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Seahawks GM John Schneider: ‘Safe to say’ Seattle will try for more than 4 draft picks

Seahawks GM John Schneider has his work cut out for him with just four draft picks in 2019. (AP)

Looking at the Seahawks’ 2019 draft board makes John Schneider feel sick to his stomach.

When the first round of the NFL Draft kicks off on April 24, Seattle will head into the three-day event with a league-fewest four selections. Schneider requested that a tag with Duane Brown’s name be added to the second round so he’d feel less frustrated with Seattle’s options.

Schneider: Seahawks have ‘huge puzzle’ with contracts looming for 3 stars

“Right now we’re looking at 11 picks in 2020,” he told Brock Huard and Mike Salk during a Monday morning interview on 710 ESPN Seattle. “But we have four right now and I spent the weekend looking at our board like, that’s… not cool.”

Seattle gave up a 2018 fifth-round pick and this year’s second-round pick in an October 2017 trade with the Houston Texans in exchange for All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown. In retrospect, the trade paid off for Seattle: Brown finished the 2017 season as Seattle’s top-graded offensive lineman, and in 2018 headed up an offensive line that ranked in the top-20 in pass-blocking efficiency for the first time since 2012. The Seahawks signed Brown to a three-year extension in 2018, which will keep him with the team through the 2021 season.

Still, that doesn’t totally lessen the sting of four picks. Two other picks were traded away in the 2018 offseason: a sixth-rounder to Green Bay for backup quarterback Brett Hundley, and a seventh-rounder to Oakland for safety Shalom Luani. Only Luani was retained this offseason.

The Seahawks currently have a first-round pick (21st overall), third-round pick (84th overall), fourth-round pick (124th overall), and a fifth-round pick (159th overall). Is it safe to say they’ll try to make more than four?

“It’s safe to say,” Schneider said. “But it’s a darn good draft. I could see a very good player being there for us at 21. And the other part of it is everybody’s like, ‘Well, they always like to go back.’ You have to find a partner, you have to negotiate within a specific amount of time. It’s not an easy thing to just move back. So yeah, we’d love to pick more than four times. It’s just going to be how do you do it? It’s going to be a challenge this year because, like I said, the depth, the way we see it, is pretty good.”

Here are a few other notes:

Schneider expects Delano Hill, among others, to take a leap in 2019

Asked who he expects to take a step forward from Year 1 to Year 2, or from Year 2 to Year 3, Schneider began with strong safety Delano Hill.

“A bunch of guys,” Schneider said. “Man, I think Delano stands out right away. We’ll get (Will) Dissly back; he was doing a great job for us. Obviously Tedric (Thompson) will take another step. Tre Flowers. Rasheem Green, I look for good things for him. He had one of those typical rookie years, same thing with (Rashaad) Penny. Penny had never, ever been hurt before. He had the highest medical grade that we can give people. Then he came in and was like, what? What is this? So he was figuring out how to deal with his injuries. David Moore, obviously. I think it’s a pretty cool group.”

Seahawks’ draft board being narrowed down…

“We started with about 1,200 (names),” Schneider said of Seattle’s prospects. “And then we get it down to about 300, and over the next couple weeks we’ll probably get it to about 150 that we know, ‘These are Seahawks.'”

Seattle was more ‘selective’ in free agency this year

“Last year we had some significant losses with Kam’s (Chancellor) injury and Cliff’s (Avril) injury, losing Luke (Willson), and Jimmy Graham leaving, Paul Richardson leaving. So I think we were a little bit more aggressive with the unrestricted guys. This year we’re trying to be a little bit more selective with the cap guys or the guys that don’t count toward your compensatory picks.”