Seattle head coach Jim Mora talked about addressing Seattle needs for next season, saying the team will do so mostly through the draft and not free agency. We talked to Mora before the Michael Crabtree story broke on his fractured left foot, so Mora did not address the issue.
Mora said each team gets 60, 15-minutes interviews with the players of their choosing. Seattle's vice president of player personnel Ruston Webster conducts the interviews, with team president and general manager Tim Ruskell and Mora sitting in.
"I think you can get a feel for a young man's personality," Mora said. "For how they interact socially. For how they compete. And, like I said, our interviews our productive."
Mora also addressed the issue of drafting the player that will have the most impact on the team, which Ruskell talked about during our interview with him a few days ago.
"That's a tough question," Mora said. "First of all, I don't know if we've completely developed our draft strategy yet. And so many things can change between now and draft day. What's important is that we don't reach for a need necessarily – that we draft the best player for our team that we think can make an impact.
"And impact doesn't necessarily mean scoring touchdowns, or breaking up passes. It might mean, you know, who would ever argue that Walter Jones hasn't made an impact?
But you typically wouldn't say that's an impact-type of pick. But history says it is, so I think we just have a lot of things we have to think about. And hopefully we make the right decision."
Mora also talked about Michael Crabtree as a prospect, with several drafts tabbing Crabtree as Seattle's pick at No. 4. News of the Crabtree story broke after Mora's interview, so he did not address the issue.
"From what I've seen on TV - from television watching the games - and I saw him yesterday at the weigh-in - and he certainly looks the part," Mora said. "He's a physical-looking kid. He's made big plays in big games. He's had tremendous production in college, but I don't know him personally and that's a part of the puzzle. Getting to know him and finding out what makes him tick."
On Crabtree measuring at just over 6-foot-1, Mora had this to say.
"Well, he was, what" Was he 6-01.3?" Mora said. "But his arms were 34.5 (inches) and I believe he had the longest arms of the receivers other than the kid from Cal Poly. So I think that makes up for it a little bit. I wouldn't call 6-1 and a half too short. He's about 214, long arms. Hands I think were 10. That's a pretty good-sized kid."
Mora said that five members of the team's coaching staff are conducting position drills. Assistants also get a chance to spend as much time as they want with individual players going over X's and O's, Mora said.
"They get to get up-close and personal with those young men as they work on the field," Mora said. 'And they're with them behind the scenes a little bit. .. So that's just a little added insight into the kids and how they compete."
With the Seahawks coming off a 4-12 season, Mora said it's important for Seattle to put some wins on the board right from the start to get buy-in from the players.
"You need to have some success early," Mora said. "You need to win some games early so that some of the things you're trying to convince these players that will work, do work.
"In our first game in Atlanta we came out of the blocks 4-0, and beat the Rams the second week. And first we went out and beat San Francisco, where we hadn't won in like 10 years. So they start to buy in a little bit there."
Asked if franchising Leroy Hill shows the rest of the defense that he believe they can turn things around, Mora had this to say:
"We believe they can play better. And specifically Leroy, we didn't want to lose Leroy. We like Leroy as a player. We like Leroy as a person. He's a young, talented guy with, we think, a tremendous upside. And we are having good-faith negotiations with his representative. And in order for us to continue to move in that direction we had to make a decision to franchise him.
"And I feel confident Leroy will be a Seahawk for a long time. In terms of a vote of confidence for our players, like I said, we believe the best way for us to get better is to get our players playing better -- more consistently. And that's something we didn't do last year.'