Draft countdown: 1 week. Rounding up the latest draft rumors, analyzing the latest mock drafts and taking a look at other draft-related topics involving the Seahawks.
The Seahawks' best move with the 32nd pick in the draft probably would be to trade it so they could drop down and add more picks to the six they have.
It is no surprise that general manager John Schneider seems to like that idea.
Asked about trading down on Wednesday, Schneider said, “I just like it in general. I think the first round is a beautiful thing because it’s so exciting and everybody is really into it. It’s entertainment. I get it. But it’s all about the work that all the scouts put in throughout the fall all the way through the draft and into rookie free agency. If you guys could be there when the draft is over, it’s awesome. It’s a blast. It’s like being on the floor of Wall Street or something.”
That explains his penchant for landing at least nine draft picks every year. He likes seeing the work pay off and perhaps padding the odds that they will hit on some of those players.
With just six picks heading into this draft, it is obvious Schneider will want to move around to get more. He hinted that the quarterback carousel could be key.
"It's just a matter of how it starts coming off. This year is going to be really unique because of the quarterbacks and how they come off," he said. "There are some really talented quarterbacks that should go really high in the draft.”
Left unsaid is Schneider's hope that a couple of those quarterbacks slip to the bottom of the round and second-round teams want to come up to get them.
At least five teams in the top 10 are in need of quarterbacks, but perhaps just two will be taken that high.
A couple of scenarios that could help Seattle move down:
**If Houston and Jacksonville both eschew quarterbacks in Round 1, the Jaguars might want to jump over the Texans to get a sliding QB such as Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr or even draft Jimmy Garoppolo. The Hawks could give up their sixth-rounder and get a fifth for that move down to the top part of Round 2.
**If the Vikings skip on a QB at No. 8 overall, they could leapfrog both the Jags and Texans to nab a QB at the end of the first round. The Hawks could get a fourth-rounder for dropping to No. 40 in that case.
Of course, if Cleveland declines to take a QB at No. 4, the Browns' pick at 26 suddenly becomes the target for teams to get ahead of, which might mess up the Hawks' hopes of moving down.
It is always possible a player at another position slides to 32 and is targeted by a team in the second round as well, and Schneider surely will keep the phone lines open.
As for the theory that the fifth-year contract option that comes with first-round picks provides incentive to move back into the first round, Schneider said, “I don’t see it as a huge enticement for people. Maybe at specific positions, like quarterback, I could see that. But I think if people really like a player they’re just going to try to acquire them in a certain area, and I don’t think they’re thinking about whether or not they can grab them to have that fifth year included.”
THE POKER GAME
The draft is a lot like poker, where you win if you can get a good read on how your opponents play.
Schneider is always looking for the tells of NFL teams. He apparently played it just right in 2012, when he dropped down in the first round and got Bruce Irvin, who it later was revealed was being targeted by a couple of other teams in the first round, and then Schneider snagged Russell Wilson in the third round, where at least one other team reportedly would have taken him.
As the Seahawks wrap up draft preparations every year, one of the last things they do is try to project the strategy of other teams.
Said Schneider: "We try to recap and focus on how much interest these guys (prospects) have had from other teams and where -- based on previous history or certain teams' track records -- they would go in the draft or who would be moving to get them."
He said San Francisco, Green Bay, New England and Philadelphia have made the most trades in the draft since 2011, "so you know those teams are willing and open to move around.”
Schneider has made 26 trades in his four years in Seattle. His favorite trade partners have been Detroit (five), Philadelphia (four) and Oakland (three). He also has made deals with Baltimore (two), Buffalo (two), Cincinnati, Cleveland, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, the New York Jets, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Tennessee.
On draft day, Schneider has moved down four times and up just once (last year for defensive tackle Jesse Williams in the fifth round). In 2010, he also made two deals that involved picks for veteran players (Leon Washington, LenDale White and Kevin Vickerson).
HOW DOES IRELAND HELP?
Jeff Ireland is probably the Seahawks' most controversial addition since Schneider became general manager -- and that includes trading for Marshawn Lynch, signing Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards, trading for Kellen Winslow, pursuing Brandon Marshall and drafting Irvin.
