USC’s Rasheem Green chases Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins during an Oct. 28 game in Tempe, Ariz.                                Ralph Freso / 
Associated Press

USC’s Rasheem Green chases Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins during an Oct. 28 game in Tempe, Ariz. Ralph Freso / Associated Press

Seahawks trade back, draft USC defensive lineman in 3rd round

RENTON — Oh, yes, the Seattle Seahawks traded again. Of course they did.

And as assured, Earl Thomas stayed a Seahawk.

Seattle general manager John Schneider said there were no offers from any team remotely interesting to the Seahawks to trade their three-time All-Pro safety.

“We’ve been counting on Earl being here the whole time. It’s not even worth talking about,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s our guy.”

Now, so is Rasheem Green.

Seattle moved down three spots in round three, from 76th to 79th overall, on Friday in the NFL draft, then selected Green, a 20-year-old defensive lineman from USC, for a Michael Bennett-type role inside and outside on Seattle’s defensive front.

Green is 6-foot-4, 275 pounds, with 4.73-second speed in the 40-yard dash. He was a defensive tackle for USC last season who often played outside opposing guards. He projects as an end in Seattle’s 4-3 defense. Carroll said Green will be a five-technique defensive end outside opposing tackles and then movr inside as a tackle on passing downs for speed against guard and centers.

That’s what Bennett did while playing in two Super Bowls and making three Pro Bowls with the Seahawks until they traded him to Philadelphia last month. And that’s what Green did plenty of at USC, Carroll said.

Better for Seattle, Green is a dozen years younger than Bennett.

“It feels great. It’s a feeling I can’t describe in words,” Green, who turns 21 next month, said from his bedroom via telephone Friday night inside his Los Angeles home.

His parents were at his side in a low-key family gathering watching the draft.

“My mom was kind of going to cry,” he said, “but she didn’t.”

Green left college a year before his eligibility expired at USC. He said of Carroll, the former Trojans’ championship head man: “They have a great tradition of winning … I believe they are one of the top teams in the league.”

“How ’bout we bring a little ‘Fight On!’ up here?” Carroll asked Green when the Seahawks called to draft him, referring to the USC fight song and mantra.

Green said the Seahawks met with him at the league’s scouting combine last month. He said he played inside at USC, and “I personally prefer the outside. I would say I’m quick, long and smart.”

He said the Seahawks have talked to him as someone who can play inside and outside on the defensive line.

With their selection Thursday of San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny, the national leader with more than 2,200 yards rushing and 23 rushing touchdowns last season, plus Friday’s pick of Green, the Seahawks have addressed two of their most pressing needs with their first two picks of this draft.

Carroll set as his primary goal for 2018 improving Seattle’s running game. Then the team traded Bennett, and fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Cliff Avril’s career is in doubt because of a serious neck injury.

The Seahawks’ selection of Green met the approval of Tacoma-based NFL draft guru Rob Rang of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and NFLdraftscout.com.

The Seahawks’ 56th trade involving a draft pick in the nine years Pete Carroll and John Schneider have been running the team netted them an additional pick in Saturday’s seventh round. That gives them a total of 10 choices, up from eight at the start of this draft.

It was barely dinner time Friday when the scuttlebutt about Dallas trading its second-round pick to the Seahawks for Thomas finally ended. The Cowboys kept that pick at 50th overall, and with it selected offensive tackle Connor Williams from the University of Texas.

And Thomas remained a Seahawks three-time All-Pro safety entering the final year of his contract, as promised. The Seahawks shopped him, but no team came near the moon Seattle was asking for him.

So, instead, Friday’s second round came and went with nothing for the Seahawks but the reminder of selecting Malik McDowell with their top pick last year. McDowell is why Seattle didn’t have a second-round choice on Friday.

And McDowell is why the Seahawks drafted Green instead of perhaps a cornerback, an offensive lineman or a tight end Friday.

McDowell’s mysterious all-terrain vehicle accident and head injuries last summer have kept him from practicing, let alone playing for the Seahawks. That forced the team to trade its second-round pick in this draft and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse to the New York Jets for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson in September. Compounding that, Richardson proved to be only a rental; he left last month in free agency to Minnesota.

And Seattle had nothing but holes in its defensive line and draft board to show for McDowell on Friday.

Green is arriving to help fill one of those holes. The Seahawks’ most accomplished returning pass rusher is Frank Clark. His rookie contract is due to end after 2018.

Earlier in the day, the Seahawks finally reached an agreement to re-sign veteran cornerback Byron Maxwell for 2018.

ESPN reported the long-awaited deal for Maxwell could be worth up to $3 million, which means including incentive bonuses.

The 30-year-old Maxwell, signed during last season for his second go-round in Seattle, was the fill-in starting left cornerback in November and December after Richard Sherman tore his Achilles tendon. Now that he’ll be back this year, he is penciled — lightly, with the eraser handy — to be the starter again.

But only a temporary place-holder. The Seahawks still want and need a younger cornerback to development opposite Shaquill Griffin, last year’s rookie starter on the right side.

The Seahawks’ next choice is scheduled for Saturday’s fourth round, at 120th overall. That’s one of eight picks from rounds four through seven Seattle owns on the draft’s final day.

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