By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — This is unfamiliar territory for Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.
When the three-day NFL Draft kicks off with the first round tonight, the Seahawks will be merely spectators having traded their first-round pick to Minnesota to acquire Percy Harvin.
“It’s weird,” Schneider said.
The Seahawks theoretically could trade back into the first round, but consider Schneider’s history. Every trade the Seahawks have made under Schneider involving only draft picks has involved going back, not forward. So,it’s incredibly unlikely that the Seahawks will be making a pick tonight.
So what does a GM do with his time when he has to wait another day to start adding to his roster? Well, Schneider did joke he might go watch the draft at Dino’s Pub, which is just across I-405 from the team’s headquarters.
Wait, he was joking, right? Schneider is such a laid back guy — he’s as likely to be heard quoting Will Ferrell as he is the draft philosophies of his mentors in Green Bay — it’s actually not that far-fetched to picture him sipping a Manny’s while watching the first round with Seahawks fans. But assuming that doesn’t really happen, what will Schneider and Carroll be doing tonight?
“We’re just going to sit there and Youtube Percy Harvin highlights,” he said.
While there is an element of humor in that comment, Schneider and Carroll do feel like they’re leaving this weekend with a first-pick, just one who has spent a few years in the league already. Schneider has explained on a few occasions that they see Harvin as a better talent than just about any offensive skill player in the 2013 draft. So, rather than give up a pick to move up in the first round and get someone like West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, the Seahawks instead gave up this year’s first-round pick and a third-rounder next year to get a proven player.
If ever there was a draft to make such a move, it appears it was this one. Draft pundits seem to agree that the 2013 draft class is not very strong at the top, which is why there is little consensus about how the first round will play out. So, the Seahawks might have picked a good year to move out of the first round and take their chances with Day 2 and 3 of the draft.
“When you look at this draft it’s very unique,” Schneider said. “It’s the most unique draft — and honest to god, I’m not just saying this because we don’t have a first-round draft choice this year, I felt that way a little bit when we made a deal with Percy. But now the closer that we’ve gotten with this thing it’s kind of stood out that the first round is just a wide variety of players and it’s really going to be your favorite flavor of ice cream, really. …
“It’s hard to figure out for us right now how it’s going to go.”
Just because the Seahawks don’t have a first-round pick doesn’t mean they can’t improve their team this weekend. Because the 2013 draft class lacks top-end talent, a lot of people are calling it a bad draft, but those who really pay attention say it’s not weak, it’s just not loaded at the top. If any team is going to take advantage of late-round depth in the draft, recent history tells us the Seahawks have a good shot at being that team.
“This has been portrayed as a weak draft, and that’s not the case,” CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang said. “It’s lacking in the dynamic skill position players at the top of the draft, it is lacking there. But this draft is strong on both lines, strong in the defensive backfield. I talked to a guy who has been scouting in the league for 25 or 30 years, and he’s saying there are more draftable guys this year than in years.”
Lacking first-round talent but deep throughout? That sounds like a perfect setup for a team without a first-round pick, but with 10 picks in the final two days. When you add to the mix Seattle’s track record drafting in the mid-to-late rounds under Schneider, Seahawks fans should have plenty to look forward to even if Seattle isn’t part of the first-round excitement.
Since Carroll and Schneider took over in 2010, the Seahawks have drafted five players who have been to a Pro Bowl or been named first-team All Pro. Two of those, Russell Okung, and Earl Thomas, were first-rounders, but the other three — Russell Wilson (third round), Richard Sherman (fifth) and Kam Chancellor (fifth) — were taken after the first two rounds.
Seattle’s mid-to-late round picks also have included fourth-round pick K.J. Wright, a two-year starter at strongside linebacker; sixth-round picks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane, both of whom saw significant playing time at cornerback last year; seventh-round pick J.R. Sweezy, who split time at guard with John Moffitt, a third-round pick; and fourth-round pick Robert Turbin, who had 354 rushing yards and 181 receiving yards as Marshawn Lynch’s backup.
“If you go and look at rosters, you look at all the guys where all the quality depth is and the majority of teams are not built — you have to do well in the first round, don’t get me wrong — but if you can hit on guys along the way and fill specific positions, you’re going to be able to sustain success,” Schneider said.
Having a pick today might be nice for Schneider, but his late-round history and the addition of Harvin are enough that he can enjoy the first-round even if it is a little weird.
The Seahawks signed quarterback Jerrod Johnson, a former Texas A&M standout who went undrafted in 2011.
Johnson, 24, most recently played for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League. He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles after the lockout ended in 2011, but was cut during training camp. He also spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As a junior at Texas A&M, Johnson beat out current Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the starting job and threw for 3,579 yards and 30 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He had shoulder surgery prior to his senior season and ended up struggling that year, eventually losing the starting job to Tannehill.
Johnson gives the Seahawks four quarterbacks on their roster along with Russell Wilson, Brady Quinn and Josh Portis.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.