RENTON The Seahawks still have nine more picks -- at least -- remaining over the final six rounds of the NFL draft. That includes four on Friday, one in the second round (56th overall) and then in the third round (at 90th, 94th and 97th overall). That’s barring any more trades.
Yet it’s unlikely anyone will be more happy -- or bigger -- than Germain Ifedi was Thursday night upon the Seahawks drafting him to end the first round.
You would have to be cold and callous not to be impressed with how genuine Ifedi’s joy came across in the minutes after Seattle made him its first offensive lineman drafted in the first round since James Carpenter in 2011.
Here was the fourth-year junior with a degree in construction management from Texas A&M talking to Seahawks’ media from his family’s home in Houston -- in a very 2016 way, via FaceTime:
Here is what general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll said about Seattle’s first pick in the first round since 2012:
GM John Schneider and Head Coach Pete Carroll
NFL Draft Day One
April 28, 2016
(On getting an extra third-round pick)
(Schneider) "It’s huge. Huge for us picking three times in the third round. We pick at 56 tomorrow, and then we have nine more picks, so that’s really exciting for us. I think we talked about it the other day, we feel like it’s a solid draft all the way through. So for us to be able to get Germain [Ifedi] is a big deal. I was just telling Pete [Carroll], I had to tell him the story before when we played in Kansas City. I went to Kansas and that was my first school call this year, and Troy Kema is their academic advisor there. He was like, you can ask me about all these guys at Kansas, and you can ask me about all the guys at Texas A&M, and I’m just going to tell you one thing. If you don’t draft Germain Ifedi you have no idea what you’re doing. I was like alright. That was our first conference and I was like, I guess we’re drafting Germain Ifedi. So this whole last couple months we knew exactly what we’re doing. We’ve just been waiting to take Germain Ifedi. But no, he is a great dude. He’s a three-year starter. Really tough, really competitive, gritty, smart. He’s got his degree. Highly competitive. Just yearning for coaching, and really is going to bring an attitude and a toughness to this organization."
(On where he projects to play on the offensive line)
(Carroll) "He’s played a lot of right tackle, and the fact that he has played some guard helps just with flexibility. But we see him being a right tackle candidate, we’ll see how it works out."
(On how big Germain Ifedi is)
(Carroll) "He’s got big hands, big arms. He’s really big. The way he plays is what was really important. He’s really physical and he likes to get after it and he mixes it up with you. That style is right at home with us so we’re excited to add that to our team."
(On what prevented Germain Ifedi from being regarded as an elite offensive lineman in the draft)
(Schneider) "Probably the fact that he primarily played on the right side. They [Texas A&M] had [Luke] Joeckel playing on the left side, he played on the right side. They moved him there for a minute, they got comfortable with a younger player, and they felt like they were a more dominant football team with him playing on the right side. So he played right guard and right tackle. But he’s one of those guys that just moves people and plays with a nasty streak. Long arms, heavy hands, so probably that. But I know I had several people talking to me that because the tackles last a little bit longer and that stuff, it happened with [Laremy] Tunsil, and so obviously he was able to stay a little bit longer, which was beneficial."
(On if offensive line was an area where the team wanted to draft in the first round)
(Carroll) "Today it was, yeah."
(Schneider) "It could have gone either way. It could have gone defensive line or offensive line."
(On what they like and believe in about Germain Ifedi)
(Schneider) "His power, his base, his movement skills, his intelligence. This is a guy that understands the game, but he knows that he wants to go even further. He’s got a lot of self-confidence, and a lot of self-efficacy about him. But he knows also what his limitations are and how he can accentuate them, and how he wants to dive in at the coaching staff and learn and grow."
(On what Tom Cable said about Germain Ifedi)
(Schneider) "Tom [Cable] loves him. Tom can’t wait to get his hands on him. Went down there and met with him and worked him out, and talked about how strong he was and what a great attitude he had, and he worked his tail off."
(On if they talked to Patrick Lewis about Ifedi)
(Schneider) "No. It’s a great question, we just don’t really want to give a lot to a way to ask our players about other players, so that they’re talking to them or they can talk to another team."
(On if Ifedi will have much of a transition playing in the three-point stance)
(Schneider) "He bends well for a big man. So I would think as soon as Tom Cable gets his hands on him."
