Not a bad first draft for Pete Carroll and John Schneider, who got some good luck on the first two days and made their own luck on the third.
They entered the three-day affair with eight draft picks and, after a busy third day, left with 12 players, including two veteran running backs and a veteran defensive tackle. Make it 13 players if you count Charlie Whitehurst, who was acquired pre-draft for a swap of second-rounders (plus a 2011 third).
That’s a pretty good haul for a tandem that met just three months ago and initially seemed to be in over their heads.
Carroll and Schneider certainly got trumped in trades involving Seneca Wallace and Charlie Whitehurst, but they showed serious restraint in the Brandon Marshall non-deal and again in the first two days of the draft. They stayed the course in both cases, bailing on Marshall when the price went too high and playing it safe with first-round picks, left tackle Russell Okung and safety Earl Thomas, who were exactly what they needed.
The Seahawks were lucky when both Okung and Thomas were still there for them at No. 6 and No. 14. They also were happy to find receiver Golden Tate still available at No. 60, considering they had rated him as a first-round talent, too.
In the end, they got three first-rate players, plus a possible starting quarterback in Whitehurst, for the price of a first, a second and two thirds.
Some credit must go to former general manager Tim Ruskell, whose wheeling and dealing in the 2009 draft in effect resulted in Seattle upgrading this year’s third to a first, which netted Thomas.
And, even though Carroll and Schneider unnecessarily burned next year’s third for Whitehurst, they didn’t fall completely out of the second round in that deal, and Tate was there waiting for them.
Schneider definitely wanted to be a mover and shaker on the first day, and he had options to move down at No. 14, but the Hawks couldn’t pass up getting two starters by simply standing pat. They also could have moved down from 60 and probably added a third-round pick, but Tate—another future starter—was too good to pass up.
Schneider went to work on the third day, though, as Seattle parlayed five picks into nine players. And in so doing, the team fortified both backfields, adding two veteran running backs and two more defensive backs.
The running back situation was intriguing to start with, but it will be even more so when the Seahawks begin a minicamp Friday.
The Hawks were thought to want a running back in the draft, and they had been rumored to be interested in trading for Buffalo’s Marshawn Lynch.
When the Bills drafted C.J. Spiller ninth overall, it looked like the rumor might have legs. Fortunately, it did not.
Some thought the Hawks might like Tennessee’s Montario Hardesty in the second round. If they did, Mike Holmgren ruined that one when his Browns gave up two fifth-rounders to trade up 12 spots to take Hardesty at No. 59, right in front of Seattle.
On Day 3, the Hawks decided to trade for White rather than draft a guy like Jonathan Dwyer, who slid all the way to the sixth round, where he was drafted three spots after Seattle picked USC tight end Anthony McCoy.
The Seahawks gave up almost nothing to the Tennessee Titans for White and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, who both are signed only for 2010.
After moving down seven spots in the fourth round in the White deal, the Seahawks drafted Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond.
And then Leon Washington became available as the New York Jets traded up to draft Carroll’s most recent USC running back, Joe McKnight. About half an hour later, the Jets sent Washington to Seattle.
Carroll has spoken about creating more competition for roster spots, and it’s quite clear he has done that at running back, where the Hawks have holdovers Julius Jones, Justin Forsett and Louis Rankin, plus newcomers Quinton Ganther, White and Washington.
It’s hard to see the Seahawks keeping more than three of those guys. Carroll referred to White and Washington as a “great one-two punch,” although Washington is still rehabbing a badly broken leg. It would be a surprise if Jones is still on the roster for the minicamp next weekend.
One thing that wasn’t a surprise on Day 3 was the fact that the Seahawks drafted a couple more defensive backs. Entering the draft, they had only two safeties: Jordan Babineaux and Jamar Adams. Thomas obviously will step right in next to Babs, and the Hawks also added a big thumper in 6-3, 231-pound Kam Chancellor, a fifth-rounder out of Virginia Tech who seems like a bit of a project.
Thurmond will take some time, too. He would have gone higher than the fourth round if he wasn’t still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in late September. He could be starting for Seattle by next year, when Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings are both scheduled to be free agents.
Thurmond was the first of three Pac-10 players the Seahawks drafted on Day 3. The second was McCoy, and the third was Arizona State’s Dexter Davis, an undersized pass rusher the Hawks took in the seventh round. Davis likely will compete with guys like Ricky Foley, Chris Clemons and Nick Reed for a spot or two as special-teams players and backup rushers in Carroll’s “elephant” position.
The Hawks got a more conventional end in the fourth round in North Carolina’s E.J. Wilson. At 6-4, 286, Wilson is not much of a pass rusher—12 sacks in 37 starts—but the Hawks need some ends who can hold up against the run.
