“I wish we could’ve found a pass rusher,” the Seattle Seahawks coach said after his first draft since returning to the NFL. “But it worked out well.”
Carroll, who flopped in two NFL coaching stints but won two national titles at Southern California, is off to a good start in rebuilding the Seahawks.
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Seattle had arguably the NFL’s best draft, landing Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung and Texas safety Earl Thomas with first-round picks, followed by Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate. The Seahawks also obtained running backs LenDale White and Leon Washington in trades.
“So many things that had to come together did. A big part of this was that we had to get our minds together to function as one,” said Carroll, alluding to new general manager John Schneider.
“First go-round, not bad. But … we were sweating a bit.”
When Okung was available in the sixth slot, the Seahawks jumped to address their top priority. He’ll replace retiring left tackle Walter Jones. Thomas was picked 14th.
Said Carroll, “We lucked out.”
Carroll, though, drew some heat for that choice. Ex-USC safety Taylor Mays, picked in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers, said Carroll misled him. He believed he would be that pick.
“I never misled anyone,” Carroll said. “I know he’s disappointed. We both hoped it would work out that he’d come here, but that’s not the case.”
Yet there is a reunion with another ex-Trojan, White, who set a school career record with 52 rushing touchdowns.
“He’ll fit perfectly,” Carroll said. “He’s an aggressive runner, and a crucial element to winning is an aggressive rushing attack.”