If Aaron Curry had not been available at No. 4 in last weekend's draft, team president Tim Ruskell said his Seattle Seahawks would have tried to trade down, and then they might have been the ones to sell off the rights to drafting USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.
The New York Jets and Washington Redskins were the most interested teams, and the Jets ended up trading up into Cleveland's spot at No. 5 to get Sanchez. They had tried to trade up to No. 2, but St. Louis wanted too much.
"I think it was there from the second [pick] on," Ruskell said of the potential for a team in the top five to trade out with a team that wanted Sanchez.
Ruskell said the Seahawks talked to three or four teams about the possibility of trading down, "but nothing that I would say was concrete."
"Had we said that we are willing to come down, then we would have probably found out whether it was real or whether they were just talking."
The Seahawks ended up doing plenty of wheeling and dealing in later rounds. They traded the 37th overall pick to Denver for the Broncos' first-rounder in 2010, then they moved back into the second round by giving their third- and fourth-rounders to Chicago so they could draft Oregon center Max Unger, who was the guy they had wanted with the 37th choice.
On the second day, they made the leap from the first pick in the fifth round to the third round to get Penn State receiver Deon Butler; that deal came at the cost of next year's third-round choice.
The three deals were almost as many as the five the Seahawks had made over the past five drafts combined.
"It just kind of worked out this way," Ruskell said. "We just felt, every step of the way, there was a player there that we wanted to get, and we could work it out with the teams, and we did that.
"Unger was the guy that we had targeted for the pick that we traded away. When he kept dropping, we said that we had another shot to go get him. And we went and did that.
"Deon Butler is a guy we have always coveted, and it really brings something to this team that we have not had recently, and that is unbelievable speed. Off-the-charts type of speed," Ruskell said of the 5'10", 182-pound dynamo who ran under 4.3 seconds in the 40 at the combine.
"As a group, as a football team," Ruskell said, "we said that is something we would like to have, and we knew that he probably wouldn’t be there as we were dropping down. So, we made that move. So, every move made sense to us based on how we had guys rated."
Ruskell said all of the moving around was stressful.
"I would like to tell you that it was that smooth and easy," he said, "but there was some hair pulling and [asking], 'Should we do this? And how far down? And can we afford to lose the third next year?' There was angst on all of it, but we were very happy once we did the deals and the players that we got."
Ruskell's draft-day trades
**Traded down from No. 23 to No. 26 in first round and also received Oakland's fourth-round pick. Drafted C Chris Spencer with No. 26 and OT Ray Willis with the fourth-rounder.
**Moved up in the second round from 54 to 45, also giving two fourth-round picks to Carolina, to draft LB Lofa Tatupu.
**Sent WR Darrell Jackson to San Francisco for a fourth-round pick, which Seattle used to draft OG Mansfield Wrotto.
**Moved down in the first round, from No. 25 to No. 28, and also received fifth- and seventh-round picks from Dallas. Seattle drafted DE Lawrence Jackson, FB Owen Schmitt, and K Brandon Coutu.
**Gave Baltimore a third-round pick so the Seahawks could move up in the second round, from No. 55 to No. 38, to draft TE John Carlson.
**Traded the No. 37 pick to Denver for a 2010 first-rounder.
**Moved back into the second round by giving up third- and fourth-rounders to Chicago to take C Max Unger.
**Returned to the third round to draft WR Deon Butler, giving Philadelphia picks in the fifth and seventh rounds, plus a 2010 third-rounder.
Ruskell has made seven other deals as Seattle's president.
**Gave Minnesota a third-rounder for restricted WR Nate Burleson.
**Traded a sixth-round pick to Chicago for S Mike Green.
**Traded this first-rounder to New England for WR Deion Branch in Sept. 2006.
**Traded a seventh-round pick to Philadelphia for FB Josh Parry.
**Traded a sixth-round pick to Cleveland for QB Charlie Frye in Sept. 2007.
**Gave a fifth-rounder to Denver for WR Keary Colbert in Oct. 2008.
**Acquired a fifth-rounder along with DL Cory Redding from Detroit in the Julian Peterson trade.