RENTON — After sticking with their annual tradition of moving back in the second round, the Seattle Seahawks continued another tradition started by John Schneider and Pete Carroll.
They used their first pick on a player nobody saw coming.
The Seahawks, who under Carroll and Schneider have moved back in or out of the second round every year, went from No. 56 to the last pick of the second round. Then they used that pick on Texas A&M running back Christine Michael.
Using a second-round pick on a running back when they already have Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin would have been a baffling move if not for the fact that everyone now expects the unexpected from Schneider and Carroll. Yes, Russell Okung was a no-brainer in 2010, but Seattle’s 2011 first-round pick, James Carpenter, and last year’s, Bruce Irvin, were pretty shocking.
After picking Michael in a classic “take the best player available” move, the Seahawks used their third-round pick filling one of the team’s few needs, using selection No. 87 on Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill.
The two picks were about as different as they could be — one is a skill position player, one plays in the trenches; one plays offense, one plays defense; one fits a need; the other not as much. However, both selections, and what Carroll and Schneider said about them, were somewhat telling about Seattle’s plans for 2013.
Taking another running back might not make much sense on the surface, but Schneider explained that, Michael “was the highest-rated player on our board. … You can’t go through drafts and pass on talents like Michael. When you start doing that, in my opinion, is when you start making a lot of mistakes. It may not look like a glaring need or anything, but we run the ball so much.”
The addition of Michael also served as a reminder that, no matter how good Russell Wilson was late last season, or how much new receiver Percy Harvin will bring to the offense, the Seahawks will still run the ball — a lot. If the addition of Harvin and the growth of Wilson were going to lead to a shift in the Seahawks’ offensive philosophy, you wouldn’t see the Seahawks take a running back in the second round when they already have Lynch and Turbin.
Carroll and Schneider know that there are will be a lot of carries to go around.
“We really expect to have a very balanced attack again,” Carroll said. “That’s part of the philosophy, to have a balanced attack. The numbers will come out pretty equal with run and pass. We were able to hammer it pretty good last year, we love doing that, we love that style of play. So, we don’t expect to change that ratio much.”
How Michael will fit in right away is a little unclear, though he’ll certainly have a big role on special teams. Conversely, Hill, Seattle’s second pick Friday, should find himself in the defensive line rotation right away. With Alan Branch, a two-year starter at defensive tackle, gone in free agency, the Seahawks believed they had a need at that position even after the recent signing of free agent Tony McDaniel.
“Defensive tackle was definitely a need for us; adding depth to the position,” Schneider said. “That was the one spot that quite honestly when you’re putting it together that you’re a little nervous that maybe you’re pushing players because of a need.”
Hill, however, is not a replacement for Branch. Instead, Carroll’s comments made it pretty clear that he wants to go in a slightly different direction with his D-line rather than just replace a player who left.
“He’s different than the guys we have,” Carroll said. “He’s got real nice quickness. He’s got the ability to get on the edge and get in the backfield and penetrate. He’s a really good effort guy, which we always like. He’s a very active kid. Because he’s different he’ll be right in the rotations, then we’ll see how it fits.
“We like the fact that it brings something a little counter to the guys that we have. We’ve been trying to get more activity inside for our pass rush, and this was a guy who we thought was one of the best guys in the draft at creating space for himself in the pass rush.”
In addition to coming out of Friday with a pair of players, the Seahawks added two more picks for today’s final four rounds. By moving back in the second round, the Seahawks acquired from Baltimore a fifth-round pick (No. 165) and sixth (No. 199), giving them 10 picks on the draft’s final day, including three in the fifth round. Those aren’t insignificant additions for a team that has found several impact players on the draft’s final day, including Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, who were both taken in the fifth round.
“We’re looking forward to this,” Carroll said. “This has been a great area of the draft for us, and to have this many picks, the trade that we made, we go in very optimistically that we’re going to come up with some good stuff. There are some terrific kids in the draft at this point, and we’ve worked very hard at this aspect of the draft again. John’s guys have done a great job to prepare us for this, so this is a big time for us.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a Michael highlight video: