RENTON — John Schneider opened with an apology.
The Seattle Seahawks general manager got the result he wanted Thursday, but he also understood that the best move for his team was also an anticlimactic one. So when Schneider walked into a room full of reporters following the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, his first words were, “Sorry ’bout that.”
In a move that surprised precisely no one, the Seahawks traded the last pick of the first round, the 32nd overall, to Minnesota for a second-round pick (40th overall) as well as a fourth-rounder (108).
The trade gives Seattle seven picks in the draft, including three today with the two picks acquired from Minnesota, as well as its original second-rounder (64). The Seahawks are still without a third-round pick having traded it to the Vikings as part of last year’s Percy Harvin trade.
Schneider has never hid the fact that he likes trading back to add draft picks — Seattle has moved up only once in four drafts under Schneider and Pete Carroll, doing so in the fifth-round last year. He also admitted this was the result they were hoping for all along.
“Yeah, we were blessed,” he said. “That’s exactly what we were hoping for. We were talking to a number of teams there at the end, and Minnesota stayed with it, so we did it with them.”
“There were some good players there (at the 32nd pick), but we had the opportunity to grab another pick, another player. We saw value in the trade and (we’re) just excited to pick tomorrow.”
And don’t assume the Seahawks are done moving back. Since Carroll and Schneider took over, they have yet to use their original second-round pick, having moved back in 2010 as part of the Charlie Whitehurst trade, then traded back to add picks in each of the past three drafts.
“Now you’ve just got to see how tomorrow goes,” Schneider said. “Right now we’re picking 40, we’ll see what happens.”
Schneider says there are a number of players they liked at 32 who they hope will still be available at 40, but again, he stressed that they are more than happy to move back in the right situation.
“We have a number of players that are suitable for that pick at 32 that we feel would be suitable at 40 as well,” he said. “There’s several guys that we hope will be there tomorrow, but if somebody comes tomorrow with something we can’t turn down, we’ll look at that as well.”
Minnesota was one of five or six teams interested in the last pick, Schneider said, and the Vikings used it on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. There has long been speculation that the Seahawks were in a good spot to trade back, particularly if a quality quarterback was still available at 32, because with first-round picks subject to a fifth-year option, there is incentive to take a high-value position, quarterback especially, late in the first round rather than the second round knowing that if that player pans out, he’ll be a bargain in his fifth season instead of a free agent.
As for Seattle’s competition in the NFC West, Schneider said he was impressed with what everyone did, particularly the Rams, who had two first-round picks and took tackle Greg Robinson with the second pick and then defensive tackle Aaron Donald at No. 13.
“I thought they all did a great job,” Schneider said. “You look at St. Louis, their nickel (defense) package now is going to be ridiculous. They got a total road grader at (offensive) tackle. They did a great job. They all did a great job.
“I told (Cardinals general manager) Steve Keim to pick a punter, but he didn’t do it. Actually, I texted (49ers GM Trent Baalke) that, too, but he didn’t do it either. Kind of bummed me out.”
While Schneider said the Seahawks have a group of players they still like on their board — hence their comfort with moving back — he obviously wouldn’t say who those players were. And while seven more players will be gone before Seattle’s next pick, there are a lot of good players, many of them presumed first-rounders, still available heading into the second round. Those players include Notre Dame defensive Louis Nix, UCLA guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, USC receiver Marquise Lee, Minnesota defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio and Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews, to name a few.
“That’s why we felt even better being able to move back,” Schneider said after saying a lot of talent had fallen out of the first round.
Schneider then wrapped things up with the same message that began his press conference.
“Sorry ‘bout that,” he said, before adding sarcastically, “I know that was really exciting for you.”
Exciting? Hardly, but Seattle’s draft history under Schneider and Carroll says it was the right move.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.