Will Seahawks look for quarterback in NFL draft?

RENTON — The Seahawks hope they found their quarterback of the future when they signed Matt Flynn last month. That does not, however, mean they won’t keep looking for players at the game’s most important position when the NFL draft begins Thursday.

Since taking over as the Seahawks general manager two years ago, John Schneider has repeatedly said that he’d prefer to take a quarterback in every draft, regardless of need. That’s a philosophy he brings with him from Green Bay, where the Packers would routinely draft quarterbacks despite having Brett Favre.

That’s how future Pro Bowlers Matt Hasselbeck and Mark Brunell came into the league, and how the Packers ended up with Aaron Rodgers in 2005 despite Favre still having several good years left in him. And for that matter, that same strategy is responsible for producing Flynn, a seventh-round pick in 2008.

The signing of Flynn should keep Schneider and Pete Carroll from panicking and taking a quarterback just for the sake of taking one. However, it won’t keep them from searching for depth at that position somewhere over the course of next week’s three-day draft, which runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And that includes the possibility of picking up a quarterback in the first round.

Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, widely seen as the draft’s third-best QB behind Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, will probably be gone by the time the Seahawks pick at No. 12. If he isn’t, Schneider and Carroll would consider taking him, even though the team already has committed a pretty healthy sum of money to Flynn. Schneider and Carroll attended Tannehill’s pro day last month and came away impressed.

“He’s a really good football player,” Schneider said. “He’s got a great upside. We’d definitely consider him. … It’s no disrespect to Tarvaris (Jackson) or Matt or Josh (Portis) at all. The guys know that at some point we want to get this thing rolling where we get a younger quarterback in and whether it’s the first round, second round, or however it comes, it’s just been my experience that I’ve had where we say if they come to you, that’s how it works out the best.”

Of course, Schneider is well aware of the fact that he won’t likely have a decision to make when it comes to Tannehill.

“It’s fun to talk about, but he’s not going to be there,” Schneider said. “I think he’s going to get drafted pretty high.”

Instead, the more likely scenario for Seattle would be to draft a quarterback somewhere in the middle or late rounds and have that player compete with Portis for the No. 3 job. That’s a lot different than the past few years when a big topic heading into each draft was whether or not Seattle had to find a quarterback in the first round.

In 2009, a lot of people thought the Seahawks should have taken Mark Sanchez to become Hasselbeck’s eventual replacement, but instead they drafted with linebacker Aaron Curry. A year later, the Seahawks were linked to Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen or perhaps Texas QB Colt McCoy in later rounds, but ended up without a quarterback. Last year, they considered TCU’s Andy Dalton with the 25th pick but instead went with Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter.

This year there won’t be pressure to take a quarterback early, but Schneider still hopes to add one at some point. Despite his draft-a-quarterback-every-year philosophy, Schneider has yet to draft a quarterback with the Seahawks. He hopes that changes this year, but he’s also not going to force the issue.

“You can’t just manufacture a guy,” Schneider said. “You can’t just create him. When you do that is when you get in trouble so you have to take steps until you get there. It’s not like we’re against taking risk. I think Pete and I and the staff have proved we’re willing to take risks, but they can’t be risks that would completely set the organization back.”

This may finally be the year the Seahawks do draft a quarterback, but thanks to the signing of Flynn, it is also the first year in a while where not doing so wouldn’t be viewed as a disappointment.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com.

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