(Carroll) "He’ll be fine. Cable worked him out and took a look at him and said there’s not going to be any problem at all. But it’s still a little different. He’s played three years standing up, but we don’t think it’s going to be hard. He’s been working at it since the season was over."
(On how they ended up judging offensive lineman)
(Carroll) "One of the issues is aggressiveness. We don’t see guys in the mode of coming off the football as much. This guy is a really aggressive football player. So it makes it more comfortable for us, makes it a little easier for us to understand. But some of the decisions are difficult. I know the style of the guy, he’s got the nature that we’re looking for, so I think it’s going to work out great."
(On how much easier it is to trade back when you can project how the draft will go)
(Carroll) "I think that’s a characteristic of a number of our drafts for that reason. It does take confidence in understanding who’s going to go where and all that kind of stuff that John [Schneider] is great at. Again, we exercised that beautifully today. We get another pick in really the meat part of this draft. So based on really the same confidence that we’ve had in years past for the same reason."
(On if they had talked with Denver about trading before the draft)
(Schneider) "Yes. That’s what we were talking about a couple days ago, we talk to everybody. So it was pretty cool, I just got off the phone with John Elway, and there was a lot of stuff happening there really quick, and he was just thankful that we stuck with it. It was a big deal for them, but there were a lot of different teams that were trying to get right to that spot. So he was kind of trying to manage the compensation in a short period of time."
(Carroll) "There might have been four or five different options, it was very busy."
(On if they would have taken Germain Ifedi at number 26 if they had kept that pick)
(Carroll) "You’ll never know."
(On reports that Ifedi may have issues with his technique) "
(Schneider) "I think that may come from the fact when they moved him to left tackle. This is a big man, he’s a power player, he’s always played on the right side. So when they tried moving him to left tackle, he may have had some technical issues over there. But we don’t know for sure that he cannot play left tackle. We’re under the impression that they had a nice player that they want to keep bringing him along at left tackle, so they might as well keep a guy in the same spot that’s just an ass-kicker over there."
(On if there was one game or performance that stood out in scouting him)
(Schneider) "No, Matt Berry was very consistent with his evaluations all the way through. Obviously we watched him last year because he considered coming out. So we’ve kind of been, we talked about this the other day, it’s an 11-month process. With him it was a little bit longer because we thought there was a chance he may come out."
(On the differences between Germain Ifedi and James Carpenter)
(Schneider) "James [Carpenter] was a junior college player that was brought in to a bigtime program to start at left tackle right away, and really performed at a very high level for them. This is not a junior college guy, this is a guy that has been in a program, a sustained program. Used to the weight room, used to being in a pro atmosphere. So probably a little less projection that James in that regard. James, I think you guys saw once he got to Alabama and did a nice job, and then when he came in here there was another learning curve. He was part of a lockout year with [John] Moffitt, and so those guys were basically thrown in in training camp and started for us at right guard and right tackle, and were both doing a very nice job before they tore their ACL’s. James had a hell of a season this past year. So the backgrounds are a little bit different here."
(On if this draft pick changes J’Marcus Webb’s role)
(Carroll) "We’ll figure that out. These guys are really similar. They’re both very, very big guys. Really gifted big men, so we’ll figure it out. It’s a great situation for us. We expect these guys to play. I think both these guys will be working at it and we’ll figure it out. It’s a really good situation, and we got big really quickly here."
(On if they have ever had three picks bunched together like they do in the third round this year) "I don’t think we have, no. It’s going to be a blast."
Here is his new line coach, Tom Cable, who worked out Ifedi and was so impressed he got the Seahawks to use their top pick on him. Cable said he expects Ifedi to play right away and to eventually become a “cornerstone” tackle for Seattle:
Offensive Line Coach Tom Cable
April 28, 2016
(On what he likes about Germain Ifedi) "This is one of the number of guys that I got a chance to go work out. He did a fantastic job in his workouts. I felt like he demonstrated a lot of the traits that we look for since we’ve come to Seattle. The nice thing about Germain is that he’s got the flexibility to play a couple spots. I think it’s the same with the J’Marcus Webb guy they signed. As typical of us, we try to find guys that can play more than one spot. I think down the road, long term he’s a guy that can be a cornerstone player for you."
