Seahawks trade down, run unexpected route

Staff writerApril 26, 2013 

RENTON — Expect the unexpected from the Seattle Seahawks come draft time.

Draft pundits say they’ll zig, and the Seahawks zag.

The latest surprise occurred Friday.

After moving down six spots in the second round in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens, Seattle selected Texas A&M running back Christine Michael with the 62nd overall pick.

That’s right, with Marshawn Lynch rushing for a career-best 1,590 yards in 2012 and entering the second year of a four-year, $32 million deal, the Seahawks bolstered depth in what looks like an already stocked position group.

Along with Lynch, the Seahawks have second-year pro Robert Turbin in the fold. Turbin, whom Seattle selected in the fourth round last year, rushed for 354 yards in limited duty.

UCLA product Derrick Coleman fills out the depth chart at tailback.

However, the Seahawks lost return specialist and change-of-pace back Leon Washington to New England when they released him in a cost-cutting move. So Michael fills a hole and also adds depth to an important position group for Seattle, with the Seahawks running the ball a league-high 536 times last season.

Even though they have one of the best runners in the league, coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider said after Day 2 of the draft that you can never have enough running backs.

“We ran the ball more than anybody in the NFL last year, so we want this position loaded up,” Carroll said. “So I think that the chance to get another good, strong tough guy like we did just adds to the theme of what we’re trying to present as a team.”

Schneider said Michael was the highest-rated player on the Seahawks’ board when they selected him.

“You can’t go through drafts passing on talents like Michael,” Schneider said. “When you start doing that, in my opinion, is when you start making a lot of mistakes.”

Along with Michael, Seattle selected Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill in the third round with the 87th overall pick.

At 6-foot-1 and 303 pounds, Hill earned first-team all-Big Ten Conference honors in 2012, finishing with a career-high 64 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.

Carroll said Hill fills a position of need at defensive tackle and will be used as an interior pass rusher.

“We’ve been trying to get more activity inside for our pass rush and all of that,” Carroll said. “And this is a guy we thought was one of the best guys in the draft at creating space for himself in pass rushes.”

A powerhouse at 5-10 and 220 pounds, Michael finished his career at Texas A&M with 2,791 yards and 34 touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

However, Michael does have his share of baggage.

Michael suffered a broken leg in 2010 and a torn ACL in 2011, cutting short his seasons.

He then had a rocky relationship with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, who took over for Mike Sherman in the running back’s final season with the Aggies.

Michael plummeted to the bottom of the depth chart and was held out of the Aggies’ 41-13 win over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.

At February’s NFL combine in Indianapolis, Michael overslept and missed two team interviews.

“With the coaching changes, there was definitely some adversity to overcome, and I tell you what, I did,” Michael said. “And I grew up a lot from learning from stuff like that. It was great.”

Michael traveled to Seattle on a pre-draft visit last week. An east Texas native, Michael grew a few minutes away from Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, and the two hung out during his visit.

“Quite often with upperclassmen when a coaching change occurs, there’s a transition time,” Carroll said. “And he went through it. He got along well with the coaches and all of that, once they figured it out. And we think he responded to it really well, and performed really well under the circumstances.”

The No. 62 pick is the latest the Seahawks have waited to make a first pick. Before that, the latest was No. 55 in 2007 (Josh Wilson).

The Seahawks received Baltimore’s second-round selection (No. 62) in Friday’s trade, along with fifth-round (165) and sixth-round (199) picks.

The Seahawks now have 10 picks on the final day of the draft — one in the fourth (123), three in the fifth (138, 158 and 165), two in the sixth (194 and 199) and four in the seventh (220, 231, 241 and 242).

In recent years, Seattle has found talented players such as Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and K.J. Wright on Day 3.

“This has been a great area of the draft for us,” Carroll said. “And to have this many picks, and the trade that we made, we go in very optimistically that we’re going to come up with some good stuff.”

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437

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