Seahawks’ Pete Carroll, John Schneider prepared for an extra deep draft class
RENTON – Seahawks general manager John Schneider was responding to a question on Tuesday about possibly trading down in this year’s NFL Draft, trying to say something without revealing anything, when coach Pete Carroll jumped in.
“We’re not gonna tell ya a thing,” he said, smiling.
That was pretty much true for the entirety of the team’s annual pre-draft press conference, at least in terms of any clues as to what the Seahawks might do with their nine selections. Not that it was expected to be any different considering how close to the vest Seattle tends to keep things around this time of the year. Carroll and Schneider were especially unforthcoming on Tuesday, but there were still some items of interest to come out of their 30-minute meeting with the media. A few of them:
• Schneider said that of the seven draft classes he’s seen since becoming Seattle’s general manager in 2010, this one is “the most impressive one so far in terms of the sheer numbers of players.” Schneider previously said that Seattle will have 200 players on its draft board compared to 130 or 140 in other years. He reiterated that there don’t seem to be as many “drop-offs” as there are in other years, meaning not as many large gaps in talent between groups of players at a certain position.
• Schneider was asked if the overall strength of this year’s class makes it any more appealing to trade back and acquire additional selections. That’s been Seattle’s M.O. under Schneider. Of the nine pick-for-pick trades he’s made, seven have been to move back. After Carroll’s interjection, Schneider said: “If our board says we have several players there, it’s a matter of trying to figure out if you have two or three compared to that one, and with our coaches involved we can figure out what type of role that specific player will play for us.”
• Schneider credited Seattle’s coaches and personnel staff for their ability to keep sensitive draft information secret. The Seahawks are better at this than some teams. Recall their surprising first-round selections of James Carpenter in 2011 and Bruce Irvin in 2012, for instance. Schneider said they haven’t experienced a situation where another team surprisingly jumped ahead of them to take a player knowing Seattle wanted him. “I think it’s a credit to everybody in that room and we have specific rules for our room,” he said.
• Schneider and Carroll reiterated that it wasn’t necessarily Seattle’s plan all along to skimp on its offensive line in favor of allocating resources elsewhere. Schneider said it has played out that way because the Seahawks have re-signed so many of their defensive players as well as quarterback Russell Wilson to big-budget extensions. That has forced them to tighten the purse-strings at other spots, including an offensive line that doesn’t include a single player making more than $3 million a season. The Seahawks have not spent high-end draft capital there in recent years, either. In fact, Justin Britt (second round in 2014) is the only offensive lineman Seattle has drafted in the first three rounds over the last four years. But that hasn’t necessarily been by design, either. For instance, the Seahawks would have strongly considered drafting a center last year in the second round had the one they wanted not been chosen a few picks earlier.
• Asked about his favorite reaction from a player on draft day, Carroll recalled when Seattle chose linebacker K.J. Wright in the fourth round in 2011. Wright was in the middle of his commencement at Mississippi State. “We’re calling him up and he’s whispering to us on the phone ’cause he didn’t want to disrupt graduation,” Carroll said. Added Schneider: “We didn’t think he was very excited to be a Seahawk. Guy’s getting his degree.”