FILE - Seattle Seahawks new NFL football head coach Mike Macdonald speaks during an introductory press conference, Feb. 1, 2024, in Renton, Wash. It’s the start of a new era for the Seahawks with Macdonald taking over as head coaching replacing Carroll and the franchise going from the oldest coach in the league to the youngest. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)

A new era arrives for Seahawks entering 2024 NFL draft

Even with John Schneider still in charge, the dynamic changes with Pete Carroll gone.

  • By TIM BOOTH AP Sports Writer
  • Friday, April 19, 2024 4:21pm
  • SportsSeahawks

RENTON — For the first time in 14 years, general manager John Schneider will be leaning on a new voice inside the Seattle Seahawks draft room.

The influence Pete Carroll carried as Schneider’s partner when it came to putting together the plans for how Seattle would approach the draft is no longer there. And while the draft has often been Schneider’s show to run in the past, it will be a different dynamic with Carroll no longer by his side.

Seattle has seven picks entering this year’s draft, which takes place Thursday through Saturday in Detroit, beginning with No. 16 overall in the first round. It’s the start of a new era for the Seahawks with Mike Macdonald taking over as head coach, replacing Carroll, and the franchise going from the oldest coach in the league to the youngest.

But the constant is Schneider, entering yet another draft where if the Seahawks intend on rejoining the elite of the NFC they need to find some key pieces that can contribute sooner rather than later.

The draft always seemed to be where Schneider shined. It was his chance in the spotlight while the rest of the year belonged mostly to Carroll as the face of the organization. Carroll provided his thoughts before and during the draft, but it was mostly Schneider’s party to run.

It’s different now with Macdonald in the chair next to him, but how the pair needs to work together should stay similar.

“The dynamic with Pete and with Mike, it’s a true partnership, so that part’s not going to be different,” Schneider said at the NFL scouting combine.

The change at head coach comes in a year with some critical draft decisions for Seattle.

There are clear and obvious holes in Seattle’s current roster. Along with clearly needing help on both sides of the line of scrimmage there’s the constant lingering question of whether this could end up being the year Seattle grabs a quarterback high in the draft.

QB question

In the 14 previous drafts where Schneider has been in charge, the Seahawks have never taken a quarterback earlier than Russell Wilson in the third round in 2012. Last year seemed a possibility when Seattle had the No. 5 pick, but all the top targets were gone by the time the Seahawks turn arrived and they took cornerback Devon Witherspoon.

Geno Smith will be the starter this season. Sam Howell will be his backup. After that, it’s a guess what direction the Seahawks will go — unless this is finally the year a first-round pick is used on a QB. And with former Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. potentially available in the middle of the first round, and his college offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb now in charge of Seattle’s offense, there will be a lot of attention around that selection.

Needs

Without question, the line of scrimmage would seem to be the primary target early for Seattle with the interior of the offensive and defensive lines both needing to be addressed. Seattle likely signed its starting left guard, nabbing veteran Laken Tomlinson recently, but finding a center would be a significant win as the Seahawks have struggled to find a permanent solution at the position since trading Max Unger a decade ago. Getting another interior offensive lineman who can be an option at right guard would be another wise move. Seattle also has just one tight end with significant NFL experience on its roster right now.

On the defensive side, Seattle could use some more bulk at defensive tackle. Another edge rusher would be a possibility and depth at linebacker will likely need to be addressed.

Don’t need

Seattle’s roster depth is such that there are no absolutes for areas that couldn’t use a few additional bodies. Wide receiver is one spot where the Seahawks have likely enough depth with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Cornerback is another spot that should be set with Witherspoon, Riq Woolen, Mike Jackson and Tre Brown all returning.

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