RENTON, Wash. – Welcome to the Hunger Games, or at least the NFL’s version of it.
General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll wrapped up their fourth draft together on Saturday, the theme of which blatantly stood out.
While other teams spent the draft weekend trying to plug dire needs, the Seahawks maneuvered to bolster an already-competitive roster.
After taking a running back and defensive tackle with their first two picks Friday, the Seahawks grabbed a wide receiver, another defensive tackle, a big cornerback, a tight end, a fullback, a linebacker and three offensive linemen during the draft’s final day.
Carroll and Schneider spent time on Friday emphasizing that their approach to the draft hasn’t changed over the years. Competition is still king, the old iron-sharpens-iron strategy applied to the football field.
Then Carroll caught himself. Sure, the Seahawks wanted a defensive tackle or two to fill what Schneider called a “hole.” But they didn’t have any glaring gaps. “Let me say this: It does feel different,” Carroll said Friday. “We look at the roster now, and it’s hard for guys to come in here and say, ‘Hey, I can go in here and start a game for these guys.’ And that’s a really good thing.”
Schneider said it was more difficult trying to sign undrafted free agents this year. Agents and players saw what a glance at the roster underscores. In Seattle, guys don’t just have to fight for a job, but they have to fight to even make the 53-man roster.
“That means we’re going in the right direction,” Carroll said Saturday. “The whole idea is to make this roster as competitive as possible. So that means it’s hard for these guys to make it, but also the quality of guys we were able to draft and attract here in free agency makes it hard for the guys to keep their jobs.”
The Seahawks again looked for uniqueness on the final day of the draft. They took Kansas State receiver Chris Harper in the fourth round. Harper, a former quarterback at Oregon, had a knack for going up and snagging jump balls at K-State.
Seattle then drafted Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams in the fifth round.
The Seahawks added Rice tight end Luke Willson in the fifth round and LSU cornerback Tharold Simon, also in the fifth round.