RENTON — Surely, you saw this coming.
On Tuesday, during his predraft press conference, Seahawks general manager John Schneider blatantly talked about his desire to trade out of the first round – while he repeatedly checked the messages piling on his cellphone.
The chances of finding a trading partner, obviously, looked good.
With the 32nd pick, and a number of the top quarterbacks still available, the Seahawks got the call from the Minnesota Vikings.
With the last deal of a busy first round, the Minnesota Vikings tossed in a fourth-round pick to get the Hawks to move down eight spots to 40th. The Vikings used the 32nd to take Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
With the No. 40 pick Friday, as well as their own second-round pick (64), Seattle should have plenty of chances to get quality offensive linemen they need to protect quarterback Russell Wilson.
They now have seven picks to use over the last six rounds.
Schneider said the first round had some surprise picks that made it even easier than expected for the Hawks to trade down. He said there’s still a number of players they have targeted who should be available at No. 40.
In fact, he tossed a large hint that if another team comes up with a good offer at 40 that he’d be willing to trade down again to add more picks.
Some fans might view the trade as anticlimactic after a long day of watching talent come off the board.
But the offseason, otherwise, has been so dramatic. They extended contracts for Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Pete Carroll; signed Michael Bennett and got Zach Miller and Sidney Rice secured for bargain rates.
It’s timely, too, to consider the stockpile of talent held over from the largely unutilized 2013 draft, from which seven draft picks that didn’t get much chance to contribute are still on the roster. Not to mention several promising undrafted free agents.
The need for offensive linemen seemed to get only more pressing as NFC West foe St. Louis added Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald to a defense that sacked quarterback Russell Wilson 11 times in two games last season.
San Francisco and Arizona also bolstered their defenses, both taking safeties – the Niners getting Jimmie Ward from Northern Illinois and the Cardinals taking Washington State’s hard-hitting Deone Bucannon.
The Niners have plenty of chances to add to their roster Friday with two second-rounders and three more in the third.
Schneider said there were “probably five or six teams” still in talks for the 32nd pick when they decided to trade with Minnesota – a frequent trade partner for the Hawks.
Knowing it might turn into a boring first day of the draft, Schneider told his scouts and staff before things got underway that there was a reason they were picking so late – they were the winners of Super Bowl XLVIII.
“I’d like to be picking this late every year,” he said.
Trading picks has been Schneider’s favored approach since he got to Seattle. In 2010, the first draft in the Schneider-Carroll era, they made 12 trades involving draft picks. And most of the time, he’s traded down to pick up manpower in the lower rounds.
One trade, of veteran guard Rob Sims to Detroit, added a fifth-round pick that turned into Pro Bowl strong safety Kam Chancellor.
Trading down in 2011 allowed them to add another fifth-rounder that turned out pretty well – Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman, now an All-Pro.
Schneider has had mixed results in the first round, anyway. Some have been very good (Earl Thomas and Russell Okung in 2010), one is learning a new position (linebacker Bruce Irvin 2012) and another, James Carpenter (2011), has fought injuries and has never solidified himself as a starter.
Last spring, they didn’t have a first-rounder, having traded it for receiver Percy Harvin.
When Schneider came into the press room after the trade was made, he apologized that we had to wait around all evening with nothing to report.
The apology wasn’t necessary. We all saw it coming.