Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider didn’t mince words when asked what his plans are for his team’s No. 25 overall pick in the first round.
“I have a lot of confidence in our staff, especially this year with the involvement of our coaching staff, where I feel like personally I’d like to move back,” he said. “I have confidence in our ability in those middle rounds to do some good stuff, and have a coaching staff that is excited, and a.) They’re good teachers. And b.) They’re excited to have these guys.”
The Seahawks have eight picks overall in this year’s draft, but no third-round pick because of the deal Seattle made to pick up reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst from San Diego in a trade last offseason. With Matt Hasselbeck hitting free agency once the league’s labor dispute is resolved, Whitehurst remains Seattle’s only quarterback currently on the roster.
“It’s actually easier to go up than it is to go back,” Schneider said about the possibility of making a deal to pick up another draft selection.” I think there’s a number of teams that would like to go back right now. But not having a third-round pick, yeah I’m not excited about that.”
Seattle’s has needs along both offensive and defensive lines, cornerback, receiver and quarterback. The Seahawks have had Washington’s Jake Locker and Ryan Mallet of Arkansas in for a visit at the team’s Renton headquarters, and reportedly are high on Texas Christian signal-caller Andy Dalton.
However, all three have weak spots and are not slam-dunks on becoming a franchise quarterback. And with Seattle having so many other needs, they might be inclined to pass on grabbing a quarterback in the first round and take a developmental quarterback like Alabama’s Greg McElroy or Idaho’s Nathan Enderle in Day 3 of the draft.
“Some of the clubs that I’ve been with, some of the worst drafts we’ve had are where you get nervous and you feel like you’ve got to have a guy,” Schneider said. “And maybe you give up something to go get a guy, or you push a guy based purely on need, and that’s where you can get into a lot of trouble.”
If Seattle does not select a quarterback early and holds onto their first-round pick, look for them to identify a defensive lineman that can come and be an impact player up front. Several draft analysts have said that defensive line is the deepest position in the draft, with as many as 12 expected to go in the first round.
Defensive linemen that could be on Seattle’s radar possibly available at No. 25 include Corey Liuget of Illinois, Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson, and North Carolina’s Marvin Austin.
–Nice fits: Guard/center Mike Pouncey, cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, defensive tackle Christian Ballard.
Look for the Seahawks to move around the draft board, as general manager John Schneider continues his effort to create a younger roster in his second year of this team’s rebuilding effort.
“We want to be young, tough, smart, fast and aggressive,” Schneider said. “We want that to be our staple and get this roster where every year we go into the draft and that’s what we’re doing.”
Schneider comes from a background in Green Bay where mentor Ted Thompson focused on trading down in previous drafts in order to pick up more talent to replenish the team’s roster.
The Packers made 15 draft-day trades from 2005 to 2009 while Schneider was with the team, and 13 of those trades involved Green Bay moving down and picking up draft selections.
The Seahawks made two draft-day trades last year, sending the team’s fourth-round pick (104th overall) and sixth-round pick (176) to Tennessee for the Titans’ fourth-round pick (111), sixth-round pick (185), defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson and running back LenDale White.
That trade didn’t turn out well for Seattle, because both Vickerson and White were let go before the season started.
However, Seattle’s other draft-day trade worked out well, with the Seahawks sending a fifth-round pick (139) to the Jets for a seventh-round selection (236) and running back/returner Leon Washington.
Teams will not be able to include players in trades in this year’s draft because of the labor dispute, but with only eight selections, expect Seattle to be active again this year.
Quarterback: Seattle has only one quarterback on the roster and veteran Matt Hasselbeck’s future in Seattle is uncertain, so expect the Seahawks to either add some depth here through the draft, trade or free agency.
Defensive line: Red Bryant, Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane missed a combined 19 games up front last year due to injuries, so Seattle needs more depth here. The Seahawks also could lose Mebane to free agency, and may look to pick up his replacement early in the draft.
Offensive line: The Seahawks started 10 different starting offensive line combinations last season, and need to find a starting left guard, right guard and right tackle either in this year’s draft or free agency. The Seahawks averaged just 89 yards a game on the ground last season, second worst in the league.
Cornerback: The Seahawks gave up 31 touchdowns through the air last year, tied for third-worst in the league. Starting cornerback Kelly Jennings is scheduled to become a free agent this year, and Seattle’s other starter Marcus Trufant will turn 31 on Christmas Day and has been slowed by injuries. Jennings and Trufant combined for two interceptions last year. Seattle does like the potential of second-year product Walter Thurmond out of Oregon as a potential starter down the road.
Wide receiver: Seattle signed starting receivers Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu to three-year extensions at the end of last season. However, the Seahawks still could use an explosive playmaker that can stretch the field on the perimeter. But young receivers Golden Tate and Deon Butler could fill that role.