Draft countdown: 3 weeks. Every Thursday until the draft May 8-10, we'll round up the latest rumors, analyze the latest mock drafts and take a look at other draft-related topics involving the Seahawks.
The Seahawks have seven picks in the NFL draft May 8-10, but you can bet they will end up with at least a couple more when it is all said and done. And they might still be short a pick in the first three rounds – again.
The two constants throughout general manager John Schneider's tenure have been: (1) The Hawks never end up with fewer than nine picks and (2) they tend to go without one of their top three picks.
In 2010 and 2011, they picked nine players; in 2012 they selected 10; and in 2013 they ended up with 11.
In three of those years, they were short a pick in the "money" rounds.
In 2010, they went without a third-rounder (given up the prior year by Tim Ruskell for wide receiver Deon Butler).
In 2011, they went without a second-rounder because Schneider traded down to regain the third he gave up in 2010 to get quarterback Charlie Whitehurst from San Diego. He added a fourth-rounder in the deal, but neither player (guard John Moffitt and receiver Kris Durham) worked out for Seattle.
Last year, the Hawks went without a first-rounder, which they gave up to get receiver Percy Harvin.
They also are short a third-rounder this year from that trade, although they have an extra fifth-rounder from Oakland for trading quarterback Matt Flynn last year.
Schneider surely would like to get a third-round pick – the best value in any draft typically comes in the second and third rounds – but it might not be easy.
The best way would be to drop down from No. 32 overall, but that has not happened in the 12 drafts since the league went to 32 teams in 2002.
This year, the only scenario in which a team might leap up from the second round probably would be if a quarterback fell to the end of the first and someone really wanted to get the jump on the teams at the top of Round 2.
A couple of mock drafts have projected such moves. One recently forecast the Hawks to drop to 40 in a deal with – who else? – the Vikings so Minnesota could take Fresno State QB Derek Carr. Of course, the best the Hawks might get for that eight-spot slide would be a fourth or fifth. To get a third, they would have to drop to the middle of Round 2.
Assuming he can't move out of the first round, though, Schneider likely would have to move his second pick again – like he did in 2011 -- if he wants to end up with his preferred nine or 10 selections.
Using the draft simulator at First-Pick.com, one offer the Seahawks received for the 32nd pick in Round 2 involved getting Philadelphia's 22nd picks in the third, fourth and fifth rounds. That would give the Hawks six picks in Rounds 3-5. Schneider probably would take that – and then work his way back up in Round 3 if he felt he needed to.
The Hawks also could come from the other angle, moving up into the third. But that would require burning picks in this year's middle rounds and/or next year's draft.
Schneider probably prefers not to shorten his stack this year, but he knows the Hawks are in line to get four extra picks next year so he might be willing to part with a couple of 2015 picks to move around.
The other option would be to trade a player, but the Hawks have lost so many guys this offseason they probably would not even entertain that thought.
If they did, one guy they might consider trying to deal is cornerback Byron Maxwell.
His value might never be as high as it is right now – coming off his first healthy season and having played well in place of Brandon Browner. The Hawks have Jeremy Lane, DeShawn Shead and some other young corners, and they surely will draft at least one more. If they could pull a second-round pick for Maxwell, that would be great value (he was drafted in the sixth round in 2011). He will be a free agent in 2015, and if he plays well the Hawks probably will watch him walk anyway, so it might make sense to try to get something for him now if they think they can replace him.
WHAT DOES NO. 32 USUALLY BRING?
If the Hawks end up staying put at No. 32, what can they expect to get?
Not much, if history is any predictor.
In the 12 years since the league added a 32nd team (the Texans), only one player drafted with the final pick of the first round has become a perennial star. And only two or three others have even had decent careers.
We might be inclined to throw out this trend if Schneider had proven to be an adept first-round drafter. But since he has been shaky in that round (two hits, two misses, one trade), it's hard to ignore the failure rate with that last pick.
Here's the underwhelming list:
2013: FS Matt Elam, Baltimore
Stepped in as the starter as a rookie
2012: RB David Wilson, NY Giants
Fumble-prone before neck surgery
2011: OT Derek Sherrod, Green Bay
Listed as the Packers' third-string right tackle
2010: CB Patrick Robinson, New Orleans
Demoted in 2013 and then suffered torn patellar tendon
2009: DT Ziggy Hood, Pittsburgh
Has 11.5 sacks as a part-time starter with the Steelers
2008: *DE Phillip Merling, Miami
Played in 53 games for three teams
2007: WR Anthony Gonzalez, Indianapolis
Injuries killed his career after just 40 games
2006: DE Mathias Kiwanuka, NY Giants
36 sacks in eight years as DE/LB with New York
2005: OL Logan Mankins, New England
Six-time Pro Bowl LG still going strong for Pats at age 31
2004: TE Ben Watson, New England
Caught 340 passes in 10 seasons with three teams
2003: DE Tyler Brayton, Oakland
17.5 sacks in nine seasons with three teams
2002: QB Patrick Ramsey, Washington
Seven years with three teams, 10-14 record as a starter
*Merling was the first pick in the second round because the Patriots had to forfeit their first-round pick
DRAFTING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ROUND
The 32nd pick isn't the only spot wrought with failure. In what amounts to another endorsement for trading down, the Seahawks have had little success with first-round picks at the end of the round over the last decade.
