In fact, he spent the whole year, there, but three seasons later, that kicker -- Brandon Coutu -- has yet to appear in a regular-season game.

All those picks, and just one running back, which was part of a larger trend. Seattle didn't tend to draft skill-position players under Ruskell. Forsett was the only running back, and he was a seventh-round pick. Seattle picked three receivers under Ruskell, none higher than the sixth round.

But it wasn't just the total, it was the reality that in five years, Seattle chose exactly two skill-position players in the first three rounds of the draft: quarterback David Greene was a third-round pick in 2005, tight end John Carlson a second-rounder in 2008.

Oh, Seattle gave up a third-round pick to acquire Nate Burleson from Minnesota in 2006, and the Seahawks traded away a first-round pick for Deion Branch a year later, but Seattle didn't use its high-end picks on the players you typically rely upon to score touchdowns.

Now, that hasn't changed entirely since Ruskell's departure. Seattle spent two years doing yeoman's work in reassembling the offensive line, and the first two picks in this year's draft play defense: end Bruce Irvin and linebacker Bobby Wagner.

But Seattle has already chosen two receivers in the first four rounds under Schneider, and Turbin was brought in as a fourth-round pick this year while Russell Wilson was chosen No. 75 overall, the highest pick the franchise has spent on a quarterback in more than a decade.

Forsett's departure didn't come as any sort of surprise. There was no longer a role for him in Seattle's backfield, and in fact, the Seahawks assigned No. 20 -- the number Forsett wore in Seattle -- to Kregg Lumpkin.

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