RENTON – Just call it Schneider-Carroll 2.0.
The Seattle Seahawks tandem of coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider begin Year 2 of the challenging task of rebuilding the Seattle Seahawks, starting with today’s NFL draft, which begins at 5 p.m.
The Seahawks made nearly 300 roster transactions last year as the two attempted to revamp an aging and underperforming roster. Expect the moves to continue, but at a much slower pace this season – for a couple of reasons.
First, with the uncertainty of an ongoing labor dispute, no one knows for sure when free agency, training camp or the regular season will begin.
Second, Carroll got started establishing his culture and philosophy last season, and now is focused on putting another layer of bricks on the foundation that was laid in 2010, which included an unlikely playoff run.
The tenuous labor situation has created an unorthodox league schedule where the draft is taking place before free agency, leaving teams to focus more closely on filling needs through the draft.
“There’s less information about putting your team together at this point,” Carroll said. “And I think everybody is in the same boat with that. We just have to reverse the aspect of free agency following the draft, we hope.”
Because there’s no free agency, teams cannot trade players, only future picks, which could hamper Seattle’s ability to get deals done.
Schneider already indicated the Seahawks would rather move down than make a pick at No. 25 overall. The Seahawks have eight picks in this year’s draft, but no third-round pick because of the trade for reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst from San Diego last offseason.
“I think it will definitely affect the trades,” Schneider said. “And so I’m not sure if you will see quite as many trades as last year, or in previous years. I think the majority of teams have a list of, I’m guessing but we’ll just say five guys. And they’d say before the draft, ‘Take a look at these players because, you know, at some point we may call you during the draft and present options for you.’ ”
Both Carroll and Schneider indicated that improving the offensive and defensive lines remains a priority. And both want to continue to replenish the roster with younger talent in an effort to build a team that can consistently compete for Super Bowls for the long haul.
“I would like to be younger,” Schneider said. “I think the way we finished the season was great philosophically for Pete and his staff, and the culture of the team and the culture of the locker room, and people buying into his philosophy.
“But we didn’t have much depth, and you saw how many transactions we made just to try and add quality depth. And then we got to a point in the season where we started getting hit hard with injuries, and we kind of just ran out of guys and had to add some veteran types. ...We want to be young, tough, smart, fast and aggressive. We want that to be our staple, and then get this roster to a point where every year in the draft, that’s what we’re doing. We’re just adding to that group.”
Schneider’s using the blueprint for building rosters that he learned in his previous stop in Green Bay, where his mentor, Packers head personnel man Ted Thompson, focused on trading down in drafts to pick up more talent to replenish the roster.
The Seahawks made two draft-day trades last year, sending the team’s fourth-round pick (No. 104 overall) and sixth-round pick (176) to Tennessee for the Titans’ fourth-round pick (111, which turned out to be cornerback Walter Thurmond), sixth-round pick (185, used on tight end Anthony McCoy), defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson and running back LenDale White.
That trade didn’t turn out well for Seattle, because both Vickerson and White were let go before the season started.
However, Seattle’s other draft day trade turned out much better, with the Seahawks sending a fifth-round pick (139) to the N.Y. Jets for a seventh-round selection (236) and running back/returner Leon Washington.
Schneider and Carroll need to add a handful of prospects in this draft that can come in and make plays come September.
“Hopefully we have a couple guys that are impact players,” Schneider said. “And that you’ve kept the cohesion of the locker room in tact, and I think that you’ve added quality people, and guys that are going to be quality, competitive guys every year. Like every year, you know they’re going to show up and be good pros, and they’re going to be competing with other guys and setting a standard at their position on your team.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks
MASON FOSTER, LB The Pac-10 tackles leader from Washington, Foster’s draft stock is on the rise. He’s projected to go as high as the second round.
CAM NEWTON, QB Some folks may take issue with the way he carries himself, but there’s no denying Newton’s talent, which is why the Panthers will take him No. 1.
Jake locKer, QB Washington’s gritty leader could be selected in the first round – before Seattle has a chance to take him at No. 25. The Seattle Seahawks want to trade down from No. 25, but if they make the pick, defensive tackle Corey Liuget, right, could be the guy. The University of Illinois product is part of a deep defensive line class and helps fulfill coach Pete Carroll’s priority to beef up the line on both sides of the ball.
Eric D. Williams, staff writer
INSIDE: First round draft order. B3