Cody Barton knows how to play outside linebacker. He knows how to play inside linebacker.
He knows the thrill of getting drafted into the NFL; the Seahawks made that happen Friday by selecting the Utah linebacker in the third round.
And he knows what’s most important in his life: Who has made him what he’s become.
“Man, I’m just really excited,” Barton said by telephone Friday night, after Seattle traded up with Minnesota to select him 88th overall near the end of round three.
“I’m really happy. I made my parents proud.”
He is the son of two former two-sport athletes at Utah. His father Paul played football and baseball for the Utes and played minor-league baseball in the Toronto Blue Jays system. His mother Mikki Kane-Barton is in Utah’s Crimson Club Hall of Fame. She was the Western Athletic Conference player of the year in basketball in 1993, the same year she led the nation in blocks for the Utes’ volleyball team.
Now they’ve become Utah’s newest Seahawks fans.
There are a few more of those today, in fact. Earlier Friday, Seattle drafted Barton’s teammate on the Utes’ defense last season, safety Marquise Blair.
Versatility was a theme for Seattle Friday. Blair can play both strong and free safety.
Linebacker wasn’t a particular need for the Seahawks in this draft, certainly no more than run-stopping nose tackle or nickel defensive back. The team has yet to address those two areas through two days and three rounds.
The Seahawks have five more chances to fill those needs Saturday. They have picks 114, 124 and 132 in round four, 142 in round five and 209 end of round six. The last pick came from Minnesota as a result of trading up to get Barton.
Seattle has All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner as one of its foundation players, along with $140 million quarterback Russell Wilson. Wagner is entering the final year of his contract; the Seahawks fully intend to extend his deal with the richest contract for a middle linebacker in the league.
Pro Bowl veteran K.J. Wright re-signed last month to return to the Seahawks at their weakside linebacker in their 4-3 scheme. Wright, who turns 30 in July, is tied with 30-year-old wide receiver Doug Baldwin as the longest-tenured Seahawks.
The team also re-signed veteran Mychal Kendricks, a Super Bowl starter with Philadelphia two seasons ago, to be its strongside linebacker again in 2019. Kendricks is waiting on a sentencing hearing in Pennsylvania for pleading guilty to insider trading there. That hearing was supposed to be April 4 but got postponed again; there remains a possibility he could serve prison time into this season.