Seahawks GM John Schneider on draft, team’s injuries

With the draft rapidly approaching, Seahawks general manager met with reporters for a bit on Thursday. As expected, he didn’t give away any big secrets about who the team will draft with the No. 12 pick, but he had plenty of interesting things to say, and also updated the health on several players who are recovering from injuries suffered last season.

On the injury front, the most significant update, though somewhat expected given the seriousness of the injury, is that tackle James Carpenter, who tore his ACL midseason, is not expected to be ready for training camp.

“That would be overly optimistic, I think,” Schneider said. “I would probably personally guard against it.”

Another player who will likely start the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list is cornerback Walter Thurmond, who suffered a setback in his recovery from a broken leg.

“Walter’s had a rough go,” Schneider said. “He’s had some bad luck with his injuries. He’s a great guy, a good player, so hopefully he’s progressing. We’ll see how fast he can progress.”

The news is better on two other injured linemen—guard John Moffitt (knee) and tackle Russell Okung (pectoral)—are both recovering well and should be ready for training camp.

Schneider was also encouraged by the health of receiver Sidney Rice, who had surgery on both shoulders in the offseason, saying, “this is the healthiest he’s going to be since he’s been a professional.”

As for the draft, Schneider was obviously not going to get into specifics about who the team is targeting, but he did talk a bit about one of the more intriguing players whose stock is rapidly rising—Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. On the surface it would seem like Seattle’s signing of Matt Flynn would keep the Seahawks from drafting a quarterback in the first round, but Schneider said that wouldn’t necessarily be the case if Tannehill were still around at No. 12.

“He’s a really good football player,” Schneider said. “He’s got a great upside. We’d definitely consider him… It’s no disrespect to Tarvaris (Jackson) or Matt or Josh (Portis) at all. The guys know that at some point we want to get this thing rolling where we get a younger quarterback in and whether it’s the first round, second round, or however it comes, it’s just been my experience that I’ve had where we say if they come to you, that’s how it works out the best.”

Now why would Schneider be willing to admit to having interest in Tannehill at a time when teams guard their draft secrets so closely? It could be a big smoke screen, but the more likely reason is that Schneider doesn’t mind talking about Tannehill because he doesn’t think the Seahawks will have a shot at drafting him.

“It’s fun to talk about, but he’s not going to be there,” he said. “I think he’s going to get drafted pretty high”

So assuming it’s not Tannehill, who will Seattle draft? One of Seattle’s biggest needs is at linebacker with middle linebacker David Hawthorne leaving in free agency, but would the Seahawks be willing to take a linebacker that high in the draft? This is, after all, a front office that found a starter in the fourth round last year (KJ Wright) who replaced former first-rounder Aaron Curry, and that greatly cut salary at the position by restructuring Leroy Hill in 2010 and releasing Lofa Tatupu last year when he wouldn’t agree to a reduced salary. Those moves would seem to indicate that the Seahawks, like a lot of other teams, see linebacker as a position where value can be found in the later rounds of the draft. But Schneider said the moves his team has made don’t mean the Seahawks would avoid a linebacker in the first round if they though he was the best player available.

“No, that’s not our philosophy,” he said. “We value that position as highly as all the other positions.”

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