Pete Carroll has had his eye on O’Brien Schofield since 2010, when the Seahawks coach was planning to draft the linebacker/rush-end.
Apparently, it does pay to be patient.
Pete Carroll admitted after Tuesday’s practice at the Seahawks training camp that he liked O’Brien Schofield enough coming out of the University of Wisconsin in 2010 that he planned to select the linebacker/rush-end in the NFL Draft.
“This is one of the guys we were going to try and get in the draft,” the Seahawks’ fourth-year coach said with a smile. “We had a place where we were going to pick him. Unfortunately for us he went before that.”
Three-plus years later, Carroll finally got his man when the Seahawks claimed Schofield after he was waived Friday by the team that did select him in the fourth round of that 2010 draft – the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks were awarded Schofield on Saturday and he arrived at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Sunday, but not in time to participate in practice. So his first practice with his new team came on Tuesday, when the Seahawks also were in full pads for the first time this camp.
“He’s a very good football player,” Carroll said. “We’ve watched him play. He played against us. He’s a very active, very versatile football player.
“We’re really excited to get him on our team. Unfortunately, it took us a couple of years to get him.”
Schofield got a couple handfuls of reps in team drills – first at strong-side linebacker and then at the Leo end position in the nickel defense. But the coaches liked what they saw from the 6-foot-3, 242-pounder.
“First, he looked the part – he’s big, he’s got muscles. He’s got that look about him,” linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. said after yet another sun-drenched practice along the shores of Lake Washington.
“Watching his film, he’s explosive, fast and he’s very aggressive.”
It’s the same traits that first attracted the Seahawks. The same traits he displayed while starting the first nine games for the Cardinals last season – which included a five-tackle effort in Arizona’s season-opening victory over the Seahawks – before needing surgery to repair ligament damage in his left ankle.
But Norton also was impressed with Schofield’s desire to fit in as quickly as possible.
“He learned a few plays on the first day. He stayed up all night doing his studying,” Norton said. “He’s fitting in with the guys pretty well.