Seahawks GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll spent about 20 minutes with the media following the end of the third round, talking about their two new draft picks, second-rounder Christine Michael and third-rounder Jordan Hill.
A few takeaways that stood out to me—Carroll’s comments about Hill being a different defensive tackle than what they’ve had, and that he liked that, made it pretty clear that the Seahawks aren’t trying to replicate the line they had last year. If Hill is good enough, he may end up the starter that replaces Alan Branch, but he’s not the same type of player.
Also, the pick of Michael was about getting the best player available according to Schneider, but the fact that the Seahawks took a running back in the second round despite having Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin is a good reminder that the Seahawks, even with Percy Harvin and a more polished Russell Wilson, will still run the ball. A lot. If the Seahawks offense was suddenly going to shift to being significantly more pass having, having a quality third back would not be a priority.
And finally before we get into the quotes, Carroll confirmed that Golden Tate is the team’s punt returner unless somebody can take the job from him. Not too surprising since Leon Washington is gone, but worth noting anyway.
GM JOHN SCHNEIDER
On picking Michael: “He was the highest-rated player on our board, and we lost Leon Washington, so we were looking for a little bit of depth there. He’s just an attacking… he’s our kind of runner. He’s a tough, intense, up field, one-cut guy. He’s a very good football player. A competitor.”
Is he different than Lynch/Turbin: “No, not necessarily. He’s actually the same type of runner. This is a very aggressive football player, he’s a very aggressive runner. He’s one of those guys where you never know if he’s going to try to make you miss or run right into you. He’s overcome an ACL and came back and still had a bunch of touchdowns this year… He’s a really cool player.”
On ups and downs in college/losing starting job: “Much like all of these guys, they’re young men who are growing up. So you’re trying to figure out their past and where they’re coming from and how they’re moving forward with life. He had a little rough stretch when he tore his ALC and he had a new staff come in and went through a whole offensive change and he had to adapt.”
On getting extra picks in today’s trade: “It’s a big deal. We looked to see if we still had a shot at the guy and we still had a couple of people left, and it just so happened that he was still the highest player, so it worked out for us. Actually Hill was one of those players as well, so we knew we were going to get one of those two players.”
On team needs: “This was one of them right here, Hill. Defensive tackle was definitely a need for us. Adding depth to the position. 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. We felt like there was a ledge here now with Jordan. We couldn’t pass on Christine because of where he was on our board and how highly we regarded him, but this was the next tier of defensive tackle. There was a fairly big drop-off. I can’t get too specific because there’s still stuff tomorrow.”
On using a second-round pick at a position where you have Marshawn Lynch when most would say a second-round pick should be a starter: “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, we run the ball so much, and we did have a hole with Leon. There are other players in this draft we still like.”
On Michael Christine: “This guy, he’s big and strong and fast, and we’re expecting him to contribute on special teams as well. I think Christine can be a big factor to help us in that regard as well. I think this is a really exciting spot for us to fill.”
On Hill’s role: “He’ll be right in the rotation. He’s different than the guys we have. 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 though was one of the best guys in the draft at creating space for himself in the pass rush.
On Branch comparison: “We’re not talking about the same guy. He’s different that the guys that we’ve had, and we like that. We need more activity inside to elevate our pass rush, and this is the kind of guy as we move him around that we think we can get some good stuff out of him.”
“We’re going to play him at the 3-technique spot, and he can play at nose as well. We like to move him, put him in different players, not just stick him on the center like we do with (Brandon) Mebane. We’re hoping to use the special quicks that he has.”
“We’ll throw him in there and find out where he fits. He’s a very good run defender, he’s very instinctive and makes a lot of things happen. But he’ll be different than the kinds of guys that we’ve played with, and we like that. We’re looking for a little chance there. I think he’s going to be more active in the passing-down situation initially in my mind, but we’re really expecting him to do some cool things in the run.”
On having a bunch of picks tomorrow: “We’re looking forward to this. 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.”
On the run-pass balance moving forward: “We really expect to have a very balanced attack again. that’s part of the philosophy is 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.”