Schneider: Whitehurst will compete for starting QB job

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider offered a wide range of opinions on the upcoming draft and the state of his team in a 50-minute interview with reporters here at the VMAC.

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Schneider appeared more comfortable in his second year as the team’s head personnel man, and several times during the interview session had us in the room cracking up with some quick one-liners, including yours truly on the receiving end of a few zingers.

Here are some tidbits.

— Schneider said that no matter what the team does in the draft and free agency, Charlie Whitehurst will be given an opportunity to compete for the starting job in 2011. Whitehurst currently is the team’s only quarterback on the roster.

“Yeah he is, absolutely,” Schneider said. “Charlie won the biggest game of the season for us. And with absolutely no disrespect to (Matt) Hasselbeck, that was the first week it was Charlie’s game. Charlie went into the other games with Matt’s plan. This was a plan for Charlie. And quite frankly the Rams were playing pretty good at that point. And he took care of the ball and played well.

“Did he have his struggles during the season? Sure. I mean he hasn’t played a lot of regular-season games. So, I thought one of the coolest things he did was come into that Arizona game and bring us right down the field. Now, the series didn’t end that great. He threw a ball he’d like to have back. But I’ve been around a three-time MVP (Brett Favre) that wasn’t a great decision maker early on his career. But he became a much better decision maker.”

— Schneider confirmed that he would like to trade down in this year’s draft from the team’s No. 25 overall pick if the opportunity presents itself, but also admitted it’s harder to trade down than it is to trade up.

— He said it was important for head coach Pete Carroll in his first year to make the playoffs, but also admitted to cringing a little after watching the Seahawks defeat St. Louis in the final game of the season — a win that cost the Seahawks a drop from No. 8 to No. 25.

— In year two of the building process, Schneider said he wants to continue to make the roster younger.

— Schneider also talked about the subjective nature of evaluating quarterbacks, along with the uniqueness of this year’s group and the importance of staying true to the draft board and not reaching for a guy. That fact that up to a dozen teams need a quarterback will make for a more unpredictable draft, Schneider said.

“All these guys are so different,” Schneider said about this year’s quarterback class. “I mean, wow. You go through seven guys, and they’re all just complete different cats.”

— Schneider said the Seahawks would like to come away with an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman in this year’s draft.

— Schneider also said the coaching staff has been more involved in the draft evaluation process because they are not allowed to work with players during the lockout.

— Schneider also confirmed that Carroll is not opposed to going with a quarterback with limited movement skills, pointing to the fact that Carroll and quarterback coach Carl Smith had Drew Bledsoe while in New England. This jibes with the Seahawks’ interest in Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.