John Schneider says he will remember this Seahawks’ draft for the same moves you will.
But perhaps not exactly in the same way.
“We feel really blessed to be able to move back, take our guy, and acquire a couple more picks. That’s probably the biggest accomplishment,” Seattle’s general manager said Saturday of his decisions at the top of the NFL draft.
He traded not once or twice but three times down out of the first round and a bit deeper into the second. Then he selected Michigan State pass-rushing defensive tackle Malik McDowell with what became the Seahawks’ top pick, 36 selections and two days in.
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“Then we just followed our board,” Schneider said of picking first what wasn’t a first need. “Offensively, defensively, there’s so much work that goes into this.
“It isn’t like we just turned on YouTube videos and watched them and here we go.”
The Seahawks hope this draft will be remembered in, say, three years for being more productive than recent ones. For remaking their aging, injured defensive secondary. For adding depth on the defensive line. And for finally finding a big wide receiver.
Some locals are already remembering it for the opportunities lost.
Seattle closed its draft Saturday by taking two more defensive backs: Colorado free safety Tedric Thompson in the fourth round and Cincinnati safety Mike Tyson in the sixth. Tyson said Seahawks coaches have told him to prepare to play cornerback, making him a potential option for the injured DeShawn Shead.
The Seahawks on Saturday also selected Mississippi State left tackle Justin Senior in round six, then Division-II wide receiver David Moore and Oklahoma State running back Chris Carson in the seventh and final round.
The 11 picks — Seattle’s most since 2013 — came after the team entered the draft on Thursday with its fewest of the Schneider/Pete Carroll era: seven.
Then came three trades down, two in and then out of round one, and a deal in Friday’s second round. Those moved netted two defensive tackles, two offensive linemen, two cornerbacks, two safeties, two wide receivers and one running back, Carson. Six on defense, five on offense thanks to the late rally on that side of the ball.
The Seahawks chose four defensive backs among their first eight picks. That’s a clear recognition that the “Legion of Boom” isn’t in its mid-20s anymore.
Earl Thomas, 27, is coming off his first major injury, a broken leg. Kam Chancellor is 29 and entering the final year of his contract after consecutive seasons limited by injuries. Richard Sherman is 29 with two years left on his contract — and has been shopped by the Seahawks with potential trade suitors this offseason.
Tyson and third-round pick Shaquill Griffin of Central Florida will get a chance to compete for a starting cornerback job.
“It’s a very competitive room. We would not take guys that we thought weren’t going to be able to handle that,” Carroll said. “We think that they’re going to add to it …
“And, we’ll see how they’ll do. It should be very competitive.
“We’ve boosted the competition, obviously in the DB room, but also at the receiver side of it.”
That’s with the strong Moore — “he’s a strapped guy, now,” Carroll said — joining Friday’s third-round pick: the 6-2 Amara Darboh from Michigan.
Darboh was part of the four selections Seattle had in round three. One of those was part of the haul for trading down thrice.
That’s how Seattle got those four additional picks that may or may not end up stinging.
The Seahawks had the 26th overall pick entering Thursday’s first round. They traded down five spots, to 31, and then all the way out of the first round, to 34th overall in Friday’s second round. For dropping back nine spots, they added three picks. Value.
They began Friday with the opportunity to draft the popular hometown choices: Washington Huskies standout cornerback Kevin King, who at 6-3 and 200 pounds fits Seattle’s press scheme and Carroll’s size preference, or thumping safety Budda Baker from UW at 34. They had the chance to draft one of the two remaining top offensive linemen, Alabama Outland Trophy winner Cam Robinson or Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp, to address the team’s most troublesome spot from the last few years.
But Green Bay took King to begin Friday’s round two. Instead of adding UW’s 6-foot-3, 200-pound option to take over the open cornerback spot, Seattle traded down again, with Jacksonville, swapping one spot to 35.
The same general manager that groomed Schneider on his staff for the Packers before he came to Seattle, Ted Thompson, is the Packers GM who drafted King. Schneider grew up six miles from Lambeau Field. So, yes, he had a good read on whom the Packers were likely to draft to begin round two.
“We knew it was one of three players,” Schneider said. “So that’s why we felt comfortable being able to go where it went.”
That indicates Seattle knew that King, and less so Baker, might be gone — and that the Seahawks were fine with that.
The Jaguars, in the Seahawks’ former spot at 34, chose Robinson to play left tackle.
By the time Seattle finally picked, it selected McDowell. An athlete over a more pressing need. And Carroll loves his athletes, especially as pass rushers — and in McDowell’s case a three-technique defensive tackle off the outside edge of the offense’s guard.
Seattle’s been looking for a quick rusher inside for years, and last season used usual end Frank Clark with Michael Bennett in that role on passing downs.
Carroll and Schneider said the Seahawks were going to take McDowell at 26 in Thursday’s first round.
The headlining offensive lineman who Seattle drafted was LSU’s Ethan Pocic in round two. The Seahawks value him for being 6-6 and able to play tackle or guard, though he primarily played center at LSU.
For those of you who don’t think Seattle values its offensive line, which was the NFL’s lowest-paid — and just about the youngest — last season, Schneider had a response.
“I think we completely understand the importance of the position,” the GM said. “We’ve just made what we think are the appropriate decisions in managing our cap along the way, and trying not to overspend at certain positions. And it just so happens that we’ve had Pro Bowl, top-5 guys on defense. And we ended up trying to keep those guys.
“But. yes, every year we spend so much time. … We’re going to try to find out what somebody can bring us. What intangibles do these guys have and what can we work with to see if we can develop somebody.”
In all, the Seahawks did what they said they set out to this weekend: gain picks to get faster and more athletic players, and fill depth in the secondary.
“It worked out really just like we hoped,” Carroll said, “so we’re fortunate there.”
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle