The Seattle Seahawks want Shawn Springs badly. They’re just not sure he’s going to be available when they pick third in today’s NFL draft.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Randy Mueller, vice president of football operations. “I know we’ll get a good player. I just don’t know which one.”
On Thursday, the New York Jets traded down, giving up the first overall selection in the draft to St. Louis, which will take offensive tackle Orlando Pace.
Oakland, which traded up with the hope of getting Pace, now could be thinking of going for Springs, Ohio State’s stellar cornerback.
Or the Raiders could trade the pick to another club that wants Springs.
“It wouldn’t surprise me a bit,” Mueller said when asked if he thought Oakland would now trade down.
If the Seahawks can’t get Springs, they may wind up with Southern California defensive tackle Darrell Russell, who they consider among the top three in the draft.
“We’d be OK,” Mueller said. “Everybody is having us taking Springs because Pace or Russell wouldn’t be there. Well, we’d be OK with Russell. He’s a good player, too.”
With six-time Pro Bowler Cortez Kennedy and promising Sam Adams as their starting defensive tackles, Russell would have to play defensive end in Seattle.
Since the Seahawks lost both their starting cornerbacks, Corey Harris and Carlton Gray, to free agency, and they only signed one free-agent cornerback, Willie Williams, they’ll have to get a cornerback in the first round, Mueller said.
They also have the No. 12 draft selection.
“We’ve said we need to come out of the first round with a cornerback,” Mueller said. “If we don’t get a cornerback at three, I still think we’ll get one at some point in the day.”
If not Springs, that cornerback could be Bryant Westbrook of Texas or Tom Knight of Iowa.
If the Seahawks are able to get Springs at No. 3, they’ll then focus on getting the top wide receiver in the draft, Yatil Green of Miami. Coach Dennis Erickson recruited Green for the Hurricanes. That could mean trading up.
“We’ve probably got more scenarios with pick No. 12 than with pick No. 3,” Mueller said.
With prospective new owner Paul Allen spending millions of dollars to improve the Seahawks, they need to have a good draft after acquiring free agents Chad Brown, Warren Moon, Bennie Blades and Williams in the off-season.
After picking twice in the first round, the Seahawks will draft 63rd overall in the third round on the first day of the draft and then will have the 142nd pick in the fifth round, the 174th choice in the sixth round and the 211th selection in the seventh round Sunday.
The Seahawks were 7-9 last season and missed making the playoffs for the eighth year in a row.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: FACTS AND FIGURES When: 9 a.m. PDT today (Rounds 1-3); 8 a.m. PDT Sunday (Rounds 4-7). Procedure: Representatives of the 30 NFL clubs by telephone with their general managers, coaches and scouts. Time limits: 15 minutes per team for Round 1; 10 minutes per team for Round 2; 5 minutes per team Rounds 3-7.