RENTON, Wash. – Once the trade was completed, Percy Harvin was officially in their control and the Seattle Seahawks no longer owned a first-round pick, the question had to be asked: What is the front office going to do on Thursday, the first night of the NFL draft, with no one to select?
“We’re going to sit there and watch YouTube Percy Harvin highlights,” general manager John Schneider joked.
All kidding aside, the Seahawks did enough this offseason to where the draft is now a luxury. Whether it was acquiring Harvin in a trade with Minnesota, signing defensive linemen Cliff Avril, Tony McDaniel and Michael Bennett, or signing veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield, Seattle addressed nearly every need.
No wonder the Seahawks and the moves they made became the talk of the NFL.
“The philosophy that Pete (Carroll) has instilled here is that while you have a chance, compete at every position. In terms of dealing with expectations, you’re talking about a man that was a head coach of a football team that was ranked No. 1 in the country for a record of 75 weeks or something like that,” Schneider said. “We don’t stop doing what we’re doing; we want to be good for a long time so that’s the challenge on our end. For Pete, he’s at his best when he’s managing these types of high expectations that are put on you when you’re able to make acquisitions.”
It’s highly unlikely the Seahawks will trade back into the first round, so Seattle’s first selection will come on Friday night in the second round with the 56th overall pick, followed by No. 87 in the third round.
Then there’s an avalanche of picks for the Seahawks over the final two days of the draft in which they have eight more picks. Seattle has one pick in the fourth and sixth rounds; two picks in the fifth round and four picks in the seventh round.
The Seahawks still have needs to address. They likely need a solution at outside linebacker with Leroy Hill’s time in Seattle seemingly over. They’re always looking for space-eating defensive linemen. Seattle has been searching two seasons for a second pass-catching tight end. And they’re almost certain to be drafting a quarterback to develop behind starter Russell Wilson and to compete with Brady Quinn and Josh Portis to be the Seahawks’ backup.
Picking at No. 56 leaves a lot of options for the Seahawks to analyze. And while Schneider at one-time joked about going to a nearby bar to watch the first round, he’ll be keeping an eye on the first night as to who might be falling out of the first round or who might be jumping in.
“We want to really see how this thing is going to come off because I think you’re going to see a certain run on players, and then that will help us kind of figure out what’s going to happen in the second round,” Schneider said. “(Number) 56 is a very hard place to try to figure out what is going to be there. I think we’re getting closer.”
Since Schneider and Carroll arrived, Seattle has been very successful in turning later-round picks into starters.
All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and former Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor were fifth-round selections. Starting linebacker K.J. Wright was a fourth-round pick. At one point last year, the only first-round picks that started for Seattle were running back Marshawn Lynch, left tackle Russell Okung and safety Earl Thomas.
That success in finding later-round gems has been hugely beneficial for the organization from a talent and financial standpoint, since it means taking less of a hit on the salary cap. But it also means that with the offseason moves the Seahawks made, a later-round draft pick will need to be very good to make the 2013 roster.