Pickless Hawks still will ‘be there’

eric.williams@thenewstribune.comApril 25, 2013 

With the Seattle Seahawks heading into tonight’s NFL draft without a first-round pick for the first time since 2007 — and only the fourth time in franchise history — general manager John Schneider might have some time on his hands.

But don’t expect to see an empty Seattle draft room when the team’s camera flashes images from the Seahawks’ facility on national TV while the rest of the NFL makes their selections during the opening round.

“We’re going to just sit and watch how it comes off,” Schneider said. “We’ll be there.”

Schneider still plans to work the phones and discuss opportunities to improve his team, even though the Seahawks won’t draft until the second round with the No. 56 overall pick.

With 10 picks overall, the Seahawks have enough draft capital to trade back into the first round if a player they like is

available.

However, looking at Schneider’s draft history during his tenure in Seattle, that’s unlikely as he usually likes to move down instead, trusting his staff’s ability to find capable players later in the draft.

Seattle has not moved up in the draft to select a player since coach Pete Carroll and Schneider took over three years ago.

“We don’t really move up,” Schneider joked during his predraft press conference last week. “I’m not going to say that. You never know, there may be a player that falls. We have no idea. My boss (Paul Allen) kind of gives me crud for never moving up.”

Last year, the Seahawks gave up the No. 12 overall pick to Philadelphia in exchange for the Eagles’ first-rounder at No. 15 (which Seattle used to draft defensive end Bruce Irvin), fourth-round (defensive tackle Jaye Howard) and sixth-round picks (cornerback Jeremy Lane).

Seattle also traded the team’s second-round pick to the New York Jets for the Jets’ second-round (linebacker Bobby Wagner), fifth-round (LB Korey Toomer) and seventh-round picks (DE Greg Scruggs).

In 2011, Seattle gave up the team’s second-round pick (No. 57 overall), along with fifth-round and seventh-round selections to Detroit in exchange for the Lions’ third-round (offensive lineman John Moffitt), fourth-round (receiver Kris Durham), fifth round (cornerback Richard Sherman) and seventh-round picks (defensive lineman Pep Levingston).

The last time Seattle moved up in the draft was in 2009 during the Tim Ruskell era. Seattle gave up third and fourth-round picks to Chicago for the Bears’ second round pick, selecting center Max Unger. Seattle also traded the team’s fifth- and seventh-round selections for Philadelphia’s third-round pick, selecting receiver Deon Butler.

With the team’s rebuilding period over, the Seahawks are in the envious position of taking the best player available to fit a specific need, rather than reaching for a foundational piece to the puzzle.

In 2010, with Walter Jones retiring the Seahawks needed a left tackle, and they drafted one at No. 6 overall by selecting Pro Bowler Russell Okung.

In 2012, Seattle had a gaping hole at middle linebacker with David Hawthorne signing with New Orleans in free agency, and the team found a productive starter in Wagner.

This year, the Seahawks filled needs for an offensive playmaker, pass rushers and a nickel cornerback before the draft by trading for receiver Percy Harvin, signing defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett as well as cornerback Antoine Winfield in free agency.

Those moves have freed up Schneider to focus on adding depth each round of the draft.

“You get to a certain point in the draft where I think you can kind of take a deep breath, feel good about your preparation and just go,” Schneider said. “And I think we’re at that point.”

EXTRA POINTS

The Seahawks announced that they’ve signed quarterback Jerrod Johnson. The Texas A&M product initially signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with Philadelphia in July 2011, but was released during training camp. Johnson then signed a futures contract with Pittsburgh in January 2012, but was released in August. Johnson started 29 out of 37 games at Texas A&M, and finished his career holding 24 school records, including total offense (8,888 yards), passing yards (8,011), completions (650) and touchdown passes (67). … Bellevue resident, Seahawks season ticket holder and U.S. military veteran Lloyd Fields will be the team’s representative at Radio City Music Hall to announce the Seattle’s fourth round pick in this year’s draft.

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams

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