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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks address pass-rush need, selecting TCU’s L.J. Collier

April 25, 2019 Updated Thu., April 25, 2019 at 9:55 p.m.

TCU defensive lineman L.J. Collier runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine on  March 3  in Indianapolis. Seattle selected Collier with the 29th pick in Thursday’s draft. (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)
TCU defensive lineman L.J. Collier runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine on March 3 in Indianapolis. Seattle selected Collier with the 29th pick in Thursday’s draft. (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

SEATTLE – The Seahawks did the expected not just once but twice Thursday, making two trades with their two first-round picks to acquire four more picks in later rounds.

And then they pulled something of a surprise, taking defensive lineman L.J. Collier of TCU with their pick at No. 29 overall. Collier hadn’t been considered a consensus first-round pick, generally considered a midrounder at best before strong showings at the combine and Senior Bowl helped raise his stock.

The two trades mean that Seattle will have eight total picks in the draft after entering the week with just four, with one pick in the second, one in the third, four in the fourth and two in the fifth.

The pick of Collier means that Seattle adds to a defensive line that appeared to be the team’s biggest need entering the draft. The 6-foot-2, 280-pounder is regarded as a best fit as a five-tech defensive end and had 14.5 sacks in three years at TCU. He played primarily tackle in his first two seasons with TCU before moving to end as a senior, when he made a career-high six sacks.

Seattle picked Collier at 29, the selection it got earlier in the week in a trade for Frank Clark.

“I’m on cloud nine man,” said Collier, who was holed up for the draft in a hotel room in Frisco, Texas, with 20-30 family members. “It’s a crazy feeling.”

Collier had a visit with the Seahawks at the VMAC in Renton, Washington, in the run-up to the draft.

“I had a great visit,” Collier said. “It was fun. I knew we hit it off right then and there.”

The Seahawks have often found themselves attracted to players who have shown they can overcome some bumps in the road along the way, and Collier fits that bill. He lost his mother, Ruby, to cancer after his freshman season at TCU and saw the field sparingly during his early years there.

Collier said after the draft that “my mother means the world to me” and he feels she is still watching over him.

Seattle had earlier traded its pick at 21 to Green Bay to get the 30th pick and pick up two fourth-round selections – 114 and 118.

Seattle then traded the 30th pick to the Giants and acquired the 37th overall pick as well as Nos. 132 and 142. Seattle also had picks 92, 124 and 159.

It was the eighth straight year Seattle has traded its original first-round pick – the last time Seattle used it was for offensive lineman James Carpenter in 2011 at 25.

It’s also the second straight year Seattle has traded with Green Bay.

In 2018, the Seahawks moved down from 18 to 27 to acquire picks in the third and sixth rounds.

The Seahawks had been thought hoping to trade down to acquire more draft capital after entering the draft with what was tied for the fewest picks of any NFL team.

Seattle made the trade with defensive end Montez Sweat – thought to be one of the team’s targets – still on the board.

But getting more picks proved to be more enticing to Seattle. By the time the Seahawks picked, Sweat was gone, taken by Washington at 26 after the Redskins traded with the Colts to move up.

Seattle may also have been swayed to move down by the fact that many of the other top defensive linemen were gone by the time they would have picked.

The draft had been billed as being especially strong on defense, and especially in linemen, and the picks bore that out. Four of the first seven and five of the first nine and seven of the first 13 selections and nine of the first 17 and 10 of the first 19 were defensive ends or tackles.

Seattle had just four picks entering the week thanks to three trades over the previous 18 months that cost the Seahwawks their selections in the second round (Duane Brown), sixth round (Brett Hundley) and seventh (Shalom Luani).

The Seahawks have made trades to move down during the draft in trades involving picks only 14 times since John Schneider took over as general manager and Pete Carroll as coach in 2010. They have moved up five times.

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