(On if he would describe Germain Ifedi as an ass-kicker) "Yeah. One of the things I tried to do in the workout was to press him, to see how far I can take him. He never backed down. He handled the workout beautifully. One of the characteristics coming in, was I knew there was a toughness about him. Since he’d become a starter, he hadn’t missed a day, whether it was a game or practice, so you’re talking about a big powerful guy. He’s a little bit raw fundamentally, so there’s some cleanup to do. It’s an easy fix, I think. What I liked about him was that around the school, if there was an issue with Texas A&M, this was a guy that can fix those kinds of issues. He’s wired right, he’s not about beat us. He’s about hard work. Terrific brain on him, so I’m very excited."
(On if Germain Ifedi can develop quickly enough to be an impact player as a rookie) "You certainly hope so. That’s why we picked him with the 31st pick. The fact that he’s played both guard and tackle in college bodes well for both him and us. For me, I think when you watch him, he can get out of whack, but he was the one guy the scouts and I felt like could right himself. He could get out of whack, but he can get himself back in position. He was picked for a reason, and I think he’s the one guy that you can clean up right away."
(On some of the things he saw when Germain Ifedi’s technique went awry) "It’s the style of play. What they do is kind of a retreat set, back up catch and hold on. In this league, that won’t do it. You have to close face on people and use your strength and your power and size. He’s going to have to learn how to do that. He’s going to have to learn how to play with leverage. It’s not a system where he’s coming from that they come off the ball and try to knock you back and all those things. The cool thing is he’s wired to do that. It’s a matter of teaching him and getting him the rest of it. Very excited about that. Distance for me, getting him where he needs to be, I think is rather short."
(On if there was a game that stood out as they were scouting Germain Ifedi) "I think one of the things that’s really valuable to know, and we all do in the coaching business, is that when you play in that particular league, the SEC, you’re probably more ready in terms of the NFL, coming in as a lineman. You’re playing all those big crowds and loud noise, against extremely talented pass rushers pretty much every week. The competition won’t phase him a bit."
(On when he first got excited about Germain Ifedi) "It was earlier [than the Pro Day]. It was on film. I think the more you watched him, you see his transition from guard to tackle, and back, and back out to tackle, this guy really has the ability to do a lot for you. I was just really, really excited about how he could make things right when they got ugly. He can get wide handed, and get his hips up and all that, and start catching someone who’s so big and strong, and just anchor down on them. That’s impressive. Not many guys can do that. The workout to me closed it out. He’s the real deal."
(On if what Germain Ifedi fixes is from play to play or throughout a season) "I think really, his whole career. When you watch him, he comes from a place that has produced a number of linemen that have come into the league as high picks, and I certainly think he has the chance to be as good as any of them. It’s pretty exciting."
(On if he gets nervous when Pete Carroll and John Schneider trade down) "Sometimes. That’s the nice thing, we’ve said this. I think everybody knows that in this room, this is a really quality group of linemen on both sides of the ball. There’s depth in it, there’s good players in it. If it was a different year and we were doing it, I might be going ugh, but I think we’ll find there’s a bunch of good players in this draft."
(On went into the decision to move a player to left tackle and draft a right tackle) "Well I think that was the plan. When we first got Garry [Gilliam], part of the thought was the athlete was there, and it was left-tackle athleticism. Certainly he had to have a breakthrough like he did last year to prove himself playing on the edge in this league, and did a beautiful job, really from about week five on was outstanding. So the thought to be able to move him over there is really cool. The other thing you’ve got to remember is J’Marcus Webb has experience playing over there as well. So I think by getting Germain in here we’ve really built some fantastic competition with Brad [Bradley Sowell], with J’Marcus [Webb], with Garry [Gilliam], and now Germain [Ifedi], and we need that. We need that kind of depth and quality."
(On if Ifedi has had experience playing guard) "Yes, he’s played guard in college. Again, I think the fact that he’s done both and done them both well in that league speaks well to where he’ll fit. We’ll get through all that. But I think down the road once he matures and becomes a pro, I think you potentially have an outstanding tackle."
(On if Ifedi will stay on the right side of the line) "I would think so. Those thoughts really haven’t gone through, it’s just getting someone that had enough multiple ability to do either or."
And here is more of what the 6-foot-5 3/4, 324-pound Ifedi (with an 85-inch wingspan) said Thursday night:
T Germain Ifedi
April 28, 2016
(On how it feels) "It’s an unreal feeling. It’s a little bit of a long way, but I don’t think I could have landed at a better place than Seattle. You have a great organization, and one of my mentors from my freshman year, Pat[rick] Lewis is out there. This is amazing."
