I know I’m late to the party on this stuff, but it’s worth calling your attention to anyway.
I wanted to direct you to two interviews Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider provided to the local sports talk radio stations in the past two days.
I think both interviews help to answer some questions that have cropped up after the draft, including where Seattle stands at the quarterback position and why they made selections like Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter and Georgia receiver Kris Durham that some draft analysts have been highly critical of.
The first is Schneider’s interview with KJR’s Mitch Levy, which you can check out in this audio link. He addressed what he felt was the team’s No. 1 objective in the draft, improving the talent level at offensive and defensive lines.Schneider: “Our No. 1 objective was to rebuild either one of the lines as quickly as we could in the draft. It just so happened that with defensive line and offensive line, there were two huge groups of those guys in the first two rounds – that’s the way it looked to us – and so I was hoping maybe we could go one and one, or two and two on either side, and then try to work things the rest of the way with the rest of our depth.
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“But really, truly it was trying to address our depth on both the offensive and defensive line, and then continually adding depth throughout. We wanted to get bigger at receiver. We wanted to get bigger at the corner position. And we were able to do those things. I was hoping we could move back at some point. I was hoping to pick at least nine or 10 times. Ten would have been great, because we felt really good about some of the stuff we had from the fourth round to the seventh round. And when drafts get over, everybody blows off the seventh-round picks, but when you’re sitting there and you actually have a lot of guys on your board, those are hard decisions – they’re not blow-off decisions at all.”
On the James Carpenter Pick in the first round, Schneider had this to say: “We had James Carpenter rated so highly purely just based on his toughness and his versatility. I knew Pittsburgh liked him and they were at No. 31. And Green Bay liked him a lot, and they were at No. 32. And I knew if we got behind Buffalo (No. 34) for sure that was it.
“So actually when Cleveland moved back, there were questions regarding Phil Taylor’s medical, so when Cleveland moved back, they were the other team that was really, really high on James, and so when they traded back with Atlanta I thought that they were just going to stay put and take James. So I was a little concerned in that area, and so we had two or three deals that fell apart, and we were weighing one to go to Pittsburgh at 31, and that’s why we used the full amount of time. So we just decided to go to the final minute there, and just decided to sit there and take our guy.”
Schneider said that offensive tackle Nate Solder, who went to New England at No. 17, was been the team’s top-rated lineman as pure tackle, and that Carpenter was the team’s next guy on the board at that position. Schneider said that Carpenter was split between the tackles and the guards because he could come in and play both.
“He could literally come in and back up Russell (Okung) at left tackle to get us out of some games if we needed,” Schneider said. “And we felt like he could compete to start at left guard, right guard and right tackle. Now, ideally we’d like him to start at right tackle and have John Moffitt start at right guard.”
And Schneider confirmed that the Seahawks would have selected Carpenter ahead of USC’s Tyron Smith, selected by Dallas at No. 9 overall.
“He’s so mentally tough,” he said. “This guy isn’t going to win any public speaking awards or anything like that. But what he does is says ‘Yes, sir. No sir.' He plays through two seasons with high-ankle sprains and kind of just kicks your ass. And that’s what he likes to do.”
“The best teams I’ve been around are the teams that have continuity on the offensive line,” added Schneider. “They actually end up being the leaders of the team. And I could see Moffitt and Max Unger, just with their personalities, I could see those two guys being the leaders of that group.”
So who’s going to be Seattle's left guard?
“We have a couple of guys right now that can compete for it,” Schneider said. “But obviously that’s an area once free agency kicks in that we’d be looking at.”
Schneider also addressed the reasons for not selecting Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith, who went to Baltimore two picks later in the first round at No. 27.
“We just felt like we’re not that type of team yet that can bring guys that may have some question marks with their character, we didn’t feel like we could bring that into our locker room yet,” he said. “In my opinion you’ve got to have to develop a core. I thought Baltimore did a great job with Jimmy (Smith). Baltimore has Ed Reed. You know Ray Lewis is there. They’ve got guys that if somebody is going to be screwing off, they’ve got guys that can grab them by the throat. We’ve got a couple good leaders, but we don’t have guys that have been perennial Pro Bowlers, especially on the back end there, that can just grab guys by the throat and make them adhere to what are player rules are in the locker room.”
Schneider also spoke highly of Mississippi State linebacker K.J. Wright and Georgia receiver Kris Durham, both picked in the fourth round.
Schneider said that they envision Wright as a core special teams player that will push for time at linebacker at SAM and WILL, and that he could also serve as a situational pass rusher at LEO end.
Schneider called Durham a cross between Joe Jurevicius because of his ability to run polished routes, and Brian Finneran because of his ability to high-point the ball.
Schneider also said there’s a group of about six to eight draftable players that they have earmarked as rookie free agent they would like to bring in, including a safety, a quarterback and a linebacker.
“We had some guys still left on our draft board that are rookie free agents, and we feel like we can address some spots there,” Schneider said. “So as soon as they turn on the lights for that, we’re going to hit that running very hard.
“Obviously we’re going to address our quarterback situation. And we need to address our defensive line in a big way. And so you can’t fix everything in one draft. If we’re able to put together two or three of these things and start supplementing, and have a real nice, young core of young, tough, competitive fast guys, all of a sudden this is going to be something where we’re able to take a chance on a guy here or there.”
Schneider said the team has a plan A, B, C and D in terms of addressing the quarterback situation, but for obvious reasons did not go into specifics as to what those plans entail.
Schneider went to say that there’s a 50-50 chance Charlie Whitehurst comes in as the starter at the opening of training camp.
“In my opinion he’s going to have a better chance to compete just because of his familiarity with the situation,” Schneider said about Whitehurst. “Last year when he came in he was totally behind the 8-ball. He was learning a completely new offense.
Here’s what Schneider had to say about not selecting Andy Dalton in the first round while talking with ESPN 710 Seattle’s Kevin Calabaro and Jim Moore, which you can check out in this audio link.
“Regarding the draft, I think I said going in that we’d be looking at a quarterback every year,” Schneider said. “But we just didn’t have a guy at certain spots in the draft where we could have grabbed one. Now we debated on Andy Dalton, there’s no question about it. But I think we felt like we were at a point of our development where we couldn’t pass on a starting tackle.”
Schneider went on to say that the team would rather have more of a developmental guy like Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay that is going to come in and sit for a year or two.
Schneider said that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and quarterback coach Carl Smith spoke with Matt Hasselbeck during the short period when the lockout was lifted last weekend.
“I think that going into this thing everyone knows we were negotiating with Matt,” Schneider said. “Everyone knows how much respect we have for him. And we’re just in a very unique year. I think it may build in the media a little bit. It may build on talk radio, and I get it. I think it is fun to talk about. It is entertainment, but really it is business that can’t be had. We can’t be discussing anything with agents. We can’t be talking with players, so it’s like a huge gap. And whether or not everything comes out rosy at the end of the day, I can’t answer that.”