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Seahawks doubled up on their draft weaknesses: WR, OL, DL

Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood
Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood
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John Schneider's Seahawks do not have a very good history of drafting receivers or linemen, and that probably explains why they drafted two of each this year.

The big question is: Will they reverse the trend at those spots or did they just continue to chase their own tails?

They are 1-for-3 on receivers, hitting on second-rounder Golden Tate (although it looked like a miss for his first two seasons) and missing on fourth-rounders Kris Durham and Chris Harper.

Tate is now gone to Detroit, and Schneider said the selection of Colorado speedster Paul Richardson was made specifically in response to Tate's departure.

Receiver had been one of the least-drafted positions by Schneider's regime. The Hawks have found receivers in other ways -- paying big money to Sidney Rice, making a blockbuster trade for Percy Harvin and finding undrafted standouts in Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse.

But this year they used two of their nine picks on pass catchers who seem like they have a great chance of sticking. Alabama's Kevin Norwood is the teams' third fourth-round receiver, but he has a better profile than Durham, who was a reach in the 2011 draft, and Harper, who didn't even make the team out of camp last year.

The Hawks also added two linemen on each side of the ball, which will either improve their batting average at those spots or sink it.

They stretched a bit on the picks of tackle Justin Britt (second round) and defensive lineman Cassius Marsh (fourth), but the coaches already have big plans for each and are focused on making those guys successful.

On the O-line, the Hawks are still waiting to see the fruits of the previous four drafts. First-rounders Russell Okung (2010) and James Carpenter (2011) have struggled with injuries, missing a combined 35 of 112 possible games (31.2 percent). John Moffitt, a 2011 third-round pick, was a complete bust.

The Hawks are laying many of their hopes on seventh-round picks J.R. Sweezy (2012) and Michael Bowie (2013), plus undrafted lineman Alvin Bailey (2013). They also are working on developing 2013 seventh-rounder Jared Smith, who like Sweezy was converted from defensive line.

Because of the precarious nature of their line, they entered this draft determined to add a couple more guys. We'll see if they finally hit on a reliable starter in Britt. And we'll see if they made a wise use of a sixth-round pick on Marshall tackle Garrett Scott.

The Hawks added two D-linemen as well, giving them nine since 2010 (10 if you count Bruce Irvin, who was converted to linebacker last year). Aside from Irvin's eight sacks as a rookie, they have gotten almost nothing out of any of those DL picks. However, like their O-line, they are hoping this is the year they see returns on those draft investments.

Greg Scruggs played well as a rookie in 2012 and returns from a season off rehabbing an ACL injury, and the Hawks are hoping 2013 rookies Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams will be healthy and productive in their second seasons.

The Hawks used their first of three fourth-round picks on Marsh, a player who was rated as a sixth- or seventh-rounder. Among the pass rushers who were rated higher and still available at that point were Virginia Tech's James Gayle and Texas' Jackson Jeffcoat. As it turned out, Jeffcoat -- valued by analysts in the late third round -- ended up undrafted and signed with the Seahawks.

Marsh and tackle Jimmy Staten (fifth round) were both taken before many thought they would be, but perhaps that is no shocker. Before the draft, Schneider and coach Pete Carroll talked about the tendency for NFL teams to reach for defensive linemen.

“It’s one of the hardest positions to find," Schneider said. "So what you end up doing is pushing guys up and maybe drafting them a little bit higher than you may want to."

“The bigger, faster guys are harder to find," Carroll said, "so you just have to take shots. Historically that’s how it’s been for all teams. That’s where some of the biggest mistakes are because you’re over-trying because there are so few; they are so rare.”

Marsh and Staten joined a crowded field of 16 D-linemen on Seattle's roster, and they will battle about nine guys for the last two or three spots.


The fourth round has been Schneider's worst, with misses on four of seven players and only one starter (K.J. Wright) discovered.

But it looks like he might have turned it around this year. Norwood and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis seem like keepers, and the Hawks have a plan for Marsh.

Those picks could make up for previous whiffs on defensive linemen E.J. Wilson and Jaye Howard and receivers Durham and Harper.

Schneider has now drafted three receivers, three D-linemen, a linebacker, a cornerback and a running back in the fourth round. His 10 picks in that round are second most behind the 11 in the seventh.


