Pete Carroll: Most Seahawks action will come after 7th round of NFL Draft

Apr 22, 2019, 3:41 PM | Updated: 3:55 pm
seahawks, pete carroll, john schneider...
The Seahawks have just four picks in this year's NFL draft. (AP)

When it comes to this year’s NFL Draft, most of the action for the Seahawks will take place after the seventh round. With a league-low four picks heading into the draft, head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider indicated that they will dive deep into the pool of undrafted free agents Saturday to find “unique” talent.

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The word “unique” was specifically chosen by Carroll to describe the team’s approach to the draft during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom Monday.

“(What) should be really interesting for you guys to watch is what happens after the seventh round,” Carroll said when asked about Seattle’s draft process. “Because we’re going to work – we’ve got a lot of work to do there and we’ve always been dependent on (undrafted rookies), and our evaluations go really, really deep on the board this year because of the fewer number of picks. That will be an extremely active time for us and a very crucial time for us to do well.”

The Seahawks have hit on a few notable undrafted rookies during the Carroll-Schneider era. Seattle’s top wide receiver Doug Baldwin went undrafted out of Stanford, while former Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse went undrafted out of Washington. Running back Thomas Rawls had a breakout rookie season with Seattle in 2015 after going undrafted out of Central Michigan.

Carroll mentioned defensive tackle Poona Ford, who signed with Seattle last year as UDFA, as a more recent example.

“He’s 5-11 as a nose tackle who was the top player in his conference,” Carroll said of Ford. “He was a phenomenal football player, but nobody felt like a 5-11 guy was worthy of being drafted. He’s worthy of playing, though. So by the time we get to (free agency), now he’s available.

“So you’re more likely to pursue a guy who may be outside of the profile (after the draft)… and we certainly are always looking for unique qualities. There’s kind of a general profile of height, weight and speed and what a guy should look like. And if you only go by that, you’re going to miss a lot of good players. And so you have to have the ability to see the special qualities that maybe draw the guy back into (the fold). That’s why we talk in that manner about unique qualities, because mostly it’s uniqueness that makes those guys outliers.”

In a press conference earlier Monday, Carroll mentioned the defensive tackle’s wingspan. The average defensive tackle is closer to 6-3 (75 in.) compared to Ford’s 5-11 (71 in.) frame. But while the average man has a wingspan that stretches about two inches longer than his height, Ford’s wingspan (80 inches) is a full nine inches longer than his height. Throw in character qualities that clearly piqued Seattle’s interest and a First-Team All-Big 12 nod, and Ford quickly became a target for Seattle post-draft.

The first round of the draft kicks off Thursday at 5 p.m. The Seahawks own the 21st overall pick but are widely expected to trade back – in part because of their lack of draft capital, which they can build up in trading back, and also due to Carroll and Schneider’s history of doing just that. Now going into their 10th season together in Seattle, the pair have made a first-round selection six times, and just twice in the last six years (running back Rashaad Penny and right tackle Germain Ifedi).

The Seahawks’ three other picks are in the third round (84th overall), fourth round (124th overall), and fifth round (159th overall).

During his conversation with Bob, Groz and Tom, Carroll also spoke about the general draft process for Seattle. Listen to Carroll’s full interview in the audio clip embedded above.

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