RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider has found some of his greatest success during the fifth round of the NFL draft in his first three seasons leading the team’s front office.
All-pro cornerback Richard Sherman and Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor were both mined out of the fifth round during Schneider’s first two seasons as Seahawks general manager. The fifth round will again be a focal point for Seattle as they selected Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams, LSU cornerback Tharold Simon and Rice tight end Luke Willson during the fifth round on Saturday.
Williams is a big tackle that can play multiple positions along Seattle’s defensive front. Willson is an athletic tight end the Seahawks believe can stretch the field in the passing game.
But it was the pick of Simon, just two days after he arrested in his hometown of Eunice, La., that may be the most intriguing.
Simon was arrested Thursday night on charges of public intimidation, resisting an officer and a noise violation. He was released on bond. His agent, Peter Schaffer, said he is certain Simon acted appropriately and will be exonerated.
Simon claimed a series of misunderstandings and an overzealous police officer led to his arrest. Simon said he was asked to move a car from in front of his grandmother’s house. When he turned on the car, the stereo was turned way up and blared loudly as Simon pulled the car into the driveway.
The officer then asked for Simon’s license and told one of his friends to stay back. Simon told the officer “man, you’re tripping for nothing. There’s really nothing serious going on around here.” The officer then told Simon to pick up his sagging pants and put his hands behind his back. Simon said he tried to toss the keys to the car to his cousin and that’s when the officer said he was resisting arrest.
“I never ran. I never flinched to move or nothing and he said I was resisting arrest,” Simon said. “So he took me to jail or whatever and said I threatened his life or whatever. I told him I had 30 witnesses that know I didn’t do nothing wrong and that I didn’t say nothing wrong.”
Police say Simon told the officer, “I own Eunice,” then peeled his tires as he moved his car and blared his stereo at an excessively loud level.
When the officer said he was going to issue a citation for violating a noise ordinance if Simon did not lower the volume, Simon allegedly responded that “the mayor is on my side” and that he could have the officer fired for writing a ticket.
At that point the officer stated that he approached Simon to arrest him for public intimidation, and that Simon “violently jerked his arm away” and said, “Don’t touch me.”
Simon said he regrets the incident and takes the blame for parking the car where it needed to be moved, but doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.
“I’m a humble guy. I’m embarrassed about what happened because it shouldn’t have happened,” Simon said.
The 6-foot-3, 193-pound Simon was widely projected as a middle-round draft choice, and was hoping to be selected as early as Friday night, when the second and third rounds were taking place. He fits Seattle’s mold of looking for tall cornerbacks, joining Sherman and Brandon Browner in the Seahawks secondary.
Schneider said they don’t believe the arrest or his prior suspension for a drug violation in 2011 will be a long-term concern for the team.
“We were able to speak with his attorneys and be comfortable with his situation,” Schneider said.
Williams will play on early downs against the run at the defensive tackle position with the hope he can still provide more pass rush than Alan Branch could the last two seasons.
“He does have great versatility,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re hoping in kind of in the mode we’ve been in with the big guys that he’ll be really stout at the line of scrimmage at the three-technique spot. The combination of guys that we can move through there now gives us a lot of flexibility.”
Seattle selected Kansas State wide receiver Chris Harper in the fourth round and their second running back of the draft in LSU’s Spencer Ware in the sixth.
Harper, a former quarterback at the University of Oregon, was the Wildcats leading receiver each of the last two seasons. Ware declared for the draft after his junior season after starting just four games last year for the Tigers. Ware said he had some experience playing fullback as a freshman and the Seahawks could ask him to reprise the role in Seattle.
The Seahawks turned their attention to adding depth to the offensive line in the seventh round. Seattle selected Vanderbilt guard Ryan Seymour, Northeastern State tackle Michael Bowie and plan on converting New Hampshire defensive tackle Jared Smith to the offensive line as well. Seattle also selected outside linebacker Ty Powell from Division II Harding University. Powell is the first player from Harding to be selected in the draft since 1983.
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