In some way, Schneider and Pete Carroll addressed nearly every position of concern the Seattle Seahawks had entering the NFL draft.
There were the two offensive linemen grabbed with Seattle’s first two picks in the hopes they become the future right side of the Seahawks’ shaky offensive line. Seattle grabbed a trio of defensive backs to try to get help in the secondary, a pair of linebackers that at the very least could help on special teams, a uniquely tall wide receiver and even a bulky defensive end.
But, the Seahawks avoided the position everyone expected Seattle to try to address during the draft — quarterback.
“When we were getting ready to pick they just weren’t there. They weren’t in our area,” said Schneider, the Seahawks’ second-year general manager. “We’re one of those teams that sits and follows our board and quite honestly we didn’t have a guy who was there when we were getting ready. … It never fell that way.”
It seemed inevitable that at some point in last weekend’s draft the Seahawks would grab a quarterback since Charlie Whitehurst is the only one Seattle has under contract and no one is sure if the Seahawks and Matt Hasselbeck will come together on a new contract.
It wasn’t for a lack of opportunities that it didn’t happen. When the Seahawks picked Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter with the 25th overall pick, QBs Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick were still available, although four quarterbacks had already been taken.
Dalton and Kaepernick went 35th and 36th overall, taken by Cincinnati and San Francisco respectively early in the second round.
But they weren’t the only options Seattle let pass. Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi, North Carolina’s T.J. Yates, Idaho’s Nathan Enderle, Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor and Alabama’s Greg McElroy were all taken in the later rounds of the draft and, in one way or another, passed over by the Seahawks.
The approach was somewhat contrary to what Schneider said before the draft that taking a quarterback in each draft was part of a philosophy he believed in after spending much of his career working in Green Bay.
But to Schneider and Carroll, the Seahawks did take a quarterback in this draft — Whitehurst.
Seattle sent its third-round pick in this year’s draft to San Diego in exchange for Whitehurst before the start of last season. Whitehurst never won the starting job from Hasselbeck but did start a pair of games, including Seattle’s NFC West-clinching win over St. Louis in the regular season finale.
“Charlie was part of this draft class in a sense in that we used a third-round pick to get him. We have a young up-and-coming quarterback,” Carroll said. “And I know where you’re looking, ‘let’s go get another one,’ but we’re happy with Charlie and continue to blossom and flourish. He’s a guy in my mind I’m not feeling like we missed out on an opportunity because Charlie is growing with us.”
By not taking a quarterback in the draft, it’s expected to be a position of need whenever free agency begins or trades can be made. New assistant head coach Tom Cable already has four-fifths of his offensive line planned out with Carpenter, third-round pick John Moffitt, Max Unger and last year’s first-round pick, Russell Okung. The only hole is at left guard.
Seattle also needs more depth on the defensive line and said re-signing defensive tackle Brandon Mebane is a priority.
But what the Seahawks do at quarterback will be the focus of everyone, especially after not taking anyone in the draft.
“We had a plan going in and still have our plan,” Schneider said. “We just can’t execute that plan right now.”