RENTON - After two days of waiting for the draft board to come to him, Seahawks general manager John Schneider switched to dealer mode on the final day of the 2010 NFL draft, making two trades to improve depth at running back and add potential impact players on defense and at receiver.
In all, Schneider and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll added 12 players in this year’s draft – but the two headline pickups came via trade, as Seattle brokered a deal with the Tennessee Titans and added former USC running back LenDale White in the fourth round, then a round later traded for New York Jets running back Leon Washington.
The Seahawks selected only three players with the original picks the team held in this year’s draft, an example of the wheeling and dealing Schneider completed leading up to and during the three-day event. Seattle’s nine players selected overall were the most the team has taken since 2005.
Along with White and Washington, the Seahawks selected Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond and North Carolina defensive end E.J. Wilson in the fourth round, Virginia Tech strong safety Kam Chancellor in the fifth round, USC tight end Anthony McCoy in the sixth round and Arizona State defensive end Dexter Davis and Kent State wide receiver Jameson Konz in the seventh and final round.
McCoy was the only USC player drafted by the former Trojans’ head coach.
The Seahawks gave up very little to secure the services of White and Tennessee defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, essentially swapping fourth-round and sixth-round picks with the Titans.
A round later, the Seahawks traded one of their two fifth-round selections to the New York Jets for Washington and their seventh-rounder.
Overall, Schneider appeared content with the players he added over the weekend but understands improving the talent level is a work in progress.
“This is obviously a huge, huge weekend for us, especially with it being our first one with two different staffs coming together,” he said.
“We’ll continue to talk to teams about trades, and we’ll just be involved with a lot of different things. And some may happen, and some may not happen. It just so happened today that some of these things came to fruition, but there are a lot of things that we’re involved with.”
Carroll, too, was pleased with the impact players added to his team. He now looks forward to beginning to put the pieces together starting next week at the team’s post-draft minicamp.
“The thing I liked about the lineup that we drafted is that there are playmakers here,” Carroll said. “We needed to add firepower to this football team on both sides of the football, and I think at least we’ve affected it. Now these guys have to come through.”
The Seahawks also introduced two of their front-line picks to reporters for the first time on Saturday in Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung, taken No. 6 overall, and No. 14 overall selection Earl Thomas.
During their introductions, both said they are not concerned with the possible pressure of being top-15 picks in the draft.
“This is an opportunity,” Okung said. “I say it’s good to have pressure. You want a chip on your shoulder, a big monkey on your back. But you’ve got to carry the load, and I’m fine with that.”
Added Thomas: “I’m not really feeling any pressure. I love this game, and I’m just here to play ball. And once I learn the defense I should be able to play fast, and everything else is going to take care of itself.”
The two are familiar with each other from playing in the same conference, the Big 12. Thomas told an interesting story about how they first met.
“When we played each other, I ran into him when I tried to blitz … and he caught me under my shoulder pads,” Thomas said. “And he’s way bigger than me, and we talked. And I told him, ‘Please don’t throw me on the ground.’ And he didn’t do it. So that’s how we first met.
“I’m glad he’s on my team now.”
And why didn’t Okung throw him on the ground?
“I don’t know why I didn’t do it,” Okung said. “I kind of regret not doing it. I should have went ahead and did it. Good thing we’re on the same team now.”
Asked to name a player he emulates in the NFL, Thomas said he was more concerned with improving his play on the field
“I’m just trying to go out there and play ball and try to make a name for myself, and take it from there.”
Asked the same question, Okung offered up a few names.
“Walter Jones is a great player, and Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace and the great Conrad Dobler,” he said.
Thomas said he chose No. 29 because his number in college – No. 12 – is retired by Seattle in honor of the 12th man.
Thomas said he had 29 his freshman year before he switched to No. 12 his sophomore year. However, Thomas might be switching again with Leon Washington on the team. Washington wore No. 29 for the Jets.
Okung will wear No. 76, the number worn by Steve Hutchinson.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437
Position (school): Cornerback (Oregon)
Measurements: 5-foot-11, 190 pounds
Date of birth: Aug. 12, 1987
The skinny: Thurmond is the bigger corner that Seattle was looking to add. ... He missed most of the 2009 season with a right-knee injury, but in 2008 finished tied for first in the Pac-10 with five interceptions. … Thurmond also ended his Oregon career as the school’s all-time leader in punt return average at 15 yards a return.
Position (school): Defensive end (North Carolina)
Measurements: 6-foot-2, 289 pounds
Date of birth: Oct. 28, 1987
The skinny: Considered a sleeper by Seattle, Wilson will play defensive end on the strong side for the Hawks. … He started 37 games in his Tar Heels career – posting 29 tackles for loss and 12 sacks – and ranked second in 2009 with 12 tackles for loss.
Position (school): Strong safety (Virginia Tech)
Measurements: 6-foot-2, 232 pounds
Date of birth: April 3, 1988
The skinny: A quarterback in high school, Chancellor played cornerback and free safety for the Hokies and will likely play strong safety for Seattle. … He started 28 consecutive games since the start of the 2007 season.
Position (school): Tight end (USC)
Measurements: 6-foot-4, 249 pounds
Date of birth: Dec. 28, 1987
The skinny: McCoy was projected as a third-round pick but fell because he tested positive at the scouting combine for marijuana use. … Considered a decent pass-catcher who can stretch the defense.
Position (school): Defensive end (Arizona State)
Measurements: 6-foot-3, 230 pounds
Date of birth: Nov. 10, 1986
The skinny: Davis will play weak-side defensive end for Seattle. He leaves Arizona State with 31 career sacks, third-most in school history. … Davis started all 50 games of his career for ASU, the most by any player in school history.
Position (school): Wide receiver (Kent State)
Measurements: 6-foot-3, 234 pounds
Date of birth: July 2, 1986
The skinny: A superior athlete, the Seahawks are taking a chance that Konz develops into a player. … He played linebacker for his first three years in college before switching to receiver his senior season, finishing with 21 catches for 298 yards and two scores. ... Had a 46-inch vertical and ran 4.41 40-yard dash at his pro day.
Eric D. Williams, staff writer