(On if the Seahawks indicated their interest in him) "I met with them at the Combine and coach [Tom] Cable pretty much ran my Pro Day workout. I didn’t visit, but I always had a feeling that Seattle was a good feeling for me, that Seattle was a place that my skillset fit. I heard all the rumors, I heard all the chatter, but I knew there was always a shot. I knew there was a shot a lot of places, but once it got down to the end, I was like Seattle or bust. Seattle was the place to be and Seattle was the place I felt the best about the whole process."
(On what Patrick Lewis has told him about playing in Seattle) "He loves it. He says Coach Cable is one of the best in the business, and a lot of people have echoed that same sentiment. He’s stern, but he’s fair. Pat[rick Lewis] is a testament of that. He’s risen through the ranks over the years and become the starting center and really solidified the interior of that line. He’s a big brother to me and to be able to play with one of my mentors and play with a guy that I have the utmost respect for, that’s almost like a father figure to me, I couldn’t have been in a more ideal situation than Seattle."
(On if he spent one season with Patrick Lewis) "Yes sir, I did. My redshirt season."
(On what he learned about Tom Cable’s coaching style from his Pro Day experience) "It’s just that he’s the type of coach that when he wants you to do something, he wants you to do it a certain way, but it’s the right way. He put us through the wringer during that Pro Day workout, but through all my workouts, it was probably my best and most productive workout. He really pushed me, had me on the left, had me on the right, three point, two point. He really pushed me. He wanted to see what I had."
(On if the Seahawks have indicated what position they would have him at) "No sir."
(On how he would describe himself as a player) "I’m a football player. That’s kind of cliché, but that’s how I describe myself. I don’t say I’m a tackle, I don’t say I’m a guard. I say I’m a football player. The teams brings me in and tells me I need to play this, I’ll play that. I think that I’m physical, I’m aggressive. I think I’m a good athlete, but there’s always room to grow as a player. I’m blessed to be in the organization, to be able to grow with coach Cable with all the other guys in Seattle and to be able to build my game and live up to my potential."
(On what motivates him) "I like to win. I like to compete. I’m all about the competition. That’s what it comes down to. Football, you beat your limit or you lose. I like to compete and I like to win. Kind of open and shut in my book. I don’t like to lose. I learned that from an early age, losing doesn’t feel good."
(On if he played only on the right side at Texas A&M) "Yes sir."
(On if there’s much of a difference between right and left) "I don’t think it’s much of a difference. Just repetition. Just like moving from guard to tackle if you have the skillset. It’s just repetition, get the reps out of you, get the time at it and you’ll be good."
(On why he felt the Seahawks fit his skillset best) "Just what they’ve done in the past. A lot of people say ‘Seahawks type of lineman,’ you know, what does that mean? Just the type of guy they have is really what I meant. The guys that compete, the guys that, no matter what the circumstance is, their guys going from D-Line to O-Line or low traffic, things like that. Guys that compete and win, no matter the circumstance. You wouldn’t know that they were a different position or different side of the ball."
(On what performance in college he’s most proud of) "I’d probably say our last game against Louisville. A couple weeks before that game, I’d decided I was going to leave Texas A&M and get to the Draft. I was motivated. Sheldon Rankins was mine, and he goes top fifteen pick today, and I had to perform. I had to win. I knew I had to do what I had to do. I had to focus, study him up, I thought I more than held my own. I played a really good game versus him and that’s just a testament to my hard work and my film study and the things I put into it."
(On how honest Tom Cable was with him at Pro Day) "He was very honest with me. He told me what he liked about my game, he told me what he things I can improve and he said ‘you have all the ability, you have everything that’s capable of being a good offensive lineman.’ He wasn’t in it to stroke my ego. There’s enough people to do that. He’s there to tell me how it is and see what I can do when put under pressure or put in an adverse situation."
(On what led to his decision to come out early) "I was ready. I thought mentally, physically. Physically, I’ve grown as a player. Mentally, I think, more than last year, I’m so far past where I was last year. I’ve grown as a person, grown as a man, grown as a person at the line, the playbook, and football, it tells you. That’s really why I went back for my fourth year. I wanted to grow mentally, physically, I knew I’d be fine. I know how to work hard. Mentally is where I need to grind."