After a rancid six-year run as Miami's GM, Ireland was fired in January in the wake of the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognitio scandal.
Ireland, a Bill Parcells protégé, had a pretty checkered record. Apparently mimicking Parcells' gruff, in-your-face approach, Ireland embarrassed the franchise on more than one occasion and fostered a seemingly poisoned environment. As for the draft, he was kind of like Schneider: His first rounds were spotty, but he hit on a few later picks.
He still carries a solid rep as a talent evaluator, and Schneider -- who worked with Ireland in Kansas City -- is tapping into that after the departure of personnel expert Scot McCloughan.
One way Schneider apparently plans to use Ireland is to get inside the minds of other teams.
He said he would ask him: "Who likes to do what? What would you be thinking here? Where would you want to move? What’s been your previous experience?"
Schneider reminded everyone that Ireland has been tracking these college prospects since last fall as well and will have valuable opinions on them. (Yeah, cue the jokes about doing the opposite of what Ireland says.)
"He went all throughout the fall and scouted as well," Schneider said. "He just wasn’t part of our initial meetings. He’s part of these meetings that we’re having right now, which is kind of a wrap-up leading to the coaches coming in and giving their opinions and then us setting our final board.”
"WHAT'S IN HIS HEART?"
One of the lessons Schneider said he has learned in Seattle is to measure player personalities and fit with the current roster.
John Moffitt, a third-round pick in 2011 who lost interest in the game rather quickly, is probably Exhibit A.
“There’s certain guys you spend a lot of time with, because you’re trying to figure out the man,” Schneider said of pre-draft meetings. “What’s in his heart? What his personality’s like. Would he fit in in the locker room?
"There’s certain guys that we haven’t done that good of a job with, in my opinion, in the past. That’s something we’ve really focused on this year: just getting to know the person. How would he compete in this locker room?"
Here's a look at recent mock draft picks for Seattle at No. 32:
WR Marqise Lee, USC
Rang says: "Seattle has plenty of holes to fill and may try to trade out of this pick to acquire more selections. A disappointing junior season left Lee without much momentum but Pete Carroll knows him well and the Seahawks value athleticism and competiveness above all else."
We say: Yep, Hawks will try to trade out, but Lee certainly would seem to be a decent option if they stay. Of course, if they stay, they probably will go off the grid with their pick, as usual.
DT Dominique Easley, Florida
Staton says: "Make no mistake, Easley is a high pick without the (two ACL) injuries. You’re talking about an explosive difference maker who can line up anywhere on the defensive line. He’ll consistently collapse the pocket, impacting the run and the pass. Even if he’s not recording the sack, see how often the quarterback has to escape the pocket because he’s quickly into the backfield with an incredible burst. Despite lacking ideal size or arm length, he holds the point against the run and has the lateral agility to move down the line and stretch out running plays. He has a relentless sparky motor (and is) a tone setter on defense and an incredible competitor. Don’t underestimate the character he’s shown trying to fight through two serious injuries."
We say: The Hawks like to take first-round gambles, but they have yet to take an injured player higher than the fourth round. They probably have better options at 32 than a guy coming off two knee injuries who will still be rehabbing into training camp and might not be game ready until after the season starts.
OG Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
Galko says: "The Seahawks don’t have any glaring needs, but adding to their offensive line would be a safe bet if there’s a top talent available. Su’a-Filo is the draft’s best guard, but could play right tackle if need be."
We say: Su'a-Filo is a popular need pick in many mocks, and it is possible they go with a lineman because that is the safest pick at the end of the first round. But that move certainly would go against the Seattle MO of stunning everyone.
OT Morgan Moses, Virginia
Brooks says: "The Seahawks overcame a patchwork offensive line to claim their first Super Bowl title. Moses would fill a huge void at right tackle as an athletic edge blocker ideally suited for a zone-based blocking scheme."
We say: The Hawks definitely need upgrades on the O-line, whether it's at right tackle or left guard (Su'a-Filo is taken just before the Hawks in Brooks' mock). Moses seems likely to be gone, and the Hawks seem more likely to move down and get a tackle later unless they go with Nevada's Joel Bitonio here.