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John Boyle | jboyle@heraldnet.com
Published: Thursday, April 15, 2010, 1:48 p.m.

John Schneider on drafting linemen, the future of Walter Jones and more

John Schneider is a week away from his first draft as the Seahawks general manager, as everyone knows, the team has plenty of holes to fill when it starts picking Thursday night.

And the plan, he says, is to treat left tackle as one of those needs. Yes there is a chance Walter Jones could come back, but consider his age (36) and that he hasn't played since the end of the 2008 season, it seems very unlikely that Jones will play again.

"We would approach it like Walter’s not going to be here, quite frankly," Schneider said. "And if he is here, that’s just kind of an added bonus."

So if the Seahawks are in the market for a tackle, what do they think of the this year's crop? And do any of the top tackles fit better than others in Alex Gibbs' zone blocking scheme?

"I would say this group in particular, this year, they would all fit at left tackle," he said. "There’s a strong group in there and they’re all athletic enough to play the position. Because no matter what happens, you still need a guy to hunker down at left tackle and be able to play against big people, but you also have to have a guy that can play against the [DeMarcus] Wares of this world, the guys that can move."

Left tackle, Schneider said, is a position where, zone scheme or not, an elite player is worth taking early.

"That’s the same," he said. "That really ends up being the same."

Talking about his draft philosophies, Schneider admitted that he doesn't simply rate players and always go with the best available player. He said the Seahawks ranking of players will take into account the needs of the team.

"You try to take the best player based off your need," he said.

And while tackle is perhaps the biggest of many needs, he didn't rule out that the team could draft safety Eric Berry, one of the most talented players in the draft, at No. 6.

"Yeah, we would strongly consider taking a safety there," he said.

Schneider also indicated he is in favor of moving down in the draft if the price is right, so don't be surprised if the Seahawks end up moving around on draft day.

Also, in a non-draft related note, Schneider confirmed that receiver Ben Obomanu and center Chris Spencer signed their restricted free agent tenders, and linebacker David Hawthorne signed his exclusive rights tender.


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