John Schneider reiterates Seahawks will address OL in draft
Apr 5, 2016, 3:13 PM | Updated: Apr 19, 2016, 5:29 pm
General manager John Schneider has said that the Seahawks aren’t done along their offensive line after losing two starters in free agency and signing two potential replacements.
He reiterated as much during a conversation with “Brock and Salk” while also talking about how the Seahawks have constructed their offensive line as well as the state of that position around the NFL.
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Schneider and his wife Traci joined the show as in-studio guests Monday to promote their annual fundraiser for Ben’s Fund, which assists local families with children on the autism spectrum (you can read more about that here).
When the conversation turned to football, Schneider shared a humorous anecdote that illustrates the consternation among Seahawks fans about the team’s offensive line, a group that struggled last season then lost its two best starters in Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy. The additions of J’Marcus Webb and Bradley Sowell haven’t seemed to ease the outside concerns, which Schneider hears himself. For example, a gentleman from the chapel that he attends patted him on the back after a recent mass and said, “Make sure you take care of that offensive line, huh?”
Asked why the Seahawks haven’t spent more resources on their offensive line (which doesn’t have a player making more than $3 million a season), Schneider said it’s not because they don’t value that position; it’s more so that they only have so much to spend with the salary cap, and they’ve spent it to retain core players at other positions.
And Schneider said the Seahawks aren’t the only team in that situation due to what he described as a dearth of quality offensive linemen throughout the league.
“It’s always been an area of concentration for us. What I tell people all the time is it’s an area of concentration for everybody around the National Football League,” Schneider said. “It’s extremely hard right now to find offensive linemen. It’s just a position over the last several years that has not been especially strong in the draft.”
Schneider said one reason is that players with the right body type to play offensive line instead choose the defensive line after high school because it’s more glamorous.
“It’s just a matter of constantly trying to address that … position, and it never stops,” he said. “We addressed it early in free agency, we’ll address it again in the draft and then we’ll see what’s happening this summer.”
Asked about the offensive linemen in this year’s draft, Schneider said the talent is more evenly spread out than it has been.
“It’s a good group. It’s better than it has been in several years,” he said. “There doesn’t appear to be as many drop-offs, if you will. I remember talking to you guys about Justin Britt. We felt like we needed to take Justin right where we did because there was a huge shelf there, a big drop-off. This one looks pretty consistent all the way through at this point.”
Here are some more notes from Schneider’s appearance on “Brock and Salk”:
• Schneider answered in the affirmative when asked if he feels confident that strong safety Kam Chancellor will be with the Seahawks in 2016, which both sides have either said will be the case. So no holdout this year? “No, I wouldn’t think so,” Schneider said. When asked about where things stand, Schneider’s comments again left the impression that the fences have been mended after Chancellor’s holdout last year. “I think everybody felt it was a little bit of an odd situation, and when Kam came back, he was nothing but a pro. He stepped in right away and was a leader and did everything that he’s done in the past. We all go through different points in our lives that we struggle and try to overcome whatever adversity is in front of us. He’s definitely done that.”
• Schneider said this when asked about defensive lineman Michael Bennett firing Drew Rosenhaus as his agent and hiring Doug Hendrickson, a move he presumably made with an eye toward getting the new deal he’s been looking for since last year: “Doug is actually a good friend of mine along with Drew in the agent community. Not exactly sure why Michael made that decision, but from a communication standpoint, it’s really going to be the same as it always has.”
• Schneider gave some insight into the team’s approach to pre-draft visits, saying that a lot of the players Seattle brings in are those who are projected to be drafted in the fourth round or later and who weren’t invited to the scouting combine, meaning the Seahawks didn’t have an opportunity to talk to them there. Running back Derrick Henry of Alabama would be an exception as he falls under neither category.
• Asked if he’s worried about quarterback Russell Wilson’s weight in light of some recent photos that surfaced, Schneider said, “I’m not worried about him at all.”