One thing the Seahawks didn’t do is add any more offensive linemen. Most people figured they would take at least one more lineman who fit zone guru Alex Gibbs’ style. They could have opted for Arkansas’ Mitch Petrus or Boston College’s Matt Tennant in the fifth round, but they drafted Chancellor instead.
Their depth on the line still seems shaky, but they at least have the starters covered now that they have Okung to replace Walter Jones and Ben Hamilton at left guard to help Okung through his rookie campaign.
Speaking of Hamilton, his signing (one year, $2 million salary) temporarily bumped Seattle’s expected 2011 comp pick from a fourth- or fifth-round pick to a possible seventh. The Seahawks need to hope somebody signs one of their remaining free agents: CB Ken Lucas, LB D.D. Lewis, FB Justin Griffith, OT Damion McIntosh, and S Lawyer Milloy.
This draft is a little reminiscent of the one conducted by Randy Mueller 13 years ago, when the Seahawks drafted another left tackle with the sixth pick overall and also drafted a defensive back in the first round. The tackle, Jones, turned into a Hall of Famer, and cornerback Shawn Springs (picked third overall) played for Seattle until 2004. The Seahawks would love to get similar results from Okung and Thomas.
Thomas is the second safety the Hawks have drafted in the first round, joining Kenny Easley (fourth in 1981). Hopefully Thomas can be at least half the player Easley was but play half again as long (Easley’s career was ended by kidney disease in 1987).
Okung is the sixth tackle the Hawks have drafted in the first round, joining Steve August (14th in 1977), Andy Heck (15th in 1989), Ray Roberts (10th in 1992), Jones (sixth in 1997) and Chris McIntosh (22nd in 2000).
Tate is the seventh receiver the Hawks have drafted in the first two rounds, joining Steve Raible (59th pick in 1976), Daryl Turner (49th pick in 1984), Brian Blades (49th pick in 1988), Doug Thomas (51st pick in 1991), Joey Galloway (eighth pick in 1995) and Koren Robinson (ninth pick in 2001).
After refraining from taking any USC players in the first two days, Carroll added White and McCoy on Saturday and also took a flier on three of his undrafted USC players: C/OG Jeff Byers, S Will Harris and CB Josh Pinkard. Considering the Seahawks’ lack of depth on the line, Byers might have a shot. Pinkard does not; he has had three ACL injuries.
If the Seahawks are in the market for defensive tackles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly are shopping both of their 2009 starters. They drafted Gerald McCoy and Brian Price with their first two picks and now are looking to offload former first-round picks Ryan Sims and Chris Hovan. (Hovan is the guy the Seahawks should have taken in 2000, when they instead botched their second first-rounder by taking McIntosh.)
DAY 3 PICKS
CB Walter Thurmond, Oregon
Round 4, Pick 111
After trading down seven spots in the LenDale White deal, the Hawks grabbed Thurmond, who is still rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in September. If not for the knee injury, Thurmond figured to be a second-round pick. He’s the third Oregon DB in the past two years to be drafted (Patrick Chung and Jairus Byrd went in the second round last year), and Thurmond could challenge for a starting spot once healthy.
DE E.J. Wilson, North Carolina
Round 4, Pick 127
The Seahawks are woefully short of big defensive ends, with only Lawrence Jackson (6-4, 271) and Robert Henderson (6-3, 283) on the roster. Wilson, a three-year starter at Carolina, is 6-4, 286. He’s not much of a pass rusher—12 sacks in 37 starts—but the Hawks have plenty of candidates for Carroll’s “elephant” position; they need guys who can play on first and second downs, too.
SS Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech
Round 5, Pick 133
With the pick they got from Detroit for Rob Sims, the Hawks added a huge safety (6-3, 231) who gives them some needed depth for that group. Chancellor is strong in run support and weak in pass defense and figures to make the team for special-teams ability, if he makes it.
TE Anthony McCoy, USC
Round 6, Pick 185
McCoy was rated a third-round prospect by many, but he slipped, probably because he tested positive for marijuana at the Combine. If Carroll can keep his former USC tight end away from Leroy Hill, the Seahawks might have gotten a steal. At 6-4 and 259, McCoy is an athletic tight end who should push Cam Morrah for the third spot behind John Carlson and Chris Baker.
DE Dexter Davis, Arizona State
Round 7, Pick 236
At 6-1 and 244, Davis joins a group of undersized pass rushers—Nick Reed (6-2, 245), Ricky Foley (6-2, 258), Chris Clemons (6-2, 240)—who will be vying for roster spots.
WR Jameson Konz, Kent State
Round 7, Pick 245
At 6-3 and 227, Konz is a big athlete who snuck into the draft on the strength of a great pro day. Looks like camp fodder.