Seattle Seahawks

Seattle's pre-draft process less bumpy

INDIANAPOLIS - With a full year to prepare for the draft, Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said he has streamlined the team's preparation. Other than that, things are pretty much the same in regards to how the Seahawks evaluate players.

“When I came in last year, I didn’t change what we were doing,” Schneider said. “We kind of melded the two together. If anything, we’ve kind of streamlined stuff so our draft meetings are just that much smoother. I think we probably knocked off like a day for our draft preparations before the (NFL scouting combine). But in terms of us preparing, we’re not doing anything different.”

Schneider said he doesn’t expect to make as many as the nearly 300 roster transactions Seattle made last season, when he and coach Pete Carroll were setting the foundation.

But the Seahawks have some critical decisions to make, including whether to bring back quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane. Both are free agents and would likely receive a lot of attention if allowed to test the free-agent market. But Schneider said he would like both of them back.

“It’s going good,” Schneider said about discussions with Hasselbeck. “We’re having great dialogue. Matt’s Mr. Seattle, and he’s done a ton of great things for the city – on and off the field. We’ve had good dialogue.”

Whether the two sides can come to an agreement is a situation Schneider said will have no affect on whether the team takes a quarterback in the draft.

“You’ll see us looking at quarterbacks every year,” he said.

Schneider said he met with Mebane’s representatives in Indianapolis on Thursday, and that the four-year veteran remains an important piece of Seattle’s future defensive plans.

“Brandon played well,” Schneider said. “I think Brandon’s a steady pro. Definitely, we hope we can have him back. We talked to his guys last night, and we’re having good discussions with them.”

Looking ahead to the draft in April, one player piquing Seattle’s interest is offensive lineman Mike Pouncey. The Florida product said he had an interview with the Seahawks and offensive line coach Tom Cable on Thursday, one of three teams he talked with that day. And he had another 12 scheduled for Friday.

Like his twin brother Maurkice, a Pro Bowl selection for Pittsburgh as a rookie last season, Mike Pouncey played center for the Gators and would like to continue to play center next season. He had considered coming out last year with his brother but decided to return to Gainesville for his senior season and get an opportunity to play center with his brother gone.

“In our Florida offense, center is one of the main blockers on the field,” Mike Pouncey said. “They pull the whole time and it gives you a lot of chances to show people what you can do. By me coming back and playing center, it opened up a lot of eyes to lot of coaches.”

But some draft experts project him as a guard in the NFL because of his ability to move and block.

Rob Rang, senior draft analyst with NFLDraftScout.com, has Seattle selecting Pouncey at No. 25 in his latest mock draft.

“I just think he’s a perfect fit for what they do,” Rang said. “He has the mobility. He has the toughness. He’s a four-year starter, so you love that durability. You love the fact that he’s gone against elite-level competition in the SEC throughout his career. Obviously he has the versatility to play guard or center, so you like all of those kinds of things.”

LOCKER PRIMED TO PERFORM AT COMBINE

University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker appeared polished and poised while talking to reporters at the combine.

Locker said he’ll throw and do all the workouts except lift weights this weekend.

In preparation for the combine, Locker has been working with former NFL quarterback Ken O’Brien in Irvine, Calif. He’ll be down there for a few more weeks, and then return to Seattle to work with the receivers he will be throwing to at his March 30 pro day at UW.

Locker also knows his accuracy issue will be the main question he has to answer at the combine.

“It’s something that I knew coming into this that would be one of the big points of question, and so I’ve prepared for it and I’m ready for it,” he said.

SEAHAWKS CONFIRM QBS COACH HIRE

The Seahawks confirmed Carl Smith was hired as quarterbacks coach, replacing Jedd Fisch, who left to take the offensive coordinator position at the University of Miami.

Smith and Carroll coached together when Carroll was the coach for New England from 1997 to 1999, and again at USC in 2004. Smith, 62, was quarterbacks coach in Cleveland last season.

Before that, Smith was the offensive coordinator for Jacksonville from 2005-07 then took two years off.

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

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