One of the key drafts of the Schneider-Carroll regime arrives next week, with Seattle holding picks in places the Seahawks just haven’t had before.
RENTON, Wash. — In their long tenure as the Seattle Seahawks’ brain trust, John Schneider and Pete Carroll have never felt the exhilaration of being handed such a strong pick on the draft board.
Thank you Denver for your horrendous 2022 season after taking on Russell Wilson and returning a plethora of picks to the Seahawks.
“Everyone is very excited about the fifth choice, so we have a lot of managing directors and head coaches in this building at the moment,” said Schneider.
One of the most important drafts of the Schneider-Carroll regime arrives next week, with Seattle holding picks in places the Seahawks simply haven’t had a chance to draft due to their success in most of the past 13 seasons.
Seattle has five picks in their first 83 selections, starting at No. 5 overall, and is looking to complement a roster that was good enough last season to surprise most of football and earn a wildcard spot in secure the NFC playoffs. Seattle is also scheduled to pick Nos. 20, 37, 52, and 83.
Last year’s draft should be considered a resounding success for Seattle, as it brought in players like starting offensive linemen Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, running back Kenneth Walker III and cornerback Tariq Woolen.
Hit another draft this time, especially with these early picks, and Seattle could be on the cusp of having a depth of talent that can do more than just slip into the postseason.
“I think what’s exciting about it is that the first challenge comes at five, and then we get a whole different one at 20, and we come right back on the second day,” Carroll said. “These three big events from these early picks kind of come back to us really quickly and make it really fun and challenging. Lots of scenarios and more than normal.”
The uncertainty about Seattle concerns what it will do at No. 5. This isn’t a spot in the draft that Seattle knows well, having only made two picks in the top 10 during the Carroll-Schneider regime. Both times Seattle used the pick for a left tackle — Russell Okung in 2010 and Charles Cross last year.
Much of the attention that went into this draft focused on the quarterbacks that could become available to Seattle at No. 5, possibly as a development option behind Geno Smith. A defensive player like Will Anderson Jr., Tyree Wilson or Jalen Carter would be more likely.
And with Schneider at the controls, there’s always a trade that could push Seattle back a bit in the first round and potentially stack more picks on the Seahawks’ plate for Days 2 and 3.
Seattle owned the #20 and #52 picks as natural selections, but picked up Denver’s #5 and 37 in the Wilson trade. Seattle also has an additional fifth-round pick, No. 151, from Pittsburgh.
Seattle is likely linked with Smith as a starting quarterback for the next couple of seasons. But the Seahawks made a point of visiting and meeting with all of the top quarterbacks expected to be available at the head of the draft.
It seems unlikely that the Seahawks will go with quarterback at No. 5 with needs elsewhere, but Schneider and his staff have done their research in case the opportunity arises.
Most of Seattle’s free-hand moves have been toward a defensive-side remodel. Seattle signed defensemen Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed, safetyman Julian Love, linebacker Devin Bush, and brought back Bobby Wagner, one of the best defensemen in franchise history.
The two areas Seattle didn’t specifically address in free agency that will likely look at in the draft are the pass rush and the inside line of defense. The Seahawks finished eighth in the league with 45 sacks last season, but lacked consistency in passing rush. Uchenna Nwosu and Darrell Taylor both had 9½ sacks, but only one other player had more than 5½.
Seattle has two elite wide receivers in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and a rising star in Walker.
The depth at these skill positions behind this trio is extremely shallow.
Seattle has tried unsuccessfully for several years to find a permanent fix for its No. 3 wide receiver, especially as former second-round pick Dee Eskridge struggles with injuries. Last year’s No. 3 recipient was Marquise Goodwin, who signed as a free agency with Cleveland.
Equally troubling for Seattle is the depth behind Walker. Deejay Dallas is the only other running back currently on the Seahawks roster, and as Seattle has shown in the past, it takes depth at the position.