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Seahawks draft 'great class'

Head coach Carroll doesn't care what others think of Seattle's nine picks

  • Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman (left), intercepting a pass intended for USC's Brice Butler, was one of the Seahawks two picks in the fifth round ...

    Matt Sayles / Associated Press

    Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman (left), intercepting a pass intended for USC's Brice Butler, was one of the Seahawks two picks in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday.

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By John Boyle
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman (left), intercepting a pass intended for USC's Brice Butler, was one of the Seahawks two picks in the fifth round ...

    Matt Sayles / Associated Press

    Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman (left), intercepting a pass intended for USC's Brice Butler, was one of the Seahawks two picks in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday.

RENTON -- Go ahead. Rip the Seattle Seahawks 2011 draft.
Tell head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider they reached for the offensive linemen they took in the first and third round. Say they were foolish to make nine picks without getting a quarterback. They will still like this year's draft class, and will stick by it until proven wrong on the field.
"We're real excited about this bunch of guys and we think we have found guys that fit what we're looking for," Carroll said following the third and final day of the draft. "And we don't really care what anybody else thinks or anybody else's opinion of them. We know what we thought about them, so it worked out very well."
Of course no one will really know how the Seahawks or any other team did in the draft for at least two or three years.
"Now we have to prove it," Carroll said. "Now it's on us. We have to show what a great class this is by the way we develop this talent and bring it to the playing field. That's just kind of how this goes."
After making just two picks in the first two days -- Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter in the first round and Wisconsin guard Jon Moffitt --the Seahawks were busy Saturday with seven picks in the final four rounds.
After taking K.J. Wright, a versatile linebacker from Mississippi State, and Kris Durham, a 6-foot-5 receiver from Georgia in the fourth round, Seattle used its next three picks on defensive backs: Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman, Appalachian State safety Mark LeGree and Clemson cornerback Byron Maxwell. The Seahawks rounded out their draft with a pair of seventh-round picks: LSU defensive end Lazarius Levingston and USC linebacker Malcolm Smith.
The run on defensive backs is hardly a coincidence for a team that ranked 27th in the league last season in pass defense despite a better-than-expected pass rush. While Marcus Trufant is still a likely starter at cornerback, and Earl Thomas is the free safety of the future, the Seahawks have a lot of other questions on the back end of their defense.
Seattle's two fifth-round picks are both intriguing prospects despite their mid-round draft status. LeGree, whose only scholarship offer was from Division I-AA Appalachian State, ended up a three-time All-American and finished his career with 22 interceptions, an impressive number at any level of competition.
Sherman, meanwhile, comes to Seattle having played only two seasons of college football at cornerback. Though he was recruited by Carroll to play corner at USC, he instead went to Stanford to play receiver and led the Cardinal in catches and receiving yards as a freshman. As a sophomore, Sherman helped Stanford upset Carroll's Trojans with a catch on fourth-and-20 to keep alive the game-winning drive.
Eventually, however, the 6-3, 195-pound Sherman ended up at cornerback and now on a team led by a coach he once turned down. And even Carroll can't be upset with Sherman for picking Stanford over USC five years ago. Sherman, who went to Dominguez High School, believes he is just the second person from the Compton, Calif., school to attend the prestigious school.
"I wanted to make a statement to my city," Sherman said. "I'm from Compton and it's hard for people to understand that you can be an athlete and have high academic standards and achieve high academic things. I really wanted to make that known to people that you can go to Stanford from Compton."
But for everything the Seahawks felt like they did accomplish, one thing they did not come away with was a quarterback. That sticks out not only because Seattle has only one quarterback under contract for 2011, Charlie Whitehurst, but also because Schneider said a week earlier that he would prefer to get a quarterback in every draft, yet the Seahawks have not selected a quarterback in either of their two drafts under Schneider and Carroll.
It wasn't that the Seahawks didn't have any interest in picking a quarterback, it's just that they weren't willing to deviate from their draft board to get one.
"When we were getting ready to pick, they weren't there," Schneider said. They weren't in our area. We are one of those teams that follows our board. We just didn't have a guy that was there when we were getting ready to take Kris Durham or Sherman or LeGree. It never fell that way."
And the Seahawks aren't bothered by the fact that they still have just one quarterback on their roster and don't know when they'll be able to make trades or sign players.
"We had a plan going in, and we still have our plan," Schneider said. "We just can't execute that plan right now."
Otherwise, however, the Seahawks liked their draft weekend, even if a lot of other people didn't.
"We had an emphasis on working to get bigger up front and get more athletic and add depth to our team, and we feel like we were able to do that throughout this draft," Schneider said. "We did some exciting things."
Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
Story tags » Seahawks

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