With NFL-high 11 picks, Seahawks have flexibility to move up

Apr 27, 2015, 12:20 PM | Updated: Apr 8, 2016, 10:50 am
With an NFL-high 11 picks, general manager John Schneider and the Seahawks have the draft capital to make what for them would be a rare move up. (AP)
(AP)

RENTON – Without a selection until No. 63 overall, general manager John Schneider and the Seahawks are set for a waiting game to begin this year’s NFL Draft.

But they’ll also be armed with a league-high 11 draft picks and a mostly-established roster that probably can’t fit them all, which makes the thought of a rare climb up the draft board seem entirely possible.

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Schneider discussed that possibility during a pre-draft press conference last week, saying that having 11 picks “gives you a lot of flexibility” to either trade back, stay put or – as uncommon as it has been for Seattle – move up in the draft order.

“I think there is going to be some anxious people waiting until 63, with names coming off,” Schneider said before recalling how a long break between picks led to some restless moments in Seattle’s war room during the 2010 draft.

The Seahawks had chosen left tackle Russell Okung and free safety Earl Thomas with the sixth and 14th overall selections, respectively, then had to wait 45 picks before taking wide receiver Golden Tate near the end of the second round. Coach Pete Carroll got antsy.

“We had a huge gap there before we took Golden and I remember Pete being like ‘Oh my.’ It was a long time,” Schneider remembered. “He was like, ‘When are we going to pick again?’ I just asked him to go outside and shoot hoops for a while.”

That wait will be even longer this year, especially without a first-round pick after sending the 31st overall selection to New Orleans in the Jimmy Graham trade. Could the Seahawks shorten that wait by moving up?

That hasn’t been their M.O. in five drafts under Carroll and Schneider, who have more often preferred to move back and acquire more picks. In fact, their selection of defensive tackle Jesse Williams in the fifth round in 2013 came after the only pick-for-pick trade in which the Seahawks moved up.

But consider the state of the Seahawks’ roster and their abundance of picks this year. It’s hard to imagine 11 drafted rookies making a team that has gone to consecutive Super Bowls, even with its needs on both the offensive and defensive lines. Would Seattle be better served using some of those picks to move up?

It would be unrealistic for the Seahawks to jump from 63 all the way back into the first round. But if the right player is still there for the taking, say, a few spots ahead of them in the second, they have the draft capital to go and get him. It’s an option that might carry more appeal to Seattle than it has in past drafts.

“We’re not picking until 63 right now, so that’s a lot of people to see come off your board, especially with the way first rounds usually go,” Schneider said. “It usually goes like everybody’s been talking about for the last two or three months or whatever. There’s a specific pattern. We see all the same guys.

“But then once you get into the second round it’s very much up in the air. I think that’s the most exciting part for us is that, OK, here are these guys, we really like them and where do we move? Do we have to move up? Do we move back? Do we move up to get one of them? Can we move back and get two of them?”

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With NFL-high 11 picks, Seahawks have flexibility to move up