Hawks invest in more picks, speed and a bit of ‘nasty’

dave.boling@thenewstribune.comMay 10, 2014 

RENTON — Apparently, when you win the Super Bowl by 35 points, you can afford to show up late for the NFL draft.

For the second time in two days, general manager John Schneider traded the Seattle Seahawks out of their spot to add more draft picks, then finally picked a receiver with the 45th selection and an offensive lineman with the 64th.

Now, they enter Saturday’s final four rounds of the draft with six remaining picks — the same number they had when entering the draft Thursday afternoon.

It was a combination of wants and needs for the Hawks.

It’s a standing mission statement to get faster, and they obviously need to find help up front to protect valuable franchise quarterback Russell Wilson.

Neither Colorado receiver Paul Richardson nor Missouri tackle Justin Britt was rated as highly by the various analysts as they were taken by the Seahawks.

The Seahawks’ customary response to the opinions of analysts is to ignore them.

In their perpetual quest for athletes with unique talents, they certainly found one in Richardson, who ran an electronically clocked 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash

last winter.

How fast is that? The Hawks last season spent their first-round draft pick in a trade for quicksilver receiver Percy Harvin, who reportedly ran the 40 in 4.32.

So, picture this: The Seahawks face third and long, and they line up Harvin on one side and Richardson on the other. Suddenly, defenses are forced into mismatches and have to make uncomfortable choices.

Why, then, was he available in the second round?

He played at times last season at a scant 158 pounds. That’s what Britt weighed in the third grade.

Richardson said via teleconference after his selection that he is up to 183. (He’s listed on NFL.com at 175.)

While Schneider was passing on opportunities to draft, three highly regarded offensive linemen were taken (UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo, Nevada’s Joel Bitonio and Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio).

The Seahawks have little choice but to upgrade the line, as Wilson was sacked more per pass attempt than any other quarterback in the NFL. And that was before losing starters Breno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan in free agency.

They started addressing that need at the end of the second round by selecting the versatile Britt. At 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds, he saw action at all five positions across the offensive line while at Missouri.

Considering both guard spots and the right tackle position will be open for competition, Britt will have a good chance to earn a starting spot in training camp.

Line coach Tom Cable said Britt will get a shot to compete with Michael Bowie at right tackle from the start, but could play at either guard, too.

“He’s an ornery, mean guy who plays the game the right way,” said Cable, who added that he constantly saw the “traits of toughness and competitiveness.”

He also loved the way he played against South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, the top overall pick of the draft.

Britt is married, has a child and is working toward a graduate degree, but more specifically important to the Seahawks’ needs is his relentless aggressiveness.

Sometimes Cable calls it being “nasty.”

Britt owns up to that. He said via teleconference that when he entered last season, he wanted to be the kind of player who forced opponents to remember him.

“If ‘nasty’ is the word you want to use, then, yeah, I’m nasty,” Britt said.

Cable talked, too, about the offseason improvement of former first-round pick James Carpenter. With two knee surgeries in his first three seasons, Carpenter has not lived up to expectations.

But Cable said Carpenter is healthy, has his weight under control and is displaying a great work ethic. A healthy and productive Carpenter on the offensive line would feel like getting a bonus draft pick.

As it is, they’ve got six more scheduled for Saturday. And if they can add more speed and nastiness, they’ll consider it a worthwhile draft.

Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 dave.boling@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @DaveBoling

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