DRAFT COUNTDOWN: Under three weeks. A weekly look at draft-related topics involving the Seahawks.
A year ago, word was the Seahawks were hoping to draft a couple of offensive tackles because they needed to replace right tackle Breno Giacomini and weren’t sure they would keep left tackle Russell Okung when his contract is up after the 2015 season.
At the time, Okung was recuperating from foot surgery after missing half the 2013 season, and the Hawks did indeed draft two linemen: Justin Britt, who started at right tackle all season, and Garrett Scott, whose NFL career ended before it started due to a heart condition.
A year later, the Seahawks are looking at linemen more than ever — needing to replace Max Unger and James Carpenter and perhaps prepare to replace Okung.
But when will they take them?
At 63, they’re probably too low to have a shot at Oregon’s Jake Fisher and Hroniss Grasu, Florida State’s Cameron Erving, Florida’s D.J. Humphries and maybe Texas A&M’s Cedric Ogbuehi.
They might have a shot at Colorado State’s Ty Sambrailo, who has been touted by Rob Staton and whom the Seahawks have shown specific interest in.
But, if Sambrailo is gone, too, where do the Hawks go?
Many say wide receiver, just like last year when they moved out of the first round and drafted Paul Richardson 45th overall.
Like last year, this draft is loaded with receivers.
The Seahawks have been tied to Dorial Green-Beckham all offseason, with many draft analysts pegging the troubled Oklahoma wide receiver to Seattle because of his uncommon combination of size (6 feet 5) and speed (4.49). The Seahawks reportedly have been “digging into” DGB, who was arrested twice for marijuana possession and also was dismissed from Missouri for an alleged domestic-violence incident.
The guy clearly is a major character risk, and the Hawks would be better off going with Tyler Lockett, who could step in as Seattle’s comprehensive return specialist immediately. That is a position the Hawks need to use one of their picks on in this draft.
But what if the receivers aren’t there in the second round? Then expect a defender.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Seahawks double up on Michael Bennetts or add a pass rusher to potentially replace Bruce Irvin. Utah’s Nate Orchard, Louisville’s Lorenzo Mauldin or UW’s Hau’oli Kikaha could be options.
Would the Hawks take a cornerback in the second round? It would be the highest John Schneider had drafted a corner.
Rob Rang posited Quinten Rollins of Miami of Ohio as an option at No. 63, but he doesn’t have the arm length the Hawks prefer (just 30.25 inches). Better options might be Connecticut’s Byron Jones, Stanford’s Alex Carter or Utah’s Eric Rowe.
As for offensive linemen later in the draft, the Hawks could end up with guys such as Ali Marpet, B.J. Finney or Mitch Morse in the third or fourth rounds.
Schneider has made a habit of moving down in the second round, but he has nowhere to go this time.
Some are speculating he might try to move up in the second round, using the fourth-rounder they just got from the Saints.
There even has been some thought that Schneider might trade next year’s first-round pick for a high second — like Denver did with Seattle in 2009. Considering how low the Hawks have been drafting, it would be more like trading a second for a second.
But, Schneider loves his draft picks too much — he has moved up in the draft just once, to take Jesse Williams in the fifth round in 2013 — and he is almost guaranteed to stay put at No. 63.
As he said last year, “I think we have a track record where we tried to acquire as many picks as we possibly can. At the top of the draft, you’re excited about the players and everything, but then the further you get into the draft you wish you had more picks toward the end because there are quality players there that you know the coaching staff could work with and coach up. So you always want as many picks as you can (get).”
Here’s a look at his moves in the second round:
2010: In March 2010, Schneider overpaid for QB Charlie Whitehurst, dropping from 40 to 60 in the second round and giving up a 2011 third-rounder. The Hawks drafted WR Golden Tate at 60.
2011: Schneider traded out of the second round to regain a third and add a fourth from Detroit. The Hawks drafted OG John Moffitt in the third and WR Kris Durham in the fourth, so it was a forgettable deal all around. (Ironic that Durham ended up playing for Detroit last season.)
2012: The Hawks dropped from 43 to Philadelphia’s spot at 47, added two picks and ended up with LB Bobby Wagner (47th), LB Korey Toomer (154th) and DE Greg Scruggs (232th). Not bad for sliding down four spots.
2013: They dropped from 56 to 62 and took RB Christine Michael in a surprise move. They also added a fifth and sixth in that deal with Baltimore, and the Hawks used those to move up in the fifth round to draft DT Jesse Williams.
2014: Dropped out of the first round, from No. 32 to No. 40 to No. 45, where they drafted Paul Richardson. In the two deals, they basically traded their first-rounder and a fifth-rounder to get four players — Richardson, Cassius Marsh, Kevin Norwood and Kiero Small.
HOW SCHNEIDER DRAFTS
After five drafts, Schneider’s strategy has become pretty clear:
**The obvious one is that he likes to trade down at least once in the first or second round. That typically nets him another player on Day 3. He obviously won’t be able to do that this year.
**If they are not taking linemen, the Seahawks love speed — pure and simple. They especially love it in the first two rounds, where they have found Earl Thomas, Golden Tate, Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Chris Michael and Paul Richardson.
**They almost always go defense in the fifth round (seven out of eight picks) and love defensive backs there (four).
**They also love defensive backs in the sixth round (four out of seven).
**They go for athletes and conversion projects in the seventh.