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While league focuses on defense, Seahawks draft heavy on offense

Alex Collins was one of three running backs and eight offensive players total taken in the draft by Seattle. (AP)

RENTON – There were more defensive players chosen in the first three rounds this year than any NFL Draft in the past 60 years.

So of course this was the year Seattle’s draft class overwhelmingly stilted toward offense with eight of the 10 players picked playing on that side of the ball.

Typical Seattle. Even when the Seahawks are in the midst of a draft class that many are calling their most conventional under general manager John Schneider, Seattle still managed to go in a different direction than the rest of the league.

Seahawks draft page

Of the 98 players chosen in the first three rounds of the draft, 58 played defense. According to ESPN Stats and Information, that’s the highest number of defensive players chosen in the first three rounds in the era of the common draft which goes back before the AFL-NFL merger. The previous high was 55 set in 2013.

Seattle was swimming upstream against that current. Of the five players Seattle drafted in the first three rounds, four played offense. The trend remained just as pronounced on Saturday with four of the five players Seattle drafted in the final four rounds playing offense.

Of Seattle’s 10 picks, three were offensive linemen with tackle Germain Ifedi taken in the first, guard Rees Odhiambo in the fourth and center Joey Hunt chosen in the sixth round. Seattle also added three running backs with the selection of C.J. Prosise in the third, Alex Collins in the fifth and then Zac Brooks in the seventh. Throw in third-round pick Nick Vannett, who is an end-line tight end out of Ohio State, and we should stop hearing anyone wonder if the Seahawks are going to become a more pass-oriented offense.

This is a team that is going to run the ball, and they have now added the blocking beef and depth behind starter Thomas Rawls to make sure that happens.

In one sense it’s surprising to see Seattle spend so much draft capital on offense. After all, this is a team built upon the bedrock of its defense, which has allowed the fewest points in the league each of the past four years. But actually, this marks the third time in four years that Seattle has drafted more players on offense than defense. In 2013, Seattle drafted 11 players, its most in seven drafts under John Schneider. Seven of those played offense.

Seattle drafted two defensive players this year: trading up to draft defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Alabama) in the second round and then giving up next year’s fourth-round pick to choose defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson (Maryland) in the fifth round. Seattle had not drafted so few defensive players since 2008 when the Seahawks drafted three players on offense, two on defense and then a kicker and a punter, neither of whom ever played in a regular-season game.

Seattle emphasized offense even more this year even as the rest of the league was focusing upon the defense.