Seahawks trade back twice in first round, acquire 3 more picks
RENTON – After the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night, general manager John Schneider acknowledged that acquiring more selections was a priority for the Seahawks, but, in his words, only to a certain extent. They didn’t want to do so if trading down meant losing out on a player they coveted.
And that’s why Seattle feels so good about how its draft has started, as anticlimactic as it may have been for those who hoped the Seahawks would emerge from the first round with a big cornerback to shore up their secondary or an offensive lineman to protect Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks didn’t select a player Thursday night. They instead moved down in the first round and then out of it entirely in separate trades that netted them three more picks. And they believe they’re still positioned well to draft one of the top-rated players they’ve had their sights on all along.
“That’s what was great,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We didn’t feel like we lost a player to make the moves.”
The Seahawks first moved down five spots in a trade with Atlanta, giving up the 26th overall pick in exchange for No. 31 and picks in the third (No. 95) and seventh (No. 249) rounds. Seattle then sent the 31st pick to San Francisco, moving down three spots to get the 49ers’ second-round pick (No. 34) and a fourth (No. 111).
So after entering the draft with seven picks, a low amount by their standards, the Seahawks now have 10. That includes two in the second and a whopping four in the third, which will make for an eventful Friday evening. Two of Seattle’s third-rounders are compensatory picks, which can now be traded. That means the Seahawks have ample draft capital to move up, something they’ve been much more willing to do in recent years.
“We have some freedoms here that could come to us,” Carroll said when asked about potentially trading up. “We’re in a great spot in a couple of these rounds now. We’re not going to turn down phone calls. John will be workin’ it.”
The trades with Atlanta and San Francisco mark the ninth and 10th times the Seahawks have moved down in the draft order to acquire more selections under Schneider and Carroll, counting pick-for-pick swaps only. The way the first round unfolded before them made those the logical moves.
It wasn’t a case of the talent pool diminishing in front of the Seahawks to the point that they didn’t have a first-round grade on any of the players who were left. It appears to have been the opposite, with the teams before them passing repeatedly on the prospects who would fill the Seahawks’ most pressing needs. Only three players from a deep crop of cornerbacks were taken among the first 25 selections while only one offensive lineman was off the board when it came time for the Seahawks to pick at No. 26.
So they didn’t pick at all, instead trading back and then doing it again with the belief that they’ll still have their shot at a player they like at No. 34, which is the second pick in the second round.
“It worked out exactly like we hoped it could,” Carroll said. “Now here we are going into tomorrow only one pick away from knowing that we’re up. We feel great about that because we had a good sense for it. It worked out just the way we wanted it.”
Previous drafts have shown that the Seahawks’ top needs don’t necessarily dictate their top picks, but an offensive lineman or a cornerback still feel like the most likely choices at No. 34.
New Orleans took Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk to close out the first round, which leaves Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp and Alabama’s Cam Robinson as the best offensive linemen remaining. Robinson, who last season won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top offensive lineman, played left tackle for the Crimson Tide, but some believe he projects as a right tackle or a guard in the NFL.
Washington’s Kevin King and Florida’s Quincy Wilson are among the top cornerbacks still available. So is another ex-Husky, Sidney Jones, who may have gone in the first round had it not been for the Achilles injury he suffered at UW’s pro day. All three have the size Seattle prefers at the position.
Here are the Seahawks’ 10 picks:
Round 2: 34, 58
Round 3: 90, 95, 102*, 106*
Round 4: 111
Round 6: 210
Round 7: 226, 249