John Schneider makes no secret of his desire to trade down in the draft. The Seahawks' general manager loves accruing extra picks.
He had never had fewer than nine in his four previous drafts and, with just six entering this draft, he strongly hinted that the Seahawks would look to move out of the first round.
"I think we have a track record where we tried to acquire as many picks as we possibly can," he said a few days before the draft. "At the top of the draft, you’re excited about the players and everything, but then the further you get into the draft you wish you had more picks toward the end because there are quality players there that you know the coaching staff could work with and coach up. So you always want as many picks as you can (get)."
Thus, it came as no surprise when the Seahawks moved down three times over three draft days, bumping their picks from six to nine.
Their first move down came from No. 32 on Thursday -- the second time in three drafts they have moved off their first-round pick.
"That’s exactly what we were hoping for," Schneider said after that deal with Minnesota. “There were some good players there, but we had the opportunity to grab another pick, a fourth-round pick, another player. We saw value with the trade and just decided to pick (Friday).”
It was his second deal with the Vikings in two offseasons -- Minnesota already had Seattle's third-rounder in this draft from the Percy Harvin blockbuster last year. So, as it turned out, the Vikings ended up with Seattle's first and third and Seattle got Minnesota's second and fourth.
"We have a great relationship with those guys," Schneider said, pointing out that lead contract negotiator Matt Thomas used to work for the Vikings. "There is just a lot going on, so it just worked out perfect right there at the end to be able to do it with them because they were just adamant about taking their guy.”
Schneider quipped that the Vikings were challenging his favorite trade partner, Detroit. A bit of foreshadowing, as it turned out, along with this: "There are several guys that we hope will be there (Friday), but if somebody comes with something that we can’t turn down, then we’ll look at that as well.”
Well, who else would come calling but the Lions, Schneider's favorite trade partner since he came to Seattle? Schneider made his sixth trade with Detroit, moving down five spots to No. 45 overall. That continued a trend that has seen Seattle move off its original second-round spot in all five of Schneider's drafts (including the pre-draft Charlie Whitehurst fiasco in 2010).
Schneider might have moved down again from 45, but college scouting director Scott Fitterer, his right-hand man for the draft, warned against it.
“When Philadelphia moved up (from 54 to 42 to take WR Jordan Matthews), Scott Fitterer looked at me and was like, 'OK, let’s not trade anymore,'" Schneider said. "I’m like, 'Yeah, that’s cool. Let's just pick the guy.' You knew it was going to be right in there somewhere."
Schneider had been pleased not to see any media coverage of their guy, Colorado receiver Paul Richardson. But on Friday morning, he said, "We flipped on the television and Curtis Conway (FOX analyst and former NFL receiver) has him up there. I’m like, 'C’mon man.'”
After acquiring an extra fourth-rounder in the move from 32 to 40, Schneider gave Detroit the fifth-rounder Seattle had received in last year's Matt Flynn trade, and the Hawks got another fourth and a seventh in addition to the 45th pick they used on Richardson.
The Hawks used the first fourth-rounder (108 overall) on defensive lineman Cassius Marsh from UCLA and then planned to use the next fourth (111 overall) on receiver Kevin Norwood. But the Cincinnati Bengals really wanted that pick, so the Hawks dropped 12 spots and picked up another sixth-rounder.
"I actually thought … we were going to just stay there," Schneider said, "and then Cincinnati was pretty aggressive. At that point, we felt like we were losing Kevin, but then he stayed."
In the end, Schneider made three deals and turned Seattle's first-rounder and a fifth-rounder into five players: Richardson, Marsh, Norwood, sixth-round offensive lineman Garrett Scott and seventh-round fullback Kiero Small.
Schneider has never had fewer than nine picks; he had nine in 2010 and 2011, 10 in 2012 and 11 in 2013. The three deals he made enabled the Seahawks to end up with two receivers, two offensive linemen, two defensive linemen, a linebacker, a defensive back and a fullback.
Schneider has now made 10 draft-day deals in five drafts, moving down in all but one of those deals. And he has made 28 trades in all since taking over in 2010.