Here's a look at their first-rounders in drafts following playoff seasons:
2013: 25th traded for WR Percy Harvin
Harvin spent most of the 2013 season recovering from hip surgery
2011: 25th for OG James Carpenter
Carpenter has been beset by injuries and so far failed to claim a position
2008: 28th for DE Lawrence Jackson
Jackson was miscast in Seattle and didn't last long in Detroit either
2007: 23rd traded for WR Deion Branch
Injury-prone WR was paid $29 million for 190 catches and 15 TDs in 51 games
2006: 31st for CB Kelly Jennings
Undersized corner rarely made a play on a ball in Seattle before being traded
2005: 26th for C Chris Spencer
Robbie Tobeck's successor was always injured or inconsistent
2004: 23rd for DT Marcus Tubbs
The most talented rookie of this bunch, Tubbs was quickly felled by a bad knee
2000: 22nd for OT Chris McIntosh
A neck injury ended the tackle's career after just 24 games
HIGH-FIVES IN SEATTLE'S DRAFT ROOM
Schneider likes to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible, and he says as little as possible in the weeks leading up to the draft. You might say he pleads the Fifth -- appropriate considering the fifth round seems to be his favorite.
It's where he found future elite defensive backs Kam Chancellor (2010) and Richard Sherman (2011). And it's where he keeps stocking up the picks.
Last year, he ended up with three fifths – DT Jesse Williams, CB Tharold Simon and TE Luke Willson. This year, he has two picks in that round. And next year he could end up with three more, thanks to comp picks.
Here's a look at recent mock draft picks for Seattle at No. 32:
OG Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA:
Rang says: "Under head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, the Seahawks have pulled plenty of surprises in recent drafts but the loss of two starting left guard Paul McQuistan and right tackle Breno Giacomini in free agency could test their willingness to think outside of the box in 2014. Seattle won't reach to fill a need but if an aggressive, versatile blocker like Su'a-Filo is available, he'd make a lot of sense." The Hawks need to push Carpenter, and Su'a-Filo might be able to oust him.
Drafttek says: "Xavier Su'a-Filo is a solid value pick here. Not reaching for a receiver in this deep WR class could prove profitable. Su'a-Filo could be the best guard to come out in this draft class, filling one need on the O-line for the Seahawks."
OL Joel Bitonio, Nevada
Norris says: "Bitonio is viewed (as) a tackle and guard by multiple teams. He shut down a number of quality rushers at Nevada (last) season, like (UCLA OLB Anthony) Barr and (Boise State OLB) Demarcus Lawrence. I’ve been told his rise throughout the process was Kyle Long-like." If Bitonio is there at 32, the Hawks might be smart to grab him. They can figure out where to play him (LG or RT) in training camp.
TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Kirwan says: "I believe the Seahawks like Amaro and he brings a dimension their offense really doesn't have as a flex/slot tight end who creates matchup problems. Russell Wilson will love having a 6-5 guy with 106 receptions last year roaming the middle of the field." There has been plenty of speculation that the Hawks might go tight end with one of their first two picks, but they have a pretty full stable with Zach Miller, Luke Willson, Anthony McCoy and Travis Beckum. Odds are probably under 25 percent that they pick a tight end high. Besides, Kirwan is a longtime friend of Carroll, so anything he projects is probably misdirection anyway.
OT Morgan Moses, Virginia
Brooks says: "Moses addresses a void at right tackle and is a perfect fit in the Hawks’ zone-based blocking scheme." The Hawks definitely need to address their O-line, but will they go with the obvious position?
DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
Mel Kiper, ESPN.com
Kiper says: “Seattle lost a little depth on the defensive interior, and I like the idea of Tuitt landing here not just because I think Pete Carroll and staff can maximize what I consider a significant level of talent, but because this is a team that can maximize players that aren’t exactly a round peg in the traditional round holes we associate with classic schemes. Tuitt’s the kind of defensive lineman who could work inside, or be a big body at defensive end, drive a tackle backward with a bull rush or help to create a formidable run-stopping front that frees up the linebackers to make plays. Seattle tends to surprise me, but this pick makes sense.” It's easy to see the Seahawks ignoring so-called needs on offense if they really like a defensive player who slides to them. This pick would seem to fit for them.