By Brady Henderson
RENTON – The Seahawks emerged from Day 2 of the NFL Draft with a new running back, a new defensive tackle, and the same number of picks with which they began the day.
Seattle acquired additional fifth- and sixth-round picks from Baltimore after moving down six spots in the second round. The result is that the Seahawks will enter the final day of the draft with 10 selections and just as many chances to make hay in the later rounds, where in past years they’ve found gems like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright.
“We’re looking forward to this. This has been a great area of the draft for us,” coach Pete Carroll said from the team’s headquarters. “To have this many picks, with the trade that we made, we go in very optimistically that we’re going come up with some good stuff. There’s some terrific kids there in the draft at this point.
“We’ve worked very hard at this aspect of the draft. [General manager John Schneider’s] guys have done a great job to prepare us for this, so this is a big time for us.”
Seattle’s 10 picks include one in the fourth round (No. 123 overall), three in the fifth (138, 158 and 165), two in the sixth (194 and 199) and four in the seventh (220, 231, 241 and 242).
Ten picks over the final four rounds is a luxury for a team that doesn’t have many remaining holes. The Seahawks drafted defensive tackle Jordan Hill in the third round, a move they felt they had to make after letting starter Alan Branch leave in free agency.
Now, outside linebacker might be the closest thing Seattle has to a pressing need. Leroy Hill is an unrestricted free agent and isn’t expected to be re-signed, which would create a vacancy on the weak side. The Seahawks have some in-house options, though. Malcolm Smith saw some action there late in the season in place of Hill, and free-agent addition Cliff Avril can play linebacker even though he’s primarily a pass rusher.
A pass-catching tight end to pair with Zach Miller might also be on the Seahawks’ wishlist. So could a backup quarterback with enough mobility to run the read-option and a kicker with a stronger leg than that of Steven Hauschka.
Other positions could be addressed with an eye toward 2014 and beyond.
Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner and Antoine Winfield form what might be the best cornerback trio in the NFL, but Seattle could find itself at a crossroads with those three after this season. Winfield will be 36 and an unrestricted free agent. Browner is scheduled to become a restricted free agent, and it’s fair to wonder if the Seahawks will be able to pay him him if they have to break the bank for Sherman, who will be eligible for an extension.
Seattle is similarly stacked at wide receiver after adding Percy Harvin to a group that already included Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. The significant amount of money the Seahawks are committing to Harvin and Rice could make it difficult to keep all four once Tate (unrestricted) and Baldwin (restricted) become free agents after 2013. Drafting a receiver would give the Seahawks a cost-effective contingency plan.