As is often the case, the Seahawks had many of their undrafted free agents rated higher than the seventh round. Carroll said a bunch of them had sixth-round grades.

Last year, Bailey was consider by many to be a fifth-round prospect and the Hawks signed two linebackers they rated in the fifth round. In 2011, the Hawks had Baldwin listed as a fifth-round talent, Schneider said recently.

This year's top undrafted rookies are Jeffcoat and USC safety Dion Bailey.

Here's what had to say about them:

Jeffcoat: "The son of former Cowboys and Bills end Jim, Jeffcoat was projected as a third- to fourth-round prospect by many media scouting services. But the Longhorns were shut out of the draft for the first time since 1937, and Jeffcoat was the primary player left out in the cold. Multiple injuries and iffy production got in his way, though he did amass 13 sacks in 2013. The Seahawks, always looking for underrated talent, signed Jeffcoat and will turn him loose through the preseason to see what he can do. He’s a tweener at 6-3 and 247 pounds, but Pete Carroll has a knack for taking atypically sized players and maximizing their abilities."

Bailey: "With five interceptions and six passes defensed in 2013, Bailey made his case as one of the better defensive backs in the Pac-12, and he shows up as a versatile, fluid player on tape. He will get a bit too aggressive at times, and he shows up a hair late in coverage occasionally, but as a coverage safety in any scheme he’s got a lot of potential. The Seahawks will take a shot and see what he’s got."

Bailey could get a real chance to shine in minicamps and training camp with Kam Chancellor recovering from hip surgery. Chancellor is expected back for training camp, but Schneider said they will basically save him for the season.

"Kam’s making great progress. They think he’s going to be back in plenty of time to be ready for camp and all that," Carroll said. "Really glad we could get a chance to fix him. He’s been dealing with a hip thing for a while. So, he should be in great shape. There have been no problems, everything is well ahead of schedule, and we’re counting on him being with us throughout."


Schneider said the Hawks focused on the psychological profiles of players as much as talent this year. He wants to make sure rookies will fit in the Seahawks' highly competitive locker room. He previously said the team has made mistakes in judging players' mental makeup.

"Every single guy we have taken has overcome a huge obstacle in their life," he told 710 ESPN of this class of rookies. "That's extremely important for us because you're coming into an atmosphere where you're going to have to push right away. And we want these guys to push right away."

He added to KJR: "This is a young, confident team (and) they have a lot of juice about them. You can't walk into this locker room with a meek personality. You can be the most talented guy in the world, but you have to have a certain level of confidence about you and grit about you, and that's what every one of these guys has."


**Schneider said the Hawks talked to the Jets about trading down from 40 to 49 on Friday. As it turned out, that would have been a safe move as no receivers were drafted in the interim. The Jets took Texas A&M TE Jace Amaro (who had been projected to the Hawks in the first round by some pundits). That nine-spot drop could have netted the Hawks a fourth and a sixth (they got just a fourth from Detroit for dropping to 45).

**The deal with Detroit was the sixth Schneider has made with the Lions since 2010. In 29 trades as Seattle's GM, his favorite trade partners have been Detroit (six), Philadelphia (four) and Oakland (three). He also has made deals with Baltimore (two), Buffalo (two), Minnesota (two), Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, New England, New Orleans, the New York Jets, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Tennessee.

**The Richardson pick should not have surprised anyone. He is the third straight second-round pick the Seahawks have had in for a pre-draft visit. Schneider said Richardson will audition to return punts.

**Here's a breakdown of how Schneider has used his 48 picks over five drafts: 1 QB, 4 RB, 5 WR, 3 TE, 9 OL, 9 DL, 7 LB, 10 DB. This counts Irvin as a linebacker and Smith as an offensive lineman.

**NFL ties: Marsh's dad played wide receiver for three years in the NFL. Richardson's dad played at UCLA and one game with the Eagles. Jeffcoat's dad, Jeff, starred for the Dallas Cowboys.

**Staten was drafted while attending his graduation from Middle Tennessee State, and the school president announced the selection during the ceremony.

**The Seahawks released long snapper Jorgen Hus, who had been signed in April out of the CFL on the recommendation of punter Jon Ryan. The Hawks had been at 91 players after signing their UDFAs, so it was obvious a roster move was coming.

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