Seahawks’ Schneider: Changing his scouting, addressing positions of need, more

Mar 11, 2023, 7:47 AM | Updated: 10:24 am
John Schneider and Pete Carroll watch Seahawks practice on June 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

John Schneider has been part of 13 NFL Drafts as the general manager of the Seattle Seahawks, and as you might expect, he’s changed the way he’s done things over the years.

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He recently changed a key aspect of his evaluation style, which he shared during his weekly show on Seattle Sports with Wyman and Bob.

“I pulled off doing a lot of school calls,” he said.

A “school call” in the scouting world is physically going to a college to talk to coaches, staff members and others regarding a prospect’s character and background. Schneider, who was a scout before becoming a front office executive, has gone on many of those calls during his career, including while leading the Seahawks.

“A lot of the scouts get to go to a school twice or three times a year. And when you just cruise in there and they know the general manager is coming in, the people at schools tend to kind of just tell you what you want to hear sometimes,” he said. “And I’ve made some mistakes where I’ve kind of overruled a couple guys because I did the school call as well.”

Schneider said he’s at a point now where he’s relying on his scouts more than he used to to just “tell me about the player.”

“So I study all the players as much as I possibly can, all the schools as much as I possibly can, and I don’t get into the character until our pre-combine meetings about a month ago,” he said. “So the guys there present the player, and now I’m hearing it for the first time so I don’t have a preconceived notion of who the person is based on my personal experience of going into the school.”

During the interview, Schneider also was asked about addressing positions of need in free agency and the draft, and how and where he and the Seahawks decide to target certain positions.

Free agency beginning roughly a month before the NFL Draft means that the open market “gives you an early landscape” into everything.

“You know what the strengths of free agency look like, you know what the draft looks like, you know what possible cap casualties look like from other teams. And then it’s a matter of, OK, how aggressive are we going to be to try to fix a certain specific area of your team and knowing that, OK, there’s more numbers at this position than there are at another position just based on not quality of player, just pure numbers,” he said.

Schneider gave a bit of an example to explain what he means about “pure numbers.”

“You have to be able to kind of mix and match and say, ‘Well, OK, we want a player at Position B and that’s a better player at Position B, but there’s only so many of these other players at Position A, so we better go address that right away before we get to Position B,'” he said.

The Combine Standout

The NFL Scouting Combine is a big part of the draft process, with players getting to show not just their physical measurables, but also showcase their athleticism and skillset in various drills. It also gives teams like the Seahawks a chance to meet with players face-to-face for interviews.

Maybe the biggest star of this year’s combine was Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, who posted the best all-around physical and athletic testing numbers in combine history for a quarterback.

Schneider was asked about the role of the combine and whether an impressive workout can really change his mind on a player.

“Like I said, it’s about the film and it’s about projecting where he’s gonna go. What’s his experience been? What was high school? Who’s been around him helping him out?” he said.

Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have been open about the possibility of drafting a quarterback fifth overall despite recently re-signing Geno Smith and needing help on the front end of their defense.

Richardson is seen as a likely top-10 pick largely because of his high ceiling and athleticism, but his numbers at Florida weren’t great — especially in terms of accuracy — so he’s seen as a “project” who will need to sit before playing.

And while Schneider said “it’s about the film,” he did note that Richardson’s combine testing stood out.

“I’ll say, he was pretty impressive. I mean, it’s kind of like one of those (DK Metcalf) workouts where you’re kind of like, dang, wow, OK, that really happened,” he said.

Listen to the full Schneider Show at this link or in the player below.

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