(On what Patrick Lewis meant to him) "He said it’s a great environment, a great locker room, but guys compete. He told me he knows I’m able to play there, but no matter where I was in the process, the locker room in Seattle, I’d be able to compete. I’d have a great coach and he just embodied what that coach is all about. A guy that really competes, but he’s everything the game is all about. Undrafted, pounded out, ‘undersized,’ but he’s everything the game is all about. He kept my spirits high during the process when I didn’t think things were going my way. Having a guy like that there, looking up to a guy like that there is a true blessing, to be there with him."
(On the excitement he felt when he got drafted) "It was 10-12 years of hard work coming to reach. I know it’s not my ultimate goal of being a great player, but it’s another step. It’s a huge step. I was just, it was a long wait. 30 picks, and you get that call. You don’t know who it’s from. It could be a bill collector, you don’t know. You don’t know who’s calling you. It’s the wrong person, you might lose it. It was the right person. I heard John [Schneider] and I jumped out of my seat. I didn’t hear the last name. It could have been John Anybody, but I heard John and I knew it had to be the guy. The odds are in my favor. It was a great moment in my life, if not the greatest moment of my life."
(On who the white guy in the suit celebrating with him is) "That’s my agent. We’re all going through it for a while, so we all let out a lot of excitement at that moment."
(On if he was thinking his time was at number 26) "I thought the number 10 pick was going to be my time. Once it got to the pick, I had a real good shot here. I had a really good shot. Everybody, like the experts, the top guys that talk to the teams were saying this was the spot. Then they traded back. I was like okay. They want to see how high they can get my blood pressure. Once it got to 31, I was like ‘if it ain’t here, it’s tomorrow.’ They got there, and I got the call."
(On who he was with and where he was) "I’m in Houston. I live in southwest Houston, Texas. That was my family."
(On how many people he had with him) "It was about 12 or 13. Me, my family, my agent. Some family friends, some friends from high school. 12 or 13."
(On how closely he followed the speculation before the draft) "I didn’t follow it too closely. A lot of stuff will come across my Twitter or Instagram and stuff. I follow very few people that are very plugged in that aren’t part of an organization. I wasn’t too worried about the top reporters. I was just praying. I’m very faithful, I was just praying that whatever happens, I land in a great organization in a great place."
(On if there’s an NFL player he emulates) "My biggest is Duane Brown, the Houston Texans’ left tackle. We don’t play exactly the same position, but we do have a lot of similar traits as people, as players. That’s a guy I’ve looked up to and a guy that’s reached out to me, and I’ve reached out to him. I’m blessed to be able to make a tight relationship with him over the last year or so."
(On what Tom Cable said he needed to work on) "He told me I’m a good athlete, I have all the tools, but at times I can let my technique go awry. I can let my game go out of bounds. You want the truth, he’s one of the first offensive line coaches that gave me an honest, no BS assessment. I instantly had respect for him after he said that ‘you’re good. You have a lot of plays you play well, you have a lot of plays that make me scratch my head, like what happened there.’ I want to agree with him. He said he doesn’t know if it’s a lack of focus or letting my technique go awry, but he was straight up with me. He was like ‘you have all the ability in the world, and you have a chance to be a really good player."
(On having an older brother in the NFL) "Yes sir. He plays for Tampa Bay currently."
(On if his brother was with him in the video) "I have three older brothers. All of them were with me."
(On all of his brothers being gigantic) "Yeah. They’re all big guys."
(On what he’s looking forward to most) "Getting started. Getting my feet wet. Getting into it. I’ve worked so hard for this, I’ve wanted it and now I have it. I need to go and keep building, and keep reaching my goals that I strive for. This is what I’ve worked for and this is what I’ve prayed for and strived for and keep building, keep going up to the next level."
(On how comfortable he is being in a three point stance) "I’m pretty comfortable being in a three point stance. It’s not something I did often in college, but I did it exclusively in high school. I’m pretty comfortable, whenever I have off time, I do practice out of a three point stance a lot. It’s something I’m very comfortable with, so it’s nothing foreign. Nothing I have to learn, part of being a good athlete and having good technique."
(On if he’s ever been to Seattle) "No sir. I have not. I cannot say I’ve been to Washington."