Seahawks turn lack of picks into avalanche of 11 selections
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks started the week of the NFL draft with the fewest picks of any team in the league with four.
They ended up making 11 picks by the time the draft wrapped up on Saturday, tied for the second-most in the league and topped only by the 12 picks from Minnesota.
Seattle general manager John Schneider was at it again, making seven trades to move around and turn the concern over the lack of picks into an avalanche of selections for a team that appears on the cusp of again being a contender in the NFC.
"This was not a draft we had big holes. We didn't feel like that," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "We were able to look at the guys and see who was coming down the pike. ... This feels like one of those rosters we had four or five years ago, about five years ago, that it really felt like there were guys on our team that other people are going to want, and that's a good spot to be in."
Defense again won out with six picks, including defensive end L.J. Collier in the first round and safety Marquise Blair in the second round. But Seattle's five picks on offense included three wide receivers, headlined by D.K. Metcalf.
WHO THEY GOT
Seattle appeared to accomplish a number of its goals. Along with Collier, Blair and Metcalf, Seattle landed two linebackers in a deep class in Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven. Along with Metcalf, Seattle got Gary Jennings and John Ursua at wide receiver. The secondary was bolstered by Ugo Amadi and the line of scrimmage added guard Phil Haynes and defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas.
There was shock that Metcalf was still available at the end of the second round, prompting Schneider to make the rare decision to move up and land the big wide receiver who dominated pre-draft workouts. But the surprise was Seattle's decision to use two picks on linebackers. Barton and Burr-Kirven were both stars in the Pac-12, but their picks were curious considering the depth the Seahawks already had at linebacker. Seattle is set among its starters with Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks, so both Barton and Burr-Kirven will have to make an impact on special teams initially to make the roster.
"I know that I'm a guy that is hopefully going to be a core special teamer for them and go down and do the dirty work, cover kicks, block, all that kind of stuff. I think that's where it starts," Burr-Kirven said.
HOW THEY DID
The seven trades yielded the Seahawks quantity, which was crucial for a team trying to develop young, competitive depth. It was the formula the Seahawks used to be Super Bowl champions at one time. The picks of Collier and Metcalf are important, but the fourth-round picks of Jennings, Haynes and Amadi may end up being the difference in whether this draft class is great or just OK. Seattle could have landed a future starting wide receiver, offensive lineman and free safety or nickel cornerback out of that trio.
Seattle still needs help on the defensive line, but the decision to trade Frank Clark opened enough salary cap space that the Seahawks could take the chance on a number of free agents on a one-year, prove-it type of deal to see if they can find a couple of options to help make up for the loss of Clark. The additions of Collier and Christmas make it clear a pass-rush specialist will be the priority. Seattle needs another quarterback with only two on the roster, a tight end and potentially another cornerback.
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