John Schneider reflects on Seahawks’ 2022 draft named NFL’s best

Mar 2, 2023, 5:12 PM
Seahawks Kenneth Walker III Abraham Lucas...
Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III celebrates a touchdown with RT Abraham Lucas on Nov. 27, 2022. (Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

Last April, the Seahawks were able to make a pick inside of the top 10 of the NFL Draft for the first time in over a decade.

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Seattle had a success story with that selection – offensive tackle Charles Cross at No. 9 overall – but it turned out to just be the start of a draft that may be looked back on as one of the greatest in team history.

The Seahawks don’t have to wait for that draft class to be recognized, though. On Wednesday night at the NFL Scouting Combine, general manager John Schneider and the Seahawks personnel department were presented with the 2022 Best Draft Award by Inside the League founder Neil Stratton.

During Seattle Sports’ John Schneider Show on Thursday, the GM spoke about the honor, which he noted carries a lot of weight to him because of who voted on it.

“It’s a real cool deal because it’s voted on by our peers, all the personnel people and scouts throughout the league,” Schneider said during his weekly visit with Wyman and Bob, “and it’s a great reflection of all the hard work that the whole staff, everybody puts in – you know, starting for last year’s draft right in the middle of May and the process working all the way through the summer. And as we’ve discussed before, you know, all the late night school calls and late night reports and all the time in the car and everything like that. It’s a great, great reflection on the personnel staff and then in collaboration with the coaching staff as we prepared for last year’s draft. And we’re right in the middle of it right now down here at the combine.”

A lot of the attention for the Seahawks’ 2022 rookie class went to running back Kenneth Walker III (second-round pick) and cornerback Tariq Woolen (fourth round), who were finalists for the NFL’s Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards, respectively. But as big as their contributions were, so were those from Cross and fellow rookie offensive tackle Abraham Lucas, an Everett native and WSU product who the Hawks picked in the third round. Cross started all 17 games for Seattle at left tackle in 2022 while Lucas started 16 at right tackle, missing only one due to an elbow injury.

Schneider shared what stood out to him about the two tackles’ rookie seasons, including how they performed in early games against tough pass rushers like Nick Bosa (49ers), Randy Gregory (Broncos) and Khalil Mack (Chargers).

“You know, just super impressed (with) the durability,” Schneider said. “Abe missed the one game but, as you well know, long season for rookies especially at that position. The guys they played against starting off the season, the Bosas and the Gregorys and the Macks… it was just a really great experience for those guys and gave them a ton of confidence. … The coaching staff did a great job getting those guys in playing shape, and the strength and conditioning guys did a great job helping those guys (with) their durability throughout the year. It’s a really cool story, they’re both just great guys.”

Schneider added a positive note about Lucas going into the 2023 campaign.

“I was actually standing in line at the Starbucks early this morning with one of Abe’s trainers and she was just bragging to me about how he’s there at 7 o’clock in the morning and working his tail off, and he’s ready to get prepared for next season.”

The John Schneider Show airs at 4 p.m. each Thursday during Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob leading up to and including the first day of the 2023 NFL Draft on April 27. Listen to podcasts of each edition at this link.

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